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Craigslist Rental Scams and How To Avoid Them

In this post, I want to discuss Craigslist rental scams and how to avoid them.

Craigslist is a classified advertisement website that was founded in 1995 by Craig Newmark. It has sections such as housing, services, community service, etc.

How safe is Craigslist?

Craigslist used to be a wonderful and safe online platform to find houses for rent.

To be fair Craigslist have instituted some controls and security features to try to control and prevent fraud.

Unfortunately, scammers still manage to post classified ads on rentals and other things.

The problem of Craigslist rental scams is so big that it would be careless of anyone to not put that in mind when going through the ads.

This is not just true of Craigslist but other online platforms. You need to keep your eyes open when you are dealing with strangers as scammers have infiltrated these online platforms.

I remember a few days ago I was looking for something and I went to one of the well-known social media sites.

There I met someone who was offering some services and claimed to be from one country.

However, when I investigated his profile I discovered that he was from another country known for all sorts of frauds and scams.

So my advice is, keep your eyes open always. Otherwise, you may lose your hard-earned cash.

Before I address the scams I just wanted to present to you some commonsense tips that you can follow to avoid being scammed.

craigslist housing scams and how to avoid them

How do I stop getting scammed on Craigslist Apartments?-How to Tell if a Rental is Legitimate

1 Do not rush

Most people who fall victim to Craigslist rental scammers are usually people in a hurry to find a place to rent.

When you are in a hurry you fail to take the necessary precautions to protect yourself.

Therefore don’t be in a hurry take your time to analyze everything.

You can do this by making sure that, if possible, you physically view all the properties you are being offered.

One also needs to get to know the person who is offering you any property.

It is much better to meet the property owner or estate agent in person if you can.

Alternatively, call them and not just rely on emails. Most scammers prefer to use emails.

2 Be protective of your personal information

Do not release your personal information until you are very sure of the person you are dealing with.

If a landlord is demanding a lot of personal information before you have even talked to them or viewed the property be wary.

This is especially true if the landlord is asking for a credit report upfront or even an application fee before viewing the property.

Never send them money before you have seen the property itself unless you are dealing with a company that is well known and established.

Even where the company is established the normal practice is for the tenant to view the property first.

3 Google the property

With Google Maps you can easily find out more about almost any property. You can then compare it with the photos that the advertiser has provided.

If they differ then watch out and investigate further or just move on to other ads.

You can also take time to compare rentals for your property with other properties in that street.

In most cases, a street will have more or less similar properties and therefore the rentals should be more or less the same.

If they differ it could be that it is a scam. If you live in the same area then go there physically to view the area and the property.

4 If its good to be true then it probably is

Keep your eyes open when searching for properties.

If you suspect that an ad is offering some “out of this world” information then it probably is something you should not believe as it could be from a scammer.

5. Verify the owner

Fraudsters will pretend to be the owner of a property when they are not.

If you fall for it you could end up losing your security deposit and first month’s rent which are given in advance nowadays.

You can do this by visiting websites for cities and counties where you can search for owners of properties.

There are also some things you can do beside visiting these sites.

As already pointed out you can visit the property just to check if it actually being offered for rent.

If it is still occupied you can if possible contact the occupants to find out if the house is available for rent.

By doing these things you will avoid being scammed.

6 The Landlord is not asking for security deposit etc

It is common practice for landlords or estate agents to demand security deposit and one month rent in advance.

Therefore if the advertiser is not asking for a security deposit, then it might be a scam.

A landlord is within his right to dangle some carrots such as free cable but if it is large you better scrutinize it properly.

7 No photos on the ad

If an ad does not have a photo or any images then you need to beware.

In this day and age when almost everyone has a smartphone with a camera, one would expect any advertiser to include photos.

However, if you still wish to proceed at least ask the advertiser to upload some photos.

If the advertiser sends photos directly to you then take the necessary steps to scan the sent file for viruses.

Conclusion

If you are looking for an apartment, Craigslist can help you to connect with potential landlords. You, however, have to be aware of Craigslist’s rental scams and how you can avoid them.

I hope the points raised in the preceding paragraphs will help you avoid getting scammed.

If you like this article I just want to invite you to see more posts like the following.

Best Ways To Save Money Fast

The Top Ten Banks in USA

What is the Stock Market and How Does it work?

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I report a rental scammer?

  • There are two ways you can report a housing or apartment rental scammer. To begin, call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357)
  • or visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant.
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The Top 10 Banks in the USA by Assets

I just wanted to take a few minutes to talk about the top 10 US banks by assets according to the Federal Reserve.

America is spoilt in terms of its financial sector. Its financial sector is by far the biggest in the world.

As an individual, you have a wide choice of banks and credit unions that you can use.

You can pick these big so-called too big to fail banks or even the smaller regional banks.

Personally I would rather keep my money with the regional banks than the big banks.

Some of these regional banks offer far better terms than the behemoths of the financial sector. So if you want to open a checking account consider the small banks first.

One of the things that you will notice from the Federal Reserve report is that the top four banks now hold 50% of all American banking assets.

Whether these big banks are too big for the economy is up to the regulators who are required by the Dodd-Frank Act to monitor such things.

Top 10  banks in the USA

1 JPMorgan Chase

The biggest bank by assets is JPMorgan Chase with assets of $2.74 trillion.

It is, however, the sixth-largest bank in the world.

JPMorgan Chase came about due to the merger of two old banks, J.P. Morgan and Company and Chase Manhattan Corporation in the year 2000.

The JP Morgan part of the business is more into investment banking and wealth management. While the Chase bit is more into retail and commercial banking services.

At the moment the bank has been focussing its attention on attracting the Millenials.

They are doing this by introducing digital products and artificial intelligence.

It hopes to serve its customers in the future through voice assistants making it possible for people to access analysis reports and stock information.

It has revenues of $96 billion in 2018.

2 Bank of America

Bank of America is the second-biggest bank in America by assets. It has assets of $1.96 trillion as of 2018.

The headquarters of Bank of America is in Charlotte, North Carolina.

It has about 50 million retail customers and is also the largest wealth management firm through its acquisition of Merril Lynch.

Bank of America has of late also been spending a lot of money on digital products.

It has digitized branches that offer contactless ATMs and use video-conference technology to connect with its customers.

Its apps such as Zelle and Erica has helped in increasing its appeal to young people.

3 Citigroup

Citigroup is the third biggest bank in America with assets of over $1.96 trillion.

Citigroup is best as the pioneer of credit cards and automated cash machines.

Most of its branches are now outside of America though more than 50% of its revenue is derived from its American operations.

In America, it is the favored bank of the high-income families who voted it as the best bank for high net worth families.

It too is massively involved in digital banking where there has been a big increase in the use of its mobile and digital banking services.

4 Wells Fargo & Co

On fourth position is Wells Fargo which has assets worth $1.89 trillion.

It has its headquarters in San Francisco, California. It is the oldest continuously operating bank in the United States.

Wells Fargo has also done a good job when it comes to digital services as well where America has often lagged behind.

It now has apps like “Greenhouse” which has helped customers to simplify their bills and track spending.

5 Goldman Sachs

The fifth-biggest bank in America is Goldman Sachs with assets of over $925 billion.

Goldman continues to expand and this year has teamed up with Apple to introduce the Apple card for iPhone users. iPhone users can use either a digital or a physical card.

6 Morgan Stanley

In the sixth position is Morgan Stanley with assets of over $875 billion.

Its growth has been helped by its acquisition of Solium Capital, a provider of software for stock administration, financial reporting, and compliance.

This has helped it to venture into the digital banking sector.

7 U.S. Bancorp

U.S. Bancorp is the seventh biggest bank with assets of over $475 billion.

This bank came about as a result of a combination of regional banks in the West and Midwest.

It has over 16 million customers.

According to the bank, they are now working hard to improve its banking technology as it competes with the tech giants.

The road ahead will be hard for traditional banks with the entry of tech giant, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and Google.

8 PNC Financial Services

PNC Financial Services sits on 8th position with assets of over $392 billion.

As a bank, they have taken advantage of modern technology to expand their offerings to their customers.

Its headquarters is in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.

PNC Financial Services came about as the result of the merger between Pittsburgh National Corporation and Providence National Corporation.

It mainly operates on the East Coast.

9 TD Bank

In the 9th position, we have TD Bank with assets of over $384 billion.

An interesting fact about TD Bank is that its headquarters is actually in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and not the USA. It has over 22 million customers.

As a bank TD also continues to take advantage of modern technology to grow its customer base.

It has been in the news lately because of its integration of artificial intelligence and other digital technology.

TD’s AI-powered chatbox is able to answer customer questions via text message besides other uses.

10 Capital One

Last but not least in this top ten list is Capital One which has assets valued at $373 billion.

Capital One has a special place in my heart because I hold a Capital One credit card.

I, therefore, sympathized with them when there was that data breach of customer records early this year.

The data breach took place in the midst of their increased use of technology in their operations.

Actually it has increased its technology staff from 2500 in 2011 to 9000 in 2019.

It has also been in the market looking for fintech firms and acquired United Income in 2019.

Conclusion

I hope you have liked this top ten banks in the USA by assets. I hope to share more in the near future as we seek to learn more about the US banking industry.

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How To Make Money With ClickBank

If you are interested in how to make money with ClickBank then this post is for you.

We will do this by learning how to build niche sites to promote ClickBank products and get commissions from ClickBank.

This is what is called affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is when you promote other people’s products and earn a commission from the sale of the product or service.

All you do is find the right products and promote them to potential buyers and you get a cut from the sales.

What is ClickBank?

ClickBank is an online marketplace that connects people who create digital products and affiliates. The affiliates promote the products for a commission.

Is ClickBank free for affiliates?

Yes, ClickBank is free for affiliates. Affiliates don’t pay anything when they register with Clickbank.

After registration, they are free to pick any product they want to promote from the Clickbank marketplace or from a vendor’s site.

To promote you need to get a unique link called, hoplink which you will use to drive customers to the product page.

How do I become a ClickBank affiliate?

To become a ClickBank affiliate you need to do the following:

Set up your ClickBank affiliate account

Register by creating your ClickBank account. You can create the account by going to clickbank.com. You create the account by clicking the “create account” shown in the image below.

You will then be asked to provide your personal details such as name, email, mailing address, etc.

Besides your personal details, you will also be asked to provide your nickname which will be your account user ID.

After you generate a certain level of earnings you will be asked to provide your social security number or business tax ID.

This depends on whether you are acting as individuals or a business.

As part of the confirmation of your address, the first two payments will be in the form of checks that will be posted to you.

Find a product to market as an affiliate

To find a product to promote you click on the “Marketplace” tab on the Clickbank site homepage.

In the Marketplace page, you can search for products that you want to promote.

Ideally, you should consider only promoting products that you are familiar with.

If not maybe it would be a good idea to buy the product and study it before you start promoting it.

Alternatively, you can contact the vendor to send you one for free.

Tips on how to choose a product to promote.

  • Promote a product with a good gravity. The gravity of a product will indicate to you if the product is popular and the level of sales. If however, the gravity is above 100 it means that it is extremely competitive. For those just starting out it may be advisable to avoid such products as you will be competing with many people.
  • Find out customer reviews by searching for it in Google. If both affiliates and customers are happy then it may be a good product. On the other hand, if customers are complaining then stay away from it.
  • Check the levels of commission. You are in business so you need to pick products that you can easily make a profit from. Therefore consider how much commission you will make from promoting any product.
  • Rate the sales assistance provided. It can be expensive to develop your own promotional materials. This expense can be avoided if the vendor has promotional materials. It will even be more helpful if he has the text for ads, articles to use, etc. Usually, some of the experienced vendors may have tested all their stuff and can provide you the conversion rates for their adverts and landing pages. All this can help when you decide to spend money to advertise.

Get your affiliate hoplink

Once you make up your mind on the product that you want to promote you will click on the Promote button to get the hoplink.

The hoplink is the unique link that you use to promote the ClickBank product.

How to make money with clickbank

In the hoplink generator shown below, you need to input your nickname and optional tracking code.

The optional tracking can help you to track sources of earnings if you are using more than one platform.

For example, if you are promoting a product via email and a website you can decide to create two different hoplinks by using different tracking codes.

Receive payment for your sales of the product

The hoplink that you create will enable ClickBank to track your sales and commissions as it is unique to you.

If you log into your account you will see the status of your promotional activities.

Any sales you have made sales it will be shown in your account. You can also see statistics on clicks of your hoplinks and the conversion rates. This can help you in your promotional efforts.

Clickbank usually issues payment to its affiliates once every two weeks.

How to promote your product using a website or blog.

There are various methods for promoting ClickBank products and one of them is through content marketing.

Here you use a website or blog where you write reviews of the product and other general information articles related to that product.

There are blogs out there that are specifically set up for affiliate marketing.

It may not be the most effective way of marketing but it is one that I am most comfortable with. There are actually many bloggers that make a full-time income doing this.

Below are the steps to follow for this method.

Setting up a site.

For this, I highly recommend Bluehost one of the biggest web hosting companies out there.

The plan I am recommending is also very cheap. It cost $2.65 per month and besides this, you will get a free domain.

There are various Bluehost web hosting plans but I recommend the basic plan for a new blogger. It’s for one site.

As a new blogger, it is better to focus on one site first before you go on to own more sites.

So you can start with this $2.65 per month hosting and then upgrade once your first site is established and earning you money.

I can promise that if you work on it you should be able to earn enough money to pay this sum easily after a few months.

You just need to learn from the freely available information on the internet.

If you are serious about this I recommend the Income School where you can learn all there is in content marketing.

Their target is for your blog to earn enough money to replace your current income in two years’ time.

>You can learn more about the Income School here<

Nowadays to rank in Google it takes about 6 months to 12 months.

This introductory offer is for a period of 36 months and by that time many serious internet marketers will be earning at least $1,000 per month.

But as they say, these results are not typical but achievable from my experience.

Choosing a domain.

On the next screen, you will be asked to set up your domain. Bluehost offers a free domain to its new customers saving you some money for the first year at least.

In picking a domain name try to pick a short domain name. A short domain name is easy to remember for visitors to your site.

You can also pick a catchy name to stand out from the crowd. However, if you cannot it does not matter that much.

Another thing to avoid is picking the domain is the use of hyphens and numbers. These are difficult to remember so avoid them if you can.

I also recommend picking the .com domains as they are the most commonly used domain endings. Visitors are most likely to type in .com when they want to visit your site than .net and others.

Another suggestion is to include your niche in the name. For instance, if you are into finance you can include finance in your domain name.

Create a Bluehost Account.

After the domain selection process you will be taken to a page where you will be asked to create your account. Here you will provide your name and address

At the bottom of this online form, you will be provided with the account plan which by default is left at 36 months of hosting.

But you can change it to a monthly payment if you are short of cash. There are also some extras that you need to watch out for.

Some of them may be pre-ticked. If you want any of them you can leave it as it is but if you don’t want them you need to remember to untick them.

It is definitely not a must to pick any of the extras even though some of them can be of help to a new blogger.

I am thinking here of the Bluehost SEO tools. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation.

This is the process of increasing the quality of your site so that you can rank higher in search engines such as Google.

Bluehost SEO tools help you with analyzing your site and give recommendations, tasks, and instructions for you to optimize your site.

Installation of WordPress

The last steps all involve the installation of WordPress. WordPress is the software used to create your blog and to customize it.

It is a content management system that allows you to do your blogging without having to do computer coding or programming.

WordPress is the most widely used content management software in the world. Others include Wix.

The installation itself is very easy but you can always contact Bluehost staff to help you if you experience any problems.

You can learn more about installing a WordPress theme on Bluehost here.

Choice of theme

At the end of the installation, you will be asked to choose a theme.

Here you can pick any theme. But because later on, you will need to seriously consider buying a premium.

Premium themes offer more cool features making your website stand out.

There are a few themes that you should consider buying, they include the following.

The Thesis Theme for WordPress

Genesis WordPress Theme

Thrive WordPress Theme

Elegant WordPress Theme

Creating articles for your site.

In creating articles for your site you need to concentrate on what people are searching for in Google.

One way to do that is to type the name of the product in Google search and check the suggestions that come as you type.

You can also look at the “People also ask” part of the search results and related searches at the bottom.

The idea is combine both informational articles and promotional articles. Promotional articles will focus on buying keywords.

These are keywords that someone looking to buy will key in Google. Words like best … show that someone is about to choose what to buy.

To find keywords you can also use free tools like Ubersuggest to find keywords to write posts on.

You can also utilize the free versions of tools like KWFinder.

These tools will also provide the difficulty of ranking for keywords.

If you want to rank high fast you go for high volume low competition keywords.

From the keyword research, you can create an excel spreadsheet showing the keywords, volume, difficulty and other metrics.

Other metrics could include you searching the competition on google and getting the average length of the articles on page one of google.

There are sites like Wordcounter where you can paste the posts to get the word count of each post.

If you are outrank the competition you need to write articles that are a bit longer than the average length.

For example, if the average length of the post is 1500 then write an article that is 2000 words long.

A far better of researching how to write your articles is using a tool like Surfer SEO. This tool analyses how your competitors have optimized their articles.

It will then provide you with exact tips on how your article should be written if you are to outrank them. This tool has helped many bloggers to rise in the search engine very fast.

surferseo

Conclusion

I hope you have learned one or two things on how to make money with ClickBank. The key to success is to start.

If you want to have everything in perfect order you will just delay yourself. We all have and continue to learn from our mistakes over time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can ClickBank be trusted?

Yes, it can be trusted and I am speaking from my own experience and the six million clients that use its services. It is one of the leading retailers of digital products and has been around since 1998.

How much does it cost to sell on ClickBank?

Last time I checked vendors were being charged a one-time activation fee of $49.95. There is also a payment processing fee of $2.50. These charges do not apply to affiliates. Being an affiliate is free.

Does ClickBank pay through PayPal?

Unfortunately no. ClickBank only pays through checks or via direct deposit into your bank account.

What is the payment threshold on ClickBank?

You can select an amount from $10 to $1,000,000 as your payment threshold amount.

The default payment threshold is, however, $100 which you need to change if you want higher or below.

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What Is the Stock Market and How Does it Work

The stock market is a term that refers to a collection of markets and exchanges that connect buyers and sellers of shares of publicly-held companies.

It operates like any market. In a normal market, you will have some stalls where you buy all sorts of commodities.

Here you can buy vegetables, meat, clothes, etc.

The stock market operates in almost a similar fashion as you have buyers and sellers selling stock at an agreed price.

The only difference is that in a stock market you will usually have a middleman, a stockbroker, who will assist, the buyer (investor) through the process.

Thus you don’t go directly to the seller in a publicly-traded company i.e. companies trading on the stock exchanges. If it is a private company then you can directly deal with the owers.

So if for instance if you wanted to buy an Apple stock you will have to go through a stockbroker.

The stockbroker will usually charge you a little fee for processing the transaction.

What is the stock market and how does it work

Who regulates the stock market?

The stock exchanges are usually governed by regulations set by a government body such as the Securities and Exchange Commission in America. SEC enforces the federal securities laws.

Why is the stock market important?

The stock market is important because is it is the major source of capital for companies that they can use to fund and expand their businesses.

For example, if a company issues 1000 shares of stock that sell at $10 a share then the company will get an injection of $10,000 into its coffers.

It can then use this $10,000 to buy new equipment and other things to help it grow.

If it was a private company it may have had to find private investors. Finding private investors is not as easy as doing it through the stock market where almost anyone with money can buy shares.

Raising capital is also the most convenient and cheaper way of getting capital other than getting a loan.

If you get a loan then you are subject to interest charges and the risk that if you default they can sell off your assets.

Secondly, it offers an opportunity for investors to own shares of stock in publicly traded companies and share in the profits of those companies through dividends.

The stock market has therefore enabled you and me to be able to own a share of stock of blue-chip companies like Apple and Google.

As a shareholder, the stock market offers a market where you can dispose of your shares if you so wish.

For example, if the share price of your stock rises above the price you bought them you can sell them for a profit.

The stock market offers investors an opportunity to track the value of their shares seen in the eyes of investors.

The value of shares rises and falls depending on how the investors are assessing the present and future performance of companies and also the wider economy.

The history of the Stock market

The stock market has been around since the 1500s and there are many recordings of this in Europe.

However, as far as modern trading is concerned, the first joint-stock company was formed in 1553 in Britain.

It was set up to finance an expedition to the Orient via a northeast passage. Unfortunately, this expedition failed as the crew of two of the ships froze to death in Scandinavia.

One of the ships that survived only managed to go as far as Russia where they signed an agreement with Czar Ivan the Terrible.

The one that has survived the longest is the London Stock exchange which has grown to the size it is known now.

The London Stock Exchange grew out of a coffee house. It eventually grew and moved from there eventually acquiring the name the London Stock Exchange.

In the old days, there were various stock exchanges dotted across the United Kingdom.

These were eventually amalgamated and now operate as one in London.

Technology has made it easy to have a few exchanges located in cities such as New York and London.

Investors do not have to be physically present at the stock exchanges to buy shares they can do it online.

Nowadays there are apps such as Robinhood that can be used to purchase stocks. You can find an analysis of Robinhood here.

Largest stock exchanges by market capitalization

Nowadays almost all countries of the world have stock exchanges. Here are the largest stock exchanges in the world by market capitalization.

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Does Bluehost offer free domain?

Does Bluehost offer free domain, Yes, it does? But to get the free domain name from Bluehost you need to purchase web hosting which you can get for only $2.65 per month for a one site hosting.

This $2.65 is the introductory offer and goes up once the 36 months offer period is finished.

However, it will only go up to $6.57 per month after 3 years which is still very reasonable.

And if you are a serious blogger you will be earning more than enough for the blog to pay itself.

In fact, I would expect a serious blogger to be earning at least $4,000 dollars a month in 6 months. So this price is peanuts.

To get the free domain you need to go to the Bluehost sign page by clicking the link below. (That link is my affiliate link and you won’t be charged any extra amount)

When you click this page you will be taken to the get started page below.

Bluehost domain offers

After clicking the get started page you will be taken to a page where you will choose the plan that you want.

If you are just starting out you can just pick the basic plan.

As a new blogger, it is advisable to concentrate on one blog at first so the basic plan should suit your needs. Thereafter you can easily upgrade your plan.

Once you have chosen the plan you will now be taken to the page where you will pick your free domain. If you already have a blog name you can put it in the other part, “I have a domain name”

Tips for choosing a domain name

Choosing a domain name should be a stressful experience. The following tips should help you as you decide on this.

  • Go for .com. There are so many domain name extensions around but .com is still the most popular extension. This, therefore, means that it is easy to remember. It is the first extension that comes to people’s mind when they think of searching for a blog. Therefore use .com if you can.
  • Avoid using hyphens and numbers in your name. It is difficult for your visitors to remember hyphens. So avoid it if you can. You don’t want people to struggle to find your site. Make it easy for them by avoiding numbers and hyphens.
  • Pick a catchy name. If you can pick a catchy name just like Google did. Just remember that if you complicate it people may struggle to find your site. But if it is properly done it can separate you from the rest of the competition.
  • Keep it short. Try to pick a short name as it is easy to remember. I understand that it is nowadays difficult to find short names as most are already taken. So if you cannot use one word try two words.
  • If your site is a local site use the place name. If your site is targeting a particular city or area then include that city in your name too.
  • Make sure it is easy to type. Your focus should be on your customers. You, therefore, don’t want a name that is difficult to type. This can make you lose potential customers if they fail to reach your site.
  • Consider adding your niche in your name. If your site is about herbs, then consider adding herbs in your name. SEO experts say it can help in your ranking. I have not tested it but it does no harm to try it.

Here are some blog posts that can help you in your blogging journey.

Is Bluehost good for blogging?

How to start a WordPress blog on Bluehost

So the answer to the question “does Bluehost offer free domain?” is definitely yes if you purchase a hosting service.

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What Is The Best Way To Pay Credit Cards Off

Have you ever wondered as to what is the best way to pay credit cards off?

Credit card debt can be in a nuisance when it gets too high. Besides payday loans which are in a different class of their own, credit card debt is expensive.

The average interest rate can go as high as 18%. Therefore it only makes sense to try to pay it off as soon as possible and be debt-free.

I would rather people avoided using credit cards altogether. I, however, realize that in life there could be emergencies that could force people to go into credit card debt.

People get sick. There could be funerals etc.

I also know from experience that it is difficult to get rid of credit card debt. And according to CNBC credit card debt is a big problem in America.

However, with a proper plan, it can be gotten rid off and you can be freed from the slavery of debt.

What Is The Best Way To Pay Credit Cards Off

5 Ways to pay off your credit card debt fast

  • Reduce the cost of your credit card debt. To do this you need to transfer your credit card balance to another credit card with a 0% rate balance offer. If this is not possible you can go for one with a lower interest rate. The aim is to reduce the cost of your debt.
  • Priotize the high interest (most expensive) card first. It is important to first of all, get rid of the high-interest card. Once you are done paying off this credit card you can move on to the other credit cards. While you are doing make sure that you are still paying the minimum amounts for the remaining credit cards.
  • Get rid of the lowest balance first. Another way especially where the interest rates are the same is to clear the one with the lowest balance first. This will act as a motivation factor because of the sense of satisfaction.
  • Set up a direct debit or Standing order. Setting up a direct debit or standing order will help in making sure that you don’t miss any repayments. You will, therefore, avoid late payment fees as you try to pay off the debt.
  • Create a budget if you don’t have one. Creating a budget will help you to be realistic with your goals and to help you meet your goal. The budget will also help you to find areas of your monthly expenses that you can cut and use the savings to pay off the debt.

Conclusion

I hope the ways presented above will help you as you focus on solving this question, what is the best way to pay credit cards off.

If your credit card debt has also affected credit rating, I advise you to read, How to build credit fast.

The tips here can help you to improve your credit rating. It is meant for those with no credit rating but can also help those whose credit rating has gone down.

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What Is A Money Order and How Does It Work?

A money order is a paper document used for making payments in the same way as a check.

The major difference from a check is that it is pre-paid for the amount shown on it. One can buy a money order usually with cash.

It is, therefore, more trusted than a check which has to clear the bank first before funds can be used. A genuine money order cannot bounce as it is guaranteed by the Post Office or whatever issuing institution.

what is a money order and how does it work

To learn more about checks go to the following posts.

What is a Cashier’s Check and How Does It work?
What Is A Certified Check?
How to Cash a Check Fast and Easily

How Does A Money Order Work?

In order to use a money order you first of all have to buy it.

Money orders can be bought with cash or a debit or credit card at banks, credit unions and the US Post Office and some shops such as Walmart.

For example, if you want to pay someone $50 then you will buy a money order for that amount.

Most money orders usually have a limit of $1,000. Therefore if you want to pay more than this you may have to buy more money orders.

One thing that you need to take into account when buying money orders are the fees.

They range from $1 to $2 at most places to $5-$10 at some banks and credit unions. The US Postal Services usually charges $1.70 per money order.

After buying you need to fill the name of the recipient and his or her address. Afterward, you will sign at the bottom of the money.

Some money orders will also have a line titled, “memo” where you can provide additional details about the payments.

Once all this is done, it is now time to make the payment. You can either post it or give it to the person you want to pay directly.

How do you cash in a money order?

In order to cash your money order, you need to do the following.

  • Go to a location that cashes money orders such as banks, credit unions, some retail shops like Walmart, and convenience stores, etc.
  • You will then be required to endorse your money order.
  • The teller or cashier will verify your identity to see if it matches what is on the money order.
  • Some places may require you to pay service fees.
  • Then you will get your cash.

What do you need for a money order?

You may need to use money orders for the following reasons.

  • Some individuals or sellers require payment in money orders. There are institutions that sometimes want the payment to be done in money orders. They, therefore, don’t have to worry about the payment bouncing.
  • It is more secure than sending cash. For example, if you want to send pocket money to your son in college and for some reason, you don’t want to use a check you can send money orders instead. There are more secure than sending cash through the mail.
  • It is more secure than carrying around huge amounts of cash. There is a reason why drug lords like cash. It is difficult to trace.

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Best Ways To Save Money Fast

In this post, I just want to discuss various ways to save money fast.

With rising bills, it is becoming very difficult for most people to save money.

I just saw on CNBC that only 40% of Americans could pay an unexpected $1000 expense from their savings. This is an unhealthy situation.

Most of us would struggle big time if we missed one paycheck. we may end up either using a credit card, personal loan or going to food banks.

No one can afford not to have some savings. As long we are on this earth there will always be emergencies that will demand our attention.

It does not require huge amounts to save money, even a small amount of savings can help in emergencies.

In this post, I want us all to find ways that can help to save money by cutting some expenses.

best ways to save money fast

Move your bank account to a free one

If your bank accounts attract charges that are higher than the interest that you earn then it is time you moved. There are now all sorts of free checking accounts.

Some of these new bank accounts not only are free but they also let you earn some interest.

While these charges you are currently paying might seem negligible they add up at the end of the year.

No point paying for something that others are offering for free.

Find a better mobile phone contract

Most of us have been enticed into phone contracts that are very expensive.

It is now time to check our allowances and see if we are spending below those limits.

For instance, if you are paying for 20 Gb of data and yet you only use 10gb then it is time to reduce that allowance.

You can do this by asking your service provider for a more suitable deal.

There is no point paying for things you don’t need.

If your contract is coming to an end then it is time to check out other deals and see if you need to move.

Switch off electronic equipment when not in use

Electronics still consume electricity when in standby mode resulting in high electricity bills.

It is therefore important to switch them off completely when not in use.

The other option is to invest in an energy-saving power strip to automatically cut off power when not in use.

Buy in bulk

If you are a big family it only makes sense to buy in bulk.

You, therefore, need to seriously consider being a member of wholesale shops like Costco wholesale around you.

This will enable you to buy stuff at wholesale prices which are much lower than retail prices.

All you need is to figure out the things that you can buy in bulk monthly.

Actually there are certain things like cooking oil that you can buy for the whole year if it brings massive savings.

Price Match: Take advantage and save money

If your supermarket offers to price match their stuff then take them up on that. You can do this by doing a google search for the prices of goods you want to buy.

Then you can show this to the shop assistant/cashier as you are checking out.

This will save you time it takes to walk to other shops and get quotes.

Price match can save you a bit of money monthly.

Cancel all unused club memberships

Most Americans spend a lot of money on club memberships they rarely or not use at all.

I guess it is time to review all your memberships and cancel all the memberships you don’t need.

Come to think of gym membership.

Do you really need to be in a gym to exercise? You can do this at home or by doing some cycling and still get the same health benefits.

Affordable Gas in your area

One of the things that cost us a lot of money is gas for our vehicles.

But did you know that using apps like GasBuddy can help you find out gas prices in your area? This can therefore potentially save you money.

The saving may look small but will add up over time.

Walk or use a bike sometimes

Some of us are addicted to our cars and we cannot imagine walking anywhere. This is bad not only for your health but also for money-wise.

Walk or use a bike sometimes and thereby save your resources and your health.

There is an obesity epidemic in America and the use of cars is partly to blame.

According to scientists, even a 30-minute walk can go a long way in helping you avoid various lifestyle diseases.

Merge your trips sometimes when using your car

We all can save a lot on gas costs by planning our trips properly. Just by merging trips you can reduce your mileage and as a consequence your transportation costs.

For example, if you intend to visit friends and also go to the supermarket, why not combine these trips. It makes no sense to go to the supermarket and come back home and then start off for the trip to your friends.

Shop around for Car Insurance

It is very easy to become so attached to one insurance company that we don’t take time to shop around.

It only takes a few minutes nowadays to compare prices. All you need are the price comparison sites.

Consider bringing your own lunch to work

Most Americans spend at least $5-$10 every day at lunch while at work. This cost can drastically be reduced by just bringing your lunch to work.

This not only saves you money but means you will have better and healthier food than the one you buy from a restaurant.

It can also save you valuable time that you can use to make a bit of money from a few side hustles like doing surveys etc.

Consider eating less meat

Meat costs a lot of money when compared to veggies. Maybe it is time for all of us to consider reducing our meat intake.

This will not just save us money but will improve our health. It is now common knowledge that meat-eating is the cause of most of these cancers that we see nowadays.

And if you care about the environment you will also learn that the rearing of cows etc contributes to the increase in greenhouse gases. This is one more reason to reduce meat intake.

Quit smoking

Smoking not only kills but also costs a lot of money. If you smoke maybe this is the right time to stop and save a bit of money besides.

Drink more water

I just read somewhere that if you drink more water throughout the day the less food you will eat.

It will also help you to drink less of the unhealthy fizzy drinks around. The less food you eat the more savings you make.

Avoid eating out

You just need to see the number of restaurants near you to realize that eating out is a big business.

We all can save a lot of money by preparing our own foods instead of eating out.

Cut down on drinks

If for some reason you still go out, avoid buying drinks and have water instead.

Plain water not only hydrates the body but also helps in getting rid of impurities in our body.

Most of the fizzy drinks are just full of excess sugar that our bodies don’t need.

They are therefore not just costly in monetary terms but bad for our health.

Take advantage of coupons when you go out

If you are offered coupons make sure to use them and save money. I can testify to having received various coupons that for some reason failed to use.

Therefore if your restaurants give you coupons make sure you use it.

Declutter

We all have stuff in our houses that we no longer use but for some reason, we are still keeping.

I recommend that we go through our closets and get rid of all that stuff we don’t need through a garage sale.

Alternatively, we can make money by selling them at a flea market.

Negotiate rates with your credit card

If you think you are paying too much for use of your credit card, then it is time to call your credit card company and negotiate new rates. If you are a good customer they may not want to lose you.

If however, you fail to convince them to reduce your rates then it may be time to move to other providers. Just make sure that their offer is better than your current deal.

Prepare a budget and stick to it

Most people neglect to prepare a budget every month and end up overspending. A budget is a tool that can guide you and make sure that you only spend on things that you really need.

No organization can operate without a budget, neither can you.

Prepare a list of shopping items before you go shopping

It is of vital importance that before you go shopping you prepare a list of the items you want to buy. This will help you avoid impulse buying and save you money.

Preparing a list also helps you to stick to your budget.

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What is a Cashier’s Check and How Does It Work?

A cashier’s check is check that is issued by banks on behalf of their customers.

The bank prints out its own check payable to the payee requested by its customer.

Its customer will then use this check to pay the payee.

This is regarded as the safest form of payment as it cannot bounce as it is a bank check.

This is part of a series of articles on banking which include.

Where to cash a check

How to cash a check

What is a certified check?

What is a cashier's check

How can you get a cashier’s check?

In order to get a cashier check, you need to follow the following steps.

1 Get your information together.

The first thing that you need to do is to determine your payee as it is the bank that will add the name to the check.

It is important to contact the payee for the name to be used on the check as the payee may use a different name for their bank account.

Another thing that you need to determine is the amount to be paid and make sure that that the money is available.

Remember to set aside the fee that most banks will charge for the service.

2 Go to the bank with your information.

Most banks want to see you in person before they prepare the cashier’s check.

You will, therefore, have to go to the bank and see a teller with the information you have.

The teller will then confirm that you have the available funds in your account.

The bank will then transfer the required funds from your account to the bank’s account.

After this, the teller will prepare the check and print it out for you. The teller may then sign the check for you or use a stump or it will be printed already on the check.

3 Make sure you get a receipt

You need to make sure that you get a receipt for this service. The receipt will contain the check number and date.

You can, therefore, be able to contact the bank if something happens with check and you need it to be canceled.

You can also use the information on the receipt to track the check.

Do cashiers checks clear immediately?

Not necessarily. However, Cashier’s checks usually clear faster than normal checks. They normally take just a day to clear.

You should, therefore, be able to access your funds after one working day.

I would also recommend discussing with your bank if you need the funds immediately. They should be able to let you get the funds quickly after making the necessary checks on your check.

What is the difference between a money order and a cashier’s check?

The major difference is that the payee’s name is printed into the cashier’s check by the bank or credit union itself. While for the money order it is the buyer who writes the name of the payee into the money order.

Therefore if a money order gets lost before the buyer has written the payee’s name on it, anyone can put his or her name and cash it.

Another difference is that money orders are offered in small amounts and can be bought in more locations than where you can buy a cashier’s check.

Cashier’s checks are often issued in large amounts and are usually issued by banks and other financial institutions.

Money orders also cost less to purchase than cashier’s check.

What is the maximum amount for a cashier’s check?

There is no maximum amount for a cashier’s check. It all depends on the payer’s funds that are used to purchase the cashier’s check.

Can a cashier’s check bounce?

There is no reason why it should bounce if it has been prepared properly. Checks normally bounce when there are no sufficient funds to cover it.

In this case, the funds have already been secured from the payer by the bank.

The check is a bank check and the funds will come from the bank and not the person paying so there should not be any problem in cashing it.

How much does a cashier’s check cost?

The average cost of a cashier’s check service fee is usually around $10.

Which is better cashiers check or money order?

It depends on what you want to pay for. Cashier’s checks are better for larger purchases while money orders are better for smaller purchases.

Money orders also come in smaller amounts.

It also depends on the cost you are willing to bear. On average it is cheaper to purchase a money order than a cashier’s check.

How can you tell if a cashier’s check is good?

There are a few things that you can check to confirm the authenticity of the check.

  • The cashier’s check will usually contain the phone number of the issuing bank.
  • Check that there are security features on the check and the quality of the paper used.
  • Speak with your bank when depositing to confirm if everything is fine if you are in doubt

Do you sign a cashier’s check?

A cashier’s check is a bank check and is therefore signed by an authorized employee of the bank.

Can you cancel a cashier’s check?

Yes, it is possible to cancel a cashier’s check but the bank will charge you for the service and to stop the payment. It normally takes up to 90 days before your bank can refund you the money on the check.

Do cashier’s checks expire?

Yes, cashier’s checks expire after 90 days from the date the checks are issued.

Can you cancel a cashier’s check after it’s been deposited?

As long as the check hasn’t cleared the bank it is possible to stop payment

Can you get a cashier’s check without a bank account?

Most banks and credit will only provide this service to their customers. And you can only get cashier’s checks from banks and credit unions.

However, if you do not have a bank account you can still contact the bank to see if they can offer you this service.

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What Is a Certified Check?

In this post I want to answer the question, what is a certified check? My previous post was on where to cash a check.

Some 10 to 15 years I used to work for a food processing company that was struggling financially.

Because of that some of our suppliers demanded that we pay them with certified cheques.

A certified check is a check for which a bank will confirm the existence of sufficient funds to cover the check.

To do this the issuer will take the check to his bank and the bank will stamp and sign confirming that there are sufficient funds to cover it.

They normally also provide the period their certification covers.

The bank will then make sure that that account has sufficient funds during the time specified in the certified check.

Certified check

How do I get a certified check?

You normally go to your bank with your cheque. The bank will then verify your signature and check your account to confirm the existence of funds. The bank will then stamp the cheque.

What is the difference between a certified check and a cashier’s check?

The difference is that a certified check is a personal check written by a bank customer and certified by the bank to confirm the existence of funds.

However, a cashier’s check is issued by the bank. The customer pays the bank and the bank writes a check on your behalf to your payee.

The money, therefore, comes out of the bank’s account.

Whereas in the case of a certified check the money comes out of the customer’s bank account.

The bank just makes sure that there are enough funds over the period of the guarantee.

How long does it take for a certified check to clear?

Even though it is guaranteed by the bank a certified check follows the same procedures and processes like any check. Normally checks clear within 48 hours but can take longer depending on where the check has been deposited and policies of various banks.

Is a certified check safe?

It is definitely safer than a normal personal check. In any case, it is backed by the bank and banks will make sure that the bank account of the payer has sufficient funds to cover the amount.

Can you cancel a certified check?

Yes, a certified check can be canceled. For instance, if you lose the check you can inform the bank and the bank will place a stop payment.

You might also be interested in, How to cash a check.

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