What is a Foreign Transaction Fee and How Can You Avoid It?

Foreign transaction fees are irritating little charges that every traveler has faced, and most credit card users have questioned. They are the bane of a frequent flyer’s life and if not managed carefully, could result in some serious charges. But what are these charges, why do they exist, what’s the average fee, and how can you avoid them?

What is a Foreign Transaction Fee?

A foreign transaction fee is a surcharge levied every time you make a payment in a foreign currency or transfer money through a foreign bank. These fees are charged by credit card networks and issuers, often totaling around 3%.

For example, imagine that you’re on holiday in the United Kingdom, where all transactions occur in Pound Sterling. You go out for a meal and use your credit card to pay a bill of £150. Your credit card issuer first converts this sum into US Dollars and then charges a foreign transaction fee, after which the network (Visa, MasterCard, American Express) will do the same.

If we assume that £150 equates to exactly $200, this will show on your credit card statement first followed by a separate foreign transaction fee of $6.

When Will You Pay Foreign Transaction Fees?

If you’re moving money from a US bank account to an international account in a different currency, there’s a good chance you will be hit with foreign transaction fees and may also be charged additional transfer fees. More commonly, these fees are charged every time you make a payment in a foreign currency.

Many years ago, foreign transaction fees were limited to purchases made in other currencies, but they are now charged for online purchases as well. If the site you’re using is based in another country, there’s a good chance you’ll face these charges.

It isn’t always easy to know in advance whether these fees will be charged or not. Many foreign based sites use software that automatically detects your location and changes the currency as soon as you visit. To you, it seems like everything is listed in dollars, but you may actually be paying in a foreign currency.

Other Issues that American Travelers Face 

Foreign transaction fees aren’t the only issue you will encounter when trying to use American reward credit cards abroad. If we return to the previous example of a holiday in the UK, you may discover that the restaurant doesn’t accept your credit card at all.

In the UK, as in the US, Visa and MasterCard are the two most common credit card networks and are accepted anywhere you can use a credit or debit card. However, while Discover is the third most common network in the US, it’s all but non-existent in the UK. 

Discover has claimed that the card has “moderate” acceptance in the UK, but this is a generous description and unless you’re shopping in locations that tailor for many tourists and American tourists in particular, it likely won’t be accepted.

There are similar issues with American Express, albeit to a lesser extent. AMEX is the third most common provider in the UK, but finding a retailer that actually accepts this card is very hit and miss.

Do Foreign Transaction Fees Count Towards Credit Card Rewards?

Foreign transaction fees, and all other bank and credit card fees, do not count towards your rewards total but the initial charge does. If we return to the previous example of a $200 restaurant payment, you will earn reward points on that $200 but not on the additional $6 that you pay in fees.

How to Avoid Foreign Transaction Fees

The easiest way to avoid foreign transaction fees is to use a credit card that doesn’t charge them. Some premium cards and reward cards will absorb the fee charged for these transactions, which means you can take your credit card with you when you travel and don’t have to worry about extra charges.

This is key, because simply converting your dollars to your target currency isn’t the best way to avoid foreign transaction fees. A currency conversion will come with its own fees and it’s also very risky to carry large sums of cash with you when you’re on vacation. 

Credit Cards Without Foreign Transaction Fees

All credit card offers are required to clearly state a host of basic features, including interest rates, reward schemes, and annual fees. However, you may need to do a little digging to learn about foreign transaction fees. These fees can be found in the credit card’s terms and conditions, which should be listed in full on the provider’s website.

To get you started, here are a few credit cards that don’t charge foreign transaction fees:

  1. Bank of America Travel Rewards Card: A high-reward and low-fee credit card backed by the Bank of America.
  2. Capital One: All Capital One cards are free of foreign transaction fees, including their reward cards, such as the Venture card.
  3. Chase Sapphire Preferred: A premium rewards card aimed at big spenders. There is an annual fee, but not foreign transaction fees.
  4. Citi Prestige: One of several Citi cards that don’t charge foreign transaction fees, and the best one in terms of rewards. 
  5. Discover It: A solid all-round credit card with no foreign transaction fees. However, as noted above, the Discover network is rare outside of the United States.
  6. Wells Fargo Propel World: An American Express credit card with good rewards and low fees, including no foreign transaction fees.

Summary: One of Many Fees

Foreign transaction fees are just some of the many fees you could be paying every month. Credit cards work on a system of rewards and penalties; you’re rewarded when you make qualifying purchases and penalized when you make payments in foreign currencies and in casinos, and when you use your card to withdraw cash.

Many of these fees are fixed as a percentage of your total spend, but some also charge interest and you will pay this even if you clear your balance in full every month. To avoid being hit with these fees, pay attention to the terms and conditions and look for cards that won’t punish you for the things you do regularly.

What is a Foreign Transaction Fee and How Can You Avoid It? is a post from Pocket Your Dollars.

Source: pocketyourdollars.com

United Airlines Travel Bank No Longer Works for American Express Airline Credit

Beginning January 14th, United Airlines Travel Bank purchases no longer work to trigger the American Express airline incidental credit, according to reader ChurningExperiences and various data points on Flyertalk.

They switched the category of the purchase from “special service ticket”, which was considered by the AmEx system as an incidental charge, to “gift certificate” which is not. Purchases made January 14th and beyond will not get credited. Purchases made on the 13th an earlier were credited.

Major bummer, lots of people were using this. Hopefully everyone used up their airline incidental credits immediately in early January when it was still working.

Source: doctorofcredit.com

Which United Airlines credit card should you choose?

If you regularly fly with United Airlines or you live in or near Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Newark or San Francisco – the airline’s hubs – picking up an United Airlines credit card could make a ton of sense.

Not only can a United credit card help you earn MileagePlus miles faster, but you might also get a few handy perks, including free checked bags.

At the moment, United Airlines offers a handful of co-branded United credit cards for individuals or small business owners. But, how do you know which United Airlines credit cards are best?

Our guide aims to help you compare options so you wind up with the right airline credit card for your needs and your travel goals.

See related: United MileagePlus Dining Guide

Here’s the roundup:
United Gateway Card

  • Best card for big United spenders: Chase United Club Infinite Card
  • Best card for frequent flyers: Chase United Explorer Card
  • Best card for small business owners: United Business Card
  • Best card for frequent business travelers: United Club Business Card
  • Guide to United Airlines credit cards

    Compare fees, rewards, perks and extras:  Select the credit card you’re interested in…   Chase United ExplorerChase United Club Infinite CardChase United Business CardChase United Club Business Card

    United Explorer Card

    Annual fee
    • $95, waived the first year
    Sign-up bonus
    • 70,000 miles if you spend $2,000 in first 3 months
    In-flight discount
    • 25%
    No foreign transaction fees
    • Yes
    Extra bonus on certain categories
    • 2 miles per dollar spent on United Airlines, hotel and restaurant purchases, including delivery services like Caviar, DoorDash, Grubhub and Seamless
    • 1 mile per dollar spent everywhere else
    Limit on miles earned
    • No
    First checked bag free
    • Yes, for you and a companion on the same reservation
    Priority boarding
    • Yes, for you and companions on the same reservation
    Reduced mileage awards
    • No
    Redeem miles rebate
    • No
    Benefits
    • 2 United Club one-time passes
    • Tickets bought using miles eligible for free upgrades
    • Trip delay, baggage and auto rental insurance
    • Concierge service
    • Chase’s Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection perks, including breakfast for 2, free Wi-Fi and meal/spa credits
    Global Entry/TSA Precheck credit
    • Yes, up to $100 every four years
    Card network
    • Visa

    Chase United Club Infinite Card

    Anual fee
    • $525, waived first year
    Sign-up bonus
    • None
    In-flight discount
    • 25%
    No foreign transaction fees
    • Yes
    Extra bonus on certain categories
    • 4 miles per dollar spent on United purchases
    • 2 miles per dollar spent on dining
    • 2 miles per dollar spent on all other travel (including other airlines)
    • 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases
    Limit on miles earned
    • No
    First checked bag free
    • Yes, 2 bags for you and 2 for a companion on the same reservation
    Priority boarding
    • Yes, for you and companions on the same reservation
    Reduced mileage awards
    • No
    Redeem miles rebate
    • No
    Benefits
    • United Club and Star Alliance lounge membership
    • Priority check-in and screening
    • Waived fees on last-minute tickets bought with miles
    • Miles tickets eligible for free upgrades
    • Trip delay, baggage and auto rental insurance
    • Concierge service
    • Chase’s Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection perks, including free breakfast for 2, free Wi-Fi and meal/spa credits
    Global Entry/TSA Precheck credit
    • Yes, up to $100 every four years
    Card network
    • Visa

    Chase United Business Card

    Annual fee
    • $99, waived the first year
    Sign-up bonus
    • 60,000 miles after spending $3,000 in first 3 months
    In-flight discount
    • 25%
    No foreign transaction fees
    • Yes
    Extra bonus on certain categories
    • 2 miles per dollar spent on United Airlines, restaurant, gas and office supplies purchases
    • 2 miles per dollar spent on transit and commute purchases, including taxis, tolls and rideshares
    • 1 mile per dollar spent on everything else
    Limit on miles earned
    • No
    First checked bag free
    • Yes, for you and a companion on the same reservation
    Priority boarding
    • Yes, for you and companions on the same reservation
    Reduced mileage awards
    • No
    Redeem miles rebate
    • No
    Benefits
    • 2 United Club one-time passes
    • 5,000 bonus miles on your account anniversary if you have both a United Business Card and personal United card
    • $100 annual United travel credit after 7 United flight purchases of $100 or more
    • Trip, baggage and car rental insurance
    Global Entry/TSA Precheck credit
    • No
    Card network
    • Visa

    Chase United Club Business Card

    Annual fee
    • $450
    Sign-up bonus
    • 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 in first 3 months
    In-flight discount
    • 25%
    No foreign transaction fees
    • Yes
    Extra bonus on certain categories
    • 2 miles per dollar spent on United Airlines purchases
    • 1.5 miles per dollar spent on everything else
    Limit on miles earned
    • No
    First checked bag free
    • Yes, 2 bags for you and 2 for a companion on the same reservation
    Priority boarding
    • Yes, for you and companions on the same reservation
    Reduced mileage awards
    • No
    Redeem miles rebate
    • No
    Benefits
    • United Club and Star Alliance membership
    • Priority check-in and screening
    • Concierge service
    • Trip, baggage and car rental insurance
    • Discoverist status in World of Hyatt loyalty program
    • President’s Circle Elite status in Hertz Gold Plus Rewards loyalty program
    • Chase’s Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection perks, including free breakfast, free Wi-Fi, dining/spa credits and upgrades
    Global Entry/TSA Precheck credit
    • No
    Card network
    • Visa

    Lifetime Globalist

    How to qualify
    • 1,000,000 base points over the course of your membership
    Base-point rate
    • 6.5 points/$1
    Benefits
    • Receive Globalist benefits indefinitely, with no requirement to qualify for status each year

     

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    Best United Airlines credit card with no annual fee: United Gateway Card

    If you’re looking for a United rewards card with no annual fee, the United Gateway Card is the best (and only) option to consider. This card starts you off with 10,000 bonus miles when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months your account is open. You also earn:

    • 2 miles per $1 on United flights, purchases made at gas stations and on transit and commuting
    • 1 miles per $1 on all other purchases

    As an added bonus, you’ll even rack up 3 miles per $1 on up to $1,500 in grocery store spending per month through Sept. 30, 2021. Aside from not charging an annual fee, other United Airlines credit card benefits include 25% off in-flight purchases and no foreign transaction fees. That means this card is rather limited in terms of perks, but that’s par for the course when it comes to credit cards with no annual fee.

    Best United Airlines credit card for frequent flyers: United Explorer Card

    Frequent flyers would be better off with a United credit card with more benefits, which they’ll find with the United Explorer Card. First off, you can earn 70,000 bonus miles – 60,000 when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months your account is open and another 10,000 bonus miles when you spend $6,000 in total purchases in the first six months of account opening. In terms of daily spending, you can rack up:

    • 2 miles per $1 on United purchases, dining including delivery and takeout and hotels booked directly
    • 1 mile per $1 spent on other purchases

    United Airlines credit card benefits you’ll receive include two United Club passes, a first free checked bag, a $100 credit toward Global Entry or TSA Precheck membership, priority boarding, 25% off in-flight purchases and no foreign transaction fees. Not only are these perks ideal for frequent United flyers who want a convenient travel experience, but they can help cardholders save money, too. This card does charge a $95 annual fee, but it’s waived the first year.

    Best United Airlines credit card for big United spenders: United Club Infinite Card

    If you’re a big United spender and you fly with the airline all the time, you’ll probably want a card that lets you rack up a ton of miles while also affording you a comfortable travel experience. The United Club Infinite Card is perfect in either case. This card replaced an older version of the United Club Card, but it offers even better rewards and perks designed with luxury travelers in mind.

    As a cardholder, you’ll earn:

    • 4 miles per $1 spent with United Airlines
    • 2 miles per $1 spent on dining (including takeout and delivery) and travel
    • 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases

    In terms of perks, you won’t be disappointed. Not only does this card give you membership in the airline’s United Club lounges ($650 value), but if you travel internationally, you will be able to access lounges for any airlines that are part of the Star Alliance, including Aer Lingus, Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa. Meanwhile, you also get two free checked bags for yourself and a traveling companion on the same reservation, as well as priority check in, priority boarding, priority securing screening, 25% off in-flight purchases and no foreign transaction fees. You’ll also get a $100 credit toward Global Entry or TSA Precheck membership.

    There is one major downside to this card: It comes with a $525 annual fee and there is no sign-up bonus. On the bright side, the annual fee is waived for your first year.

    See related: When is a credit card annual fee worth it?

    Best United Airlines credit card for small business

    If you’re a small business owner, you may also want to apply for one of the two United Airlines credit cards for business. The United Business Card is a good option for small business owners who travel for work or for leisure a few times per month, and this is due to its cardholder benefits and low annual fee.

    You’ll start off by earning 60,000 miles when you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. You’ll also earn:

    • 2 miles per $1 spent on United purchases, dining including takeout and delivery, gas stations, office supply stores, local transit and commuting
    • 1 mile per $1 spent on other purchases

    Like all good United Airlines credit card offers, the United Business Card also comes with a handful of perks which include 5,000 miles on your cardholder anniversary each year when you carry a business credit card and a personal credit card from United Airlines. You’ll also receive two one-time United Club passes, a first checked bag free, priority boarding, a $100 United travel credit when you make at least seven purchases of $100 or more with United each year, 25% off in-flight purchases and no foreign transaction fees. A $99 annual fee applies, but it’s waived the first year.

    Best United Airlines credit card for business travelers

    Finally, United Airlines offers a business credit card that is perfect for frequent business travelers who want to earn a ton of miles and score lounge access when they fly. The United Club Business Credit Card starts you off with 50,000 miles when you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. You’ll also rack up:

    • 2 miles per $1 spent United purchases
    • 1.5 miles on everything else

    While this card does have a $450 annual fee, you’ll get plenty of value when it comes to the perks you receive. Not only will you get a United Club membership valued at $650, but you’ll get a first and second free checked bag, priority check-in, security screening and baggage handling, 25% off in-flight purchases and no foreign transaction fees.

    Who should get a United Airlines credit card?

    The best United Airlines credit card offers make it easy to rack up miles for each dollar you spend, and most offer a generous bonus when you meet a minimum spending requirement. With that being said, United Airlines credit cards are really best for people who are loyal to the airline, or those who live in a United hub and wind up flying with the airline often by default.

    If you aren’t loyal to United Airlines or you want more options when it comes to cashing in your points, you may also want to consider a Chase travel credit card that lets you transfer your points to United at a 1:1 ratio, or redeem for other types of travel.

    As an example, both the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred Card* let you earn points you can transfer to United, as well as other airline and hotel partners like Southwest, British Airways, Emirates, World of Hyatt, Marriott Bonvoy and more. Chase credit cards also let you redeem points for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, which gives you even more flexibility.

    See related: How to earn and use Chase Ultimate Rewards points

    How much are United miles worth?

    Based on our internal comparisons, United miles are worth approximately 1.5 cents each. This means that, generally speaking, 60,000 miles are worth approximately $900. However, keep in mind that you may get more value if you redeem miles for premium flights or international flights.

    Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to get significant value out of your United miles, whether you want to travel the world or enjoy a relaxing trip closer to home.

    *All information about the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer. This offer is no longer available on our site.

    Source: creditcards.com

    How Do You Use a Degree That Isn’t Very Specific?

    Hello! Enjoy this post from my friend Martin. I know this situation applies to many out there (the possibility of what you or others may believe to be useless degrees), so hopefully this post can help someone out! 

    “Why did you waste your time on that degree?”

    The most ignorant question in the world. You deserve a smack across the face if you’ve ever asked anyone this. There’s no such thing as a waste of time if you learned a few things and opened your eyes a little. Also, it’s none of your business what someone else studied, unless you of course paid for their full education.

    Why would you ask someone this?

    The person with the degree doesn’t possess the power to time travel and change things. It’s already too late. They have the degree proudly hanging on the wall. There’s no need to be a ruthless jerk who puts down their friends. The person on the other end will get highly defensive and the argument won’t be pretty.

    Why would you ask such an ignorant question?

    Sadly, European relatives ask this all of the time. So do friends on Facebook. Most people will ask about why you studied what you did. It’s fairly standard small talk.

     

    Do you need to earn a highly targeted degree?

    All stats out the window, the answer is no.

    You don’t need to do anything. You can’t force yourself to study a topic that you despise for four years of your life. This never ends well. If you do complete your studies and find work in the field, you won’t be happy because you never wanted to do this in the first place.

    Can you imagine working in a field that you despise until you’re 65? That’s at least 40 years. That would be one miserable existence.

    While I highly suggest that you study a subject that can open up opportunities for you after college, I also realize that not everyone has life figured out in their teens.

    When I had to decide what I wanted to study I was 17. Due to my late birthday, I had to figure everything out at this young. I remember choosing a community college because I had no clue of what else to choose. I started at a community college at 17 and somehow managed to survive. I was completely clueless about why I was even there.

    You can’t be expected to have your life figured out in your teens. It’s okay if you don’t study the most specific topic.

     

    How do you use a degree that’s not in demand?

    Well, you don’t have to find a work in your specific field. There’s no rule that states you need to work as a Historian just because you studied history.

    You don’t have to find work in the exact field that you studied. You have other options, such as:

    • Totally changing gears. You can pick up a trade or find work in a totally new field. Some of my friends have become bloggers and front line management.
    • Starting your own business. Do you have a business idea in mind?
    • Graduate school. My friend went to graduate school since they had high grades and found work in management.
    • Using your alumni relations connections. Your alumni department could open your eyes.
    • Travel. Have you thought about teaching English abroad?

    If your degree isn’t in demand, that’s okay because you can still be in demand. You don’t have to live and die based on your degree. You’re not your degree. You have more to offer this world than the piece of paper that you picked up on stage.

     

    Should you feel guilty about having useless degrees?

    Nope.

    There’s no rule that states you must work in the field that you studied. Most of my friends are in completely unrelated fields. I don’t really know anyone that went to directly find work in their specific field. The only friends that are using their degrees 100% are my friends who became teachers and nurses. Those fields are very specific and you can’t get in without the correct credentials.

    Everything else can’t be taught.

    Do you think there’s a four year program for bloggers like Michelle? Hell no.

    Do you think there’s a program that teaches you how to solve problems? Not really.

    Is there a college degree that encourages you to take risks? Nope.

    College is a wonderful experience. This is your first taste of the following:

    • Freedom.
    • Responsibilities.
    • Deadlines.
    • Love.
    • Failure.
    • Massive hangovers.
    • Depression.
    • Confusion.

    Very little of what you study in college will be used in your real life. I hate to admit this, but I don’t remember anything from the classroom lectures when I look back.

    Why did I attend college?

    I earned my degree in business so that I could tell people that I got my degree in business. Plus, I was the oldest boy in my family and the first to attend college. Making my parents proud was priceless. Oh, and I didn’t want to get kicked out of the house.

    The world’s not going to end because your degree isn’t in the most profitable field. You’re not a failure because you studied something that interested you. It’s your life. You did what you wanted to. If you didn’t study anything specific then that’s okay because you’e not restricted to one field of work. You just need to decide on what you’re going to do next.

    Are you using your college degree? Why or why not? Do you have useless college degrees?

     

    The above is a post from Martin of Studenomics, where you can read about financial freedom and not have to worry about missing a party. Martin has just launched, Next Round’s On Me, where he helps you with your financial journey in your 20s.

    The post How Do You Use a Degree That Isn’t Very Specific? appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

    Source: makingsenseofcents.com

    Average credit card interest rates: Week of January 20, 2021

    The average credit card interest rate is 16.05%.

    U.S. credit card lenders once again declined to revise APRs on some of the country best-known cards, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report. None of the 100 cards tracked weekly by CreditCards.com advertised new rates. As a result, the average starting APR for brand-new cards remained at 16.05% for the eighth consecutive week.

    APRs have remained within rounding distance of 16% for nearly 10 consecutive months

    APRs on brand-new credit cards have remained unusually stable for months now. For example, the average new card APR hasn’t wavered by more than a quarter of a percentage point since April and it has remained just above 16% since mid-November. Earlier in the year, the average card APR briefly dipped to 15.97%, which is the lowest APR average CreditCards.com has recorded since 2017. But for most of 2020, the average card APR remained above 16%.

    Despite their current stability, average APRs are dramatically lower than they were a year ago when the average APR began 2020 at 17.30%.

    At that time, even cardholders with excellent credit were likely to be assigned rates as high as 17% or more. Today, by contrast, few general market cards that are marketed to borrowers with the best credit charge such high rates.

    Among the 100 cards tracked by CreditCards.com, for example, only one general market card for borrowers with excellent credit currently charges a minimum APR above 16.99%. The Capital One Venture Rewards Card starts APRs at 17.24% and caps them at 24.49%. But most comparable cards charge lower rates.

    Among travel rewards cards, for example:

    • The Bank of America® Premium Rewards® card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card both start APRs at 15.99%
    • The APRs on the high-end Chase Sapphire Reserve card and Citi Prestige® Card start at 16.99%.
    • The minimum APR on the Discover it® Miles card is 11.99% while the APRs on a number of popular airline cards, such as the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card, the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card and the Frontier Airlines World Mastercard from Barclays, start below 16%.

    The average maximum card APR is also significantly lower. For example, the average maximum APR for all 100 cards included in the CreditCards.com rate report is currently 23.55%. The average median APR is 19.8%.

    Capital One’s decision to leave rates alone last spring leaves it out of step with other issuers

    When the Federal Reserve cut federal interest rates by more than a full percentage point last spring, Capital One was the only major, nationwide issuer not to match the central bank’s rate cut on new general market cards. As a result, cardholders with lower scores are less likely than other cardholders these days to secure a significantly lower APR than what they would have been able to get a year ago.

    That’s because Capital One is one of the leading issuers of cards for borrowers with fair credit. Its line of subprime cards continues to charge the same 26.99% APR the cards advertised for much of last winter.

    However, borrowers with lower scores do have more options than they had a year ago if they compare rates with other issuers. For example:

    • The Discover it® Secured card and the BankAmericard Secured Credit Card currently offer a 22.99% APR.
    • The Citi® Secured Mastercard® card starts APRs at 22.49%.

    Not all lenders have given borrowers with bad credit a reprieve, though, amid the pandemic. For example, U.S. Bank dramatically hiked the APR on its flagship secured card, pushing the card’s only APR to 25.99%. As a result, the average APR for all subprime cards tracked by CreditCards.com is the same as it was a year ago: 25.3%.

    The average APR for rewards cards, by contrast, has fallen from 17.11% to 15.76%, while the average low interest card APR has tumbled from 14.1% to 12.77%.

    See related: How do credit card APRs work?

    *All information about the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and the Citi Prestige has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer. This offer is no longer available on our site.

    CreditCards.com’s Weekly Rate Report

    Avg. APR Last week 6 months ago
    National average 16.05% 16.05% 16.03%
    Low interest 12.77% 12.77% 12.83%
    Cash back 15.85% 15.85% 16.09%
    Balance transfer 13.85% 13.85% 13.93%
    Business 13.91% 13.91% 13.91%
    Student 16.12% 16.12% 16.12%
    Airline 15.53% 15.53% 15.48%
    Rewards 15.76% 15.76% 15.82%
    Instant approval 18.38% 18.38% 18.65%
    Bad credit 25.30% 25.30% 24.43%
    Methodology: The national average credit card APR is comprised of 100 of the most popular credit cards in the country, including cards from dozens of leading U.S. issuers and representing every card category listed above. (Introductory, or teaser, rates are not included in the calculation.)
    Source: CreditCards.com
    Updated: January 20, 2021

    Historic interest rates by card type

    Some credit cards charge even higher rates, on average. The type of rate you get will depend in part on the category of credit card you own. For example, even the best travel credit cards often charge higher rates than basic, low interest credit cards.

    CreditCards.com has been calculating average rates for a wide variety of credit card categories, including student cards, balance transfer cards, cash back cards and more, since 2007.

    How to get a low credit card interest rate

    Your odds of getting approved for a card’s lowest rate will increase the more you improve your credit score. Some factors that influence your credit card APR will be out of your control, such as the length of time you’ve been handling credit.

    However, even if you’re new to credit or are rebuilding your score, there are steps you can take to ensure a lower APR. For example:

    1. Pay your bills on time. The single most important factor influencing your credit score – and your ability to win a lower rate – is your track record of making on-time payments. Lenders are more likely to trust you with a competitive APR – and other positive terms, such as a big credit limit – if you have a lengthy history of paying your bills on time.
    2. Keep your balances low. Lenders also want to see that you are responsible with your credit and don’t overcharge. As a result, credit scores take into account the amount of credit you’re using, compared to how much credit you’ve been given. This is known as your credit utilization ratio. Typically, the lower your ratio, the better. For example, personal finance experts often recommend that you keep your balances well below 30% of your total credit limit.
    3. Build a lengthy and diverse credit history. Lenders also like to see that you’ve been successfully using credit for a long time and have experience with different types of credit, including revolving credit and installment loans. As a result, credit scores, such as the FICO score and VantageScore, factor in the average length of your credit history and the types of loans you’ve handled (which is known as your credit mix). To keep your credit history as long as possible, continue to use your oldest credit card so your lender doesn’t close it.
    4. Call your lender. If you’ve successfully owned a credit card for a long time, you may be able to convince your lender to lower your interest rate – especially if you have excellent credit. Reach out to your lender and ask if they’d be willing to negotiate a lower APR.
    5. Monitor your credit report. Check your credit reports regularly to make sure you’re being accurately scored. The last thing you want is for a mistake or unauthorized account to drag down your credit score. You have the right to check your credit reports from each major credit bureau (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) once per year for free through AnnualCreditReport.com.

    Source: creditcards.com

    100 Birthday Freebies ~~ Celebrate WIth Free Stuff in 2021!

    Be sure to check out our Swagbucks review for how to get the most out of Swagbucks.

    Receive a free cupcake (make that a baker’s dozen if you’re a Red Velvet tier member) for your birthday when you join Sprinkles Perks.
    Get a BOGO breakfast, brunch or lunch for your birthday as a member of the Sun EClub.
    Subscribe to Club Cinnabon to get a free iced coffee on your birthday and a free order of BonBites for signing up.

    100 Places to Get Birthday Freebies

    Members of the MyPerkins Club receive a free Magnificent Seven meal on their birthdays. The meal includes two eggs, any way you like, plus two smoked bacon strips and three buttermilk pancakes. Plus you’ll get a 20% off coupon for signing up. You will also be able to add your children ages 12 and under so they can get birthday rewards, too.

    A&W All American Food

    Become a Flathead and receive a free dessert for your birthday. You’ll also get a free Tijuana Trio when you sign up.

    ABC Liquor

    Sign up for Club Baja to get a “special offer” on your birthday.

    AMC Theatres

    Get a free meal on your birthday when you join the bd’s Rewards eClub, plus get a coupon just for signing up.

    Anthropologie

    Get a free root beer float on your birthday by joining the Mug Club.

    Applebee’s

    Enjoy a free sundae on your birthday when you sign up for MyCulver’s. You’ll also get a BOGO value basket when you sign up.

    Arby’s

    So get busy now and enjoy the free birthday stuff as it rolls in on your big day.

    Au Bon Pain

    Join the Nothing Bundt Cakes eClub and get a free Bundtlet on your birthday.

    Auntie Anne’s

    My Best Buy members get a “birthday gift.”

    Aveda

    Opt into the Birthday Club when you subscribe to Old Navy’s emails to get a “free birthday gift.”

    Baja Fresh

    Sign up for the Pita Pit Rewards Club and receive a free pita on your birthday.

    bareMinerals

    Join the Chipotle rewards program to get free chips and guacamole on your birthday when you make a purchase of or more. When you sign up and make your first purchase, you’ll also get free chips and a choice of guacamole, queso blanco or salsa.

    Baskin Robbins

    When you become a BFF Club member, you’ll receive a free birthday sundae.

    Banana Republic

    Hooray! It’s your birthday!

    bd’s Mongolian Grill

    Famously You Rewards members get a birthday cash reward.

    Benihana’s

    Join the Prime Club to get a free steak dinner on your first birthday as a member.

    Best Buy

    Members of the Kohl’s Rewards program get a “special birthday gift.”

    Big Boy

    Sign up for Firehouse Rewards for a free medium sub on your birthday or in the six days that follow it.

    BJ’s Brewhouse

    Register for the Chef’s Table, and you’ll get a birthday certificate.

    Black Angus Steakhouse

    Sign up for the Zax Club and get a free Big Zax Snak on your birthday, plus a free sandwich meal for signing up.

    Bojangles’

    You’ll receive a free pasta after signing up, as well as a birthday gift for joining the eClub.

    Bruegger’s Bagels

    Joining the I Love Big Boy email club gets you a free meal on your birthday.

    Buca di Beppo

    As a member of the Anthro Loyalty program, you will get a “special treat to celebrate your birthday.”

    The sign of Buffalo Wild Wings is photographed.

    Buffalo Wild Wings

    Get a complimentary dessert on your birthday by signing up for the eClub. You’ll get a free dessert or appetizer when you sign up.

    Carvel

    Sign up for Blazin’ Rewards to get free birthday wings during your birth month.

    Chevys Fresh Mex

    Join the eClub, and get off the purchase of two entrees, plus two free slices of pie, the choice of a free “Marie’s Magnificent Six” or a free slice of pie with the purchase of an entree on your birthday. You’ll also get a special dine-in offer for signing up. The company also sends special offers for your wedding anniversary and allows you to add family members so they can get birthday rewards.

    Chick-fil-A

    Enjoy a “birthday surprise” when you sign up for the My Red Lobster Rewards program.

    Chili’s

    Krispy Kreme Rewards members receive a free Original Glazed Dozen. You’ll also get a free doughnut when you sign up.

    Chipotle

    Be sure to join Habit Burger Grill’s CharClub to enjoy a free Charburger on your birthday.

    Cinnabon

    Sign up for TCBY emails, and receive your first 3 ounces free on your birthday.

    Cold Stone Creamery

    Sign up for ABC Liquor Access to get a “birthday gift.”

    Columbia

    Join the POP! (Perfectly Organized Perks) program to get a birthday gift.

    Container Store

    As a member of the ExtraCare Beauty Club, you’ll get “birthday gifts with beauty surprises,” as well as 10% off for joining.

    Culver’s

    These restaurants and retailers will provide you with free treats for your birthday. Be sure to sign up in advance.

    The exterior of a CVS is photographed in Florida.

    CVS Pharmacy

    Register for the Red Robin Royalty Program, and get a free birthday burger.

    Del Taco

    Sign up for MyHop and get free pancakes on your birthday. You’ll also get free pancakes on the anniversary of your sign-up.

    Denny’s

    Most of these places require you to sign up for their email list or join their rewards club at least seven days before your birthday.

    Designer Shoe Warehouse (DSW)

    Get 10 free boneless birthday wings when you sign up for Hootclub. You’ll also get off your first purchase of or more when you sign up.

    Dippin’ Dots

    When you sign up to receive Banana Republic’s emails, you can opt to also get a “birthday gift.”

    Dunkin’ Donuts

    As a birthday reward, “you’ll receive a Swag Up for a 55 SB credit when you redeem your next gift card.”

    Edible Arrangements

    Members of the eClub get a free entree on their birthday, as well as a free appetizer for signing up.

    Einstein Bros. Bagels

    Sign up for the Friends and Benefits loyalty program to get “birthday gifts.”

    Famous Dave’s

    Receive a birthday gift when you sign up for JCPenney Rewards. If you are not a JCPenney credit card member, you must have earned points within the last 21 months.

    Famous Footwear

    As a member of So Connected, you’ll get a choice of a free burger or a free garden bar entree on your birthday. You’ll also get a free appetizer for signing up.

    Firehouse Subs

    Get a free birthday sub when you sign up for the email club.

    First Watch

    Join Fudgie Fanatics to receive a free treat for your birthday. You can get a small soft serve birthday cone, take off any cake (except for a small square) or take off any sheet cake.

    Friendly’s

    Members of the Bruegger’s Bagels eClub will enjoy a “free treat” on their birthday, as well as a free bagel and cream cheese just for signing up.

    Godiva

    Members of Club Fondue will get a “birthday voucher.”

    Habit Burger Grill

    As a member of the Godiva Rewards Club, you’ll get a free birthday chocolate offer every year.

    Harkins Theatres

    Sign up for the email club, and get off when you spend at least . You’ll also get a free appetizer when you sign up.

    Hard Rock

    Get free Dippin’ Dots for your birthday when you join the Dot Crazy! Email Club.

    Hooters

    Join Chick-fil-A One to get a “birthday reward.”

    Houlihan’s Restaurant and Bar

    Get a BOGO coupon for your birthday by signing up for the My Cold Stone Club. You’ll also get a BOGO coupon just for signing up!

    IHOP

    Source: thepennyhoarder.com

    This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

    J. Crew Factory

    If you’re a Raving Fan eClub member, you can enjoy a regular-size premium shake for your birthday, plus you’ll get two free grilled chicken tacos when you sign up.

    JCPenney

    Sign up for Redbox Perks and receive a free birthday rental (it must be used within 60 days). You’ll also get a free one-night rental for signing up (that offer is valid for two weeks).

    A woman smiles as she holds up a drink and a sub she got for free from Jersey Mike's Subs.

    Jersey Mike’s Subs

    Download the Uniqlo app to get a birthday coupon during your birthday month.

    Kendra Scott

    Join the Uno Insider’s Club, and receive a free dessert on your birthday, as well as a free appetizer with an entree purchase when you join.

    Kohl’s

    Beauty Insiders are eligible to choose a free makeup or skin care gift for their birthday.

    Krispy Kreme

    Download the Tropical Smoothie Cafe app to be eligible for a birthday reward. What you get depends on your loyalty tier, but it ranges from a reward to a free menu item.

    Longhorn Steakhouse

    Become a member of the Slice Society to get a birthday surprise. You’ll also get a free New York slice when you buy a beverage after signing up.

    Marie Callender’s

    Get a free dessert for your birthday when you join My Chili’s Rewards Club, plus get free chips and salsa or a non-alcoholic beverage with every visit!

    Moe’s Southwest Grill

    Create an account, join the Birthday Club, and get a free scoop of ice cream on your birthday.

    Nothing Bundt Cakes

    You need to spend to join Aveda’s loyalty rewards program, but you’ll receive a birthday gift valued at , as well as double points for your next Aveda purchase.

    Old Navy

    Join the Famous Nation and get a free dessert with a value of up to .00 for your birthday.

    Olive Garden

    Join the Planet Smoothie Club and receive a free smoothie for your birthday.

    On the Border

    Get a free Italian ice on your birthday when you download Rita’s Ice App.

    Pandora

    Sign up for the email club and you’ll get a free appetizer or a sidekick of ribs on your birthday.

    Pei Wei

    When you sign up for Factory First, you’ll get an extra 20% off and free shipping on your birthday. You’ll also get an extra 15% off your first purchase after signing up.

    Perkins

    Join Premier Rewards Plus and get a free Pizookie for your birthday. What’s that? It’s a big, warm cookie smothered in ice cream… yum. What’s even better is you don’t have to wait for your birthday – you’ll also get a free Pizookie just for signing up.

    Pinkberry

    Join Club Cantina and get free queso on your birthday, and just for signing up.

    Pita Pit

    Sign up for the email club, and get a free dessert on your birthday.

    Pizza Hut

    Sign up for a Pinkcard or download the app, and receive a free yogurt on your birthday.

    Planet Smoothie

    Make sure you’re a member of the Waffle House Regulars Club to receive a free waffle on your birthday. You’ll also get free hashbrowns when you sign up.

    A person selects a movie from a red box.

    Redbox

    Join the Eclub, and get a free coffee and pastry on your birthday. You’ll also get a travel mug and daily discounts on coffee just for signing up.

    Red Lobster

    Sign up for My Wei Rewards and choose from these birthday freebies: crab wontons, traditional edamame, vegetable spring rolls or pork egg roll. The reward will automatically appear in your app seven days prior to your birthday.

    Red Robin

    Sign up for Hard Rock Rewards to get an “annual birthday offer” from the cafe and shops.

    Rita’s

    Email club members get a free birthday entree, plus off just for joining.

    Romano’s Macaroni Grill

    Join the Wiener Lovers’ Club, and get a free coupon each year on your birthday, plus a free chili dog for joining.

    Ruby Tuesday

    Join the free DSW VIP Club to get a birthday reward. You’ll also get on your birthday if you spend 0 annually as a VIP Gold member, and you’ll get if you spend 0 annually as a VIP Elite member.

    Sephora

    Sign up for Arby’s emails and get a free milkshake and curly fries on your birthday when you buy any sandwich. You’ll also get a free small fries and small soft drink when you sign up.

    Sbarro

    Join the Warehouse Club, and get a free meal on your birthday, plus a free appetizer with an entree purchase for becoming a member of the club.

    Sonny’s BBQ

    Download the Pretzel Perks app, and get a free pretzel on your birthday.

    Sprinkles

    Join the YOMO Club, and get free yogurt on your birthday.

    Iced coffees from Starbucks sit on a table outside.

    Starbucks

    As a member of the Longhorn Steakhouse’s eClub, you’ll get “special offers and coupons” on your birthday. You’ll also get a free appetizer when you sign up.

    Subway

    Sign up for the Subway MyWay Rewards program and the sandwich-making company will give you “something special” on your birthday.

    Swagbucks

    Get a free egg sandwich with a purchase on your birthday when you join the Shmear Society — not totally free, but hey, you’ll need something to help wash that sandwich down. You’ll have 14 days to claim your reward.

    Pro Tip
    Get a free beverage on your birthday by signing up for the DD Perks Rewards Program.

    TCBY

    As an Ultamate Rewards member, you’ll get an offer for extra bonus points on all purchases during your birthday month.

    Texas Roadhouse

    Sign up for Rockin’ Rewards and get a coupon for a free birthday burrito, plus a free cup of queso just for signing up.

    FROM THE SAVE MONEY FORUM

    The Melting Pot

    Kendra Scott offers a 50% birthday discount on one fashion jewelry or color bar item. It also offers a 25% discount on fine jewelry, sterling silver jewelry or gold vermeil jewelry. You can also get 25% off a home goods item. Find out more information here.

    The Spaghetti Warehouse

    Sign up for My Harkins Rewards and receive a birthday coupon to use at the concessions.

    Tijuana Flats

    Challenge yourself to score as many birthday freebies as possible and make the celebration — and savings — last all month!

    Tropical Smoothie Cafe

    Join the Hut Rewards program to get a “birthday reward.”

    Ulta Beauty

    Become an AMC Stubs Insider to get a free large popcorn during your birthday month. If you’re a Premiere or A-List member, you’ll also get a free large fountain drink.

    Uniqlo

    Members of the Greater Rewards program get a “birthday gift” in addition to a welcome gift from the sportswear and outdoor gear retailer.

    Uno Pizzeria & Grill

    Join Edible Rewards and receive a free 12-count chocolate dipped fruit box (valued at .99) during your birthday month. You’ll also get a coupon for signing up (valid for 30 days).

    Waffle House

    The last thing you should do is pay for stuff. So we’ve put together a list of 100 places where you can get birthday freebies, updated for 2021.

    Wienerschnitzel

    Members of World Market Rewards get a “surprise offer” on their birthday, plus a 15% coupon for signing up.

    World Market

    Members of the Pandora Club get a 15% discount during their birthday month. This offer can only be used one time and is valid on regular-priced jewelry only.

    Yogurt Mountain

    Get a birthday beverage or food item as a member of Starbucks Rewards.

    Zaxby’s

    Sign up for Denny’s Rewards program online or via the mobile app. You’ll get 20% off your next visit, plus a free stack of buttermilk pancakes on your birthday when you order online at Dennys.com.

    Who doesn’t love getting something for nothing? Visit The Penny Hoarder Shop to see what freebies are available.

    Get a free Bo-Berry Biscuit with a purchase on your birthday as a member of the Bojangles’ eClub.
    Get a free Big Deal Combo meal on your big day by joining the ‘Q Crew, plus a coupon just for joining.

    The Worst Cities to Own a Car

    The Worst Cities to Own a Car

    The number of Americans driving to work alone is on the rise, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. With the increase in drivers comes traffic, which means more time and money spent idling in cars. Some cities are better equipped to deal with the mass of drivers, managing to keep traffic delays and congestion to a minimum. Other cities are equipped with walkable streets and reliable mass transit options, making car ownership less necessary.

    Check out mortgage rates in your area.

    We considered these and other factors to find the worst cities to own a car. Specifically, we looked at hours spent in traffic per year for the average driver, the annual cost of traffic for the average driver, the rate of motor vehicle theft, the number of repair shops and parking garages per driver, the commuter stress index and the non-driving options a resident has for getting around. To understand where we got our data and how we put it together to create our final ranking, see the data and methodology section below.

    Key Findings

    • Cities on the coasts â€“ The entire top 10 is comprised of cities on or close to the coasts. This makes sense as many of the largest cities in the country are located on the coasts. Plus, on the East Coast in particular, these cities tend to be older which means they were not built to handle car traffic.
    • Grin and bear it – Traffic can get pretty bad. However, in some cities getting around by car is just about the only option you have if you want to leave your house. Thus some cities with really bad traffic like Los Angeles or Long Beach didn’t quite crack the top 10.

    The Worst Cities to Own a Car

    1. Newark, New Jersey

    Brick City tops our ranking of the worst cities to own a car. What’s tough about being a car owner in Newark is the traffic. It’s part of the New York City metro area which has 19 million people, 5 million of whom drive to work. Newark is stuck right in the middle of this bumper-to-bumper traffic. Plus, if you’re a car owner in Newark, the risk of having your car stolen is much higher than it is in other cities. Newark ranks eighth in the country for motor vehicle thefts per 1,000 residents.

    Related Article: The States With the Worst Drivers

    2. San Francisco, California

    The City in the Bay grabs the second spot for worst places to own a car. Being stuck in traffic costs the average commuter in San Francisco $1,600 per year. That cost includes both the value of the time spent in traffic and the cost of gas. SF is also one of the 10 worst cities for motor vehicle thefts per resident, another reason to forgo car ownership.

    3. Washington, D.C.

    The District and the surrounding metro area sees some of the worst traffic in the country. The average D.C. commuter spends 82 hours per year in traffic. Depending on how you slice it, that’s either two working weeks or almost three-and-a-half days of doing nothing but shaking your fist at your fellow drivers. That traffic is equal to an annual cost of $1,834 per commuter.

    4. Oakland, California

    One argument against car ownership in Oakland is the crime. There were almost 6,400 motor vehicle thefts in the city of Oakland or 15 auto thefts per 1,000 residents. That’s the highest rate in the country. The average Oakland driver can also expect to spend 78 hours per year in traffic. On the plus side, if something goes wrong with your wheels in Oakland, it shouldn’t be too difficult to get it fixed. There are more than six repair shops per 10,000 drivers in Oakland – the highest rate in the top 10.

    5. Arlington, Virginia

    As previously mentioned, the Washington, D.C. metro area has the worst traffic in the country. Unfortunately for the residents of Arlington, they are a part of that metro area. They face the same brutal 82 hours per year spent in traffic, on average. It costs Arlington residents $1,834 per year, on average, waiting in that traffic. For residents of Arlington, a car is more of a necessity than it is for people living in D.C., which is why it ranks lower in our study.

    6. Portland, Oregon

    Of all the cities in our top 10, Portland is the least onerous for the driving commuter. Commuters driving around the Portland metro area can be thankful that, on average, they spent only 52 hours per year in traffic. That traffic still costs each driver about $1,200. However, drivers in Portland looking for a parking garage may be out of luck. Portland has the second-lowest number of parking garages per driver in our study, and if you are looking to get your car fixed, Portland ranks in the bottom 13 for repair shops per capita.

    7. Anaheim, California

    Anaheim commuters are well-acquainted with traffic. Anaheim (and the rest of the Los Angeles metro area) ranks third in average hours per year spent in traffic, first for commuter stress index and fifth for annual cost of idling in traffic. Anaheim only ranks seventh because Walkability.com gives the city a 46 out of 100 for non-driving options. That’s the lowest score in our top 10 meaning, while owning a car here is a pain, not owning one makes getting around a true struggle.

    8. New York, New York

    New York is the rare American city where public transportation is usually your best bet for getting from point A to point B. All that accessibility makes car ownership unnecessary here. For New Yorkers who do drive, the traffic is not pleasant. New York drivers spend $1,700 per year, on average, waiting in traffic. That’s the third-highest cost in our study.

    Not sure if you’re ready to buy in NYC? Check out our rent vs. buy calculator.

    9. Seattle, Washington

    Seattle has pretty bad traffic. Commuters here probably aren’t surprised to hear the average driver spends 63 hours per year in traffic. And coupled with the traffic is the high number of motor vehicle thefts. Seattle has the fourth-highest rate of motor vehicle thefts per 1,000 residents in the country.

    10. Boston, Massachusetts

    Boston ranked well in our study on the most livable cities in the U.S. partially based on how easy it is to get around without a car. After New York and San Francisco, Boston is the most walkable city in the country, making the cost of having a car one expense which Bostonians can possibly go without. Although occasionally maligned, the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority is a great option for commuters who want to avoid the 64 hours per year Boston drivers spend in traffic.

    The Worst Cities to Own a Car

    Data and Methodology

    In order to rank the worst cities to own a car, we looked at data on the 100 largest cities in the country. Specifically we looked at these seven factors:

    • Average total hours commuters spend in traffic per year. Data comes from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute 2014 Mobility Score Card.
    • Cost of time spent in traffic per person. This measures the value of extra travel time and the extra fuel consumed by vehicles in traffic. Travel time is calculated at a value of $17.67 per hour per person. Fuel cost per gallon is the average price for each state. Data comes from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute 2014 Mobility Score Card.
    • Commuter stress index. This metric is developed by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute 2014 Mobility Score Card. It measures the difference in travel time during peak congestion and during no congestion. A higher ratio equals a larger difference.
    • Non-driving options. This metric measures the necessity of owning a car in each city by considering the city’s walk score, bike score and transit score. We found the average of those three scores for each city. Higher scores mean residents are less reliant on cars. Data comes from Walkability.com.
    • Motor vehicle thefts per 1,000 residents. Data on population and motor vehicle thefts comes from the FBI’s 2015 Uniform Crime Reporting Program and from local police department and city websites. We used the most up to date data available for cities where 2015 data was not available.
    • Number of repair shops per 10,000 drivers. Data on drivers comes from Texas A&M Transportation Institute 2014 Mobility Score Card. Data on repair shops comes from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2014 Business Patterns Survey.
    • Parking garages per 10,000 drivers. Data on drivers comes from Texas A&M Transportation Institute 2014 Mobility Score Card. Data on parking garages comes from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2014 Business Patterns Survey.

    We ranked each city across each factor, giving double weight to non-driving options and half weight to motor vehicle thefts per driver, repair shops per driver and parking garages per driver. All other factors received single weight. We then found the average ranking across each city. Finally we gave each city a score based on their average ranking. The city with the highest average received a score of 100 and the city with the lowest average received a score of 0.

    Questions about our study? Contact us at press@smartasset.com.

    Photo credit: Â©iStock.com/seb_ra

    The post The Worst Cities to Own a Car appeared first on SmartAsset Blog.

    Source: smartasset.com

    15 Home Business Ideas & The Free Courses You Need To Get Started

    Are you looking for a work from home job or some at home business ideas?

    If so, then I have a great list of free resources, such as courses and guides, that will help you find the best option and learn how to get started. Plus, all of the courses and guides in this article are free!

    home business ideasIf you’re looking to make extra money, or even a full-time income, working from home is a great option. There are lots of realistic home business ideas that allow you to work on a flexible schedule.

    In fact, around 50% of U.S. businesses are home based, and that number is expected to grow well into the future.

    But, many people don’t know what kind of options are available or how to get started with their in home business ideas.

    This article is a good starting point because I’m going to tell you about 15 different profitable home based business ideas and link to free courses, workshops, and guides that will help you kick off each of these ideas.

    There are lots of valuable paid courses out there, but if you’re not sure about an idea, you might not want to spend hundreds of dollars on a course. That’s why free courses and guides are a great way to start.

    You can learn more about each of these small business ideas, learn some of the basic skills, how much money you can earn, and more. You get to test these ideas a little bit before you invest a lot of time and money.

    No matter what kind of business you decide to start, I think you’ll really enjoy starting one from home. 

    I have been working from home since 2013, and I wouldn’t change it for anything! I absolutely love and enjoy running a business from home.

    It has allowed me to travel full-time, save enough money to retire early, love what I do each day, and more.

    Many people love running home based businesses for those reasons, but it also cuts your commute, allows you to earn money in your spare time, be your own boss, work on a flexible schedule, and more.

    So, to help you get started, today I will explain some of the best small business ideas from home and which free online courses can help you get started.

    Here is a quick list of the free work at home courses and resources I’m sharing:

    1. Selling Printables on Etsy Ebook
    2. Sell on Amazon Starter Course
    3. How To Start a Blog Course
    4. Build A Voiceover Action Plan From Scratch Minicourse
    5. Start An Online Advertising Business From Scratch
    6. Start Your Virtual Bookkeeping Business
    7. Turn Your Passion For Visiting Thrift Stores, Yard Sales & Flea Markets Into A Profitable Reselling Business In As Little As 14 Days
    8. General Transcription Mini-Course
    9. Become a Proofreader 76 Minute Webinar
    10. Court Transcript Proofreading Mini Course
    11. Podcast Virtual Assistant Workbooks
    12. Make Money Writing Romance Novels ecourse
    13. Pinterest Virtual Assistant Training Workshop
    14. Jumpstart Your Virtual Assistant Business
    15. Self-Publishing Your First Book

    Below, I will be diving deeper into what each option is like, as well as more information about each of those free resources.

    Below are 15 home business ideas.

     

    1. Sell printables on Etsy.

    Are you looking for a smart home business idea that allows you to use your creativity? Are you wondering “What can I sell from home to make money?”

    If so, I recommend checking out this option. See, creating printables on Etsy can be a great side hustle because you just need to create one digital file per product, which you can then sell an unlimited number of times.

    Printables are digital products that customers can download and print at home. Examples include grocery shopping checklists, gift tags, candy bar wrappers, printable quotes for wall art, and patterns.

    You can sign up for this free ebook that helps you figure out where to start when it comes to selling printables on Etsy.

    Related content on successful home business ideas:

    • 12 Passive Income Ideas That Will Let You Enjoy Life More
    • 15 Of My Best Working From Home Tips So You Can Succeed
    • 15 Outdoor Jobs For People Who Love Being Outside
    • 24 Of The Best Work From Home Jobs & How To Avoid Scams

     

    2. Sell items on Amazon.

    Yes, you can make money selling items on Amazon. Actually, this is one of the home business ideas with low start up costs because you can literally start selling items from around your house. Make money while you declutter your home, what’s not to love?!

    The first year that my friend Jessica ran her Amazon FBA business, working less than 20 hours a week total, she made over $100,000 profit!

    This free course shows you how to start a profitable Amazon business in a 9-part video course. You’ll learn:

    • The exact steps to follow to set up your Amazon Seller account
    • Two easy and affordable ways to find items to sell
    • How to choose profitable inventory that customers actually want to buy

    Click here to sign up for the FREE Amazon FBA Starter Course!

     

    3. Start a blog to work at home.

    For obvious reasons, blogging is my favorite on this list of profitable home business ideas.

    It is a business that allows me to travel full-time, have a flexible schedule, earn somewhat passive income, and more.

    Blogging changed my life for the better, and it allows me to earn thousands of dollars a month, all by doing something that I love.

    My blog was created on a whim as a way to track my personal finance progress. And when I first started my blog, I honestly didn’t even know that this was going to be one of the best small profitable business ideas out there. At least that’s been the case for me! 

    You can easily learn how to start a blog with my free How To Start a Blog Course.

    Here’s a quick outline of what you will learn:

      • Day 1: Reasons you should start a blog
      • Day 2: How to determine what to blog about
      • Day 3: How to create your blog (in this lesson, you will learn how to start a blog on WordPress – my tutorial makes it very easy to start a blog)
      • Day 4: How to make money blogging
      • Day 5: My tips for making passive income from blogging
      • Day 6: How to grow your traffic and followers
      • Day 7: Miscellaneous blogging tips that will help you be successful

     

    4. Become a voice over actor.

    A voice over actor is the person you hear but rarely see on YouTube videos, radio ads, explainer videos, corporate narration, documentaries, e-learning courses, audiobooks, TV commercials, video games, movies, and cartoons.

    In 2014, Carrie Olsen replaced her salaried day job to become a full-time voice over actor. People are constantly asking her how she got her start and how they can too.

    So, she created Build A Voiceover Action Plan From Scratch Minicourse — This free course will help you learn about becoming a voice over artist, even if you’re brand new!

     

    5. Run Facebook ads for local businesses.

    Did you know that you can make a living from Facebook? With Facebook advertising, you can help businesses expand their reach.

    And, yes, this is a skill that you can learn without any prior experience in marketing or advertising.

    The going rate for Facebook Ad management is $1,000 – $1,500 per month, per client.

    Last year, business owners spent over $88,000,000 per day on Facebook ads. This is expected to continue to grow, and it is one of the largest advertising spaces that exists.

    My friend Bobby Hoyt knows a lot about this topic. Bobby is a former high school teacher who paid off $40,000 of student loan debt in a year and a half. He now runs the personal finance blog Millennial Money Man full-time, as well as a digital marketing agency for local businesses that he started in 2015.

    Bobby has a free webinar on this topic too. His webinar, Start An Online Advertising Business From Scratch, will teach you how to start this business even if you’re brand new, how to find paying clients, and more.

     

    stay-at home business ideas

    6. Start a bookkeeping business.

    A bookkeeper is someone who tracks the finances of a business. They may handle payroll, billing and invoicing, etc.

    These are all skills you can learn without being an accountant or having any previous experience.

    Ben, from Bookkeeper Launch, helps people get started as bookkeepers even when they don’t have any experience. Ben is a CPA who founded his business after realizing that many businesses needed better bookkeepers. 

    Start Your Virtual Bookkeeping Business will teach you more about running your own virtual bookkeeping business. You’ll learn:

    • Is a bookkeeping business for you?
    • What exactly is a bookkeeping business? What kind of work do they do?
    • How much money can you make as a bookkeeper?
    • How do you find clients?

     

    7. Search for items to resell.

    Have you ever found something that you thought you could resell to make a profit?

    Melissa’s family earned $133,000 in one year by buying and selling items that they’ve found at thrift stores, yard sales, and flea markets.

    Some of the best flipped items that they’ve sold include:

    • An item that they bought for $10 and flipped for $200 just 6 minutes later
    • A security tower they bought for $6,200 and flipped for $25,000 just one month later
    • A prosthetic leg that they bought for $30 at a flea market and sold for $1,000 on eBay the next day

    This is one of the home business ideas that anyone can start because you can start off selling things in your own house — I know we all have lots of stuff in our house that we could stand to get rid of. Then once you get a feel for the work, you can start purchasing items to resell.

    Melissa has a great free webinar, Turn Your Passion For Visiting Thrift Stores, Yard Sales & Flea Markets Into A Profitable Reselling Business In As Little As 14 Days, that will help you learn how to make money by flipping items.

     

    8. Transcribe audio or video content into text.

    Transcription is when you turn audio or video content into a text document. You listen to what’s being said and type it up.

    There are many businesses looking for transcriptionists too – since general transcriptionists convert audio and video to text for virtually any industry, there really isn’t a typical client. Some examples include marketers, authors, filmmakers, academics, speakers, and conferences of all types.

    Beginning transcriptionists earn around $15 an hour and it goes up from there.

    You can learn more in the Free General Transcription Mini-Course. In this course, you will learn what it takes to become a transcriptionist, how much money you can earn, how you can find jobs, and more.

     

    9. Become a general proofreader.

    Proofreading is one of the most flexible and detail-orientated home business ideas that work. All you need to work as a proofreader is a laptop or tablet, an internet connection, and a good eye for finding mistakes.

    Proofreaders look for punctuation mistakes, misspelled words, lack of consistency, and formatting errors.

    You take content that other people have written and then go over it with a fine-tooth comb. You might be proofreading blog posts, print articles, academic articles, website copy, ad copy, books, student papers, emails, and more.

    In one year, Caitlin made slightly over $43,000 by being a freelance proofreader.

    Caitlin put together a FREE 76-minute workshop, where she answers all of the most common questions about becoming a proofreader, and she even shows you how to use the most popular tools used by proofreaders around the world. You can sign up for free here.

     

    10. Become a court transcript proofreader.

    Becoming a court transcript proofreader is a more focused version of the last idea.

    Here’s what it’s like:

    “Court reporters use digital stenography machines in combination with computer-aided transcription software to write verbatim records of various legal proceedings. They report depositions, trials, hearings, arbitrations, case management conferences, compulsory medical examinations, examinations under oath, and pretty much any other type of legal proceeding. Because of the sensitive nature of legal proceedings, it’s imperative that as many errors as possible be eliminated from transcripts — an especially major error could ruin an entire trial!”

    Due to this, many court reporters also use court transcript proofreaders.

    There is more training that goes into becoming a court transcript proofreader, and that is why I separated it from the general proofreading job above.

    Caitlin, mentioned above, also has a great FREE 7 day course just for people who are interested in becoming a court transcript proofreader.

     

    Home business ideas with low startup costs

    11. Become a podcast virtual assistant.

    There’s a big demand for podcast virtual assistants right now.

    This is because there are over 800,000 podcasts out there, and that number just continues to grow. Podcasts are still a pretty new area, and that opens the door for lots of home business ideas that help out with all of these podcasts.

    While the podcast host is responsible for recording themselves, other tasks like editing and publication take time, so many podcasters outsource their work to freelancers or virtual assistants. Also, some podcasters may not know how to do those things, or they may choose to focus their time on other areas.

    Some of the different services you can offer as a podcast virtual assistant include:

    • Audio editing
    • Marketing and promotion
    • Publication
    • Distribution
    • Show note creation

    You can sign up here for free information that will tell you more about how to become a podcast VA. In this free resource, you’ll learn exactly what a podcast virtual assistant is, the services you can offer, and starting rates.

     

    12. Write romance novels.

    My friend Yuwanda Black has found one of the most interesting home business ideas – she writes romance novels, and in one month, she was able to make over $3,000!

    With her free Making Money Writing Romance ecourse, she teaches you how to make money writing and self-publishing romance novels.

    It is taught from first-hand experience, which Yuwanda has because she’s written and self-published 50 romance novellas since 2013. And, she continues to publish today.

     

    13. Work as a Pinterest virtual assistant.

    Working as a Pinterest virtual assistant is a growing field as more and more business owners are using Pinterest to grow their business.

    Pinterest VAs help businesses improve their reach by doing things like:

    • Designing Pinterest images for a website
    • Helping business owners set up their Pinterest account
    • Scheduling pins because this can be time consuming for the average business owner
    • Brainstorming a marketing plan

    Click here and click on “Free Training Workshop” to learn how to become a Pinterest virtual assistant and find your first client. In this free course, you’ll learn what you need to do to get started, what services to offer, and how much to charge as a Pinterest virtual assistant.

     

    14. Work as a virtual assistant.

    If you’re looking for home business ideas with low startup costs, then virtual assisting is a great one!

    Virtual assistance is a field that is growing very quickly and it is one of the very popular stay-at home business ideas.

    Not only does the internet allow us to complete more of our daily tasks online, more and more people are working online. This presents a good opportunity for more virtual assistants.

    Virtual assistant tasks may include social media management, formatting and editing content, scheduling appointments or travel, email management, and more. Basically, you can get paid to do any task that needs to be done in someone’s business, but doesn’t need to be done by them.

    If this is one of the home business ideas you’re interested in, I recommend checking out Jumpstart Your Virtual Assistant Business. In that link, you’ll receive a free worksheet and workbook that will help you decide what virtual assistant services you can offer (there are over 150 choices!).

     

    15. Write your own eBook for work from home ideas.

    Writing your own eBook is a great way to make money from home, and there is probably something super helpful that you could write about (even if you think otherwise!).

    In fact, my friend Alyssa self-published her first book and has sold more than 13,000 copies.

    She is now earning a great passive income of over $200 a day from her book ($6,500 in one month alone!).

    Learn more at Self-Publishing Your First Book. This free series will teach you what it takes to publish a book, including the strategies used to launch a book, writing tips, and more.

     

    What is the best home business to start? What are the most successful small businesses?

    As you can see, there are plenty of different home business ideas out there, and this list is only scratching the surface. There are full-time home based business ideas, and then there are part-time business ideas.

    The best business home based ideas are going to be different for everyone. For example, some people are naturally good proofreaders, while others will have a knack for finding the right items for reselling.

    I would think about what kinds of things you’re good at, what interests you, the skills you already have, etc. That may narrow the choices down some. 

    But, what I love about the home business ideas on this list is that the free courses and guides listed mean you can learn more about any of them without a big investment. You can explore ideas without feeling like you’re wasting your money.

    What home business ideas are you interested in?

    The post 15 Home Business Ideas & The Free Courses You Need To Get Started appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

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