Review of Wells Fargo CD Rates

Review of Wells Fargo CD Rates
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Wells Fargo offers numerous products and services, including savings and checking accounts, insurance and investment products. They also offer certificates of deposit (CDs), though their rates are significantly lower compared to other big name competitors. Keep in mind that their rates will differ depending on where you live. The rates you’ll see in this article are based on their headquarters in San Francisco. If you want an accurate list of Wells Fargo CD rates based on your location, head over to their rates page and type in your ZIP code.

Wells Fargo’s fixed-rate CDs

Wells Fargo’s Standard CD Rates

CD Term

Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

Minimum Deposit Amount

3 months

0.01%

$2,500

6 months

0.01%

$2,500

1 year

0.05%

$2,500

As of Dec. 6, 2017

The Wells Fargo Standard CD ensures that you get a guaranteed return for the entire CD term. Your rate is locked in once you make an opening deposit into your account. Anyone can open an account online or in person as long as they have a minimum of $2,500 to deposit into an account.

Wells Fargo’s Standard CD Bonus Rates

CD Term

APY

Minimum Deposit Amount

3 months

0.06%

$2,500

6 months

0.06%

$2,500

1 year

0.10%

$2,500

As of Dec. 6, 2017

You can get the Wells Fargo Standard CD bonus rates if you link your CD to a Portfolio by Wells Fargo® account and make a $2,500 minimum deposit. This product is their upgraded checking account which offers better interest rates across many Wells Fargo products. You also get certain fees waived from your account, discounts on loans, as well as additional credit card benefits. This includes avoiding the $30 maintenance fees if you have $25,000 in qualifying linked bank deposits or more than $50,000 in qualifying linked bank, brokerage and credit accounts. All you need to open this checking account is a minimum opening deposit of $25.

If your CD is no longer linked to your Portfolio by Wells Fargo® account, the bonus CD rate will revert back to the standard rate.

Wells Fargo’s Special CD Rates

CD Term

APY

Minimum Deposit Amount

9 months

0.25%

$5,000

19 months

0.45%

$5,000

39 months

0.50%

$5,000

58 months

1.01%

$5,000

As of Dec. 6, 2017

To open a Wells Fargo’s Special CD, you’ll need a minimum opening deposit of $5,000. Additionally, these rates only apply to the initial agreed term. Once your CD matures, it’ll automatically renew to the standard rates.

Wells Fargo’s Special CD Bonus Rates

CD Term

APY

Minimum Deposit Amount

9 months

0.30%

$5,000

19 months

0.50%

$5,000

39 months

0.55%

$5,000

58 months

1.06%

$5,000

As of Dec. 6, 2017

To be eligible for the special bonus CD rates, you’ll need to meet the same requirements as the regular Special CD, plus link your account to a Portfolio by Wells Fargo® and make a $5,000 minimum deposit. This will revert back to standard rates once it matures and you decide to renew your CD. You may be eligible for the bonus Standard CD rate upon renewal.

How to get one of Wells Fargo’s fixed-rate CDs

To open a fixed rate CD, you can apply online using their secure online application form. During the application process, you’ll be asked to choose the term you want and submit details such as your Social Security number, funding account information and a valid ID. You can fund your CD using any bank account, credit card or by mailing a check or money order after you submit your application. (Note: Using a credit card to fund a CD only makes sense if you’re paying off the credit card balance in full. Otherwise, credit card finance charges could significantly outweigh CD interest earnings.) Once you complete the application, you’ll get instant notification of your application status and possible next steps.

Wells Fargo Step Rate CDs

CD Term

APY

Minimum Deposit Amount

24 months

0.16%

$2,500

As of Dec. 6, 2017

The Step Rate CD offers multiple rate increases and a penalty-free withdrawal every six months as long as you are able to maintain the minimum opening balance. You’re guaranteed automatic rate increases at seven, 13 and 19 months into your CD term. At these times, the interest rate (not APY) goes up in increments of 0.10%:

  • 1 to 6 months: 0.01%
  • 7 to 12 months: 0.11%
  • 13 to 18 months: 0.21%
  • 19 to 24 months: 0.31%

To make your penalty-free withdrawals, you’ll need to do it within five business days at the start of the days when your interest rate goes up. If the rate increase happens to fall on a weekend or on a holiday, the withdrawal period will begin on the next business day. Once your account matures, the CD will be automatically renewed and reverted to a standard 24-month fixed rate CD.

Wells Fargo Step Rate Bonus CD

CD Term

APY

Minimum Deposit Amount

24 months

0.21%

$2,500

As of Dec. 6, 2017

To be eligible for the bonus rate, you’ll need to link your Step Rate CD to a Portfolio by Wells Fargo® account. Keep in mind that there is a monthly maintenance fee of $30 for the checking account unless you have at least $25,000 in qualifying bank deposits or $50,000 in qualifying brokerage, bank and credit balances.

You’ll also get rate increases and penalty-free withdrawals every six months as long as you keep the minimum opening balance. You are subjected to the same interest rate increases and requirements as the regular Step Rate CD.

Upon account maturity, your CD will automatically renew into a standard fixed rate bonus CD. If you don’t have a Portfolio by Wells Fargo® account, your rate will revert back to the standard rate.

How to Get a Wells Fargo Step Rate CD

You can only open a Step Rate CD in person at any Wells Fargo branch. You can show up at any one of their physical locations. You can also make an appointment online or by calling 1-800-869-3557.

Here’s how Wells Fargo CD rates compare to other banks

Wells Fargo rates don’t even come close to the top competitors’ offers, even with the bonus rates. Those better CD rates often also come with a lower minimum deposit than what Wells Fargo requires. However, competitors with the highest rates tend to be online-only banks, which is only a disadvantage if you prefer to bank in person. If it’s important to you to keep all your banking products in one place, then Wells Fargo may be worth considering, though that strategy isn’t a financial advantage, as far as CDs go.

Additional information about Wells Fargo CDs

Founded in 1852, Wells Fargo is considered the third largest bank in the U.S. This FDIC insured bank provides retail, commercial and corporate banking services through its branches and online in the U.S. and internationally. Wells Fargo has over 13,000 ATMs and 6,000 branch locations across the country.

All rates earned are compounded daily and interest starts to accrue as soon as you make your deposit, as long as it’s on a business day. Otherwise it’ll begin on the next available business day. Any interest earned is paid out monthly and deposited into a checking account, savings account or via check. You could also opt to leave it your CD until maturity. You can also choose to have your interest payments paid out annually, semi-annually or when your CD matures. The only exception is for CD terms 12 months or more, where you can’t choose to have your interest paid out at maturity.

There are penalties if you make early withdrawals on fixed-rate CDs. You either have to pay the early withdrawal fee or be subjected to the Regulation D penalty.

Those who may need to pay the Regulation D penalty include those who make withdrawals within seven days of account opening. This penalty also applies if you make withdrawals during the grace period and the withdrawal is more than any additional deposits during that time. Regulation D penalty means you’ll need to pay seven days’ simple interest.

Any withdrawals after the first seven days are subjected to the following early withdrawal fee:

  • 90 days or less: one month’s interest
  • 90 days to a year: three months’ interest
  • 12 to 24 months: six months’ interest
  • 24 months and over: 12 months’ interest.

If you make a withdrawal on a Step Rate CD or the Step Rate Bonus CD, the early withdrawal fee will apply if the money you take out will cause the balance to be under the minimum opening deposit. The penalty will be based on the whole amount taken out. You’ll also be subject to early withdrawal penalties if you make a withdrawal on days other than the five day withdrawal period when interest rates increase.

There are some exceptions where you may be able to get early withdrawal penalties waived. Common ones include death of the account owner, but you’ll need to contact Wells Fargo customer service to chat about your exact situation and circumstances. (This exception isn’t unique to Wells Fargo.)

Wells Fargo will send you a notice to remind you of the CD maturity date about a month before it happens. When your CD actually matures, you have a seven day grace period. You can either renew the CD or choose to change the terms (such as linking your Portfolio by Wells Fargo® account). Other options include closing the CD, making another deposit or withdrawing money as long as the remaining balance can meet minimum balance requirements.

If you choose not to do anything, the CDs renew automatically. However, no interest will be paid during the seven day grace period if you don’t choose to reinvest your CD or you take money out of the account.

Overall review on Wells Fargo CD rates

Although Wells Fargo offers a myriad of services, including the ability to link your checking account to your CD, their rates fall short compared to other financial institutions as well as national averages. There are online banks that offer much better rates and with lower minimum deposits.

The post Review of Wells Fargo CD Rates appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

Review of USAA CD Rates

USAA CD rates
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Founded and based in San Antonio, USAA is an FDIC-insured bank, insurance and financial services company that serves current and former military members and their families. Started by 25 U.S. Army officers, USAA has since grown to more than 11 million members. Most of their products are only available to USAA members, who are military members or their families.

USAA won a number of awards in 2016, including the title World’s Most Ethical Company from the Ethisphere Institute. It scored top rankings in the bank, insurance, and credit card categories in the Temkin Customer Service Ratings from 2013 to 2016.

Looking beyond high customer service standards, USAA CD rates are pretty comparable to the national average, though with some products they are significantly lower. Minimum deposit requirements are lower than with many similar products, though there are CDs out there with better rates and lower minimum deposits than USAA’s CDs. If you’re a member of the military (or a family member of military member) and looking for a bank that offers a wide variety of products as well as excellent customer service, USAA could be a good bet if you’re will to make the tradeoff for lower CD rates.

USAA Fixed-Rate CDs

A USAA fixed-rate CD is for those who intend to make one deposit to get a guaranteed rate of return over the agreed-upon term. Once you make your initial deposit (which differs depending on the type of CD you choose), your interest rate is set for the duration of the CD term. You are not allowed to make any additional deposits into your CD account after the initial amount.

Interest accumulates daily, and you have the choice to keep any interest earned in the CD until it matures (the interest will compound monthly) or have it paid out monthly to an account of your choosing. The CD will not be renewed automatically once it matures, though you have the option to do so if you want. If not, all the money in the account will be paid into an investment account until you withdraw it or invest it in another type of account.

Early-withdrawal penalties apply depending on the term of your CD:

  • Terms of 30 days or less: 30 days’ worth of interest
  • 30 days to 364 days: 90 days’ interest
  • 365 days to five years: 180 days’ interest
  • Five years or more: 365 days’ interest

Also, if you make a withdrawal within six calendar days of a deposit or another withdrawal, you’ll have to pay at least seven days’ worth of interest.

Standard rates

A standard CD requires a minimum deposit of $1,000 and up to a maximum of $95,000. This type of account is best for those who do not have a large amount of money to invest and want a guaranteed rate for their savings.

CD Term

APY

91 days

0.30%

182 days

0.56%

7 months

0.56%

270 days

0.66%

1 year

0.71%

15 months

0.95%

18 months

0.76%

2 years

0.81%

30 months

1.26%

3 years

0.91%

4 years

1.46%

5 years

1.06%

7 years

1.06%

As of Dec. 1, 2017

USAA fixed jumbo CD rates

Fixed jumbo CDs require a minimum deposit of $95,000 and a maximum amount up to $175,000.

CD Term

APY

30 days

0.22%

91 days

0.35%

120 days

0.45%

150 days

0.50%

182 days

0.61%

7 months

0.61%

270 days

0.71%

1 year

0.76%

15 months

1.00%

18 months

0.81%

2 years

0.86%

30 months

1.31%

3 years

0.96%

4 years

1.51%

5 years

1.11%

7 years

1.11%

As of Dec. 1, 2017.

USAA fixed super jumbo CD rates

Fixed super jumbo CDs require a minimum deposit of at least $175,000 with no maximum amount. However, FDIC only insures up to $250,000.

CD Term

APY

30 days

0.22%

91 days

0.35%

120 days

0.45%

150 days

0.50%

182 days

0.61%

7 months

0.61%

270 days

0.71%

1 year

0.76%

15 months

1.06%

18 months

0.81%

2 years

0.86%

30 months

1.36%

3 years

0.96%

4 years

1.56%

5 years

1.11%

7 years

1.11%

As of Dec. 1, 2017

USAA Adjustable-Rate CDs

Like the fixed-rate CDs, the interest rate is locked for the entirety of the agreed term with an adjustable-rate CD. All interest is compounded daily starting on your settlement date (the actual date when your deposit goes into your account) and the interest either paid out monthly or kept in the account until your CD matures. Your CD will not be automatically renewed. Instead the money will be put into an investment account until you decide to put it back into another CD account or withdraw the entire balance.

Unlike with the fixed-rate CD, however, you can adjust your rate once during your CD term as well as make one other deposit when you request a rate adjustment. If rates go up, you can make an adjustment up to a 2 percent increase. The additional deposit needs to be a minimum of $25.

Early-withdrawal penalties are the same as with the fixed-rate CD:

  • Terms of 30 days or less: 30 days’ worth of interest
  • 30 days to 364 days: 90 days’ interest
  • 365 days to five years: 180 days’ interest
  • Five years or more: 365 days’ interest

In addition, you will be required to pay at least seven days’ worth of interest if you withdrawal money within six calendar days of either a deposit or another withdrawal from your account.

Standard rates

The minimum opening deposit for an adjustable standard CD account is $1,000. You’re allowed up to a maximum of $95,000. Otherwise, you will need to open an adjustable jumbo CD account.

CD Term

APY

3 years

0.12%

4 years

0.31%

5 years

0.43%

7 years

0.43%

As of Dec. 1, 2017

Jumbo rates

Adjustable Jumbo CDs need a $95,000 minimum deposit and rates are applicable up to $175,000.

CD Term

APY

3 years

0.17%

4 years

0.36%

5 years

0.48%

7 years

0.48%

As of Dec. 1, 2017

Super jumbo rates

Adjustable super jumbo CDs have a minimum deposit of $175,000 with no limits on how much you can keep in your account. Keep in mind that FDIC insures up to $250,000 in your account.

CD Term

APY

3 years

0.17%

4 years

0.36%

5 years

0.48%

7 years

0.48%

As of Dec. 1, 2017

USAA variable-rate CDs

This type of CD account is best suited to those who want the ability to make more than one deposit any time they choose. The rate tends to be lower than the other CDs of the same term length, but you are allowed to make as many additional deposits as you like without extending the maturity date, as long it’s $25 or more each time. This could help you earn more on your deposits than you would with a traditional savings account, though there are better rates to be had among those products, as well.

Unlike the fixed- and adjustable-rate CDs, the interest rate on a variable-rate CD may fluctuate daily so earnings may be affected. However, interest is compounded daily and just like the other CD accounts and you can either keep earned interest with the CD balance and allow the interest to compound, or you can have it paid out to another account every month.

There are also early-withdrawal penalties with a variable rate CD. You’ll be charged 30 days’ worth of interest if you take your money out before the maturity date.

CD Term

APY

Minimum Deposit Amount

182 days

0.46%

$250

1 year

0.46%

$250

As of Dec. 1, 2017

Overall review on USAA’s CD rates

Above all, it’s important to remember that only USAA members can get its products, so if you’re not eligible for membership, USAA CDs aren’t an option for you.

USAA’s CD rates are not as competitive as other institutions’ products (you can see the best CD rates in our monthly roundup). While the $1,000 minimum deposit requirement is lower than some other banks that offer higher APYs on their CDs, you can get a better CD rate on accounts with deposit requirements as low as $500. While the rates for jumbo and super jumbo CDs are better than its standard offers, you can find better rates.

One of the main advantages of opening a CD with USAA is the ability to bump up your rate with an adjustable-rate CD, as other banks don’t always offer this option.. It’s important to note that a rate increase is not guaranteed. However, you are given an opportunity to make another deposit into your account before maturity.

As for USAA’s variable-rate CD, you may be better off opening a high-interest savings account if you’re looking for an account with a good APY and some liquidity.

Overall, if you want a bank with excellent customer service and the ability to choose from a wide variety of services, USAA is a good option. USAA may be your best choice if you want your CDs at a bank that understands needs specific to military members and their families. But if high yields are your priority, you’re better off looking elsewhere.

The post Review of USAA CD Rates appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

Review of Northwest Bank’s Deposit Rates

Formerly called Northwest Savings Bank, Northwest Bank offers a range of personal banking products and services including loans and insurance. Headquartered in Warren, Pa., Northwest Bank has 175 locations throughout New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Northwest
Northwest Bank was on Forbes’ list of the Most Trustworthy Companies in 2016. JD Power touted Northwest for the “Highest Customer Satisfaction with Retail Banking in the Mid-Atlantic Region” in the same year.Customer service and trustworthiness don’t necessarily translate to the best rate for customers, however. Compared with the rates at other banks, like Ally, Goldman Sachs, and Synchrony Bank, Northwest Bank’s deposit account rates are significantly lower for similar products.

When learning about the various accounts available at Northwest Bank, keep in mind that their rates vary depending on where you live. The rates listed below are based on the area closest to the bank’s headquarters. To get list of rates based on your region, please head over to the rates section of the bank’s official website and enter your ZIP code.

Northwest Bank CD Rates

The CDs at Northwest are locked in based on the term you choose, and interest earned can be compounded or paid out via check or direct deposit into a Northwest Bank account.

Term

APY

Minimum Deposit Amount

12-17 Months

0.30%

$500

18-23 Months

0.35%

$500

24-29 Months

0.45%

$500

30-35 Months

0.55%

$500

36-47 Months

0.60%

$500

48-59 Months

0.75%

$500

60-71 Months

0.90%

$500

72-120 Months

1.00%

$500

Rates current as of 12/05/2017

Northwest Bank’s CD accounts offer higher rates for longer terms. When a CD matures, you have a seven-day grace period where you can opt to roll over the account or take it out in cash.

There are early withdrawal penalties which vary depending on the term:

  • Account terms up to 181 days: one month of interest
  • Account terms 182 days to 364 days: three months of interest
  • Account terms 24 to 47 months: six months of interest
  • Account terms 48 months or longer: 12 months of interest

To withdraw money, you can do so easily using online or mobile banking or by calling your local branch. Early withdrawals will require you to call Northwest Bank; as long as you acknowledge and understand the penalties involved, you can access your cash.

How Northwest Bank’s CDs compare

Compared with competitors, Northwest Bank falls short in terms of APY. With its highest APY at 1.00%, it lags other banks offering almost double that. There are much better CD rates elsewhere and ones with shorter terms. However, the minimum deposit requirement at Northwest Bank is significantly lower than what you’ll find at many competitors, making this account more accessible to those who do not have large amounts to invest.

How to get a Northwest Bank CD

To open an account, you can call Northwest’s toll-free number at 1-877-672-5678, apply online or do so at your local branch.

Northwest Bank Savings Account Rates

Northwest Bank offers two different savings account options. The Statement Savings account is best for those who do not intend to keep a large balance in their accounts and don’t want to pay a monthly fee. The Insured Money Fund is best for those who seek more interest, want access to a Visa debit card and intend to keep larger sums banked.

Statement Savings

You can get access to free online and mobile banking and over 55,000 ATMs, but at the cost of a low APY.

APY

Minimum amount to open

Minimum balance requirement

0.05%

$50

$100

As of 12/05/2017

Interest earned on Northwest Bank’s Statement Savings account compounds and deposits monthly. In order to earn interest, you need to keep an average balance of at least $100.

With your account, you get access to eStatements and a free ATM card. If you already have a checking account with Northwest, you can link your account to your Visa debit card.

You can make deposits or withdrawals using your ATM card, online, via a mobile app or at a branch. However, you can only make unlimited withdrawals in person, by mail or at an ATM. Online withdrawals are limited to six withdrawals a month.

Insured Money Fund

Northwest Bank’s Insured Money Fund provides access to a Visa debit card and unlimited ATM and in-person transactions.

Minimum balance requirement

APY

Minimum amount to open

Up to $2,499.99

0.05%

$50

$2,500.00-$9,999.99

0.10%

$50

$10,000.00-$74,999.99

0.15%

$50

$75,000-$4,999,999.99

0.25%

$50

$5,000,000.00 and over

0.25%

$50

As of 12/05/2017

Compared with Statement Savings, you need to keep a higher balance but you get a higher APY that’s compounded monthly. As long as you keep an average daily balance of $2,500, you will not be charged a service fee. Any lower than that and you’ll have to pay $10 every month.

This account gives you a free Northwest Visa debit card. You can also write checks, deposit money at a qualifying ATM, and have access to monthly statements and direct deposit. You can access your money online, in person or through Bankline, a 24/7 automated telephone banking service. You also get unlimited ATM or in-person transactions.

How Northwest Bank’s Statement Savings a Insured Money Fund compare

The minimum opening balance is on par with some similar offerings from other competitors. However, the rates are much lower compared with what’s out there. You can easily find a savings account with 1.30% APY these days, some with no minimum requirements to open an account.

However, Northwest Bank offers more access to your money compared with others that only allow ACH transfers and check-writing capabilities. Many comparable banks also do not offer in-person customer service or debit cards. You can also make unlimited withdrawals at ATMs, compared with six per month with some of the other banks out there.

Other Northwest Bank Savings Accounts

Club Accounts

Club Accounts are designed to help you reach short-term savings goals, but you can do the same with money market accounts from competitors.

Account name

APY

Minimum amount to open

Term

Holiday Club

0.05%

$1.00

Nov.-Oct.

Vacation Club

0.05%

$1.00

May-Apr.

The Club Accounts are designed to help you reach your short-term savings goals for the busiest times of the year, whether for a vacation or gift giving. These as sub-accounts are designed for a specific purpose similar to a one-year CD. You choose the type of account based on when you want to access your savings, as both accounts offer the same APY and minimum opening deposit.

You fund your account in person, online, via direct deposit or by setting up an automatic transfer. Once the money is in the account, you cannot access it for the duration of the account. At the end of the savings period, you can have a check mailed to you or have it automatically transferred to a Northwest savings or checking account.

Compared with a one-year CD, this account falls short. For one, the rates are significantly lower, with some banks offering at least 1.75% APY for a 12-month CD with a minimum deposit of $500. However, you can access the cash earlier if you’re willing the face the penalties. If you have less than a few hundred dollars for an opening deposit, then the Club Accounts may be a good alternative.

Health Savings Account

Northwest Bank’s Health Savings Account allows you to access pretax funds easily for your medical needs, but at a lower rate compared with some competitors.

Minimum balance requirement

APY

$1,000.00-$4,999.999

0.05%

$5,000.00-$14,999.99

0.10%

$15,000.00 and over

0.15%

Opening a Health Savings Account (HSA), can help you set aside money for out-of-pocket medical expenses. As long as you’re covered under a qualified high-deductible health plan, you can use this account for pre-tax savings to help you cover health care costs.

Northwest Bank’s HSA account requires that you maintain an average daily balance of at least $1,000 if you want to earn interest and avoid a $3 monthly service fee. Like other accounts offered, you get access to online and mobile banking and ATMs. You also get a Northwest HSA debit card which is accepted by Visa merchants worldwide.

Competitors offer similar services with higher rates. However, some of these banks have mandatory monthly service fees of up to $4. With these accounts, you can access your cash the same way, except some offer Mastercard debit cards instead.

How to get a Northwest Bank savings account

You can open an account by phone, online or in person. You’ll need your social security number, personal information and a government issued ID.

Northwest Bank Checking Account Rates

MyNorthwest Interest Checking

This account offers one of the lowest interest rates, but has unlimited ATM transactions and a GO! Rewards account.

APY

Minimum balance requirement

Minimum amount to open

0.01%

$1,500

$50

As of 12/05/2017

MyNorthwest Interest Checking requires a minimum daily balance of $1,000 or else you face a $10 monthly service charge. There is also an overdraft fee of $35 with no grace period. However, you can opt in to a premium service that costs $12 a year. This service links your checking and savings accounts so that any possible drafts from one account will be withdrawn from the other.

Like the savings account, you get access to free ATMs, electronic statements, and online and mobile banking. You also get access to online bill pay and a Northwest Visa debit with Go! Rewards. With this program you earn points with each purchase to redeem for merchandise as well as the ability to use Apple, Android, and Samsung Pay.

How MyNorthwest Interest Checking compares

Compared to other banks’ checking accounts, Northwest’s checking account has a much lower rate. However, it offers free access to ATMs and rises above its competition with its Visa debit card. Not many banks offer GO! Rewards, which could be a huge advantage if you’re interested in earning rewards and plan on using your card often.

How to get a Northwest Bank checking account

To open a checking account, you’ll need your Social Security number, government-issued ID, and account information for existing bank accounts you want to transfer to Northwest Bank.

Northwest Bank IRA Account Rates

IRA CDs

Northwest Bank’s IRA CDs offer one of the lowest minimum deposit amounts, at the expense of a lower APY.

Term

APY

Minimum deposit amount

12-17 Months

0.30%

$500

18-Month Variable

0.35%

$25

18-23 Months

0.35%

$500

24-29 Months

0.45%

$500

30-35 Months

0.55%

$500

36-47 Months

0.60%

$500

48-59 Months

0.75%

$500

60-71 Months

0.90%

$500

72-120 Months

1.00%

$500

As of 12/05/2017

With the IRA CD, you can deposit money any time and in any increment you wish. Interest is compounded and credited every quarter. However, the interest rate is not fixed, meaning that the interest rate may fluctuate on the last day of each quarter.

When your IRA matures, you have a seven-day grace period in which to make withdrawals or roll it over. Early withdrawals are subject to the same penalties as their regular CD accounts

How Northwest Bank’s IRA CDs compare

The minimum opening deposit is one of the lowest out there, compared with some other IRA CDs that ask for a $1,000 minimum for an 18-month IRA CD. Like Northwest Bank’s other products, their IRA CDs offer a much lower rate, at least half of what its competitors offer.

How to get an IRA CD from Northwest Bank

You will need to apply for an IRA CD at the nearest branch.

IRA Tiered Money Fund

This account offers higher rates than their IRA CD, but still falls short compared with other banks.

Minimum balance requirement

APY

Up to $2,499.99

0.10%

$2,500.00-$9,999.99

0.10%

$10,000.00-$74,999.99

0.10%

$75,000.00 and over

0.25%

As of 12/05/2017

Like the IRA CD, you only need a minimum of $25 to open an account and deposit money as often as you want. There is a tiered interest based on balance, and interest is compounded and deposited every month. As well, there are no withdrawal restrictions, unlike the IRA CD where you may be penalized for early withdrawals.

If you’re looking for a similar product else with higher rates, you can consider a savings or checking account that may have tiered APYs.

How to get an IRA Money Fund from Northwest Bank

Visit your local branch to open an IRA Money Fund. You cannot open one online.

Bottom line

Although Northwest Bank offers free ATM access as well as a wide variety of customer service options, its rates are significantly lower than you’ll find with competitors. If you’re looking for a bank that offers more competitive rates with similar services, you may be better off looking elsewhere.

The post Review of Northwest Bank’s Deposit Rates appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

OpenSky Secured Visa Review: No Checking Account Required

The OpenSky Secured Visa secured credit card can be helpful for those who have bad or no credit history. This card is designed for consumers who want to rebuild or create a credit history. OpenSky does not require a checking account or credit check when you apply, which makes the application process simple. Take note that this card does come with an annual fee, unlike other secured cards. With responsible use, you could see an increase in your credit score and move to an unsecured card.

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card from Capital Bank N.A.

APPLY NOW Secured

on Capital Bank N.A.’s secure website

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card from Capital Bank N.A.

Annual fee
$35 For First Year
$35 Ongoing
Minimum Deposit
$200
APR
18.39% APR
Credit required
zero-credit
New to Credit, Bad

How the card works

Since this is a secured card you will have to make a security deposit. This money will become your line of credit and must remain in your account while your card is open. There are four options to make your security deposit and fund your account. The first is using a debit card. Simply provide your debit card information on your application, and OpenSky will process your transaction right away. You can also complete a wire transfer to Capital Bank. If you don’t have a checking account, you can use Western Union or mail a check or money order. An email with instructions on how to fund your security deposit will be sent after your application has been approved. Note that, depending on the method of payment that you choose, it may take up to five business days for your security deposit to clear.

If you’re looking to improve your credit score, the best way to take advantage of this card is to start off with a low credit limit and find a recurring expense you can put on the card. For example, you can put your utility bills on the card. Make sure that you pay this on time and in full every month. To ensure it’s paid on time, you can enroll in their auto pay program, which will guarantee you never miss a payment. Once you enroll in auto pay, the credit card company will make a scheduled monthly payment automatically on the day you choose. This way, you will have a purchase every month that OpenSky can report to all three major bureaus.

How to qualify

To quality for this credit card you do not need to have credit history, but you do need a job. By having a job you will show a stable source of income, which shows credit lenders you are responsible and can pay your bills. In addition you will need a security deposit. That means if you want a $1,000 credit limit, you’ll need to have $1,000 deposited at account opening. The online application is four simple steps that can be completed in 10 minutes. They request basic personal and financial information, have you choose the starting credit limit you prefer, and fund your security deposit. Your requested credit limit is subject to approval based on your creditworthiness.

What we like about the card

No credit check

OpenSky does not check your credit history during the application process. This is great if you lack a credit history or have poor credit, therefore improving your approval odds.

Simple application process

The application process takes place solely online, making it easy to apply at your convenience. It only takes 10 minutes according to OpenSky to complete the application. There are four easy steps: provide your personal and financial information, customize and fund your card, review your information, and accept the terms and conditions.

No checking account needed

OpenSky does not require you to have a checking account to apply for this card. This is great for those who want to establish credit but don’t have a bank account. The majority of credit cards require bank accounts, so this is a good option if you don’t have a bank account.

What we don’t like about the card

Annual fee

OpenSky charges cardholders a $35 annual fee. Be sure to review your credit options, because you can find other secured cards that do not charge an annual fee. However, note that those cards may require a checking account, so make sure to review your options.

Foreign transaction fee

Make sure this card remains at home when you travel abroad since there is a high 3% foreign transaction fee. This will increase your bill if you make purchases abroad, so it’s best left at home.

No option for an unsecured card

If you’re ready to move onto an unsecured card, there is no option with OpenSky. That means you’ll have to look to another company, which could be a hassle because of the process of applying for the card, getting a credit check, and closing your current card.

Who the card is best for

If you’ve struggled with being approved for credit cards in the past due to bad or nonexistent credit history, the OpenSky Secured Visa may be right for you. With no credit check during the application process, you have good approval odds. This card is also for those who do not have a checking account but want to build credit, as you won’t find many credit cards that are offered to people without checking accounts. However, the annual fee and lack of transition to an unsecured card can make you think twice about this card. You can find MagnifyMoney’s ranking of the best secured credit cards here.

Alternatives

Secured MasterCard from Capital One Bank

Annual fee

$0 For First Year

$0 Ongoing

Minimum Deposit

$49

APR

24.99% APR

Fixed

This credit card doesn’t require that you have your security deposit equal your credit limit. You can make a deposit as low as $49, unlike the OpenSky card, which is $200. However, this card will check your credit history and will determine your deposit requirement based on your creditworthiness. There is no annual fee associated with this card, unlike OpenSky.

Discover it® Secured Card - No Annual Fee

Annual fee

$0 For First Year

$0 Ongoing

Minimum Deposit

$200

APR

23.99% APR

Variable

This card has no annual fee, unlike OpenSky. It also features 2% cash back on up to $1,000 per quarter on gas and restaurant purchases and 1% on other spending. In addition, after eight months you may be eligible for an unsecured credit card, which you can’t do with OpenSky. These are great benefits that make the Discover it® Secured card a good alternative.

DCU Visa Platinum Secured from Digital FCU

Annual fee

$0 For First Year

$0 Ongoing

Minimum Deposit

$300

APR

12.50% APR

There is also no annual fee for this card, as well as no cash advance or balance transfer fees. The APR is lower than OpenSky, which is beneficial if you think you might carry a balance month to month. According to a DCU representative, the maximum credit limit is $2,000. However, it is determined by your overall creditworthiness. Also, you’ll need to be a member of Digital Federal Credit Union, which may be difficult to get into. You can learn about eligibility requirements here.

FAQ

No, OpenSky does not check your credit history. So any bad history you may have will not affect your approval odds.

A security deposit is the amount of money you deposit into your account and acts as collateral. It also becomes your line of credit. That means if you make a $1,000 security deposit, you’ll have a $1,000 credit line.

There are four options to make your security deposit.

  1. Debit card- Simply provide your debit card information on your application, and OpenSky will process your transaction right away.
  2. Wire transfer to Capital Bank

If you don’t have a checking account:

  1. Western Union
  2. Mail a check or money order

An email with instructions on how to fund your security deposit will be sent after your application has been approved. Note that, depending on the method of payment that you choose, it may take up to five business days for your security deposit to clear.

Additional reporting by Alexandria White

The post OpenSky Secured Visa Review: No Checking Account Required appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

A Comprehensive Guide to the Solo 401(k) for Business Owners

If you run your own business, one of the difficulties in saving for retirement is that you don’t necessarily have easy access to a 401(k).

Enter the solo 401(k). This is a retirement savings option for self-employed business owners who have no employees and their spouses. Read on to find out how it works, who is eligible, and how you can open an account.

The Solo 401(k): Explained

What Is a Solo 401(k)?

Also known as a one-participant or individual 401(k), a solo 401(k) works just like a company-sponsored 401(k) would, except it’s for self-employed individuals who don’t have any other employees other than their spouses and themselves.

Just like a traditional 401(k), you can control how your money is invested. There are different plans, with most comprising stocks, bonds, and money market funds. These are considered “free” prototype plans offered by brokerages, and you’re typically limited to investments offered by that brokerage.

However, there are options for those looking to participate in alternative investments, such as precious metals or even real estate. There are companies that help you open what’s called a self-directed 401(k) and that sponsor “checkbook control” solo 401(k) plans, meaning that individuals can control the type of investments they want to make, whether it’s stocks, bonds, foreign currency, real estate, or commodities. You do so by writing a check for investment purchases, from a bank account dedicated specifically for that purpose.

Who Is Eligible for a Solo 401(k)

Only self-employed individuals and their spouses are eligible for a solo 401(k). This plan is ideal for consultants, independent contractors, or sole proprietors. If you hire part-time workers or contractors, then you’re still safe. However, if they work for you for more than 1,000 hours a year, you cannot participate in a solo 401(k).

Furthermore, you need to have the presence of self-employment activity to be eligible, which includes ownership and operation of an LLC, C, or S corporation, a sole proprietorship, or a limited partnership where the business intends to make a profit. There are no criteria as to how much profit a business needs to generate, as long as you run a legitimate business with the intention to generate a profit.

If you are currently employed elsewhere, you can still open a solo 401(k) account if you’re serious about maximizing your pre-tax savings. If you work for an employer that offers a 401(k) plan, you can still participate in their plan alongside a solo 401(k) plan, as long as you don’t exceed the contribution limits.

Where to Open a Solo 401(k)

You can open a solo 401(k) with most major brokerages. For those looking for a custom plan, there are companies that specialize in providing those plans. Some insurance companies also offer solo 401(k) plans but only if your goal is to invest solely in annuities.

Below are some of the most popular companies offering solo 401(k) plans:

Vanguard – The individual 401(k) offers all Vanguard mutual funds. However, you cannot purchase exchange-traded funds (ETFs) or mutual funds from other companies and cannot take out a loan. There is no setup fee, but there is a $20 fee per account per year to maintain your solo 401(k).

SunAmerica – The SunAmerica Individual(k) offers mainly annuities as part of their plan. You can take out a loan (for a fee). It costs $35 to set up your account, and there is an annual maintenance fee of $75.

E-Trade – The E-Trade Individual 401(k) Plan allows Roth contributions and has a brokerage option with $9.99 trades for any ETF. They accept IRA rollovers and allow for loans. They also will pay you if you transfer your current solo 401(k) to them: $200 for $25,000-$99,000, $300 for $100,000-$249,000, and $600 for a $250,000+ plan.

How to Establish a Solo 401(k)

When opening a solo 401(k) plan, you want to choose the option best for your needs. Once you’ve selected your brokerage, you’ll need to have the necessary documents:

  • 401(k) plan adoption agreement
  • Designation of successor plan administrator, which requires a notary or a witness
  • Brokerage account application
  • Designation of beneficiary form
  • Power of attorney (optional)

If you plan on opening one for your spouse, you’ll need to do twice the paperwork (one form for each person).

Remember, you need to open a solo 401(k) account by December 31 of the tax year. You don’t need to actually fund it until the April 15 filing deadline. If you miss opening an account, you’ll have to wait until the next tax year to do so.

How Much You Can Contribute to a Solo 401(k)

Participants in a solo 401(k) plan can make contributions both as an employee and an employer.

For elective (employee) contributions, you can contribute up to 100% of your earned income, up to the annual contribution limit, which is $18,000 in 2017. Those age 50 or older can contribute an additional $6,000, depending on the type of plan, according to the IRS.

When making a contribution as an employer, you can contribute up to 25% of your earned income as an employee. Your total contributions cannot exceed $54,000 in 2017 ($53,000 for 2016), not counting extra contributions for those 50 or older.

For example, Mary earned $40,000 from her freelance business in 2016. She put $18,000 in this plan as an employee. As an employer, she contributed 25% of earnings, which is $10,000. In total, she contributed $28,000, which is the maximum she can contribute.

Remember, contribution limits are for each person, not each plan. If you are working full time for another employer and participate in that company’s 401(k) plan, combined contributions to your traditional 401(k) and solo 401(k) cannot exceed the annual limit.

To figure out the maximum contributions you can make, check the IRS website on how to calculate a more accurate amount.

Read more: 9 Essential Tax Tips for Entrepreneurs >

Learn More About Solo 401(k)s

The Pros of a Solo 401(k)

The solo 401(k) has higher contribution limits compared to other retirement savings plans. You can contribute up to $18,000 plus 25% of earned income, compared to a maximum of $54,000 or only 20% your earnings (whichever is less) with a SEP IRA. Your employer contributions are also tax deductible.

You also have the option to borrow up to 50% of your account’s value or $50,000, whichever amount is less.

The Cons of a Solo 401(k)

A solo 401(k) can get complicated to set up and maintain, particularly if you intend on opening a customized plan. Depending on the company you go with, fees can cost you at least a few hundred dollars to set up an account, not including fees to maintain the plan annually.

Even if you open a prototype plan, it can cost you. Yes, it’s free to set up, but they put many requirements on you as the owner. These requirements include filing tax return documents once a year if your plan has more than $250,000 in assets and keeping up to date with all records and transactions.

Alternatives to a Solo 401(k) Plan

There are two alternatives to a solo 401(k) plan — a SIMPLE IRA and a SEP IRA. The main difference between each is the maximum amount you can contribute to each year.

SIMPLE IRA – A Simple IRA plan is for those who as an employee (including those who are self-employed) have earned a minimum of $5,000 any two years before the current calendar year and expect to receive at least $5,000 for the current calendar year. You can contribute up to $12,500, plus an employer match of 3% of employee compensation. Those 50 or older can also contribute up to an extra $3,000. You can find more information about the simple IRA on the IRS website.

SEP IRA – A Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) plan only allows employers to contribute to the plan, unlike a solo 401(k). Employers can contribute a maximum of $53,000 or 20% of their net self-employment earnings, whichever amount is less.

Even with all its benefits, there may be a few reasons why someone is better off not opening a solo 401(k). “If you’re concerned about doing additional paperwork, a SEP IRA might also be a better choice,” advises Robert Farrington, founder of the College Investor. “If you’re working a side hustle and have a regular 401(k) at your day job, the alternatives might be easier.”

Who Solo 401(k) Plans Are Best For

While any of the above options are helpful for self-employed individuals, the solo 401(k) is best for those who are looking to invest heavily in their savings. “The solo 401(k) is best suited for a self-employed individual who wants to maximize their retirement savings,” says Farrington.

“Furthermore, if you’re a husband/wife/spouse team, your spouse can also contribute to the solo 401(k) with the same percentage of ownership, so you can get even more in tax savings and retirement contributions.”

The post A Comprehensive Guide to the Solo 401(k) for Business Owners appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

5 Ways to Protect Your Money on Summer Vacation

Summer vacations should be a time to relax and recharge your batteries. It’s also a time to socialize more, travel more, and fly to exotic destinations.

For those who are traveling long distances (especially to another country) during the summer, there are a few precautions you need to take to ensure that you protect your money. If you set these in place, you can relax a bit more and, hopefully, have more fun on your trip.

Tell Bank and Credit Card Companies About Your Travel Plans

If you don’t tell your bank or credit card company that you’re planning on traveling, they may think all those purchases you’ve made are faulty. Unfortunately, that means that you may lose access to your credit or debit card.

It only takes a few minutes to call these places and let them know about your plans. Doing so is even more important for those planning on traveling overseas. When you call, let them know the places you plan on visiting and how long your trip will last.

Only Bring the Necessities in Your Wallet

If you have a lot of cards and IDs in your wallet, only take what you will use on your trip. For example, bring a credit card, a backup credit card, and an ATM or debit card if you plan on withdrawing cash. If you need to, bring your driver’s license.

To prevent identity theft, leave your Social Security card at home in case your wallet gets stolen. If you think you might need it for any reason, photocopy it and black-out the last four digits. In fact, it’s a good idea to make photocopies of credit and bank cards you’ll be taking with you on your trip, as well as your IDs (including the passport data page) to keep on hand. You can also give copies of those, as well as your travel itinerary, to a trusted friend or family member at home in case of an emergency.

The less you have in your wallet, the less of a hassle it will be if you do need to replace your cards if they get stolen. It’s even better if you put your credit cards and IDs in separate locations so you don’t lose all access to cash during your trip.

Use Your Credit Card as Much as Possible

Most credit cards will protect you from liability for fraudulent purchases, which is helpful in case your card is lost or stolen. Also, if you make most of your major purchases on your credit card (such as hotel and flights), you may be eligible for travel insurance. Of course, that depends on the terms on your credit card.

Using credit cards instead of cash means that you can recoup your losses much faster. If someone stole cash from your wallet, the chances of getting that money back are pretty slim. However, if you have a credit card stolen, all future purchases made will not be your responsibility.

If you want to save money on pesky exchange fees, make sure to use a credit card that has no foreign transaction fees. That means you’re only paying the exchange rate on the day you make a purchase. You can even consider using a cash back or travel rewards card to earn points while you travel. Some cards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, allow you to earn 2x points on travel and dining purchases.

Watch Out for Fake ATMs

There may be times when you need to get cash during your vacation. With thousands of ATM machines around the world, there’s no shortage of access. However, you’ll want to make sure that the machine you’re getting your cash from is a legitimate one.

Unfortunately, thieves like to put fake ATM machines in high traffic tourist areas. What happens is they end up stealing your card information and all your money along with it. In 2010, a man in Beijing was arrested for installing a fake ATM machine near a corner store. Unsuspecting passers-by would use the machine, get an “out of order” message, and later discover their accounts had been drained.

If you’re unsure about the ATM machine, don’t use it. The Beijing fraudster went to some trouble to make his ATM look legit, even adding signage like “24 hours self-service,” according to media reports. But there were some pretty clear giveaways to show the Beijing machine was a fake — the money slot was sealed shut, the security camera was a piece of plastic, and the receipt slot was sealed.

To play it safe, it might be better to avoid stand-alone ATMs and stick to ATMs that are located in airports, transportation hubs, hotels, or banks.

You can even do a bit of research beforehand and look up ATM machine locations on your bank or credit card website. For example, Visa and MasterCard show locations of their ATM machines around the world. You can easily do a search and know which one you can head to.

Also, consider keeping only a small amount of cash in the account linked to your debit card. Even if your account is compromised, a thief won’t get away with much.

Keep Up with Your Purchases from Your Trip

There’s nothing wrong with relaxing, but you still need to be alert on your trip. Whenever you purchase something, check the receipt to make sure all charges are accounted for or you got the right change if you paid in cash. If you have online bank access, check to see if all charges are actually yours.

Also, you’ll want to be as organized as possible. Aside from only bringing the necessities in your wallet, make sure you can access your things easily in your purse or bag. If you have to search in your bag a lot, you may end up misplacing important documents or lose valuable items.

It’s also a good idea to review your credit card and bank statements when you get back from your trip if you weren’t able to check it during your trip. If there is fraudulent activity, report it right away.

Final Thoughts

Protecting your money on your summer vacation doesn’t have to be stressful or take a lot of time. As long as you take some precautions and are careful in your surroundings, you’ll be able to enjoy your vacation much more.

The post 5 Ways to Protect Your Money on Summer Vacation appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

5 Ways to Protect Your Money on Summer Vacation

Summer vacations should be a time to relax and recharge your batteries. It’s also a time to socialize more, travel more, and fly to exotic destinations.

For those who are traveling long distances (especially to another country) during the summer, there are a few precautions you need to take to ensure that you protect your money. If you set these in place, you can relax a bit more and, hopefully, have more fun on your trip.

Tell Bank and Credit Card Companies About Your Travel Plans

If you don’t tell your bank or credit card company that you’re planning on traveling, they may think all those purchases you’ve made are faulty. Unfortunately, that means that you may lose access to your credit or debit card.

It only takes a few minutes to call these places and let them know about your plans. Doing so is even more important for those planning on traveling overseas. When you call, let them know the places you plan on visiting and how long your trip will last.

Only Bring the Necessities in Your Wallet

If you have a lot of cards and IDs in your wallet, only take what you will use on your trip. For example, bring a credit card, a backup credit card, and an ATM or debit card if you plan on withdrawing cash. If you need to, bring your driver’s license.

To prevent identity theft, leave your Social Security card at home in case your wallet gets stolen. If you think you might need it for any reason, photocopy it and black-out the last four digits. In fact, it’s a good idea to make photocopies of credit and bank cards you’ll be taking with you on your trip, as well as your IDs (including the passport data page) to keep on hand. You can also give copies of those, as well as your travel itinerary, to a trusted friend or family member at home in case of an emergency.

The less you have in your wallet, the less of a hassle it will be if you do need to replace your cards if they get stolen. It’s even better if you put your credit cards and IDs in separate locations so you don’t lose all access to cash during your trip.

Use Your Credit Card as Much as Possible

Most credit cards will protect you from liability for fraudulent purchases, which is helpful in case your card is lost or stolen. Also, if you make most of your major purchases on your credit card (such as hotel and flights), you may be eligible for travel insurance. Of course, that depends on the terms on your credit card.

Using credit cards instead of cash means that you can recoup your losses much faster. If someone stole cash from your wallet, the chances of getting that money back are pretty slim. However, if you have a credit card stolen, all future purchases made will not be your responsibility.

If you want to save money on pesky exchange fees, make sure to use a credit card that has no foreign transaction fees. That means you’re only paying the exchange rate on the day you make a purchase. You can even consider using a cash back or travel rewards card to earn points while you travel. Some cards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, allow you to earn 2x points on travel and dining purchases.

Watch Out for Fake ATMs

There may be times when you need to get cash during your vacation. With thousands of ATM machines around the world, there’s no shortage of access. However, you’ll want to make sure that the machine you’re getting your cash from is a legitimate one.

Unfortunately, thieves like to put fake ATM machines in high traffic tourist areas. What happens is they end up stealing your card information and all your money along with it. In 2010, a man in Beijing was arrested for installing a fake ATM machine near a corner store. Unsuspecting passers-by would use the machine, get an “out of order” message, and later discover their accounts had been drained.

If you’re unsure about the ATM machine, don’t use it. The Beijing fraudster went to some trouble to make his ATM look legit, even adding signage like “24 hours self-service,” according to media reports. But there were some pretty clear giveaways to show the Beijing machine was a fake — the money slot was sealed shut, the security camera was a piece of plastic, and the receipt slot was sealed.

To play it safe, it might be better to avoid stand-alone ATMs and stick to ATMs that are located in airports, transportation hubs, hotels, or banks.

You can even do a bit of research beforehand and look up ATM machine locations on your bank or credit card website. For example, Visa and MasterCard show locations of their ATM machines around the world. You can easily do a search and know which one you can head to.

Also, consider keeping only a small amount of cash in the account linked to your debit card. Even if your account is compromised, a thief won’t get away with much.

Keep Up with Your Purchases from Your Trip

There’s nothing wrong with relaxing, but you still need to be alert on your trip. Whenever you purchase something, check the receipt to make sure all charges are accounted for or you got the right change if you paid in cash. If you have online bank access, check to see if all charges are actually yours.

Also, you’ll want to be as organized as possible. Aside from only bringing the necessities in your wallet, make sure you can access your things easily in your purse or bag. If you have to search in your bag a lot, you may end up misplacing important documents or lose valuable items.

It’s also a good idea to review your credit card and bank statements when you get back from your trip if you weren’t able to check it during your trip. If there is fraudulent activity, report it right away.

Final Thoughts

Protecting your money on your summer vacation doesn’t have to be stressful or take a lot of time. As long as you take some precautions and are careful in your surroundings, you’ll be able to enjoy your vacation much more.

The post 5 Ways to Protect Your Money on Summer Vacation appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

What Happens to Loans When We Die?

You may not have to pay loans after you pass away, but that doesn’t mean they disappear into thin air. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer as to what happens to your loans when you die, but there are many factors that can affect them. Where you live, the types of loans you have, as well as who applied for them can determine what happens.

While it’s not fun to think about your eventual demise, it’s necessary to know if your debt could be passed onto another person.

Gathering Up Loans

When you pass on, your executor will notify creditors, hopefully as soon as possible. Whatever known creditors you have, the executor will notify them and forward a copy of your death certificate and request that they update their files. He or she will also notify the three major credit reporting agencies to notify them that you are no longer alive, which will help prevent identity theft. As well, the executor will then get a copy of your credit report to figure out what debts are outstanding.

When that is completed, the executor will go through probate, which means that your estate goes through a process of paying off bills and dividing what’s left to the state or whoever you named in your will.

When Someone May Be Responsible for Paying Back Your Loans

Simply put, your loans are the responsibility of your estate, which means everything that you owned up until your death. Whoever is responsible for dealing with your estate (usually your executor) will use those assets to pay off your debts. This could involve selling off property to get money to pay it off or writing checks to do so. The rest of it then will distributed according to the wishes in your will. If there isn’t enough money to pay off the debtors, then they’re usually out of luck.

However, this isn’t always the case. If you co-signed a loan or have joint accounts (like credit cards), then the account holders may be fully responsible to pay off the whole debt, no matter who incurred it.

If you live in a community property state, then your spouse could be responsible for paying off your loans. If you have property in Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, or Wisconsin, your spouse may have to pay back half of any community property from a marriage. This doesn’t include any loans you have that came before the marriage. However, Alaska only holds a spouse responsible if they enter into a community property agreement. All states have different rules, so it’s best to check what will apply to your situation.

There is also the “filial responsibility” law that could hold your adult children responsible for paying back loans that are related to medical or long-term care. The same works in reverse. Currently, there are around 30 states that enforce this law, including Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Some enforce this law pretty strictly, so it’s best to check with your state to see what could happen.

For more details on the different types of loans, read on to find out about what could happen to each when you pass on.

Credit Card Debt

If the credit card debt was yours and yours alone, then your estate is responsible for paying off the debt. Depending on which state you live in, creditors may only have a limited time to file a claim after you have died. If your estate goes through probate, then the executor will look at your assets and debts and determine which bills should be paid first, according to the law.

If there isn’t money left when it comes time to pay off your credit cards, those companies unfortunately have to call it a loss. Credit card companies cannot legally force family, friends, or heirs to pay back your debt unless you live in a community property state. In that case, your surviving spouse may be liable.

However, if the credit card is joint, the other account holder is responsible for it. That means if a family member or business partner signed the card application as a joint account owner, then he or she will need to help pay back the loan along with your estate. However, if your partner is just an authorized user (meaning he or she didn’t sign the application), then they’re not held responsible.

Mortgages and Home Equity Loans

There are several options for dealing with an outstanding mortgage after you have passed away. Due to the complexity of these options, it may be worth speaking with a local estate attorney.

If you are the sole owner and your mortgage has a due-on-sale clause, your lender may try to collect the entire balance of the loan or foreclose on the property. However, the CFPB has expanded protection for heirs who have inherited a home. The transfer of property after your death won’t trigger the Bureau’s ability-to-repay rule, making it easier for your heirs to pay off your loan or refinance.

In contrast, a home equity loan against your home is different. A lender may have the right to force someone who inherits the home to pay back the loan right away. Some lenders may work with your heirs to take over the payments or work out a plan, but you shouldn’t assume that will be the case. In a worst-case scenario, your heirs may have to sell your property to pay back your home equity loan.

Car Loans

Car loans are similar to the other types of debt we have discussed. The steps for handling this type of debt will depend on whose name is on the loan and where you live. If your heirs or co-signer are willing to take over your payments, the lender won’t need to take any action. However, the lender can repossess the car if the loan isn’t paid back.

Student Loans

If you have federal student loans, these will be discharged when you die. It will not be passed onto anyone else. If you were a student recipient of Parent PLUS loans, you’re also eligible for a death discharge. These loans will not be the responsibility of your estate. Your executor simply has to present an original death certificate or certified copy of your death certificate to your loan servicer.

However, if you and your spouse co-signed Parent PLUS loans on behalf of a student, your spouse will still be responsible for the balance.

Some private lenders may also offer a death discharge if you don’t have a co-signer. However, these policies vary by institution. You should review the terms of your loan for the specifics. Wells Fargo is an example of a company that may allow student loan forgiveness in the case of death.

However, if your private loan has a co-signer, your co-signer may be legally responsible to pay back your debts. Some companies may ask for the balance immediately. Also, if you live in a community property state, your spouse may be held responsible for your student loans if the debt was acquired during the marriage.

Medical Bills

If you have outstanding medical bills, nursing home bills, or any expense related to your long-term care, your spouse or family members may be responsible for paying it back per your state’s filial responsibility laws.

Your children could be held responsible for your medical bills if the following scenarios are true:

  • You receive care in a state with a filial responsibility law.
  • You don’t qualify for Medicaid while receiving care.
  • You can’t afford your bills, but your children can.
  • Your caregiver sues your children to collect on your unpaid bills.

Final Thoughts

The last thing your family members want to think about after you have died is outstanding loans. This is why it is essential to get organized in advance. It may be worth speaking with a financial planner regarding the specifics of your individual situation. They can help you review which options could best protect your heirs from your unpaid debt. Once you have passed away, your heirs should seek assistance from a qualified estate attorney.

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