This Dating Site Questions Your Credit to Help You Find Romance

More often than not, dating begins with the exchange of a number. But perhaps it’s the wrong one.

Instead of trading digits with someone you’re interested in, maybe the first information you offer up should be your credit score. (You can view two of your scores for free on Credit.com.)

It’s certainly a unique spin on the dating game, and one being championed by Niem Green, founder of the site Creditscoredating.com and author of a recently released book about dating and money called “Credit Score Dating: The Sexiness of Credit.” Yes, good credit is sexy, Green said. And bad credit doesn’t have to be a deal breaker, it should just be discussed upfront.

“One of the biggest causes of divorce is finances,” Green said. “The problem is that often people don’t talk about finances. So when I started this site, I figured at the very least I’m creating the icebreaker to have this conversation.”

Green may be on to something. Many surveys show money is one of the primary things couples squabble about. A 2016 study from the American Institute of CPAs found that money issues are a source of weekly and daily stress in relationships. In particular, 88% of adults 25 to 34 who are married or living with a partner said financial decisions are a source of tension in their relationship. Only 42% have discussed their long-term financial goals as a couple.

If the thought of discussing finances with a stranger, let alone on a dating website, makes you uneasy, here’s what you need to know.

How it Works

Green’s site is based on the honor system. Users are asked to provide their credit score as part of creating a profile, but the site does not check the accuracy of the scores. (You can learn how credit scores are calculated here.)

Green said he’s created an algorithm that uses a series of questions to suss out financial habits and whether they’re being honest about their score. The questions cover topics such as delinquent accounts in the past and what they would do with a sudden cash windfall. The answers are included on each user’s profile, alongside other pertinent dating information like age and hobbies. In addition, the information gleaned by the algorithm, which Green said has a 92% accuracy rate, is used to match compatible site users.

“I’ve trained my algorithm to think like me, a former underwriter, and based on the answers to your profile questions, the algorithm is able to asses what your credit score likely is,” Green said. “But it’s not about matching people who have the exact same credit score. It’s more about matching people who are financially compatible. It’s about how people handle their finances.”

As an underwriter, Green often found that couples sitting on the other side of the table had no idea of their partner’s credit score and had not had important conversations about each other’s financial history. Green’s dating site was an attempt to fix this. People need to know their potential partner’s weaknesses upfront so they can make informed decisions, Green said.

In addition, the answers to the algorithm’s questions indicate how well someone handles commitment and deals with pressure and more, Green said.

The site is free to use and has about 500,000 members, of which 60,000 to 80,000 are active on a monthly basis.

Beyond the Algorithm

No matter how you meet, Green and other financial experts said discussing your partner’s approach to money, credit and finances in general is critical. Green suggests financial role playing if you’re getting serious.

“If you’re thinking of having a baby with this person, then go through the role playing of ‘Let’s take a look at how much it would cost’ and how we would handle the costs,” he said. “You could do the same thing to determine how someone would handle an unexpected financial emergency if something really bad happens. You talk about how are we prepared for it and see how that person is really built.”

Ronit Rogoszinski, a certified financial planner, devoted a chapter in her book, “Money Talks: 100 Strategies to Master Tricky Conversations about Money,” to the topic as well. She said credit scores and attitudes about money will have a variety of impacts throughout the life of a relationship and like Green suggests establishing an open dialogue about finances from day one.

“If someone is coming into a relationship with, let’s say a huge student loan, that burden may in fact delay the purchase of that first home the couple may want to own down the road,” Rogoszinski said. “Knowing the numbers upfront and putting together a joint effort to address these individual debts is crucial and helps establish realistic expectations.”

Image: ArthurHidden

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6 Tips for Gen-Xers Who Haven’t Prepared for Retirement

Here's how you can start saving for your future today.

An actor in New York City for most of his 20s, Aaron Norris got a late start on saving for retirement. It wasn’t until he became a 30-something that Norris finally began setting aside money, and he has spent the past decade playing catch up.

“I wasn’t even really cognizant of retirement,” said Norris of his thinking in his 20s. “I was just trying to make it work, and live, and stay out of debt.”

Norris’ story is not unique.

A study from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies found the median household retirement savings for Generation X (those born between 1965 and 1978) is $69,000. The same study found 40% of Generation X agrees with the statement: “I prefer not to think about or concern myself with retirement investing until I get closer to my retirement date.”

But that attitude could have serious consequences.

Those who wait until they’re around 45 years old to begin saving for retirement are likely to end up with a retirement portfolio at age 65 of about $285,000, according to a report from Edward Jones. But those who start around age 30 and save about $550 per month while realizing a 7% average return will end up with about $990,000 — which let’s face it, would make many people feel a whole lot more confident about sailing off into their golden years.

The question then becomes what to do if you’ve started late. What’s the best approach for gaining ground as quickly as possible? Here are tips from experts.

1. Don’t Delay Any Further

This may sound like obvious advice, but start saving now.

“Don’t view it as ‘I’m so far behind what’s the point?’ or ‘I have to save so much it’s unrealistic to even bother,’” said Scott Thoma, principal and investment strategist for Edward Jones.

Starting now is the most important thing you can do and the obvious first step.

2. Get Financial Therapy (i.e. Develop a Strategy)

Generation X, Generation Y and Millennials start building wealth later in life. Often that’s because they opt for experiences over settling down and accumulating money, said Norris, now a California-based real estate investor.

“We don’t buy houses so that we have the freedom to move,” said Norris. “But we certainly don’t have access to the same golden parachute retirement plans our parents enjoyed. So sit down with a good CPA and look at what you want your financials to look like when you retire…Some good financial therapy will go a long way toward helping set goals and priorities.”

Thoma, from Edward Jones agrees. He refers to it as “developing a strategy.”

People often settle on a random number they think is a good amount of money to have for retirement, without any idea how they’ll reach that number or how long that money will last.

Pro tip: You’ll be able to save more for retirement if you’re not paying a lot in interest on auto loans, mortgages or credit cards. You can get the lowest interest rates possible by having solid credit scores. (Want to check your scores? You can view two free, updated every 14 days, on Credit.com.) If you don’t, here are some tips for getting your credit back on track.

3. Max Out Your 401K Contributions

Contributing large sums to a retirement account can often be a challenge for a generation whose members face both raising children and caring for aging parents, but here are some basic rules of thumb to keep in mind.

If your employer offers a match for your 401K contributions, contribute at least up to the match amount. If you don’t, you’re leaving free money on the table.

If you’re in your 40s and have zero saved for retirement, and you’re aiming to replace 80% of a $60,000 annual salary upon retirement, it will require setting aside 25% of your pay right now, said Thoma. This scenario assumes retirement at 65 years old.

While 25% may seem like a lot, this percentage includes any employer contributions to retirement, said Thoma. It’s also based on the assumption that the individual is not supplementing their income in retirement with other sources of income, like working part-time.

Keep in mind: If you make more than $72,000 you won’t be able to put that total 25% into your 401K because annual contributions are capped at $18,000. If that’s your situation, you need to look into other investment vehicles like individual retirement accounts, certificates of deposit or buying shares directly. Talk to a financial professional to help decide the best option.

4. Consider Switching Jobs

Generation X is famous for living in the “now.” That approach to life even impacts the job choices, says Norris.

The gig economy, which provides the freedom to work from anywhere in the world, and work only when you want to, has become a popular option among this generation. But when it comes to preparing for retirement, the gig economy is probably not the best career choice.

Norris advised asking whether taking a more stable job might pay off more in the long run.

Roslyn Lash, a North Carolina-based accredited financial counselor, suggested seeking out companies that offer a pension. Options include government entities and school systems, she said.

5. Move

If you’re spending 50% to 60% of your take-home pay on rent, you’re wasting a lot of money, said Norris.

“You get nothing but the benefit of a roof over your head when you’re renting,” Norris said. “Consider moving to a location that will allow you to save more.”

6. Have a Flexible End Point

Delaying retirement even just a few years could have a considerable impact on your potential income. For instance, every year you continue to work adds 8% to your Social Security income, said Thoma.

“Not only will it provide you with more years to save, it also provides more years to earn Social Security credit,” said Thoma. “Doing this also means you will have fewer years of retirement to provide funding for.”

Image: PeopleImages

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3 Easy Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster

These tips are your ticket to mortgage-free living.

As long as you’re alive, you have to live somewhere and, generally speaking, you have two options: Rent an apartment (or a home) and line your landlord’s pocket; or buy a home, and over time, hopefully line your own.

This premise is one of David Bach’s most important messages. The author of the New York Times bestseller “The Automatic Millionaire,” is a firm believer in the idea that real estate is critical to building wealth. In fact, he says buying a home is one of the three most important actions people can take in pursuit of financial security.

“I’ve been a lifelong proponent of home ownership,” says Bach, author of 11 best selling books. “How do you build real wealth on an ordinary income? It’s not very sexy, but it’s a simple, timeless approach: Buy a home.”

It’s not merely the act of purchasing a home that Bach advocates. The secrets to financial success that he offers in “The Automatic Millionaire,” include urging readers to pay their homes off early via an approach he calls “automatic debt-free home ownership.”

It may sound radical to some, but according to Bach, who spent nine years as a financial adviser at Morgan Stanley, the common denominator among all of his clients who were able to retire early was that they had paid off their homes early.

Here’s Bach’s approach to debt-free home ownership.

1. Establish a Biweekly Mortgage Payment Plan

A biweekly payment plan is exactly what the name implies. Instead of only making monthly mortgage payments, split the payment down the middle and pay half every two weeks.

When you make a payment every two weeks, (instead of just one per month,) you end up making one extra month’s worth of payments annually. In other words, over the span of a year, you’re making 26 half payments, which is the equivalent of 13 full payments.

“By doing this, something miraculous will happen. Depending on your interest rate, you can end up paying off your mortgage early — somewhere between five and ten years early” he says in the book.

Additional Benefits of Biweekly Payments

The biweekly payment approach also saves the homeowner thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, in interest. (Having a good credit score can help you save on interest, too. If you don’t know where your credit stands, you can get your two free credit scores, updated every 14 days, on Credit.com.)

In his book Bach provides the example of a 30-year-mortgage on a $250,000 home. If the interest rate on that mortgage is 5%, then the interest paid over the life of the loan will be about $233,139. When paid biweekly, the same mortgage instead costs about $188,722 — a savings of more than $44,000.

Establishing a biweekly payment plan merely requires calling your lender. If the mortgage is held by a large bank, they may refer you to a third-party that handles payment processing.

But one critical point Bach makes in the book is this: Before signing onto biweekly mortgage payments ask the servicing company what the fee is for the program and what they do with your money when they receive it. The second question is particularly important because some companies hang onto the extra money you’re putting toward the mortgage and send it to your mortgage holder all at once at the end of the month.

You want the extra payments applied to your mortgage as soon as possible, so that you’re paying down the mortgage faster.

You also cannot just split your monthly mortgage payment in half yourself (without talking to your mortgage holder, bank or other servicing company) and mail in payments every two weeks. The bank may send the extra payment back to you, unsure of what to do with it.

This trick can also work for paying down your credit card balance faster. (Here are some other tips for paying off credit card debt.)

2. Pay Extra Each Month

The next approach to debt-free home ownership outlined in Bach’s book is a plan he calls “No-Fee Approach No. 1.” It involves merely adding 10% to whatever your monthly mortgage payment happens to be. If your monthly payment is $1,342, pay an extra $134 dollars each month. (Sending the bank $1,467 per month instead of $1,342.)

This approach leads to paying off a home in 25 years, instead of 30, saving about $44,000. However, Bach urges making the extra 10% automatic, so that you don’t come up with excuses not to do it. In other words, have the $1,467 automatically deducted from your checking account each month.

3. Make One Extra Payment Each Year

Pick one month each year and pay the mortgage twice. Translation: Send the bank one extra payment a year.

Try doing this with some of your tax refund, suggests Bach. But no matter when you choose to do it, don’t simply send the bank a check for double the normal mortgage amount.

According to Bach this will confuse the bank. He advises writing two checks. Send one in with your mortgage coupon and the other with a letter explaining that you want the money applied to your principal.

The big takeaway according to Bach is that if you don’t buy a home, you won’t get on the escalator to wealth that home ownership provides. He says this message is particularly important for millennials who have been shying away from home ownership.

“The critical point is that one — you can buy a home. Two — you should buy a home. And three — you will be glad that you did,” says Bach.

Image: filadendron

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4 of the Most-Improved Credit Card Cash Back Offers of 2017

The competition for customers is growing and credit card companies have beefed up their cash-back offers in response. See the most generous new offers.

Many credit card issuers kicked off 2017 by launching attractive bread-and-butter rewards programs, which some experts say is part of an effort to steal market share and attract more middle-class cardholders.

Among the offers being rolled out or already available are 10% cash back on restaurant purchases and an offer of limitless cash rewards as part of a pilot credit card being tested by USAA.

“There’s a battle for dominance,” said David Robertson, publisher of the Nilson Report, which predicted this trend. “Credit card issuers are trying to create maximum loyalty.”

According to Robertson, the credit card market recently emerged from a period of escalating offers among premium cards. The focus has now trickled down.

Beverly Harzog, credit card expert and author of “The Debt Escape Plan,” said another driver of the current trend is credit card issuers trying to make rewards programs more straightforward for middle-class users who don’t necessarily have time to sign up for and pursue a variety of rewards deals.

Cash back cards are getting simpler and are breaking into categories that work for specific customers,” Harzog said.

This creates an intriguing landscape of credit card offers. Here are some of the best new middle-class offers identified by experts. And remember: It’s a good idea to know your credit score to have any idea of whether you’ll qualify before applying for a card. You can check two of your scores free, updated every 14 days, on Credit.com.

New Offers From American Express

American Express recently announced a limited offer for the Blue Cash Preferred and Blue Cash Everyday cards.

Both cards now reward new members with 10% cash back on U.S. restaurant purchases made within the first six months of sign-up, up to $200. In addition, new card members receive a welcome bonus after spending $1,000 within their first three months. For the Blue Cash Preferred card, the bonus is $150 and for the Blue Cash Everyday card, it is $100.

USAA’s Limitless Cash Back Rewards Visa Signature

The USAA Limitless Cash Back Rewards Visa Signature earns 2.5% on all purchases. What’s more, there’s no cap on the cash back rewards.

As long as cardholders maintain a $1,000 monthly direct deposit in a USAA checking account, they continue to earn 2.5% cash back. If that deposit minimum is not met, the cash back reward drops to 1.5% on purchases.

The downside of this card is that it has not been officially launched yet. It’s being pilot-tested, USAA spokeswoman Gloria Manzano said.

“If we determine this potential new product can help us serve our members better, we’ll make (it) available to all of our members as soon as possible,” Manzano said.

The card is available to those living in more than two dozen states where it’s being tested.

Premier Dining Rewards From Capital One

Capital One introduced its Premier Dining Rewards card last week.

The card offers an enhanced cash back earn rate in categories the company says consumers are spending more on.

Perhaps putting it in competition with USAA, the card’s rewards include unlimited 3% cash back on restaurant purchases, 2% cash back on grocery store spending and 1% on all other purchases.

Chase Freedom Unlimited

The Chase Freedom Unlimited (read our review here) is promoting a reward for those who spend $500 in the first three months after sign-up.

For those who meet the spending threshold, the card gives $150 cash back. While the offer has been around since 2016, Kerri Moriarty, of Boston-based Cinch Financial, said it’s still worth noting.

“The fact that you can get $150 cash back within the first 90 days for spending just $500 is an aggressive offer,” said Moriarty. “Other cards typically require $1,000 or more of spending before getting that cash back. It shows that they’re really trying to attract customers and steal them away from other cards.”

Image: NicolasMcComber

At publishing time, the Blue Cash Everyday From American Express, Blue Cash Preferred From American Express and Chase Freedom Unlimted cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

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How to Find a Starter Home in a Hot Housing Market

Here are five tips from experts on how best to snag a starter home right now.

An overheated real estate market is never good news for buyers in search of a budget-friendly starter home.

But thanks to increased confidence in the economy, leading more people to make large purchases like new homes, that’s exactly the type of real estate market 2017 is ushering in.

According to a recent report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the share of households that believe the economy is improving soared to 72% in the first quarter of 2017. “Forty-seven percent believe that strongly, up from 45% in Q4 2016 and 44% one year ago in Q1 2016,” NAR said.

When there’s increased competition for homes, prices generally go up. (Go here to see how much house you can afford.)

A new report from Redfin bears this out, revealing home prices in February increased 7.2% from a year earlier. What’s more, homes priced for less than $240,000 witnessed the highest appreciation — skyrocketing 8.4% year over year in February and 100% since the market lagged in 2012.

Combined with a lack of housing stock — Redfin reports a 6.4% decline in new listings in February — and you have what might be a daunting buying experience for newcomers.

With that in mind, here are five tips from experts on how best to snag a starter home right now.

1. Work With a Professional

This may seem like less-than-helpful advice, but it’s the first suggestion most experts offer when discussing the predicament faced by first-time home buyers.

“You want someone who knows the neighborhood,” said Jessica Lautz, managing director of survey research and communications for NAR. “It could be difficult if you go it alone.”

Seek out an agent who is knowledgeable about the areas in which you’d like to search so you can help avoid these first-time homebuyer mistakes.

2. Get Pre-Approved Before Starting a Search

Before discussing the pre-approval issue, it’s important to sort out your finances and to do it before embarking upon a search.

This effort should include reviewing your credit score. If it’s less-than-stellar, you can reach out to lenders for tips regarding how best to improve it, said Boston-based Redfin real estate agent James Gulden. You can view two of your credit scores for free, with helpful updates every two weeks, on Credit.com.

“Sometimes people see their credit score and don’t know where to go from there,” said Gulden. “All lenders have different thresholds for what they’re willing to take on in terms of a buyer’s credit score. And they will also look at your employment profile.”

When you’re ready, it’s wise to obtain pre-approval for a mortgage before wading into the market. Not only will it ensure you lose no time when you’re ready to make an offer, it will help clarify what you can realistically afford.

3. Be Prepared to Make Compromises 

Even seasoned, older buyers make compromises. Whether it’s the price, condition or amenities, compromising is part of the process.

“It’s more common for millennials to make compromises on first homes, but all buyers really do compromise on something,” said Lautz.

Translation: Figure out what you are willing to let go of or do without.

4. Be Patient

Buying a home is a process, no matter how much money you have. So mentally prepare yourself for the process, including the ups and the downs. Preparing for the downs includes not getting too attached to any one house.

“It’s easy to lose a couple and say, ‘Forget this, we’ll keep renting,'” said Gulden. “A lot of people are losing out on the first five or six homes they submit an offer on before being successful. From a mental standpoint, it’s very easy to get connected to a place, and when you don’t win a place, it can be upsetting. But in this market, it’s important to be able to brush it off and realize there are other places that will be coming onto the market.”

5. Write a Personal Letter 

Gulden admitted this tip is not exactly novel, but it can give you an edge in a particularly competitive market.

Writing a personal letter to the seller, enclosed with your offer, can help set you apart when there are 10, 15 or even 20 more offers. And those numbers are no exaggeration, said Gulden, who recently helped clients submit an offer for a Cambridge property with 24 bids.

“If you don’t include a letter or something to differentiate yourself from others, then it’s all just numbers and dates on paper for the seller,” said Gulden. “Introducing yourself and telling the buyer who you are, why you like the property makes a big difference.”

Image: Tempura

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Interest Rate Hike Incoming: 4 Things You Can Do to Get Ready

For credit card holders, interest rate hikes are never good news. Unfortunately, that’s what’s looming on the horizon.

It’s been widely reported that the Federal Reserve is contemplating an increase to the benchmark interest rate in mid-March, the first of an expected three rate increases in 2017.

Higher interest rates from the Fed ultimately translate into higher interest on your credit card debt and more money out of your pocket.

But that doesn’t have to be the case. Financial advisers suggest a variety of preemptive measures to avoid being impacted by the rising rates, or to at least soften the blow.

1. Pay Off Balances as Quickly as Possible

We’d all pay off our credit card balances now if we could, right? If you don’t have the cash to clear your cards of debt before rate hikes set in, try to pay a little more each month than you typically do, said Aaron Aggerwal, assistant vice president of credit card lending at Navy Federal Credit Union.

“If your minimum payment is $30, but you can afford to put down $40, that small bit will make a big impact down the road,” Aggerwal said.

2. Transfer Balances to a Zero-Interest Credit Card

There are varying schools of thought regarding the wisdom of transferring balances to credit cards with zero-interest introductory rates.

Michael Foguth, of Michigan-based Foguth Financial Group, said it’s a savvy approach when the alternative is paying interest on your debt each month.

“Play these companies against themselves,” he said. “If you’re a consumer and you have a balance on a credit card, and you’re paying an interest rate on that balance, go out and find someone who will buy your business…Why pay 3% when there’s zero out there? When zero is out there, go after zero.”

However, Foguth urges consumers to research various offers and figure out which one is best when considering a balance transfer. Ideally, it’s one that does not charge a transfer fee.

Also be sure to check your credit score to see if you can qualify for a balance transfer card. You can view two of your scores free, updated every 14 days, on Credit.com.

Kerri Moriarty, of Boston-based Cinch Financial, also advises consumers do the math before jumping into a zero-interest balance transfer.

“Before you make the decision to transfer…calculate how much you will have to pay each month to get rid of the debt before the zero interest expires,” Moriarty said.

If you can’t pay the debt in full before that zero interest elapses, it may not be a good idea. Often the regular interest rates for these cards are higher than what you’re paying on an existing card, Moriarity said.

What’s more, balance transfer cards are designed to get you hooked. You start spending money at zero percent and forget to stop when the introductory rate is gone.

3. Consider Using a Home Equity Loan to Pay Credit Card Balances

Another option Foguth suggests is taking a home equity loan to pay your credit card debt before the interest rate hikes take effect.

There are two big reasons why this makes more sense financially than leaving the debt on a credit card. The first is that the interest on a home equity loan is tax deductible, Foguth said. The second reason is the lower interest on home equity loans.

“The interest on credit cards is often 15% to 20% and on a home equity loan it’s around 4%,” said Foguth.

But again, you must be disciplined.

“You don’t want to go back out and rack up $50,000 of debt,” Foguth said. “If you’re going to take money out on your home, you have to pay the monthly bill.”

4. Utilize Your Cash Rewards to Make Even More Credit Card Payments

One last suggestion from financial experts to help pay down your debt as quickly as possible – use your cash rewards to make additional payments, if you have a cash-back credit card.

This approach isn’t likely to make a huge dent in the average American’s credit card debt, but as Aggerwal noted earlier, every little bit counts.

Image: sturti 

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How to Earn Extra Income From Your Car (Without Playing Chauffeur)

Here are the details on a couple of car-sharing services that could supplement your regular income.

Most people by now have heard of the ride-sharing giants Uber and Lyft, which have disrupted the taxi industry as we know it, allowing people to make money with their cars.

Far fewer, however, have heard of Turo or Getaround.

If earning extra income with your car, without having to chauffeur strangers, interests you, perhaps it’s time to familiarize yourself with these names.

Both Turo and Getaround were launched with the mission of putting the world’s one billion cars to better use. Yes, you read that right — there are at least one billion cars on the planet, many of which remain idle. Therein lies the opportunity.

Turo and Getaround allow people to make some serious cash by renting out their cars.

How much cash, exactly? Turo spokesman Steve Webb says the average active car owner on the site made $653 in Dec. 2016. Getaround, meanwhile, reports that the average monthly earnings for its users is around $550.

“It’s amazing to think of any asset, especially one costing tens of thousands of dollars, being so idle,” says Webb. “We have been able to flip the car ownership equation on its head, providing people a means to better use this asset.”

Want in on the action? Here’s what you need to know.

Turo

Turo has a presence in 4,500 cities in the U.S., U.K. and Canada.

Here’s how it works. You list your car for rent on Turo for free. You can set your daily minimum rental price and choose a mileage limit for drivers. Turo can also set your car’s rental price, based on market value, location, time of year, and other data designed to boost your listing’s competitiveness.

In addition, Turo covers your vehicle with $1 million in liability insurance while it’s being rented. To give you further peace of mind, Turo screens all its renters. The renter can either pick the car up at your home, or you can deliver it to an agreed-upon location.

People renting their cars through Turo earn enough to cover their monthly car payment, says Webb.

Getaround

Getaround has a somewhat smaller footprint than Turo. It operates in six cities, including San Francisco, Chicago and Washington, D.C.

In each city, Getaround has a core operating area, where your car must be parked. If you live outside Getaround’s operating zone, the vehicle can still be shared if it remains parked in the active area. To facilitate this, Getaround often helps owners find discounted parking in high-traffic locations.

Getaround renters are able to unlock your car using an app, however, you have full control over their car’s daily and hourly rental rate. Getaround can also set a recommended rate when you first launch your rental, based on the car’s make and model, features and location. Also, your car is covered with $1 million in insurance when being rented through Getaround. Renters are screened by the company.

The big difference between Getaround and Turo is that Getaround allows renters to use your car for just a few hours. With Turo, the minimum rental time is one day. When renting your car through Getaround, the vehicle must always be parked in the company’s core operating area, instead of, say, in your driveway, where you could keep an eye on it.

If these differences don’t matter to you, the earning potential may be nothing to sneeze at.

Image: Geber86

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Feeling Charitable? These 5 Credit Cards Make Giving Easy

Affinity credit card programs offer a way to support the causes and charities near and dear to your heart. Here are some of the leading options.

When it comes to credit cards, there are countless options out there, whether you’re seeking to accumulate travel rewards, cash back or points for purchases.

But what if you want to do something a bit more altruistic with your credit card spending? Perhaps help save the planet, the polar bears or even the park down the street from your house?

There are a handful of credit cards designed to help you do good things for your community while you’re spending. Affinity credit card programs, as they’re often known, offer a way to support the causes and charities near and dear to your heart. Here are some options you may want to consider. (Note: It’s important you read the card details and fine print for the most current terms and conditions.)

1. Charity Charge MasterCard

Charity Charge is a unique option when it comes to credit cards designed to allow consumers to give back. Charity Charge allows you to decide which charity will be the recipient of your giving, rather than being locked into a partnership with one specific charity. In other words, you can give to a local school, a religious institution or any other charity of your choice. (You can read more about how this works here.)

“We literally have every nonprofit in the U.S. — every single one, in our system,” Stephen Garten, Charity Charge’s CEO and founder, said. Garten also noted that the company has about 1.5 million nonprofits in its database. “We’ve got card holders supporting hundreds of different nonprofits right now.” Charity Charge cardholders can select up to three charities to be the beneficiaries of the ongoing monthly donations.

Here’s how it works: The card, issued by CommerceBank, allows users to earn 1% cash back on every purchase, which can then be donated to any charity (or up to three charities) in the United States. The 1% that cardholders donate is tax deductible.

One final point worth noting: Charity Charge covers all expenses associated with processing your donations. Translation: There are no processing fees, so all the money you donate goes directly into the charity’s pocket.

2. Bank of America Susan G. Komen Card

If you’re seeking to make a contribution to breast cancer research, consider the Bank of America Susan G. Komen card.

For each new Susan G Komen card opened, the bank contributes $3 to the Texas-based foundation dedicated to education and research related to the causes, treatment and cure of breast cancer. In addition, the Komen foundation receives 0.08% of all retail purchases made with the card and $3 for each card renewal.

This card also earns you 1% cash back on purchases, 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 3% cash back on gas.

3. World Wildlife Fund Card

Yet another charitable giving card from Bank of America, this one benefits an organization focused on preserving wilderness and reducing humanity’s footprint on the environment.

Founded in 1961, the World Wildlife Fund works in 100 countries protecting forests, oceans, wildlife and more.

The WWF card works in much the same way as the Komen card: The nonprofit receives $3 for each card opened, 0.08% of all net retail purchases made with the card and $3 for each annual card renewal.

4. American Express Members Give

Through the American Express Members Give program, cardholders can donate their rewards points to more than 1 million charities.

Much like Charity Charge, American Express members can give to multiple charities if they choose. The card allows members to donate to charities and nonprofits focused on health and human services, education, the environment and more. The donations are tax deductible.

5. Capital One No Hassle Giving Site

The Capital One No Hassle Giving Site is a slightly different spin on the idea of credit cards focused on giving back. Rather than offering a specific card that contributes a percentage to a particular charity, Capital One created a site that facilitates making donations to charitable organizations with your credit card. (You can see some of the best Capital One credit cards here.)

The credit card giant partnered with Network for Good and GuideStar to create its No Hassle Giving Site. Network for Good processes donations made through the site and disburses the money to the charities, while GuideStar provides the site’s database of charities. All of the charities listed are registered with the Internal Revenue Service.

Capital One credit card holders who are members of the company’s No Hassle Rewards program can also earn rewards points for their donations. And finally, when making a donation through the site, Capital One covers transaction fees, so 100% of the money you give goes to the charity.

Before Adding a New Card to Your Wallet …

It’s great that you want to find a card that can not only help you shop but also offers a reward system. But deciding which type of rewards credit card is only part of what you should think about before getting new plastic. After all, there are all types of rewards credit cards beyond the standard ones that give cash back or travel rewards, like those that reward students for good grades.And it’s perhaps most important you consider things like annual fees, interest rates and your spending habits to figure out if you can truly afford this new card. Before you apply, you’ll want to read all the fine print that comes with each card you’re considering to see what you’d be signing up for.

It’s also a good idea to review your credit, as many cards require you have a certain credit score to be eligible. (Note: Checking your own credit will not harm your scores in any way. You can see two of your credit scores for free, with updates every 14 days, on Credit.com.) Once you’ve reviewed your finances and checked your credit, you may also want to read more about the cards you’re considering. We’ve got a plethora of in-depth credit card reviews here that can help you get started.

Image: Tassii

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