6 Things You Need to Know About Amazon Prime Day

Online shoppers are gearing up for Amazon’s third annual Prime Day — a period of deep discounts on many Amazon items in mid-July. Since the company began Prime Day three years ago, it’s become the summertime answer to Black Friday.

But what’s all the fuss really about? In years past, there have been complaints that the site’s sale items aren’t all that exciting, with the hottest items selling out too quickly for many to take advantage of the deals.

Amazon hasn’t said much about what 2017’s Prime Day will look like, but to help you prepare, here are some things you need to know.

Q: When is Amazon Prime Day?

A: July 10-11

Prime Day kicks off at 9 p.m. EST on July 10, when the best deals will be posted online, and run for the next 30 hours.

New deals will be offered every five minutes, according to Amazon.

Q: Where can I find the best deals on Amazon Prime Day?

Electronics

Benjamin Glaser, features editor at DealNews, says that last year, Amazon Prime shoppers saved about 30% to 40% on electronics. Globally, people bought over 90,000 TVs, and in the U.S., people bought over 200,000 headphones during the 2016 Prime Day, according to an Amazon press release. However, Glaser cautions that TV deals tend to sell out fast.

It’s a safe bet that the best deals will be on Amazon-branded electronics, such as the Echo, Kindle, Fire tablets, and Fire TV products.

Glaser is anticipating seeing $15 off of the Fire TV Stick, which is currently at $39.99. The Echo, priced at $179.99, dropped to $129.99 on Monday June 26 for the day — the best deal on it this year.

It’s also likely that there will be deals on electronics that tie into the Amazon Alexa ecosystem, such as Philips Hue smart lights products — the starter kit is priced at $173.99 — and smart thermostats such as Nest, which is currently $246.85 (at the time of this writing).

Toys and more

Also, considering that 2 million toys and 1 million pairs of shoes were bought globally last Prime Day, it’s also likely there will be deals in those departments.

For example, among the best deals last year was $699 for the Segway miniPRO Smart Self Balancing Personal Transporter, which at the time was the lowest price for it on Amazon by $300, according to DealNews. The game Exploding Kittens: A Card Game was also on sale for $15, the lowest price on Amazon by $9 at the time.

Expect some products to have record low prices for Amazon.

“We have confirmed over the last two years that a lot of the prices rival the best prices we see on the site all year,” Glaser says.

Q: How long will deals last on Amazon Prime Day?

A: Amazon promises new deals every 5 minutes starting at 9 p.m. EST on July 10.

Some deals will expire in mere minutes, while others will last several hours, and some will last for the duration of the sale event. Each deal will have a timer that shows how long it is available.

Q: How do I know when an item goes on sale?

A: The Amazon App specifically includes a feature called “Watch a Deal” that will let you know when a deal you’re interested in is about to go live.

You also can join a waitlist (by selecting that button on the page) for deals that are 100% claimed.

Q: Do I need to be an Amazon Prime member?

A: You must be an Amazon Prime member to access the Prime Day deals. A Prime membership costs $99 a year or $10.99 per month and includes a number of other perks. Recently, Amazon announced a reduced price for Prime membership for low-income households.

“So, if that [$10.99] is less than what you think you’ll save on the stuff you want to buy [on Prime Day], then it’s a worthwhile investment,” Glaser says.

Amazon also offers a 30-day free trial, so if you haven’t had Prime before, you can use that to participate in Prime Day.

“This might be a good month to give Prime a test drive and see if you get good value out of it,” Glaser says.

Q: How will I know when they announce deals?

A: Glaser says Amazon will likely soon start releasing ads for some of the deals, so keep an eye out for them. Look particularly at Amazon products, electronics, small kitchen appliances, and shoes. Plan what you want to buy and set a shopping budget.

Since some deals will only be available for a certain time, you might want to set alerts for items. If you don’t already have an app that you use to track prices on Amazon, Glaser recommends the free apps CamelCamelCamel or If This Then That.

With all of the deals, it will be easy to buy things you weren’t planning on and don’t need. Glaser cautions against getting swept up in these deals and recommends sticking to your budget on Prime Day.

“If you see something that’s 95% off, you might spring to buy it and not really think about how much money you’re still spending, and whether it’s something you actually want,” Glaser says.

The post 6 Things You Need to Know About Amazon Prime Day appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

3 Credit Cards Book Lovers May Want to Add to Their Collection

For book lovers who want help affording their literary habit.

Bibliophiles know there’s no better way to pass the time than to get lost between the covers of a good book. But a love for stocking your bookshelves, means spending a lot of time and money at the bookstore.

True book lovers may want help affording their literary habit. Whether you prefer thrilling page turners, thoroughly researched biographies or the classics, some credit cards can help you feed your book addiction.

Here are three credit cards bookworms may like.

1. Barnes & Noble Mastercard

Rewards: 5% cash back on Barnes & Noble purchases, two points per dollar spent at restaurants, one point per dollar spent on everything else
Signup Bonus: $25 Barnes & Noble gift card after your first purchase
Annual Fee: None
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): Variable 14.74% or 25.74% on purchases, 0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers made within the first 45 days after opening the account, then variable 14.74% or 25.74%
Why We Picked It: Readers can save on their online and in-store Barnes & Noble purchases and earn gift cards with everyday purchases.
Benefits: Cardholders earn 5% cash back on Barnes & Noble purchases. The cash back is credited to their account. Dining purchases earn two points per dollar. All other purchases earn one point per dollar. Every time you reach 2,500 points, you’ll be shipped a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card. You also get automatic Barnes & Noble membership if you spend $7,500 or more on your card each year. (Want more ways to save at Barnes & Noble? We have 13 right here.)
Drawbacks: If you like to shop elsewhere for your books, the Barnes & Noble card isn’t right for you.

2. Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card

Rewards: 3% back at Amazon.com (or 5% with Amazon Prime), 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores, 1% back on everything else
Signup Bonus: $50 Amazon.com gift card upon approval
Annual Fee: None
APR: Variable 14.99% to 22.99%
Why We Picked It: If you buy your books on Amazon.com, you can earn back decent rewards, especially with Amazon Prime.
Benefits: This card earns a certain percentage back on all purchases, with extra incentives for Amazon.com, restaurant, gas station and drugstore purchases. The percentage you earn back comes in the form of points, which can be redeemed for Amazon.com purchases, travel, gift cards and more.
Drawbacks: To squeeze the most value out of this card, you’ll have to pay for an annual Amazon Prime membership.

3. U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card

Rewards: 5% cash back on $2,000 in combined eligible purchases for two quarterly categories chosen by you, 2% cash back on one everyday category chosen by you, 1% cash back on everything else.
Signup Bonus: None
Annual Fee: None
APR: Variable 14.99% to 23.99% on purchases, 0% intro APR for 12 months on balance transfers made within the first 60 days of account opening, then variable 14.99% to 23.99%.
Why We Picked It: Book lovers can choose bookstore purchases to receive a special cash-back rate.
Benefits: This card lets you define the categories that earn 5% and 2% cash back. You can choose two categories to earn 5% cash back for up to $2,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Bookstores are one of many available categories.
Drawbacks: This card requires a bit of management, as you’ll have to choose categories every quarter to earn your 5% back.

How to Choose a Credit Card to Fuel Your Reading Habits

When choosing a credit card to help fund your book addiction, you may want a card to use exclusively for book purchases or a card to also use for everyday spending.

If you plan to use a credit card exclusively for book purchases, your best bet is to choose a card that offers the biggest rewards at your bookstore of choice. That could be a store-branded credit card or a general cash-back credit card with a great rewards rate.

If you want a card to use for everyday spending, you may have to do some additional legwork. You’ll want to choose a card that rewards both your book spending and the other types of purchases you tend to make. You’ll also need to consider your goals for a card, and whether you want cash back, travel rewards, balance transfer options or other benefits.

What Credit Do You Need to Get a Credit Card for Book Purchases?

Cash back and rewards cards generally require good to excellent credit. Before you apply, you’ll want to be reasonably confident in your ability to get approved, as a hard inquiry into your credit can lower your credit score a few points. Before you apply, you can check two of your credit scores for free through Credit.com.

Image: Squaredpixels 

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

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17 Ways to Save at Amazon

Because, face it, we can all use 'em.

For whatever your little heart may desire, retail behemoth Amazon is likely the place that will have it. For any room in your house to the outside of your house to your personal, beauty and baby needs, the list of Amazon purchasing options goes on and on and on. If you’re worried that clicking away on tempting items online might lead you to go into debt, try using some of these tactics the next time you’re shopping on the site.

Here are 17 ways to save at Amazon.

1. Check Out Today’s Deals

The Today’s Deals section on the Amazon site is loaded with savings options. From coupons and 24-hour deals to open box and used items, as well as their online outlet store, the savings are endless. Make this your first stop any time Amazon is on your brain (and browser).

2. Sign up for Subscribe & Save

For those things you purchase regularly, it might be worth signing up for the Subscribe & Save program. You can save up to 15% on these items, set up a regular schedule for receiving them and get free shipping.

3. Get Amazon Prime

If you shop on Amazon enough, the $99 yearly fee to subscribe to Amazon Prime might be worth it. You’ll earn rewards with your purchases and get free two-day shipping on some items. You’ll also have access to a selection of streaming TV shows and movies, additional coupons and a free two-month trial on the family plan of Amazon Music Unlimited, plus a discount on full membership if you end up joining. Still not sure it’s for you? Sign up for a free 30-day trial and cancel it before the month is out if it doesn’t work out.

4. Join Prime Student

If you’re a student with a valid .edu email address, sign up for Prime Student. You’ll get a free six-month trial, after which you’ll upgrade to standard Prime for 50% off. Prime Student comes with free two-day shipping, access to video streaming and thousands of books and magazines and early access to select Amazon Lightning Deals, among other things.

5. Look Into Amazon Family

If you’re a Prime member, signing up for Amazon Family gets you access to exclusive family-oriented offers like coupons, 20% diaper subscriptions and a 15% Baby Registry completion discount.

6. Consider an Amazon Store Credit Card …

The retail giant’s standard store credit card is strictly no-frills — unless you have a Prime membership, then you’ll get a full 5% cash back on Amazon purchases, which can really add up for frequent shoppers.

7. … its Prime Rewards Visa …

Amazon also offers a traditional credit card that touts the same 5% cash back on Amazon purchases, but can be used anywhere Visa is accepted. As an added bonus, you’ll also earn 2% cash back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores and 1% cash back everywhere else. We’ve got more on the card here.

8. … or Your Current Rewards Credit Card

If you’re not interested in new plastic, get some kickback on your purchases by using a rewards credit card that’s already in your wallet. Just be careful not to spend more than you’ll be able to pay off in full. Otherwise, your points, miles or cash back will be lost to interest. Plus, high credit card balances can hurt your credit. (You can view two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com.)

9. Shop With Rewards

On the flip side, Amazon partners with quite a few credit card issuers so you can pay for purchases using your points or cash back — and not the hard-earned funds in your bank account.

10. Buy at the Right Time

Amazon price tracker site camelcamelcamel.com monitors millions of products on Amazon and alerts you when the price drops on the items you want, making your price-savings scouting just a little bit easier.

11. Shop Around for Lower Prices

Use price comparison sites like PriceBlink.com to find lower prices and coupons. While you’re viewing a product, the site scans more than 4,000 additional merchants for lower prices elsewhere so you know you’re always making the most informed purchase.

12. Get Paid to Shop Online

Sign up for a MyPoints accounts and you’ll earn points for every dollar you spend when you click to the retail site from the MyPoints page. Plus, you’ll earn a $10 Amazon card with your first qualified purchase.

13. Do Some Digging

If you’re searching for a specific product on Amazon, don’t always think the first item that pops up will be the cheapest. In fact, if you’re in the market for a specific product, it pays to always dig deeper than just typing in the object name in the search bar and putting the first thing that appears in your cart. Check out the “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” carousel below the item for products that are likely to be very similar to what you’re looking for — but potentially much cheaper.

14. Install a Coupon Aggregator on Your Computer

Rather than searching around for Amazon coupons yourself, install a coupon aggregator like Honey on your computer and let it do the searching for you at checkout.

15. Buy Discounted Gift Cards

Check out sites like Raise.com and Gift Card Granny to score Amazon gift cards at less than face value.

16. Trade in Your Old Items

Use the Amazon Trade-In program to earn gift cards on items you no longer use.

17. Turn Off One-Click

OK, this move won’t net you a discount, but it may stop you from going overboard and busting your budget.

Love brand hacks? We’ve got plenty. You can find a full 19 ways to save at Target here. Have another brand you’d like us to tackle? Let us know in the comments. 

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

Image: Petar Chernaev

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How to Get the Most Out of Amazon’s ‘Subscribe & Save’ Program

You can save both time and money by automating the purchases of things you buy the most. Here's how to do it right.

The Amazon Subscribe & Save program can be a great way for Prime members to save money while automating a bit of life. For my family, Subscribe & Save is a way to buy items like toilet paper that we never seem to realize we’re running low on until the last minute. Here’s how the program works and how you can make the most out of it.

How ‘Subscribe & Save’ Works

Tens of thousands of items on Amazon are Subscribe & Save eligible. Basically, when you buy these items you can either buy them normally to ship with your next manual Amazon order, or you can add them to your Subscribe & Save list. This list sets up regular delivery dates — from monthly to every six months — whatever fits your needs.

One of my favorite parts about Subscribe & Save is that you can set different items to different schedules. For instance, you could have toilet paper arrive magically at your doorstep each month, but get toothpaste shipped to you every other month. The trick is to make sure you’re getting the items you need without ordering more than you need.

What Are the Benefits of ‘Subscribe & Save?’

Besides just making life easier by automating the shipment of certain items you need on a regular basis, Subscribe & Save has a few other benefits, including:

  • Discounted prices. The basic Subscribe & Save price for nearly all items is a little lower than the normal sticker price. But you can stack those savings up even more by adding five or more eligible items to your subscriptions. For some items, the savings is 15%, and for diaper subscriptions, it’s 20%.
  • Coupon options. You can add even more savings by clipping Amazon coupons when you check out. These coupons often apply to the first time an item ships as part of your Subscribe & Save cart.
  • Free shipping. Even if you’re not an Amazon Prime member, you get free shipping when you use Subscribe & Save. This also applies to small items Amazon calls Add-On items, which even Prime members have to add to a cart with at least $25 worth of goods to ship for free.
  • Flexible delivery schedules. Like I noted above, you can set items to a delivery schedule that fits your needs. And you can always update your delivery schedule if you find you’re receiving too many or too few shipments for your personal use.
  • Changeable delivery date. On top of that, if you need to bump your delivery date a few days — say you’re running low on toilet paper and need a delivery a week early, it’s no problem. Just log into your Amazon account, and change your delivery date.

How To Get the Most Out of It

Now that you know what Amazon’s Subscribe & Save program is and how it works, let’s talk tips for making the most of the program:

  • Do some price checking. Obviously it’s in your best interest to get familiar with Amazon’s prices versus prices at your local grocery store, discount store or warehouse store. Sometimes the convenience of a Subscribe & Save option will be worth a slight premium, but you should aim to save as much as possible on individual units of each item that you order. And don’t just price check once. Take note of the prices of your favorite Subscribe & Save items each time you’re in the store, just to make sure you’re still getting a good deal. Note that Subscribe & Save offers almost all name-brand items. If you have a more-affordable, off-brand counterpart that you like, you’ll probably save money by going with that item, instead. But if you have certain preferred name brands for personal care, household, baby care or even food items, you may find them on the Subscribe & Save list.
  • Check your cart’s prices every month. One of the worst parts about Subscribe & Save is that prices on these items change with their Amazon list prices. This can be a little tricky, especially if the prices go up. Make a habit to log into your Subscribe & Save account each month to make sure you’re not paying way more for a particular item than you should. Amazon will tell you when you can last edit a Subscribe & Save item, which is typically several days before your scheduled delivery.
  • Add additional items just before your ship date. Loads of deal and coupon websites give lists of the best Subscribe & Save deals for that particular month (or you can download an app like Honey that will automatically check to see if any coupons are available for the item you’re considering). Check these deals out before your order’s last day to edit.
  • Always have at least five items in your Susbscribe & Save account. The best way to net 5% to 15% savings on Subscribe & Save is to schedule at least five items for regular delivery. With all the available Subscribe & Save items, it’s pretty easy to find some household basics to help you meet this savings threshold.
  • Look for coupons. Amazon offers the option to clip virtual coupons as they’re available. Again, you can often find lists of coupon-eligible items on deal sites around the web or with savings apps. These coupons typically only apply to your first Subscribe & Save order, but they can be a great way to net some initial savings.
  • Skip shipments when necessary. Perhaps the hardest part about making Subscribe & Save work for you is figuring out when to order certain items. I know, for instance, about how much toilet paper and how many diapers my family will go through in a week. But how often do I buy a new tube of toothpaste? I’m not really sure. Make your best guess when setting up your shipment times. Then if you’re not running low on an item when it’s scheduled to deliver, hit the “skip” button. This will push the item back a month, and reset its whole delivery schedule based on that shipment.
  • Edit items as you go. If you find yourself consistently “skipping” one or two items, make your life a little easier: edit the shipment times. Again, you can have your Subscribe & Save items shipped as often as once month or as infrequently as every six months. Tweak your shipment times as you go, and you’ll put less time into managing your Subscribe & Save list each month.

You can save even more by applying for one of Amazon’s credit cards. You can read here about whether an Amazon credit card is right for you. You’ll need good credit to qualify, so if you don’t know where your credit stands, you can check your credit scores for free right here on Credit.com.

Like all Amazon tools and programs, Subscribe & Save won’t always save you money. Sometimes there’s a premium to be paid for convenience. But if you use these tips, you can probably get great discounts on items you would have purchased to begin with.

Image: AdrianHancu

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Could What Your Amazon Alexa Overhears Be Used Against You?

A murder case may offer clues to whether Amazon Alexa protects users' privacy.

Have you seen the Geico ad with the talking parrot? A 19th-century ship is boarded, the captain surrounded by pirates. The leader shouts, “Let’s feed him to the sharks,” (pirate cheers and swords held high) “and take all his gold” (more cheers). The parrot repeats these lines, and adds, “and hide it from the crew. They’re all morons anyway.”

The voiceover at the end of the Geico ad explains, “If you’re a parrot, you repeat things. That’s what you do.” If you’re a voice-activated Internet of Things (IoT) device, you don’t repeat things, but you may transmit them.

Voice-activated IoT devices (which, for this piece, includes smartphones and televisions) are always there, just like that pirate’s parrot. You know the services: Siri, Google Assistant, Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa. Mostly, these fine-featured friends are waiting for their activation command — listening, not recording. When activated, they gather the particulars of your life and beam them into a cloud server where your day-to-day existence is, at least in some basic ways, made better, the improvement generally taking the form of convenience or efficiency.

But all the value adds of having a digital assistant come at a personal price that many privacy advocates — including me — worry may come at a cost much higher than the price of, say, the device you need to access the service.

The price is your privacy.

Unfortunately, it is a murder case in Bentonville, Arkansas, that most forcefully highlights one of the more complex privacy issues connected to digital assistant IoT technology these days.

In November 2015, a former Georgia police officer named Victor Collins was found floating facedown in a hot tub owned by Bentonville resident James Andrew Bates. There were traces of blood at the scene, and a coroner later determined that Collins had died of strangulation and partial drowning. The smart water meter installed at Bates’ house indicated that 140 gallons of water — much more than usual — had been used on the night of Collins’ death. That pointed to post-murder cleaning. There was physical evidence at the scene, but the prosecutor wanted to know if there was more information hiding on the Amazon Echo that had been streaming music when Collins died. There was the possibility that the device had stored 60 seconds, which is what it is equipped to do, and that it might still be on the physical device. Amazon declined to help with the investigation. (Amazon did not immediately respond to Credit.com’s request for comment.)

Why This Raises Questions

It should be said that the producers of digital assistants aren’t trying to create a better pirate parrot. They aren’t in the business of mindless repetition. They are in the business of learning more about you so they can sell you things, or helping others do that, or selling what they know about you to a third party that can use it to make money.

There is so much information potentially. Consumers use digital assistants to help with travel, email and messages; they listen to music, check out sports scores and the weather. They can keep a calendar in order, post to social media, translate documents and search the internet. (When it comes to criminals, these devices could be seen as the digital equivalent of a stupid accomplice.)

Murder isn’t the best backdrop for discussions about privacy, but unfortunately the protections guaranteed by our courts is nowhere in evidence at the consumer level, so it is often the mise-en-scéne for this kind at article.

If you’re a parrot, you repeat things. If you’re an Amazon Echo at a murder scene, you give rise to serious questions about the expectation of privacy in a consumer landscape that has turned personal preference into a commodity. Increasingly geared toward the conveniences of radical personalization, a digital assistant knows how you like things in your home, but given the inevitability of hacking and data compromises, that means that at least potentially all that information could be used against you — and not just in your personal battle to resist temptation in the marketplace and save money.

Without a doubt, it would be easier to talk about the cost of convenience when it comes to digital assistance were we dealing with a case revolving around hacked information used to burglarize a home, or the purloined daily schedule of a popular celebrity who was (supply your own verb) as a result of leaked data. For that matter, it would be easier to talk about plug-and-play cameras that can’t be made secure no matter what you do. But until there’s a body, it seems, no one pays attention, and so these outlier situations are often how privacy becomes a topic for discussion.

The digital assistant as a privacy issue may not be a problem for you — some people feel they have nothing to hide — but it is for sure something consumers need to think about before transmitting their lives to the cloud where it may be only a matter of time, or bad luck, before a hacker streams it for laughs or loot.

Remember, if you’ve been the victim of identity theft, don’t blow it off. A good way to start taking action is by checking your credit — warning signs can include accounts you never opened and sudden drops in your scores. You can view two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com.

This story is an op-ed contribution to Credit.com and does not necessarily represent the views of the company or its partners.

Image: Amazon

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Wells Fargo, Amazon Nix Their Private Student Loan Deal

private-student-loans

Wells Fargo and Amazon appear to have ended their private student loan partnership.

Just six weeks after announcing that Amazon Prime members were eligible for interest rate discounts on the bank’s private student loan products, traces of the deal were removed from the online retailer’s student-centric site. Wells’ previously Amazon-focused landing page also now redirects to the bank’s generic private student loan landing page.

A spokesperson for Wells Fargo confirmed via an email to Credit.com that the promotion had ended but did not respond to request for comment as to why. Amazon similarly confirmed the promotion had ended via an email without giving a reason why.

The promotion, announced July 21, offered Prime members and their co-signers a potential 0.50% base interest rate discount on all Wells Fargo private student loan products. They were also eligible for a 0.25% interest rate reduction if they enrolled in Wells Fargo’s automatic monthly loan repayment plan.

The bank’s website currently lists the the variable interest rates on its private student loans as ranging from 3.39% to 9.03%. Its fixed interest rates range from 5.94% to 10.93%.

The promotion’s end comes on the heels of Wells’ agreement to pay a $3.6 million civil penalty to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to settle allegations of illegal student loan servicing practices. (The bank declined to answer questions as to whether the two were directly related.)

Private Student Loans 101

Given the climbing cost of a college education, many students may be thinking of taking on a private student loan to cover their tuition. But it’s important to do your research before applying because these loans typically tout variable interest rates that, unlike the fixed rate associated with federal student loans, can fluctuate with market conditions. They also have fewer borrower protections than federal loans. (For instance, private student lenders are not required to offer forbearance or deferment options.) And, particularly if your credit is not in tip-top shape, the interest rate on these loans can climb quite high. (You can view two of your credit scores for free each month on Credit.com.)

If you do decide to take on a private student loan, be sure to read the terms and conditions carefully to find the best financing for you. Repayment plans tend to vary by lender, and some charge fees to process forbearance and deferment requests. You can learn more about what to watch out for when applying for private student loans here.

Image: BraunS

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Your Amazon Account Could Get You a Lower Rate on Your Student Loans

wells-fargo-amazon

Wells Fargo is sweetening the deal on its private student loans for members of Amazon Prime Student, both companies announced Wednesday.

Amazon Prime Student members who apply for any of Wells Fargo’s private student loan products are eligible for a 0.50% interest rate discount, according to the bank’s site. Members can also get a 0.25% interest rate reduction for enrolling in the lender’s automatic monthly loan repayment plan. Co-signers who use Amazon Prime Student may also be eligible for the discount.

Keep in mind, the discount will only apply to new loan applications received on or after July 21 of this year, and as with any loan application, borrowers will be subject to a credit check, a loan/consumer credit agreement, verification of application information, and possibly school certification of loan amount and enrollment at a Wells Fargo–participating school. Though students are not required to make payments while they’re still in school, the repayment period kicks in 6 months after graduation or upon leaving.

Amazon Prime Student offers a free six-month trial, after which students are eligible to receive 50% off of Amazon Prime, which amounts to around $49 each year. Students are eligible for this discount on Prime for up to four years, or until they’re no longer a student.

According to Wells Fargo’s website, the variable interest rates on its private student loans range from 3.39% to 9.03%. Its fixed interest rates range from from 5.94% to 10.93%.

If a borrower qualifies for the lowest interest rate within those ranges, a 0.50% reduction would be applied to that rate with the Amazon Prime Student discount, a spokesman for the bank said in an email.

To take advantage of that discount, prospective borrowers need to be confirmed Amazon Prime Student members. Once the terms of the loan are agreed upon between Wells Fargo and the customer, those remain the terms throughout the life of the loan, unless the borrower moves to refinance or take other action, the spokesman said.

Private Student Loans

Remember, if you’re considering a private student loan to help you pay for college, it’s important to do your homework before you apply to make sure it’s right for you and your finances. Unlike federal student loans, which guarantee a fixed, low-interest rate, private loans are often variable-rate commercial loans, and as we mentioned above, require credit checks. If you’re not sure where your credit stands or are concerned that you have poor credit, now’s the time to find out for sure. (You can view a free summary of your credit report that is updated monthly by visiting Credit.com.)

During the application process, be sure to ask questions that will help you determine whether the loan will become a burden or a boon to your finances — and to your credit. You’ll want to find out whether there is an origination fee, which many lenders charge, if there are late fees and how much they cost, and whether the lender offers deferment due to economic hardship or unemployment. Also, be sure to ask if the lender offers forbearance, which acts as a pause button for your payments. To learn more about the various repayment options student loan borrowers have, you can go here.

More on Student Loans:

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