Progressive Insurance Review: Car, Motorcycle, Home

  • Car Insurance

The Progressive Insurance company was founded in the 1930s and currently has a revenue of over $30 billion. It supplies insurance policies to millions of Americans and, in some states, it’s one of the cheapest providers. In this Progressive insurance review, we’ll look at Progressive’s coverage options and rates to see if they’re the right choice for you.

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Progressive Insurance Coverage

Progressive offers all the traditional car insurance options, including bodily injury liability insurance, property damage insurance, collision coverage, comprehensive coverage, and underinsured/uninsured motorist cover. Policyholders can also choose from a number of optional add-ons and benefit from a host of other features, including:

Roadside Assistance

​With roadside assistance, you’ll get help when you’re stranded by the side of the road. Roadside assistance will cover you for services such as towing and tire changes, as well as other basic services.

Rental Car Coverage

Adding rental car coverage to your auto insurance policy will ensure your life doesn’t grind to a halt when your car is stolen or in the shop. You will be given a rental car for those few weeks, allowing you to continue your life as normal.

If you have another car or can make alternative arrangements, you can probably skip this.

Gap Insurance

Gap insurance steps in to cover the difference between the insurance payout and the value of the car. It is required when your car is financed and ensures that the full bill is covered, and you’re not left to pay the remainder.

With gap insurance from Progressive, you will get cover for up to 25% of the car’s value.

Custom Parts

A special auto policy addition that pays for custom equipment and parts. If you add anything of high value to your car, it might not be covered elsewhere with traditional insurance policies but will be covered with this addition from Progressive.

Cover for Other Vehicles

Progressive can insure new cars and old cars; sports cars and SUVs. But you can also get insurance for boats, ATVs, motorcycles, and commercial vehicles. In fact, Progressive is considered one of the best insurers of motorbikes and offers extensive and affordable cover.

Claim Free Deductible

If you choose to opt-in to this program, your deductible will drop by $50 every 6 months that you remain claim-free. If you continue to stay safe on the roads and avoid those costly claims, your deductible can go all the way down to zero.

Pet Injury Protection

This feature is offered free of charge to every policyholder with collision coverage. It will pay for vet bills if your pet is injured during a car accident. This is a rare but very welcome addition, as animals are just as exposed as humans during car accidents.

SnapShot

SnapShot is Progressive’s driver monitoring app. It monitors your driving habits and the insurer then uses this information to tweak your premiums. If you’re a safe driver and think you deserve better rates based on your driving habits, sign up for this program. 

SnapShot is offered in 46 states, with the exceptions being California, Alaska, Hawaii, and North Carolina. Similar apps exist with other insurance companies, albeit with different names, including DriveWise from Allstate, DriveSense from Esurance, and DriveEasy from GEICO.

Rideshare Insurance

Rideshare insurance is designed for Uber and Lyft drivers and covers them when they have paying customers in their car. Whether you’re working for these ridesharing companies full time or just doing a few hours a week, it’s worth looking into this coverage.

Other Types of Insurance

Progressive offers homeowner’s insurance that covers your home, garage, and outbuildings. It also offers something known as Progressive HomeQuote, which encourages you to compare Progressive rates with those offered by other providers.

Not only can you take advantage of bundling discounts when getting your home insurance and car insurance together, you can also secure additional homeowners insurance discounts, such as:

  • Alarms and other safety devices designed to reduce the threat of theft and criminality.
  • Getting a quote at least 10 days before your policy ends.
  • Paying the policy upfront.
  • Going paperless.
  • Purchasing a new home or going from a renter to a homeowner.

Progressive Car Insurance Quotes

One of the best features about Progressive is something known as Name Your Price. The idea is simple, you set a price based on your budget and Progressive will tell you how much coverage you can get. It also has a comparison tool that makes it easy to check Progressive’s rates against those offered by other auto insurance companies.

Combine this with Progressive’s mobile app, which is equally feature-rich and helpful, and you have an auto insurance provider that makes it incredibly easy to find affordable coverage to meet your needs. 

Progressive is not quite as cheap as GEICO in the majority of states and for the majority of demographics, but it does have very competitive car insurance rates. What’s more, the nature of insurance and the fact there are so many variables at play, means it’s highly likely that Progressive will have the cheapest rates and the best coverage for some applicants.

Progressive Car Insurance Discounts

You can take advantage of a number of car insurance discounts to bring your insurance rates down and save huge sums across the board. Available discounts include:

Multi-Policy and Multi-Car

Car insurance companies want your business and will do everything they can to get it. Purchase a single auto policy from them and they will encourage you to add additional cars and drivers to the policy. If you own your own home, they may also offer you homeowners insurance.

By accepting these offers, you can save around 30% on your Progressive insurance. You’ll also simplify the application and claims process, as you only have to deal with one company and can familiarize yourself with their process.

Good Student Discount

Many states encourage insurance providers to offer discounts for good students, with these discounts typically offered for drivers who achieve and maintain at least a B average.

Discounts are also offered for students who live on campus and therefore spend less time at home and behind the wheel. These discounts are essential if you have a teen driver on your policy as they are some of the highest risk drivers and are forced to pay a huge premium as a result.

Payment Discounts

By opting to go paperless, paying upfront or using the Auto-Pay feature, policyholders can shave a few percentage points off their car insurance policies. The savings are minor when compared to other discounts, but they are also available to most customers and are easy to acquire.

Progressive Reviews and Claims Satisfaction

According to JD Power, Progressive has a rating of “Above Average” for insurance shopping and for claims satisfaction and customer satisfaction. Progressive also has stacks of great reviews from users and experts alike.

There’s nothing amazing here, nothing to suggest that Progressive is better than most other providers when it comes to customer support, claims, and ease-of-use, but it works both ways, as there’s also nothing to suggest that it’s one of the worst, either.

Bottom Line: Progressive Auto Insurance Review

Whether you’re a safe driver in New York or you have a bad driving history in Kentucky, we recommend comparing Progressive insurance premiums to what other insurers are offering. The more companies you include in your comparison search, the more likely you are to get the best cover at the most affordable price.

What’s more, if you need boat insurance or motorcycle insurance, Progressive should be near the very top of your list of priorities.

Source: pocketyourdollars.com

12 Walgreens Shopping Tips & Tricks to Save Money (Online & In-Store)

If you live in the United States, chances are you do some of your health and wellness shopping at Walgreens.

The pharmacy chain is an iconic American brand. According to Walgreens, 78% of the U.S. population lives within 5 miles of a Walgreens, and there are more than 9,000 Walgreens stores across the country.

Walgreens makes shopping for pharmacy services, health care products, and beauty supplies easy. The convenient shopping experience Walgreens provides can quickly drain your wallet if you’re not careful, however.

Ways to Save Money at Walgreens

Thankfully, there are numerous ways to save money at Walgreens. Use these money-saving tricks the next time you shop.

1. Sign Up for myWalgreens

Often the most effective way to save money at a major retailer is to sign up for its rewards platform and credit card. For example, Walmart has its Walmart Rewards Card and Target offers the Target REDcard;. Similarly the easiest way to save money at Walgreens is to sign up for the myWalgreens reward program.

Formerly known as Walgreens Balance Rewards, myWalgreens is the company’s new loyalty program that pays you for your loyalty. It doesn’t matter whether you shop in-store, online, or from the Walgreens App. However you shop, myWalgreens cuts down on costs.

Features of the myWalgreens program include:

  • Everyday Points. Earn 10 points for every $1 you spend (1% cash back) on almost all non-Walgreens-branded purchases at Walgreens.
  • Bonus Points. Earn 50 points for every $1 you spend (5% cash back) on Walgreens branded products.
  • Save Online. Shop online or through the Walgreens app and still earn points for eligible purchases.
  • Save Time. Order online or through the Walgreens app and pick up your order in-store or at curbside from a local Walgreens within 30 minutes.

1,000 myWalgreens points equals $1. You can redeem your points when you reach $1 minimum. Points are redeemable in-store or online up to a maximum of $50 per transaction.

You can also compete in myWalgreens health goals to earn bonus points each month. These four-week challenges include a series of weekly physical and lifestyle challenges, such as reaching a certain step count. You track your weekly activity with a Walgreens-supported fitness app or device.

Once you complete a week of challenges, you earn $0.25 in myWalgreens points. If you complete an entire month of challenges, you earn $1 and a bonus entry for a chance to win an additional $2 in points. While this won’t pay for a Walgreens shopping spree, every bit counts, and it’s also fun to get paid to stay active.

Your myWalgreens points expire after one year. If you’re a former Walgreens Balance Rewards member, sign up for myWalgreens before April 1, 2021, to ensure your points transfer to the new program.

Ultimately, the ability to earn 5% cash back on Walgreens brand products is a substantial upgrade for this loyalty program.

2. Install the Walgreens App

The Walgreens app makes it easy to refill prescriptions, consult a pharmacist, and use the Walgreens photo center. The app also lets shoppers save more money by providing easy access to coupons and deals.

With the Walgreens app, it’s easy to browse through the Weekly Ad section and to clip paperless coupons. At checkout, you can use the app to redeem coupons, earn myWalgreens points, or pay through Google Pay, Samsung Pay, or Apple Pay.

The mobile app also allows you to browse stores to check product availability and to compare prices between in-store and online products. If you’re shopping for expensive beauty or health care products, this feature is excellent for finding more affordable alternatives.

The Walgreens app is available for Android and iOS devices. It’s a must-download because it makes money-saving features such as Weekly Ads and coupons more accessible.

3. Shop With a Cash-Back Credit Card

Shopping with a cash-back credit card is an effective way to save money at Walgreens.

Walgreens accepts a wide range of payment methods in-store and online, including Mastercard, Discover Network, and American Express. Although Walgreens, unfortunately, lacks its own rewards credit card, you can earn cash back with other cards while also earning myWalgreens points.

Several cash-back credit cards to consider include:

  • Chase Freedom Unlimited®. Earn 1.5% cash back on most purchases and 5% on rotating quarterly categories, which can include pharmacies. This card has no annual fee, and you earn a $150 bonus when you spend at least $500 on eligible purchases in the first three months.
  • Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card. This zero-fee card provides 3% cash back for a category of your choice, 2% at grocery stores, and 1% everywhere else. You can choose pharmacies as your 3% category. You also earn a $200 bonus for spending $1,000 within the first 90 days of opening your account.
  • Amazon Prime Rewards Card by Chase. This card pays 5% cash back on Amazon.com if you’re a Prime Member. You also earn 2% cash back at restaurants, gas stations, and pharmacies, as well as 1% everywhere else. Redeem cash back on Amazon purchases or through cash, gift cards, and travel rewards.

Ultimately, which credit card you choose is up to you. What’s important is taking advantage of any cash-back reward options you have when shopping at Walgreens.

4. Make Use of Walgreens Coupons and Register Rewards

There are multiple ways to make use of coupons at Walgreens.

The easiest way is through Register Rewards (RR). At Walgreens, certain products award you an RR coupon upon purchase. These are manufacturer coupons you can use on future purchases to save money at Walgreens.

For example, if you purchase toothpaste and receive a $1 RR coupon for the same brand of toothpaste, you can use the RR coupon on your next shopping trip. It’s basically a rebate program, except your savings take place on your next purchase.

The easiest way to find RR coupons is to look in the Weekly Ads section or browse in-store products. Stacking Registry Rewards plus coupons from Weekly Ads is the most effective way to save. Just be sure to review the limitations for the Registry Rewards program and Walgreens’ coupon policies:

  • Multiple Coupons. The total number of coupons, including manufacturer coupons, can’t exceed the number of items in the transaction. Otherwise, you can stack manufacturer coupons and Walgreens store coupons unless specific terms prohibit doing so.
  • Total Coupon Value. The total value of all coupons can’t exceed the value of the transaction.
  • Register Rewards Limit. There’s a limit of one RR coupon per offer per transaction. You can’t use an RR coupon to unlock another RR coupon for immediate use.
  • Coupon Expiration. RR coupons expire in 15 days.
  • BOGO Deals. You must purchase at least one product as part of a buy one, get one (BOGO) offer.

Note that coupons can prevent you from earning myWalgreens points if you aren’t careful. For example, if there’s an offer to earn 10,000 myWalgreens points for spending $50 or more but your coupons drop your transaction total below that requirement, you don’t earn the points. Keep this in mind when calculating how much coupons will actually save you.

5. Find Exclusive Online Deals

Walgreens already makes it easy to shop online by offering free shipping on most products regardless of your order total. Walgreens.com also offers exclusive online deals. The Walgreens Online Deals section of the site has a range of rotating offers.

Examples of online-only deals include:

  • Price Cuts. Many products are on sale at discounts of 25% to 50% off.
  • Bonus Balance Reward Points. Earn thousands of Balance Reward Points for buying specially marked items.
  • Buy One, Get X. There are plenty of BOGO offers and “Buy one, get X percent off” deals available online.
  • Rebates. Earn cash rebates for buying specific products.

Balance Rewards members also earn points for shopping online. In addition, the Promotion Terms page often lists online coupon codes new customers can use to earn even more discounts at checkout, so be sure to check this page to save money on your first Walgreens purchase.

6. Shop Online With Cash-Back Sites and Apps

Since shopping online is already an excellent Walgreens saving strategy, using cash-back sites and apps like Rakuten or Honey only sweetens the deal.

Using Rakuten and Honey together is an incredibly effective money-saving combination. Here’s how each platform works:

  • Rakuten: Earn cash back for shopping through Rakuten’s web portal at thousands of retailers.
  • Honey: This browser extension automatically applies coupon codes at checkout to find the best deals possible.

Rakuten offers up to 3% cash back at Walgreens. To earn this cash back, just create a free account at Rakuten and visit Rakuten’s Walgreens page before shopping at Walgreens.com. Your cash back appears in your Rakuten wallet. Rakuten pays through PayPal every quarter as long as you hold more than $5 in your account.

Like other shopping browser extensions, all you have to do to save with Honey is install the Honey browser extension. When you shop, Honey alerts you if there are coupon codes available and applies them at checkout.

Honey also offers a cash-back side of their platform known as Honey Gold. This feature lets you earn even more cash back at select retailers, including Walgreens., Honey Gold provides 1% to 5% cash back at Walgreens.

Honey Gold is redeemable for a variety of gift cards to merchants like Amazon, Walmart, Target, and Macy’s.

7. Shop On Senior Discount Days and Use AARP Benefits

If you’re over age 55, Walgreens offers you even more ways to save money in-store and online.

Every Tuesday is Senior Savings Day at Walgreens. Seniors typically save between 20% to 30% by shopping online during this day, and Walgreens rotates what products are eligible for a discount.

Note that these discounts only apply to regularly priced items. Furthermore, only one product per account is eligible for a senior discount.

However, if you’re an AARP member, you can save even more by joining the myWalgreens reward program to link your two accounts together.

There are several ways to save as an AARP member at Walgreens, including:

  • Vaccinations. Get free flu shots as an AARP member.
  • Health and Wellness Bonuses. Earn 10% cash back in myWalgreens points for Walgreens branded health and wellness products.
  • Beauty and Personal Care Bonuses. Earn 3% cash back in myWalgreens points on eligible beauty and personal care products.

AARP membership benefits apply in-store and online, and you’re automatically eligible for discounts once you sign up for myWalgreens.

8. Join The Prescriptions Savings Club

The Prescriptions Savings Club grants discounts on the price of brand-name and generic medications at Walgreens. It’s an easy way to save on medical expenses and offers robust discounts:

  • Prescription Discounts. Save on more than 8,000 prescriptions. You can save even more on generic medications; see Walgreens’ value-price medication list for current prices.
  • Immunization Savings. Receive 5% to 20% off most immunizations.
  • Additional Savings. Enjoy discounts on various pet medications, all compound medications, nebulizers, and diabetic supplies with a prescription.
  • Health Care Clinic Services Discount. Save 10% on clinic services.

The Prescriptions Saving Club costs $20 for individuals and $35 for families per year. Individuals benefiting from Medicare, Medicaid, or Tricare programs are ineligible.

Although this program is not an insurance plan, if you don’t have insurance or you have prescriptions your insurance doesn’t cover, this program is an effective way to reduce your medication costs. The Prescription Savings Club also applies to refilling prescriptions online, making it even easier to save.

9. Auto-Reorder and Save

If you find yourself regularly buying the same products from Walgreens each month, you can save up to 20% by using the auto-reorder feature.

The auto-reorder feature is similar to Amazon’s Subscribe and Save. This service provides 10% off plus free shipping starting on your second delivery, and Walgreens products are eligible for up to 20% in discounts.

Popular categories for auto-reordering include wellness products, vitamins and supplements, household goods, beauty supplies, and baby products.

Auto-Reorder and Save works in three steps:

  • Select Products. Choose from thousands of everyday products at Walgreens.com.
  • Choose a Delivery Schedule. Select how often you want your deliveries. You can skip or cancel your order any time without incurring fees.
  • Get Regular Shipments. Enjoy your favorite products at a discount.

There is no minimum order requirement to get free shipping. If a product on your order goes on sale, you receive the greater of the two possible discounts.

10. Shop With A Flexible Spending Account (FSA)

A flexible spending account (FSA) is an account you can use to pay for out-of-pocket health care expenses. You need to work for an employer who offers an FSA to make use of this account, so this option won’t work for self-employed individuals. Using an FSA helps you save money because you don’t pay income taxes on the money in the account.

Walgreens has a wide variety of FSA-eligible products, including:

  • Contact lenses
  • Home medical equipment
  • First aid supplies
  • Pain relief products
  • Family planning products
  • Baby supplies
  • Vitamins and supplements

Walgreens also has an FSA Sale section, making it even easier to save on health care supplies.

You can use your FSA card in-store and online. Be sure to read the Walgreens FSA terms or consult your health care provider to learn more about your personal FSA account.

11. Subscribe to the Walgreens Newsletter

If you prefer getting coupons and deals via email, sign up for the Walgreens newsletter to ensure you don’t miss out on savings.

You can tailor your email subscription to include only the information you want from the following Walgreens categories:

  • Health Care Clinic. Learn more about special offers and services at Walgreens clinics.
  • Health and Wellness Resources. Receive seasonal health advisories and pharmacy service information.
  • Custom myWalgreens Offers. Get personalized deals and product recommendations based on your shopping habits.
  • Extra Deals. Get weekly updates on in-store deals and online-exclusives.
  • Weekly Ads. Catch up on Walgreens Weekly Ads via email.

This newsletter is free, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

12. Shop for the Right Tags

Like many other major retailers, Walgreens uses a tag system in its stores to distinguish products that are on clearance or at a discount.

Orange tags mean products are on clearance, so it’s a good idea to buy these items quickly before they’re gone for good.

Red tags mean a product has a lower price than normal. If you need the product in question within the next few weeks, it’s probably a good idea to buy it at this lower price point.


Final Word

If you’re shopping for health and wellness products or refilling a prescription, you can probably find what you need at Walgreens. Walgreens makes it easy to find affordable prices and satisfy all of your wellness needs in one place. However, if you aren’t careful, health-related expenses can still get out of hand.

Use a multitude of strategies to cut down on your Walgreens spending. Even incorporating a few of the above money-saving tips can put a significant dent in your annual health care expenses. And when you consider how easy most of these tips are — such as using the Walgreens App to find coupons or joining programs like the Prescriptions Saving Club — there’s no excuse for not saving.

After all, every dollar counts. Put in the effort to save, and you’ll be surprised at how much of a positive impact it has on your finances.

Source: moneycrashers.com

The Best Apps on the Market to Learn About Your Credit – Lexington Law

Credit.com is owned by Progrexion Holdings Inc. John C Heath, Attorney at Law, PC, d/b/a Lexington Law Firm is an independent law firm that uses Progrexion as a provider of business and administrative services.

It’s difficult to stay on top of your credit score even during the best of times, and it only gets harder during times of financial crisis. While you may be able to regain ground on your credit card debt or mortgage loan after a missed payment, your credit score will take a hit. Even after you’ve gotten control of your finances again, the damage to your credit score will take quite a while to recover from. 

It’s important that you not only track your budget, but also closely monitor your credit score and take advantage of any opportunity to build credit. To assist you, we’ve researched different credit score management apps that can support your credit in a variety of ways. Some provide credit monitoring, opportunities for improving your credit score, credit protection and support for credit repair. 

Here’s our list of the most secure, easy-to-use and beneficial apps for managing your credit score.

Extra Credit is a brand new offering from Credit.com just launched to the public, but we are excited about its features. Those features include “Reward It,” which awards you funds when you are approved by a qualified lender through Extra Credit. 

Additionally, when you sign up for Extra Credit, you get access to the 28 most commonly used FICO® scores as well as your credit reports from all three bureaus and recommendations for credit cards based on your credit profile. Finally, Extra Credit provides you $1,000,000 in ID theft insurance, dark web monitoring and access to a third party service that reports your monthly rent and utility payments to the bureaus.

Unlike many of the apps on this list, however, Extra Credit is not a free service.

Experian allows you to monitor your Experian credit report and your FICO credit score, manage disputes with Experian and be aware of any new credit activity. Experian’s mobile app also comes with the Experian Boost feature, which allows you to report payments to the credit bureaus that would not usually be reported—such as cell phone bills and utilities—and potentially improve your score. 

Experian’s app provides services that you can use to improve, monitor and repair your credit. Keep in mind that these services are specific to your credit history as managed by Experian, one of the three credit bureaus that track your credit history. Although Experian allows you to look at your FICO score—the credit score that most lenders use—it doesn’t allow you to manage the credit reports compiled by TransUnion or Equifax.

The FICO credit scoring method is the most popular method among lenders for calculating credit scores. MyFICO allows you to see and manage the score that your lender will most likely consider when you apply for a mortgage or an auto loan. 

MyFICO also allows you to view your updated credit reports from all three bureaus—Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Additional features included are a credit score simulator, which allows you to see how possible actions could affect your score, credit monitoring, and credit education resources. 

MyFICO is a good choice for users looking for a credit monitoring service, but it does not provide as many resources as other apps to assist with credit score improvement or repair.

Mint predominantly focuses on budget management, but it also offers tools for monitoring your credit score and weighing it as a factor in your financial decisions. You can view your VantageScore credit score and TransUnion credit report in the app. Additionally, you can personalize alerts to stay up to date with any changes to your credit score or potential fraud or identity risks.

Mint offers more resources for setting financial goals, managing your budget, and keeping track of bills than it does for directly managing your credit score. It can be used as a credit monitoring tool, but bear in mind that you will only be able to see your TransUnion credit history.

The TransUnion app works in tandem with your TransUnion Credit Monitoring Account. It allows you to monitor your credit score and TransUnion credit report, both of which are updated daily. The TransUnion app also offers Credit Lock Plus, which allows you to “lock” and “unlock” your TransUnion and Equifax credit reports. In addition, TransUnion provides identity theft insurance.

The app will only allow you to see your TransUnion credit report and manage the credit score based on your TransUnion credit history. It will not give you a complete picture of your credit history.

Lock & Alert is good for protecting your credit activity through Equifax. It allows you to easily “lock” and “unlock” your credit report—a much easier process than requesting a freeze be placed on your account, or lifting a freeze. 

The Lexington Law app works in tandem with your online account, allowing you to stay up to date with recent developments on your case while on the go. Lexington Law has one of the few credit management apps that allows you to view your credit history from all three credit bureaus, giving you the most complete snapshot of your credit. You can track any credit disputes currently in progress, see your most up-to-date FICO credit score and set up personalized alerts. Lexington Law also provides identity theft insurance and identity theft alerts. 

Although the Lexington Law app is free to download, you will need to pay to set up an account in order to use it.

Apps to Improve Your Credit Health

As you can see up above, different apps have different strengths. Your financial situation is unique, and the app that you choose will depend on your circumstances. However, each of the apps we have listed above will allow you to be more engaged in managing your credit score. Your credit is not beyond your control—there are resources available to you that can help you protect, build and repair your credit. 

If you’re trying to be more engaged in managing your credit or need help knowing where to start, contact our experienced credit consultants.


This article was reviewed by Daniel Woolston, an Assistant Managing Attorney at Lexington Law Firm. This article was written by Lexington Law.

Daniel Woolston is the Assistant Managing Attorney in the Arizona office. Mr. Woolston was born in Houston, Texas and raised in Sugar Land, Texas. He received his B.S. in Political Science at Brigham Young University and his Juris Doctorate at Arizona State University. After graduation, Mr. Woolston worked as a misdemeanor and felony prosecutor in Arizona. He has conducted numerous jury trials and hundreds of other court hearings. While at Lexington Law Firm, Mr. Woolston dedicates his time to training paralegals and attorneys in credit repair, problem solving, and ethical and legal compliance. Daniel is licensed to practice law in Arizona, Oklahoma, and Nevada. He is located in the Phoenix office.

Note: Articles have only been reviewed by the indicated attorney, not written by them. The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice; instead, it is for general informational purposes only. Use of, and access to, this website or any of the links or resources contained within the site do not create an attorney-client or fiduciary relationship between the reader, user, or browser and website owner, authors, reviewers, contributors, contributing firms, or their respective agents or employers.

Source: lexingtonlaw.com

Rakuten Review – Earn Cash Back for Shopping at Your Favorite Stores

Rakuten (formerly Ebates) is a popular website that offers cash-back rewards and rebates on everyday purchases from more than 2,500 retail partners. Offers usually range from 1% to 10%, with an impressive crop of “10% cash-back stores” that include some of the biggest names in retail.

Rakuten also offers thousands of product-specific coupons with much larger instant discounts, including “buy one, get one free” (BOGO) offers. Major retailers including Amazon, Macy’s, eBay, and Target are all represented in Rakuten offerings.

It’s free to join Rakuten, though purchases must be made in order to earn cash-back, discounts, or coupons. To make money on a deal, simply click the applicable link on the Rakuten website and complete your purchase with the retailer. Cash back accrues to your Rakuten member account and is automatically sent to you via PayPal or check each quarter. With instant discounts and coupons, the purchase price is reduced before you buy, so your rewards balance doesn’t increase.

How does Rakuten offer these deals? Simple: It collects an affiliate bonus, which varies by retailer, on every purchase members make via the Rakuten site. Rakuten keeps a portion of the bonus for itself and passes the rest along to the member. The exact amount Rakuten keeps varies from deal to deal.

How It Works

Creating an account with Rakuten is easy. Simply enter your email address or Facebook login, click the verification link in the email that appears in your inbox, and create a password. Once you’ve created an account, you can start seeking and taking advantage of offers.

Website Cash Back

The Rakuten homepage displays an array of retailer-specific deals (called “panels”), and the cash-back amount offered by each. When you click on a panel, you’re shown a host of details, including the specific products you can get cash back on, the amount of time remaining for the deal (if applicable), quantity restrictions, and other caveats or limitations.

You can also use the onsite search feature to find specific products or retailers, or browse categories and subcategories displayed on the homepage.

While most cash-back offers apply to direct product or service purchases, others cover coupons purchased through social deal sites like Groupon and Living Social. These offers allow you to get cash back when you purchase the coupon in addition to the coupon’s advertised discount.

To earn cash back, you must sign in to your Rakuten account, click the outbound link in your chosen deal listing, and make a purchase without navigating away from the retailer’s website. If you navigate away and return later to complete your purchase, Rakuten doesn’t earn its affiliate payment and thus can’t offer cash back on the purchase.

Rakuten Button

All Rakuten members are eligible to download the free Rakuten Cash Back Button, a browser plugin (browser extension) that eliminates the need to sign in to your Rakuten account.

The Rakuten Cash Back Button automatically notifies you of cashback opportunities on Rakuten’s retail partner websites. The plugin offers a search box for finding products, and when cash back is available, a small Rakuten logo is visible next to the results. Depending on the retailer, cash back is either automatically activated as soon as you visit the retailer’s website or after you click an orange “Activate Cash Back” link.

In-Store Cash Back

Rakuten offers plenty of opportunities to earn cash back in-store too. To qualify, you need to navigate to the corresponding in-store cash-back panel on your Rakuten mobile app, follow any purchasing instructions, and present your device at checkout for verification. Some merchants offer buy-online, pick up in-store deals for added convenience.

Since in-store cash-back offers are often tied to clearances or seasonal sales, they may be more time-sensitive than online-only deals. Plan accordingly.

Tracking Cash Back

Your Rakuten account dashboard tracks all shopping sessions initiated through Rakuten or the Rakuten Button during the past three months. If you suspect a particular transaction failed to post cash back to your account, you can check your dashboard to see if the transaction was logged and, if so, contact Rakuten to find out what happened.

A transaction’s actual cash-back value can take as few as one or two days to appear in your account, or longer than 30 depending on the retailer and the time of your purchase.

Once earned, cash back never expires. If you return an item whose purchase earned cash back, Rakuten reduces your account balance by the cash-back amount.

Cash-Back Payouts

Rakuten issues quarterly payments for cash-back credit, either as a mailed check (dubbed a “Big Fat Check“) or PayPal deposit. You can also send your Big Fat Check to a recipient of your choice. Payouts come 45 days after the end of the quarter:

  • January 1 to March 31: May 15
  • April 1 to June 30: August 15
  • July 1 to September 30: November 15
  • October 1 to December 31: February 15

To be eligible for a payout on the upcoming payout date, you need to have at least $5 in your account on the last day of the quarter. Smaller balances roll over into the next quarter.

Instant Coupons

In addition to cash back on purchases, Rakuten offers instant discounts through exclusive coupons on individual products or product categories. There are more than 10,000 coupons active at any given time, though many apply to different products from the same retailer. Some coupons are paired with cash-back offers.

Each listing shows the retailer and product to which the coupon applies, the coupon code to enter at checkout (if applicable), the available discount, and any restrictions or limitations.


Key Features

The opportunity to earn cash back on everyday purchases is what brings most shoppers to Rakuten, but the site also has these value-added features:

Sign-Up Bonus and Referral Program

New Rakuten members are eligible for a sign-up bonus worth $20 payable as a gift card to Walmart or a cash bonus to your Rakuten account. To earn the bonus, you must spend at least $20 through Rakuten within 90 days of becoming a member.

A reciprocal referral bonus opportunity allows you to refer new members once you’ve signed up and started shopping.

Rakuten Cash Back Visa Credit Card

The Rakuten Cash Back Visa Credit Card is a branded Visa cash-back credit card that pays 3% cash back on most purchases made through Rakuten, including in-store cash-back offers and most travel purchases. All non-Rakuten purchases earn 1% cash back. You also get a $10 cash bonus after your first card purchase.

Mobile Apps

Rakuten has responsive mobile apps for iOS and Android. These apps are the best way to take advantage of coupons for in-person shopping trips. Simply display the coupon or promo code on your phone or tablet’s Rakuten app at checkout.

Customer Support

If you can’t find the answer to your question in the FAQ section, there’s a support ticketing system that typically produces a response within one or two business days. Rakuten doesn’t publicize a customer support phone number.


Advantages

Rakuten has some notable advantages, including a mobile-friendly website, plentiful instant discount opportunities, and a generous cash-back credit card.

  1. Highly Functional, Mobile-Friendly Website. Rakuten’s website runs smoothly and is mobile-friendly, aided by an impressive browser extension (the Rakuten Cash Back Button). Some competing platforms are dogged by frustrating website errors or poor mobile functionality.
  2. Plentiful Instant Discount Opportunities. Rakuten features thousands of active coupons at any given time. Some are good for discounts on specific products, while others cover broader product categories. Some retailers appear to use Rakuten coupons to clear seasonal inventory. By comparison, TopCashback hardly has any instant deals or coupons, a major drawback for shoppers who want immediate discounts.
  3. Cash Back Credit Card Offers Another Way to Earn. The Rakuten Cash Back Visa credit card offers 3% cash back on purchases made through Rakuten. It also comes with a $10 sign-up bonus and 1% cash back on all other purchases, similar to the Chase Freedom card and other popular cash-back credit cards. Some competing cash-back websites omit credit card options, disadvantaging reward-seeking consumers with above-average credit scores.
  4. Nice Sign-Up Bonus. Rakuten offers up to $40 simply for signing up and making qualifying purchases during the first 90 days.

Disadvantages

Rakuten’s disadvantages include no “highest payout” guarantee, pushy prompts, and a potentially inflexible payout schedule.

  1. No “Highest Payout” Guarantee. Rakuten has a lot of competitors that offer deals and discounts with the same retailers. TopCashback has an expansive “highest cash back” guarantee that essentially promises to beat any nonsubscription competitor’s posted deals. If you’re looking for such a guarantee, Rakuten isn’t the shopping discount or cash-back platform for you.
  2. Pushy Sign-Up Prompts. Nonmember visitors to Rakuten are inundated with frequent popups advertising the company’s sign-up bonus. Since the ad is embedded in the site itself, it’s immune to most popup blockers. Though all competitors pressure nonmember site visitors to some extent, Rakuten is probably the most insistent.
  3. Quarterly Payments Can Be Inflexible. Rakuten’s infrequent cash-back payout schedule is a major drawback for shoppers who count on cash back to provide breathing room in their monthly personal budgets. You get paid a maximum of four times per year, regardless of how much you shop or earn.
  4. Payments Only Come by Mailed Check and PayPal. Rakuten only pays out by mailed check or PayPal. Its competitors tend to be more flexible – some offer Amazon credits, for example.

Final Word

Rakuten is a great resource for shoppers who want to get more for less. If you’re a regular online shopper, there’s little downside to creating a Rakuten account, joining the rewards program, and keeping tabs on the site. It’s a legit platform, not a scam, and offers real potential to earn free money.

Then again, Rakuten and its fellow online cash-back sites don’t create money out of thin air. They simply put a small portion of the funds you spend back into your pocket. So while Rakuten is great for saving money on items you were already planning to purchase, don’t let it dictate your shopping decisions or encourage impulse buying.

Source: moneycrashers.com

How to Prepare Your Apartment Before a Hurricane Evacuation

What do the residents of states including Florida, Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, the Carolinas and sometimes even New York have in common? Come summertime, it’s storm season, which means the potential for a hurricane evacuation is real.

Just because you don’t live in the hurricane hot spots doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be ready for hurricanes. Every state along the Atlantic or Gulf of Mexico has had a landfall from a hurricane since records were first kept in 1851.

States where hurricane strikes are most commonStates where hurricane strikes are most common

Source: CNN

Ordered evacuation is no joke. When authorities tell you to get out of the storm’s path, you should. But hurricane forecasting is a long game, which means there’s no reason you can’t prepare your apartment ahead of time.

Read on for a list of tips you can do well ahead of any forming storms (this means at the start of the season) and those best done before locking your doors and heading out of Dodge.

Before the storms come

Even before hurricanes form out in the middle of the ocean, you should take these steps to start preparing.

Have a plan

If you live in a hurricane zone, evacuations can happen. Identify one or more people with whom you can stay if you have no choice but to leave home. Knowing where you’re headed will take a lot of stress out of the situation ahead of the bad weather.

Get insured

It’s likely you’re already carrying mandatory renters insurance, but does your policy include clauses for wind, water and weather? Get it out of your files before hurricane season and make sure you’ll be covered in the event that a serious storm rips through your rental community.

Make a kit

This article deals with evacuation, but in the event the storm in your area doesn’t require you to leave, it’s always good to have an emergency supply kit on hand, especially if something prevents you from leaving.

Shutter up

Check with your property management company to find out if the buildings in your complex are fitted for hurricane shutters that will be installed prior to any named-storm threats.

Are you on the ground floor? Ask if they are prepped with sandbags. If the answer is no, find out whether you’re allowed to outfit your unit, or the entry points around it, with your own.

Take pictures

If your apartment is damaged, you’ll want to have proof of the condition it was in pre-evacuation in the event you need to make a claim. Take pictures of everything from televisions and gaming systems to your collection of expensive shoes, furniture, small appliances, clothing, you name it. One broken window could leave your entire apartment blown apart. Video is a good idea, as well.

Before you evacuate

If an evacuation is ordered in your area or you just want to leave to be safe, here are a few things you should do in your apartment to prevent damage and make your evacuation less stressful.

Shut the doors

According to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, shutting the interior doors of your apartment can help depressurize your apartment if a window is broken amid the storm. Their research in a 1,400-square-foot, single-story home showed that closing interior doors reduced the extra load the air pressure put on the roof by 30 percent. This is an especially good idea if you’re on the top floor.

Secure outside items

Whether your unit has a balcony or a patio, you’ll want to move all the items — plants, furniture, rugs, bicycles or anything else — inside before you go.

Elevate anything that can be destroyed by water

This is especially important if you’re on the bottom floor. Remove anything valuable from lower shelves (pictures, books, etc.) and put them in a higher place. If your apartment floods, there will be damage anyway, but at least this way you can try to keep some of your items safe.

Shut off your utilities

If you have access to your water and gas shutoffs to your apartment, turn them off before you leave. This will help prevent any additional damage if pipes burst. Chances are your apartment will lose power anyway during the storm. But FEMA still recommends that you shut off your electricity at your circuit breaker.

Mind your binder

Big hurricanes can be big trouble. Make sure you take the easy-to-move valuables like heirloom jewelry, photo albums and anything irreplaceable with you.

Additionally, get a binder in which to place all your important paperwork, such as birth certificates, passports, health insurance, renter’s insurance, credit cards and any other important document you have.

Related: What to Pack During a Hurricane Evacuation

Bring your pets

Don’t leave your animals behind in the event of an evacuation! Remember rule No. 1 is to have a plan. That plan should include your whole family, which includes pets. If you can’t find a pet-friendly place in which to stay until you’re cleared to return to your apartment, make alternate plans for your animals so that they can be safe when the weather gets rough.

Know where to get storm updates

Regions where hurricanes are common all have emergency organizations with which residents can connect for information before, during and after a storm. These include the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and North Carolina Office of Public Safety. Know yours and get connected.

Additionally, FEMA has a mobile app where users can get safety tips, alerts, shelter locations and more.

Safety first

The more prepared you are before a storm comes, the easier it will be for you to evacuate when the time comes. When an evacuation is issued, you should plan to leave as soon as possible. If you wait too long, you will have to deal with more traffic and potentially life-threatening weather.

Consider your safety first. If you don’t think you can safely leave because you waited too long or another reason, make plans to hunker down and ride out the storm.

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Source: apartmentguide.com