Are You Making the Most of Your Bank’s Reward Card?

bank reward cards

I use my debit card almost exclusively these days. Unlike checks, debit cards are accepted almost everywhere, and you can make large purchases with a card without having to carry around a wad of cash. I keep “vending machine” cash and change in my wallet, just in case I get a hankering for a 6-pack of Oreos. And even vending machines are starting to accept cards!

Besides those obvious benefits, debit cards offer some good benefits, courtesy of your bank. It’s worth talking to someone at your bank (or taking a closer look at the next debit card rewards leaflet hidden amongst other junk mail) to find out exactly how to make the most of these benefits.

Here are some reasons why you should consider using your bank’s reward cards and how to maximize their benefit.

Cash Back

One of the most common rewards offered by debit cards is “cash back.” You can think of this like a discount on your purchases, because a percentage of your total purchase is credited back to your account. There is a catch, though: you’ll only get cash back when you buy from participating retailers. The retailer and the bank team up to try to increase each other’s business. It’s worth weighing the pros and cons of, for example, shopping at a different grocery store in order to take advantage of cash back rewards.

Saving Programs

Similar to cash back programs, saving programs give you a small percentage of your purchase, but this time it is added directly to your savings account instead of your checking account. If you have a hard time remembering to periodically add funds to your saving account, this rewards program can help.

It’s important to note that not all saving programs operate like cash back programs. Some will move your own money between your credit and checking accounts instead of giving you a small cash reward.

Prize Points

You can rack up points with every purchase made with your debit card, and then exchange those points arcade-ticket-style for prizes like a deluxe toaster, a gift certificate, or even (if you exercise good self-control and don’t spend your points willy-nilly) truly awesome prizes like vacation packages. Ask your bank for a full catalog of options and set a goal for yourself.

Airline Points

Worthy of its own category, it’s also common to earn airline points with your debit purchases. Once you accumulate enough points, you might even be able to fly for free, or perhaps even upgrade your seat. Make sure you know which airlines participate in your bank’s reward program, since not every airline may participate.

Important Considerations

Remember that a debit rewards program may not be something you’re automatically signed up for just because you have a bank card. Talk to a representative at your bank to find out if you need to do anything to participate.

Another important caveat is that bank rewards cards are most beneficial if you are making a lot of purchases at participating retailers. That doesn’t mean you should spend money just for the sake of accumulating points, because you’re not going to actually “benefit” from the program if it doesn’t save you money in the long run.

In short, your bank’s reward cards can be an untapped source of discounts. Know what your options are and use your card wisely every time you hit the shops.

Does your bank offer unique rewards? Let us know in the comments!

Cathy Habas is a Spanish to English translator, as well as the managing editor for Coquí Content Marketing. Cathy specializes in writing about home improvement and global advocacy. You can reach her at www.cathyhabas.com or on Twitter: @CoquiContntMktg

Get More Cash From Your Personal Injury Settlement

MoneyPersonal injuries can be a big disruption in anyone’s life. First, there are medical problems causing pain and long-term discomfort. there’s also the matter of the financial costs. Medical bills and loss of earnings due to injury are just two of the many ways you could lose money from a personal injury. If you’re not at fault, you will most likely go for a settlement to recoup your losses. This guide is here to help you in recouping as much as possible and losing as little money in the process.

Protect your income

Something all employed people should consider is income protection insurance. It can provide short-term coverage for any loss of income, whether it’s due to injury or other factors such as sickness or stress. Income protection insurance usually pays a set percentage of missed payments. It’s no replacement for settling the losses in court but it is a good way to cut those losses down until the settlement comes through.

Know the figure you want

You should calculate the settlement you’re aiming for before you set foot in a court. There are methods of dividing how much you are likely to get, such as this calculation for personal injury settlement awards. It takes into account bills and income lost as well as inconvenience and emotional distress. With a figure to share with your attorney, you are put in a better place to negotiate from.

Mitigate your costs immediately

Lawsuits can be expensive. There are firms that offer no-win, no-fee agreements, but these can end up costing much more in the long run. You can mitigate the costs of your representative by arranging a lawsuit cash advance. This is a specialized loan for legal costs during a lawsuit, with the ability to pay it back after the suit is successful. This is recommended for cases that are clear cut, allowing you much more freedom.

Collect as much evidence as possible

The more evidence you have about your personal injury, the better your chances are of reaching the settlement you deserve. Inform the police about the accident as soon as possible so it’s on record. Take photos, collect your medical bills and produce proof of the earnings you have lost since then. Keep a diary of any discomfort or troubles caused by the accident since. Note all the details of the scene and course of events during the accident itself. The more accurate information you can provide, the stronger a case you will have.

Hire lawyers you can trust

Choose your lawyer carefully. Deals that may sound too good to be true often are. Make sure you do your research online and check out their ratings and referrals. Talk with them personally and make sure they specialize in personal injury law. Even more important is that you understand exactly how you’re going to be billed before you hire them. Finally, their availability to talk with you and provide these details is a good sign.

Loss of some money during the process of getting your settlement is inevitable. Follow the tips above and you can cut those costs down dramatically, before ensuring you get the full amount you deserve.

Picture by Tony

Property Matrix: A Review

Property MatrixWith so many property management software packages on the market, determining which one actually suits your specific needs requires some time and effort. But if you are looking for one that is geared towards multi-family unit homes and apartment complexes, then consider using a property management system.

Property Matrix is a state-of-the-art property management system that offers a full suite of applications for managing multiple properties simultaneously, such as tenant and lease tracking, building maintenance, property accounting and customer relation management (CRM). It delivers all these features in an easy-to-use, sleek and attractive interface.

Considering most users are too busy to bother with lengthy user training, the software package is designed for ease of use. The most striking thing about it is that it allows access to multiple features from a single page, which makes its painless for even first time users to find what they are looking for with little effort. Thus, it can easily get five out of five stars on user friendliness.

  • The Properties Page allows you to manage marketing, billing and maintenance at the same time. You can quickly and easily do things like filtering for vacancies or specific units, checking on maintenance requests and creating invoices. While saving you time, it helps you get a clear picture of everything that is going on.
  • The Owner’s Portal gives you access to everything that you need to manage and monitor your property, whether you want to view statements, check maintenance costs or make sure that tenants have paid their rent. You can manage all your bills, invoices and revenue right from this page.
  • The Accounting Page gives you access to a robust accounting package that comes with a general ledger, accounts receivable, accounts payable and a detailed transactional history to keep track of all the money coming in and payments going out to vendors. You can schedule recurring payments, apply discounts to specific sections on a lease, and accept visa payments.

Maintenance is a very important part of property management. Property Matrix comes with a full-featured maintenance module that allows users to report incidences, which is then routed to the maintenance panel so that someone can be quickly assigned to handle the request.

Property Matrix is a cloud-based system. As you may already know, a cloud-based system has several advantages, such as increased productivity with fewer workers (economy of scale), reduced spending on IT infrastructure, reduced capital costs, improved accessibility (you can access it anytime from anywhere), reduced personnel training, the ability to change or upgrade the system easily and without much cost, as well as there is no need to buy expensive software licenses.

The pricing is really simple: $1 per unit per month with a $200 minimum. All of the necessary features and services are included in the price.

Property Matrix helps you communicate with owners and tenants faster, collect payment faster, easily share information with property owners, post impressive ads to attract tenants, monitor your finances easily, and manage multiple properties effortlessly.

Picture from Sabastian-Z

Online Lenders Can Offer The Right Bridge Between Paydays

Every now and then, unforeseen expenses crop up and leave us on unsure ground. Luckily, online lenders can help you. Using advanced technology, these companies successfully match customers with suitable loans, helping you bridge the gap between paydays. However, there are a few benchmarks you need to keep in mind before you make any final selections about the company you’ll be dealing with.

The online application process is designed to be quick and straightforward, and a lender’s decision can be delivered within minutes of receiving the loan request and verifying the application information. In many cases, funds can be deposited into your account on the same day, or the next business day, so you can deal with your financial situation without delay.

Short-term online loans can be the right type of bridge when you need to pay for an urgent car repair, a medical emergency, or some other type of personal expenses that just can’t wait until next payday. There are many reasons to consider a loan to help with immediate expenses. For example, applying for an online loan to pay for an overdue utility bill can help avoid having to pay late fees, penalties, or the risk of disconnection. Meeting your financial obligations on time can also help improve your credit score. Usually, repayment of the loan in full is automatically deducted from your bank account on your next regular payday so that the entire process is completed promptly and efficiently. People who need to borrow funds that come with a longer repayment schedule may be better suited to the online lenders that offer lines of credit.

When you investigate the website of reputable lenders, you’ll find they’re very direct about the services they provide and strive to make it easy to access information about how the procedure works, how the loan is repaid, and the way interest and other charges are calculated on the amount borrowed.

In addition to offering the option of convenient online loans, ethical lending companies like MoneyKey exercise responsible lending practices so there are no hidden costs, and customers are not encouraged to take out loans they can’t afford to repay on time. Making sure the application and loan sourcing methods are explained in simple language allows the borrower to clearly understand the lender’s requirements so there’s less risk of getting into financial trouble. Repaying the loan on time establishes a good relationship with the lender so you’ll feel comfortable using their services again.

The best of these companies will explain how much money you can borrow, the cost of borrowing, and the time frame for receiving and repaying the borrowed amount. Because you probably need the money as soon as possible, a firm that offers a simple online application, a speedy approval process and a same-day deposit is a sign you’ve found a company committed to providing customers with transparent and reliable lending services.

When you need a loan for a short period of time, or even a line of credit, it’s important to find a place that allows for flexible repayment options and great customer service. Taking the time to research the characteristics of a professional lender will make the process run more smoothly, and get your slippery financial situation back on solid ground!

This is a guest post

Which online lenders do you use?

© 2012-2016 All Rights Reserved