Best Free Business Checking Accounts of November 2020 | The Simple Dollar

Your business checking account is the lifeblood of your business. It is how you receive and send the money your company needs to keep going each day, growing stronger for the next. There are many banks that offer business checking accounts, but so very few offer low or no fees for having your account.

To find the best free business checking accounts, we used our SimpleScore methodology to compare number of free transactions, minimum deposits, product variety, support and fees for the best business checking accounts in 2020.

Lending Partner

Min. Deposit

Free Transactions

Number of Fees

In this article

The 6 best free business checking accounts of 2021

Free business checking accounts at a glance

Best interest-bearing account – BlueVine

Let BlueVine work for you by putting extra cash in your pocket through an interest-bearing checking account.

Min. Deposit

$0

Number of Fees

N/A

Free Transactions

Unlimited

SimpleScore

4.8 / 5.0

SimpleScore BlueVine 4.8

Free Transactions 5

Minimum Deposit 5

Support Channels 5

Product Variety 4

BlueVine delivers convenience, affordability and cold, hard cash with its new business checking account. Bluevine already made a name for itself with business loans and financing, but business checking is a brand new addition to the BlueVine financial lineup — and an attractive one at that. This is an interest-bearing account that gives you 1% interest as soon as you deposit your first dollar. There are also unlimited transactions with no monthly maintenance fees and live support. Signing up is simple and only takes about 60 seconds.

Best branch support – Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo offers a decent business checking with the in-person support — if you can swing the fees.

Min. Deposit

$50

Number of Fees

3

Free Transactions

50

SimpleScore

3.4 / 5.0

SimpleScore Wells Fargo 3.4

# of Free Transactions 2

Min. Deposit 4

Support Channels 4

Product Variety 5

There’s no denying the support of powerhouse bank Wells Fargo, but we wish it would be more forgiving with fees. You have a few different options for your business checking account with Wells Fargo, but our pick is the Business Choice Checking account as the best option for growing small businesses. You only need $25 to open an account, and if you keep a balance of $500, the $10 monthly maintenance fee will be waived. You also get your first 50 transactions free each month and up to $3,000 in cash deposits. With over 5,400 branches across the country, Wells Fargo has excellent accessibility with a convenient mobile app that lets you pay bills and make transfers.

Best online-only checking account – Azlo

Checking is all that Azlo does, so while it’s fantastic for easy online banking, you can’t get any other financial products.

Min. Deposit

$0

Number of Fees

N/A

Free Transactions

Unlimited

SimpleScore

4 / 5.0

SimpleScore Azlo 4

# of Free Transactions 5

Min. Deposit 5

Support Channels 4

Product Variety 1

Azlo is modern, affordable and easy to use with a sole focus on online banking. As an online-only bank, you don’t even need a minimum deposit to open an account. There are excellent mobile tools to keep you plugged in on the go and unlimited transactions each month, so you don’t have to track your transfers and purchases. There are almost no fees, and you also get access to 55,000 different Allpoint® ATMs. Azlo will get you going quickly, too, with an online-based application.

Best for startups – Citizens Bank

Citizens Bank is pretty hush-hush about its fees, although you do get 25 free transactions each cycle with just a $5 maintenance fee.

Min. Deposit

$100

Number of Fees

1

Free Transactions

25

SimpleScore

3.8 / 5.0

SimpleScore Citizens Bank 3.8

# of Free Transactions 1

Min. Deposit 4

Support Channels 5

Product Variety 5

Citizens Bank offers a few options, but the Venture account is our pick for best small business account for startups. While many banks target their services toward larger, more established businesses, Citizens keeps it simple with its Venture account. You need $100 to open a new account and have the option of adding Overdraft Sweep or an Overdraft Protection Line of Credit as an extra safeguard. In addition to its own ATMs, you also get free use of 800 Access ATMs for even more convenience.

Best for established businesses – Axos

It takes $1,000 to open an account, which can make it tough for some businesses to swing.

Min. Deposit

$1,000

Number of Fees

1

Free Transactions

200

SimpleScore

4 / 5.0

SimpleScore Axos 4

Product Variety 4

Support Channels 4

Support Channels 5

Product Variety 5

No fees, free checks and unlimited ATM reimbursement make for a pretty sweet deal from Axos. Axos has been long-established as a reputable online-only bank, and although it is steep to join, it repays the favor with minimal fees. You can expect to spend some money on your outgoing wire transfers, but incoming transfers are free. There are no maintenance fees, and you can use whatever ATM you want with fees refunded to you. You also get 200 free transactions each cycle and access to 91,000 ATMs, the most on our list by far.

Read our full Axos Bank review.

Best for medium-sized businesses – US Bank

The fees are low enough not to be too much of a bother as long as you don’t send too many wires.

Min. Deposit

$100

Number of Fees

3

Free Transactions

300

SimpleScore

4 / 5.0

SimpleScore US Bank 4

# of Free Transactions 4

Min. Deposit 4

Support Channels 5

Product Variety 5

The Gold Business checking account is great for bigger businesses who can afford the fees but prefer in-person support. U.S. Bank keeps things reasonable with its Gold Business Checking Account, requiring just a $100 minimum deposit from the start. You also get the benefit of both mobile tools as well as in-branch support if you prefer one-on-one financial planning and advice. U.S. Bank partners with MoneyPass® ATMs, giving you access to 32,000 in total, in addition to the 300 free transactions you get each cycle.

What is a business checking account?

When you own a business, you still need to make deposits and pay for purchases. That is why  a business checking account is an excellent tool for business owners to manage their money. When you file taxes as the owner of a company, you have to report your income and pay taxes. That means you should separate your personal expenses from your business in order to protect your personal finances and also file taxes appropriately at the end of the year.

Because businesses generally deal with more money than the average personal checking account, you may find that the fees and deposit requirements are higher for a business checking account. Some accounts offer extra perks, like free checks and interest-bearing accounts.

How business checking accounts work

Although similar to a personal checking account, a business account has its own requirements and benefits that separate it from a personal account. Not only can you accept payments from your customers, but it gives your business a level of professionalism and establishes it as an individual entity of its own accord.

[Read: The Best Small Business Loans of 2020]

You can keep your personal assets separate from that of your business, so your personal life is protected regardless of how your business performs. It also lays the groundwork for your financial future, because things like business credit cards, loans and lines of credit all require a business checking account.

Personal vs. business checking accounts

There are many similarities between a personal and business checking account, as they function similarly with deposits, debits, withdrawals and wires. You can make ACH payments and use a debit card to make purchases.

There are several differences, however. Business checking accounts generally carry higher fees, charging for things that are usually free or cheaper with personal accounts. This includes things like account maintenance fees, overdraft fees and wire fees. Many banks also require that you provide a higher minimum deposit when you open your account, which can cost anything from $10 to $1,000.

It pays to do your homework because every bank offers different perks and features for its business checking account.

Limited transactions

There are a few different types of limitations that your bank may place on your business checking account. Two types are cash deposit limits and transaction limits. A cash deposit limit is when a bank limits how much cash you can deposit into your bank account each cycle. If you exceed that limit, there may be a penalty each time you deposit cash until your cycle is over.

[More: What to Do If Your Small Business Isn’t Insured for COVID-19]

A transaction limit is another kind of limitation that banks may place on your business checking account. If you exceed a certain number of transactions during your billing cycle, you could face penalties and fees.

There are other kinds of monthly transactions that may be affected by fees and penalties. This might include teller-assisted transactions, ATM transactions, debits, credits and even how many checks you can write. Banks like Azlo and BlueVine are far more generous with their regular allotments than other banks.

How to choose the best business checking account for you

Just like any other purchase you make, you should also shop your options for the best business checking account. The bank you choose will have significant bearing not just on the financial success of your company but its overall growth, as well.

Before you choose the best business checking account for you, you should first consider these factors.

  1. Fees. You want your bank to safeguard your money, not spend it for you on fees and penalties. Be sure to consider what a bank will charge you for things like maintenance fees, transaction fees and even the minimum deposit required to open an account.
  2. Support. While Azlo and Axos are both online-only banks, there are other banks like Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank that offer physical branches that you can visit for more personal support. You should also research what other kinds of support will be available to you as a customer, such as online chat and mobile app functionality.
  3. Debit card. Most business checking accounts will give you both a checkbook and a debit card, but that’s not always the case. Ask to see a fee schedule, so you can ensure that you are aware of all fees and can plan accordingly.
  4. Type of account. We all know the difference between a checking account and a savings account, but there is a difference in the kind of account that you have, too. If you anticipate making a lot of purchases for your business, consider signing up for an interest-bearing account that can make you money while you work.

No matter what you need for your business, be sure to thoroughly vet your options so you can make the right decision for you.

Business checking account FAQs

You will need to provide more information for a new business checking account than you do for a personal one. Your bank will request your social security number or the Employee Identification Number (EIN) that is assigned to you by the IRS. You will also need to provide a government-issued photo ID, like your passport or driver’s license.

There are several documents relating to your business formation that you will have to share with your bank, including your business license, Articles of Organization or Articles of Incorporation and any other formation documents that you have filed with your state.

You should never use your personal checking account for business. The IRS has very specific requirements about how you must file taxes as a business owner, and the commingling of business and pleasure can have severe consequences come tax time or worse if you have to face an audit.

A business checking account only keeps your accountant happy, but it also keeps you in compliance with IRS taxation laws. Beyond the legalities, it is a means to accept and transfer money for your company with the help of traditional financial tools like your debit card and ACH payments.

We welcome your feedback on this article and would love to hear about your experience with the free business checking accounts we recommend. Contact us at [email protected] with comments or questions.

Source: thesimpledollar.com

Should You Pay Your Kids For Good Grades?

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In a recent attempt to get our kids to consume some vegetables, we offered them the bribe — I mean, incentive — of a brand-new toy if they each ate a carrot with dinner every night for several weeks. After the carrot challenge ended and the boys were delighted with their new toys, we faced the problem of both kids declaring that they would never eat another carrot again as long as they lived. So much for fostering an appreciation for carrots.

This is the central paradox of incentivizing good behavior. You may be able to get your children to do what you want them to for a short time, but will it ultimately result in changed habits? 

Here’s what you need to know about paying your kids for good grades, so you can decide the best way to encourage them to succeed. 

Cash incentives may work

One of the most compelling arguments for paying kids for good grades is that it’s how the world of work is structured. Most adults wouldn’t go to work every day without getting paid, and they are incentivized to improve their performance by the promise of bonuses, raises, and other perks. So it does seem reasonable to offer kids compensation for their hard work at school.

In fact, research has found that this kind of incentive can actually work to improve student performance and test scores. According to Education Week, Roland Fryer, an economist at Harvard University, conducted a series of experiments in the mid-2000s in which he paid $6 million to over 18,000 low-income students in several U.S. cities to incentivize them to improve their test scores. However, the results indicated that when offering cash for school performance, the important thing to focus on is rewarding something students feel like they have control over. 

That means using money (or other incentives) to motivate inputs, such as number of hours spent studying, rather than outputs, such as grades or test scores. Students may want to improve their performance, but not know how to budge the needle. Rewarding them for their effort will be much more effective in encouraging better outcomes than rewarding them for a specific grade. (See also: 5 Money Moves Every Single Parent Should Make)

Tread carefully with multiple kids

If parents do decide to offer financial incentives to their kids, another potential landmine can be knowing how to handle more than one child in the family. If one kid is a born scholar and another struggles with learning disabilities or behavioral issues, rewarding the first for what they’re already good at and giving nothing to the second will not end well. The student you most want to motivate will learn to hate and resent school.

On the other hand, it can be tough to offer a sliding scale of payment for each kid. The high-achiever might resent that their struggling sibling gets the same money for worse grades or test scores. Making it clear that you’re rewarding effort rather than results is the best way to make sure you don’t discourage the very behavior you’re trying to encourage.

Incentives can backfire

While paying kids to improve their grades can result in better studying habits and improved scores, it may not effectively encourage them to engage with school. Studies have shown that rewards incentivize students to do the minimum necessary to receive their prize, after which point they lose interest. This was the exact problem my family encountered with our carrot-eating challenge, as the incentive was the only reason the kids were eating their vegetables, and they were not interested in trying to find a way to like eating carrots.

This is unsurprising when you think of all the disengaged workers who only show up and do the bare minimum to keep from getting fired. Without the intrinsic engagement with the work, whether that’s learning literature and history, or filing TPS reports, payment for this kind of work becomes the only thing the recipient cares about.

In addition, likening school to work by offering cash incentives can also backfire. That’s because schools can’t fire underperforming students the same way an employer can fire a lackluster worker. Nor do schools have access to any of the other negative consequences an employer can use to improve an employee’s poor performance. With a carrot and no stick, students will both get a false sense of what work life will look like, and feel more comfortable simply opting out of incentives, since there are no negative consequences for bad grades that they haven’t already felt.

Instilling a love of learning in disengaged students is not an easy task, as any teacher can tell you. But paying them is no way to create that enjoyment for school. A better way to help kids engage with their studies is to encourage their interests and show how school relates to the subjects they are most passionate about. This may take more effort than simply handing out the dollar bills come report card time, but it will have better outcomes for encouraging a love of learning. (See also: 7 Parenting Mistakes Everyone Makes But No One Talks About)

Should you pay for good grades?

Bribery as a parenting tactic is not going away anytime soon. It’s effective in the short term, and sometimes Mom and Dad simply need to get their kids to do something. However, paying kids is not always the best way to encourage them to engage with their school work. 

If you’re considering paying your kids for their school work, make sure all of your kids understand what they can each do to earn their rewards, use the payments to incentivize behavior they have control over, and continue working to help them see the joys of learning. 

Source: feeds.killeraces.com

How to Avoid a Prepayment Penalty When Paying Off a Loan

Do you have less-than-sterling credit? Watch out for pre-computed loans, in which interest is front-loaded, ensuring the lender collects more in interest no matter how quickly you pay off the loan.

Ready to stop worrying about money?
If a loan has a prepayment penalty, the servicer must include information about the penalty on either your monthly statement or in your loan coupon book (the slips of paper you send with your payment every month).
First, check your contract.
“They avoid using the word ‘penalty,’ obviously, because that would give a reader of the note, mortgage or the loan some alarm,” he said.
The loan is considered a “qualified mortgage” (meaning it can’t have features like negative amortization or interest-only payments).

What Is a Loan Prepayment Penalty?

Most loans do not include a prepayment penalty. They are typically applied to larger loans, like mortgages and sometimes auto loans — although personal loans can also include this sneaky fee.
Credit unions and banks are your best options for avoiding loans that include prepayment penalties, according to Charles Gallagher, a consumer law attorney in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Additionally, although you may get socked with a penalty for paying off the loan balance early, it’s likely you can still make extra payments toward the balance. Review your contract or ask your lender what amount will trigger the penalty, Gallagher said.
A prepayment penalty is a fee lenders charge if you pay off all or part of your loan early.

What Loans Have Prepayment Penalties?

Source: thepennyhoarder.com
Well, in some cases, yes.
By using techniques like the debt avalanche, debt snowball and debt lasso methods, you can tackle your other debts while giving yourself time to let a prepayment penalty period expire.

Pro Tip
“It’s more of private loans — loans for people who’ve maybe had some struggles and can’t qualify for a Fannie or Freddie loan,” Gallagher said. “That block of lending is the one going to be most hit by this.”

If you don’t have a loan with a prepayment penalty, contact your lender before sending additional money to ensure your payment is going toward principal — not interest or fees.

Prepayment Penalties for Mortgages

Tiffany Wendeln Connors is a staff writer/editor at The Penny Hoarder. Read her bio and other work here, then catch her on Twitter @TiffanyWendeln.
Prepayment penalties apply for only the first few years of a mortgage — the CFPB’s rule allows for a maximum of three years. But again, check your mortgage agreement for your exact terms.
The loan has a fixed interest rate.
If you’re negotiating the terms — as say, with an auto loan — don’t let a salesperson try to pressure you into signing a contract without agreeing to a simple interest contract with no prepayment penalty. Better yet, start by applying for a pre-approved auto loan so you can get a pro to review any contracts before you sign.

  1. If you do discover that your loan includes a prepayment penalty, you still have some options.
  2. Typically, a prepayment penalty only applies if you pay off the entire balance – for example, because you sold your car or are refinancing your mortgage – within a specific timeframe (usually within three years of when you accepted the loan).
  3. If your lender presents you with a contract that includes a prepayment penalty, request a loan that does not include a prepayment penalty. The new contract may have other terms that make that loan less advantageous (like a higher interest rate), but you’ll at least be able to compare your options.

Gallagher rattled off a list of alternative terms a lender could use in the contract, including:
That prepayment penalty can apply if you want to pay off your loan early, sell your house or even refinance, depending on the terms of your mortgage.
So suppose you bought a house last year and then wanted to sell your home. If your mortgage meets all of the above criteria and has a prepayment penalty clause in the mortgage contract, you could end up paying a penalty of 2% on the remaining balance — for a loan you still owe 0,000 on, that comes out to an extra ,000.
The best way to avoid a prepayment penalty is to read your contract — or better yet, have a professional (like an attorney or CPA) who understands the terminology, review it.

How to Find Out If a Loan Will Have a Prepayment Penalty

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ruled that for mortgages made after Jan. 10, 2014, the maximum prepayment penalty a lender can charge is 2% of the loan balance. And prepayment penalties are only allowed in mortgages if all of the following are true:
But you can avoid the trap — or at least a big payout if you’ve already signed the loan contract. We’ll explain.
”The more opportunistic and less fair lenders would be the ones who would probably be assessing [prepayment penalties] as part of their loan terms,” he said, “I wouldn’t say loan sharking… but you have to search down the list for a less preferable lender.”

  • Sale before a certain timeframe.
  • Refinance before a term.
  • Prepayment prior to maturity.

Look at you, so responsible. You received a financial windfall — stimulus check, tax refund, work bonus, inheritance, whatever — and you’re using it to pay off one of your debts years ahead of schedule.
A prepayment penalty is a fee lenders use to recoup the money they’ll lose when you’re no longer paying interest on the loan. That interest is how they make their money.

Pro Tip
However, if there is a prepayment penalty in the contract for a more recent mortgage, there are rules about how long it can be in effect and how much you can owe.

Unfortunately, if you have bad credit and can’t get a loan from traditional lenders, private loan alternatives are the most likely to include the prepayment penalty.

How Can You Find Out if Your Current Loan Has a Prepayment Penalty?

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If you’re paying off multiple types of debt, consider paying off the accounts that do not trigger prepayment penalties — credit cards and federal student loans don’t charge prepayment penalties.

What to Do if You’re Stuck in a Loan With Prepayment Penalty

The prepayment penalty won’t apply to FHA, VA or USDA loans but can apply to conventional mortgages — although the penalty is much less common than it was before the CFPB’s ruling.
Prepayment penalties do not normally apply if you pay extra principal in small chunks at a time, but it’s always a good idea to double check with the lender and your loan agreement.
You can also ask your lender about the terms regarding your penalty by calling the number on your monthly billing statement or read the documents you signed when you closed the loan — look for the same terms mentioned above.

Pro Tip
Good for you! Except… make sure you don’t get charged a prepayment penalty.

If you’ll incur a fee for paying off your loan early within the first few years, consider holding onto the money until the penalty period expires.
The loan’s annual percentage rate can’t be higher than the Average Prime Offer Rate (also known as a higher-priced mortgage).
Now wait just a minute, you say. I’m paying the money back early — early! — and my lender thanks me by charging me a fee?
In some cases, a prepayment penalty could apply if you pay off a large amount of your loan all at once. <!–

–>




If your loan includes a prepayment penalty, the contract should state the time period when it may be imposed, the maximum penalty and the lender’s contact information.

What Is the Average Used Car Loan Rate?

October 30, 2018 &• 4 min read by Brooke Niemeyer Comments 0 Comments

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Disclaimer

Article originally published July 13th, 2016. Updated October 30th, 2018.

More people are opting to lease their new set of wheels instead of purchasing them, according to Q2 2018 data from Experian.

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The number of auto loans grew to an all-time high, with leasing surpassed 30% of all new consumer vehicle sales. But the interest rates consumers are getting on these loans has stayed low, especially for used cars. In fact, Experian reported that average loan rates saw some increases, but still remain historically low.

Loan rates for a new car in Q2 of 2018 were 5.76%, up from 5.20% a year prior. Franchise used rates are 8.28% (down from 7.88% in Q2 2017), while independently used rates are 11.87% (down only 0.17% from Q2 2018).

The Experian Automotive scoring deems prime consumers as those with scores of 661 to 850, nonprime users with scores of 601 to 660, and subprime users as those with scores of 300 to 600. Consumers on all risk tiers are increasingly choosing to lease over purchasing cars, according to the report.

The number of prime consumers choosing used vehicles increased from 55.61% in Q2 2016 to 55.79% in Q2 2018. The number of nonprime and subprime consumers also saw increases, from 21.75% to 22.05% and decreases of 25.71% to 25.05%, respectively.

Experian reported that the increased number of prime consumers choosing used vehicles resulted in “score increases, greater percentages of used financing in the prime risk tier and lower average used rates.”

If you’re thinking about buying a used car and taking out an auto loan to do it, it’s a good idea to review your credit first. Having a good credit score can help you qualify for better terms and conditions on your financing. (To find out where your credit stands, you can see two of your credit scores for free, updated every 14 days, on Credit.com.)

And when you’re figuring out how much you can afford, remember to consider not only how much your monthly car payment will be but also how much the loan will cost you in the end, by considering the interest rate and length of the loan term. (The longer the loan term, the more interest you will pay.)

If you aren’t happy with what you see, don’t worry — you may be able to improve your credit scores by paying down any big credit card balances, disputing errors and limiting credit inquiries until your score has had time to rebound.

When attempting to get a used car loan, you will want to gather all the necessary documentation including the following:

  • Your Driver’s License
  • Proof of all of your income- this can be a paycheck stub or even a tax return
  • A utility or phone bill to prove your residency
  • Your social security number so they can run your credit check

These days, you can often apply for the used car loan right online or even by phone which makes it the process that much easier and accessible.

It is always a good idea to start with your own bank or credit union for financing because you have already established history and relationship with them. Typically, you will be able to find the absolute best rates and more favorable terms if you go through your own bank.

They will also be able to advise you on all the options that are available to you as you begin the journey toward car ownership.

You never want to settle on the first rate you are given; don’t be afraid to shop around to see if you can find something better than the typical auto loan rates. You will find the best auto loan rates if you have good credit. Additionally, if you apply for multiple loans within a 14 day period, it will only count as one hard inquiry so that you can find the best rate possible.

Typically, you will find that the car loan rate on a used car is going to be a bit higher than the rates you would find with a newer car. For example, good credit car loans can see an interest rate as low as 3.9% for a newer model and a little more than 5% for its older version.

The following are the average rates you may find for a used car loan that carries a 60-month repayment term based on a range of different FICO Scores.

With a credit score between 500 and 589, you may be looking at interest rates on the loan as high as 16%. A bad credit score also makes it a lot harder to get approved for the car loan initially as well.

A credit score in between 590 and 619 will typically see the 15% mark, and the percentages get lower from here with the lowest coming in at 4.39% with a credit score between a 720 and 850.

A longer loan term will usually mean you will have a lower monthly payment, but you will also accrue more in interest with a longer loan term.

When determining the average used car loan rate and the amount of interest you may have to pay on a loan, you will want to check all three of your credit reports, examine your credit score and credit history and determine what steps you can take to improve your credit, so you can qualify for a lower interest rate.

Again, if you bank with a credit union, always start there first because the lender will already be able to see if you are high risk or not. Car buyers should always take their time, do their research, and tackle the work of fixing their credit prior to obtaining a loan for a car. It is always best to shop smarter and save money in the long run.


Source: credit.com

What Is High-risk Auto Insurance?  

  • Car Insurance

Insurance companies determine risk when calculating rates and offering coverage. If the company determines that your accident risk is higher than average, you’ll have to purchase high-risk auto insurance. Since companies base rates on risk, you can expect to pay more for coverage if you need high-risk insurance

Find your best rate on Car Insurance!

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Tip: Act now to see if you qualify for lower rates!

Compare free personalized quotes from the nation’s top providers.

Find out why you might need high-risk insurance, how you can lower your premiums, and more. Then you’ll be ready to shop for high-risk auto insurance if necessary. 

Reasons for High-risk Auto Insurance

Insurance companies look at various factors when determining risk. You might need high-risk insurance if you:

  • Have lots of at-fault accidents on your record 
  • Have a large number of speeding tickets 
  • Have reckless driving or racing violations
  • Have been convicted of driving under the influence
  • Are a young, inexperienced driver, or are over 65 years old 
  • Have bad credit 
  • Use the vehicle for a ridesharing service or another high-risk activity 
  • Drive a high value or specialized car
  • Had your license suspended or revoked
  • Let your insurance lapse 

Lowering Your Risk

If you’ve been flagged as a high-risk driver, there are some things you can do to reduce your risk in the eyes of the insurance company. Reducing your risk can lead to lower premiums.

First, if you are high risk due to moving violations, take a defensive driving course. Speak with your insurance agent before taking a class to ensure it’s approved, though. 

Also, practice safer driving behaviors while on the road. Follow the speed limit and obey all laws. After you hit the three-year mark without any tickets, your premium should decrease.

If you’re high-risk because of a DUI conviction, speak to your insurance company about installing an interlock ignition device. While most companies will not reduce the rates, some will, so it’s worth exploring. 

Improving your credit score can also lower your premiums. Some insurance companies charge more for bad credit scores, so make your payments on time and reduce your credit-to-debt ratio.  

SR-22 Certificate and High-risk Insurance

If you require high-risk auto insurance because your policy lapsed, or your license was suspended or revoked, you might need an SR-22 certificate. This certificate is not insurance. Instead, it is proof that you have the required liability insurance. Your insurance company will issue the certificate and send it to the necessary state office on your behalf. 

High-risk Insurance Restrictions

Some high-risk policies include restrictions. For example, you might be the only person protected when driving your vehicle. If someone else drives your car, he or she won’t be covered. Also, if you are in an accident and the court assesses punitive damages, your policy might not cover it. Finally, the company might review your driving history annually and increase your rates if you have any infractions. 

Because of these restrictions and the high cost of coverage, work hard to reduce your risk, so you can get a standard policy soon. 

Getting High-risk Insurance

Finding high-risk auto insurance is a bit harder than purchasing a standard policy. Some major insurance providers offer high-risk coverage, so you can begin shopping there. However, you might have to use a company that specializes in these policies. When you choose such a company, you’re less likely to get turned down for insurance. 

Compare Quotes

As with any insurance policy, you should compare quotes before purchasing high-risk coverage. Companies use different formulas for assessing risk. One company might see you as extremely high risk, while another might view your risk at a moderate level, meaning you’ll pay less. After you compare quotes, you can purchase your policy and hit the road once again.

Source: pocketyourdollars.com

7 Small Ways to Save Big on Gas

7 Small Ways to Save Big on Gas – SmartAsset

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Gasoline can get expensive, but most of us have to drive at some point or another. Driving around to find the cheapest gas  in town is one way to cut a big chunk out of your monthly gas bill. But there are many tips and tricks that can reduce what you pay at the pump. Here are seven strategies that can help you save money on gas and reduce your environmental footprint.

See what the average budget looks like for someone in your neighborhood.

1. Service Your Vehicle Regularly

Properly maintaining your vehicle can improve its fuel economy. You’ll need to replace dirty filters as often as possible and use the right motor oil whenever you top up. Using the wrong oil could waste gas by making your engine work harder. If you aren’t sure which grade of motor oil your car needs, you can check your owner’s manual.

It’s also important to keep your tires properly inflated. Tire pressure should always remain at the level recommended by your car’s manufacturer. And you’ll need to make sure your tires are aligned. When it comes to gas mileage, a simple tune-up can go a long way.

2. Use A/C Wisely

In some cases, you can waste gas by cranking up the A/C. But it all depends on where you’re driving. If you’re driving fast because you’re on the highway, for example, having the windows open can increase drag and reduce fuel economy. So using A/C when you’re speeding down the freeway won’t prevent you from trying to save money on gas.

In most cars, the A/C turns on when you try to defrost the windshield. Using a less powerful setting is one way to avoid wasting energy.

3. Find Cheap Places to Fuel Up

Generally to find cheap gas, you’ll need to stay away from wealthier neighborhoods and check out stations in the suburbs if you’re driving through a major city. Apps like GasBuddy, AAA TripTik Mobile and Waze can help you find low gas prices in your area.

If you’re trying to spend less money on gas, waiting until your gas tank is empty and filling up a little at a time throughout the week isn’t a good idea. In fact, doing that could damage your car. It’s best to wait until you have a quarter tank of gas and fill it up all the way.

Related Article: States With the Worst Drivers

4. Earn Rewards for Buying Gas

If you drive a lot, it may make sense for you to get a credit card that rewards you with cash back or points for buying gas. Depending on the kind of credit card you qualify for, you could earn gas rewards of up to 5%.

5. Travel Lightly

Carrying around a heavy load can add unnecessary drag. That’s why it’s a good idea to clean out your trunk and remove anything from your roof that you don’t need. By removing excess weight, you’ll be able to maximize your vehicle’s fuel economy.

6. Drive Slower

Cars often use more gas when drivers speed up. Exceeding your car’s optimal speed can reduce your gas mileage. In many cars, it’s best to drive at around 50 mph if you want to save fuel.

When you need to accelerate, it’s best to tap the gas pedal lightly. Speeding up too quickly or hitting the brakes too hard can reduce your miles per gallon.

Related Article: How to Trade in a Car

7. Drive More Efficiently

In addition to monitoring your speed, you can drive more efficiently by paying attention to details. For example, it’s a good idea to turn off the engine if your car has been idle for a while. Avoiding potholes and sudden stops can also make a difference when you’re trying to save money.

Using cruise control while you’re driving long distances may also help you use less gas. If you want to go the extra mile, consider buying a more fuel-efficient car. Spending a bit more on a new ride might make sense if you want better gas mileage.

Final Word

Sometimes you have to get creative when you want to cut costs. By making some adjustments to the way you drive and maintain your car, you can save big bucks on gasoline.

And if you can capitalize on the best times to buy gas, you probably should. Usually, it’s best to get gas either early in the morning or late at night.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/CasarsaGuru, ©iStock.com/Geribody, ©iStock.com/Kesu01

Liz Smith Liz Smith is a graduate of New York University and has been passionate about helping people make better financial decisions since her college days. Liz has been writing for SmartAsset for more than four years. Her areas of expertise include retirement, credit cards and savings. She also focuses on all money issues for millennials. Liz’s articles have been featured across the web, including on AOL Finance, Business Insider and WNBC. The biggest personal finance mistake she sees people making: not contributing to retirement early in their careers.
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Source: smartasset.com

What to Do When Your Apartment Floods from Upstairs | ApartmentSearch

Man mopping up wet hardwood floor in apartment kitchenYou thought apartment floods could only happen from the outside, in—from heavy rain or a hurricane. But now you’re dealing with a flood from upstairs and waterfalls from your neighbor’s burst pipes are cascading into your living room.

When other tenants live above you in separate apartments, your risk of a flood from upstairs increases exponentially. The fact is: if their apartment floods, your apartment most likely floods, too. Thanks a lot, gravity!

Find out what to do when disaster strikes, and how to get back on your feet.

5 Steps for Handling a Flood from Upstairs

Step #1: Recognize Common Sources of Upstairs Flooding

Before you look outside for the cause of the flooding, look up. According to PRO Restoration, the most common sources of indoor flooding include:

  • Burst pipes
  • Leaky water heaters
  • Clogged sewer or drain lines
  • Faulty washing machine hoses

Refrigerators, dishwashers, and toilets are also common culprits of upstairs flooding. If you can identify the source of a flood from upstairs, you’ll be able to help your landlord and repair workers find and fix the issue. You might even be able to stop the deluge by shutting off the proper water supply valves.

Step #2: Salvage Your Stuff

With an upstairs flood, chances are good that the water is coming into your apartment from a specific part of your ceiling. Move valuable items that are at risk of damage from the upstairs flood to a separate area of your apartment. If need be, transfer your stuff to a neighbor’s apartment, to your car, or to waterproof storage.

Step #3: Call Your Landlord for Help

Your landlord will want to stop the flooding as much as you do. After all, the apartment technically belongs to them! Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask your landlord for help. Oftentimes, they will be more than happy to provide skilled personnel, flood remediation services, fans, wet vacs, and more.

In general, your landlord is responsible for repairs related to ensuring your apartment remains in a livable condition. Flooding damage caused by an upstairs apartment most likely falls into this category. Ultimately, your lease will specify whether your landlord is responsible for making the repairs.

Step #4: Contact Your Insurance Company

Some landlords require all tenants to purchase renters insurance to reduce the risk of personal property damage claims. Even if your landlord doesn’t require renters insurance, you may want to consider before renting an apartment to better protect yourself financially.

If you do have renters insurance (high five!), call your claims department to see if they can help you replace your damaged possessions or make repairs. Photographing any evidence of the flooding and documenting all correspondence with your landlord will help streamline the process of your insurance payout.

Step #5: Take Care of the Repairs

Request that your landlord covers the cost of the repairs. If they refuse, you have a number of options. One is to hire your own handyman, then talk to your landlord about deducting the cost of the repair bill from your rent. Another is to make the repairs yourself, then submit your costs to your landlord for reimbursement.

If the upstairs flooding has made your apartment completely unlivable and your landlord is not making the necessary fixes, it may be time to take further action by seeking help from a local group representing tenants, reporting the issue to your city’s code inspection office, and/or taking your landlord to court.

After your apartment floods from upstairs, you may be ready to find a new one. Find (dry!) apartments for rent near you on ApartmentSearch.com.

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

4 Fair Ways to Split Apartment Rent | ApartmentSearch

friends splitting costs at coffee shop using tablet

Can you do the splits? No, not that kind! Not banana splits, either. We’re talking about splitting the rent fairly with your roommates. Don’t let this issue ruin what could be an extremely rewarding (and cost-effective) living experience. Here are some fair ideas for splitting apartment rent between you and your roommates.

1. Split Rent by Person

Splitting rent by person is by far the most simple method for splitting rent between roommates. Take the total rent due to your landlord and divide it by the number of tenants living in your apartment. Each person pays the same amount, regardless of bedroom size or other individual perks. This method is fair, quick, and easy.

2. Split Rent by Room Size

In most apartments, not all rooms are created equal. Typically, an apartment will include one “master” bedroom which is quite a bit larger than the other bedrooms. Sometimes this room will even include a walk-in closet or private bathroom.

If this is the case in your apartment, you and your roommates may not think it’s fair to have everybody pay the same amount of rent. Luckily, there’s a solution: Add up the total square footage for each bedroom, then calculate the percentage of bedroom space each roommate will have, excluding the common areas.

Example: Let’s say rent for your apartment is $1,500 total and you have three roommates. Together, the square footage for all three bedrooms is 600 sq. feet. (This square footage doesn’t include common areas, like the living room or kitchen.)

  • Room #1 (300 sq. ft.) = ½ of total area = $750 in rent
  • Room #2 (200 sq. ft.) = ⅓ of total area = $500 in rent
  • Room #3 (100 sq. ft.) = ⅙ of total area = $250 in rent

3. Split Rent by Factoring in Individual Perks

Sometimes room size doesn’t mean a better room. Maybe the master bedroom has no windows and a tiny closet. Or, perhaps that 100 sq. ft. bedroom offers an incredible view of the city and includes a private bathroom.

One way to split apartment rent is by assigning a value to each one of these perks, then tacking these values onto an otherwise equitable rent price division.

4. Use a Rent Split Calculator

Math is hard. That’s why a number of different online tools exist to help you and your roommates calculate your rent splits, such as Spliddit, the New York Times Rent Split Calculator, and Splitwise.com.

A rent calculator takes the competition and weird vibes out of the equation by allowing each tenant to choose their room preferences and price point. You can even include information about room-splitting and individual perks.

Talk to your potential roommates about these rent split ideas and be sure to ask them other important questions. A fair and equitable rent split is the first step toward a wonderful relationship between you and your new roommates.

Have your rent split figured out but still looking for an apartment? Find your perfect place on ApartmentSearch.com today!

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

What Minneapolis Neighborhood is Best for Me? (Quiz)

Skol!

The larger half of the famed Twin Cities, Minneapolis boasts neighborhoods that are home to great professional sports franchises, a delicious culinary scene, amazing art community and fun parks and trails that you can explore year-round.

Taking a bite out of a Jucy Lucy at Matt’s or a selfie with the Mary Tyler Moore statue on Nicollet Avenue are fun things to do for tourists, but to get to know Minneapolis neighborhoods, you need to explore a little more.

The most popular Minneapolis neighborhoods

Whether you’re brave like Bud Grant and wear a short-sleeve shirt in sub-zero temperatures or prefer warmer weather and hiking boots to explore the city’s trails, this city has a neighborhood that’s perfect for you.

So explore some of the city’s best areas, and then take our Minneapolis neighborhood quiz to decide which place you should call home.

Uptown

uptown minneapolis

Made famous by Prince’s song, Uptown offers a special vibe for residents. With an active nightlife, clubs, bars and theaters, such as the famous Uptown Theatre, as well as amazing restaurants — World Street Kitchen’s menu features the delectable entrees found on its wildly popular food truck — and great shopping, Uptown is a perfect spot for young professionals and students.

Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy taking advantage of Lake Bde Maka Ska Park and its trails.

A one-bedroom apartment in Uptown averages about $1,829 a month.

Dinkytown

dinkytown minneapolis

It may have a tiny name, but Dinkytown explodes with things to do. With the University of Minnesota at the edge of Dinkytown, weekends are often taken over by maroon and gold-clad fans heading to campus for sports.

Arts, culture and great restaurants are also just a few steps away. For instance, you can see impressive art at the Frederick R. Wiseman Art Museum, as well as public art on the U of M campus. Al’s Breakfast offers a big meal in a tiny building. Open for breakfast and lunch, Al’s is popular with residents and University of Minnesota students.

North Loop

north loop minneapolis

As a “hipster” neighborhood, North Loop has grown from a warehouse district to a vibrant art and entertainment area. This area features some of the city’s best restaurants, bars and shopping. The neighborhood is also home to the city’s professional baseball and basketball teams.

As a result, young professionals and couples seeking a thriving area are flocking to the North Loop.

You can rent a one-bedroom apartment here for about $1,812 a month on average.

Lynnhurst

lynnhurt minneapolis

Centrally located, Lynnhurst offers a family-friendly neighborhood known for its access to public parks and nature trails. Minnehaha Creek Park is home to canoeing, hiking and picnicking. The Lynnhurst Recreation Center offers youth activities, sports leagues and an ice skating rink. Family-themed restaurants highlight the area, including Lake Harriet Pizza, the perfect choice for takeout pizza, and Colita, where you must sample the lamb barbacoa tacos.

Linden Hills

linden hills minneapolis

Linden Hills offers a mix of history and nature, with museums, such as the Minnesota Streetcar Museum and Bakken Museum and Bde Maka Ska, the largest lake in Minneapolis and home to three miles of trails and lots of water activities. Popular with families and couples, you’ll find excellent eateries, such as Martina and Old Southern BBQ.

Enjoy a one-bedroom apartment in Linden Hills for about $995 a month on average.

Loring Park

loring park minneapolis

With major celebrations, including the Gay Pride Festival and the Loring Park Art Fair, Loring Park is an outstanding neighborhood for socially-conscious people. Home to the country’s first basilica, Basilica of St. Mary, its Beaux-Arts architecture is impressive. With an outstanding collection and a fabulous sculpture garden, the Walker Art Center adds art and culture to Loring Park. Restaurants, such as Lotus Restaurant, offering Vietnamese cuisine, adds to the international flavor of the neighborhood.

The average one-bedroom apartment in Loring Park is about $1,360 a month.

Downtown East

downtown east minneapolis

Hugging the Mississippi River, the Downtown East neighborhood features an array of attractions. With the Mill City Museum and Stone Arch Bridge as anchors, locals also enjoy concerts at the Guthrie Theater. A Minnesota Vikings game at U.S. Bank Stadium is a major social event. Popular with young professionals, Downtown East is home to Day Block Brewing Company, the perfect spot to grab a drink and bite to eat.

Prospect Park

prospect park minneapolis neighborhood

Prospect Park is a mixture of residents, from empty nesters to young professionals and even students. The community’s story dates back to the mid-1870s when a wealthy real estate entrepreneur developed the area. Today, a large section of the neighborhood is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Situated between St. Paul and the Mississippi River, Prospect Park encompasses a section of the University of Minnesota, which offers scenic walks and public art displays around campus. Home to the highest natural spot in Minneapolis, Tower Hill Park is known for its Witch’s Hat Tower (the top resembles a witch’s hat).

Rent a one-bedroom apartment in Prospect Park for an average of $1,733 a month.

Find the best Minneapolis neighborhood for you

Unsure about which of the Minneapolis neighborhoods is perfect for you? Check out our quiz and we’ll find the perfect area for you.

Who’s coming with you?

What is most important to you when deciding which neighborhood to live in?

How do you like to spend your downtime?

How do you like to plan dinner?

What’s your idea of a relaxing outing?

Which of the following is most important when choosing a new home?

Which Minneapolis Neighborhood Should You Call Home?

Uptown

Uptown Minneapolis

Made famous by Prince’s song, Uptown offers a special vibe for residents. With an active nightlife, clubs, bars and theaters and great shopping, Uptown is a perfect spot for young professionals and students.
Find Apartments in Uptown

Dinkytown

Dinkytown Minneapolis

It may have a tiny name, but Dinkytown explodes with things to do, including University of Minnesota sports, arts and culture, as well as a unique culinary scene. With the University of Minnesota at the edge of Dinkytown, weekends are often taken over by maroon and gold-clad fans heading to campus for sports.
Find Apartments in Dinkytown

North Loop

North Loop Minneapolis

As a “hipster” neighborhood, North Loop has grown from a warehouse district to a vibrant art and entertainment area, home to some of the city’s best restaurants, bars and retail outlets. North Loop is a booming neighborhood for young professionals and couples seeking a thriving area.
Find Apartments in North Loop

Lynnhurst

Centrally located, Lynnhurst is a family-friendly neighborhood known for its access to public parks and nature trails. Residents enjoy canoeing, hiking and picnicking at Minnehaha Creek Park.
Find Apartments in Lynnhurst

Linden Hills

Linden Hills offers a mix of history and nature, with museum and the largest lake in Minneapolis. Popular with families and couples, you’ll also find excellent restaurants in this neighborhood.
Find Apartments in Linden Hills

Loring Park

With major celebrations, including the Gay Pride Festival and the Loring Park Art Fair, Loring Park is an outstanding neighborhood for socially-conscious people. The neighborhood is home to an outstanding collection of art a fabulous sculpture garden. Award-worthy restaurants also add to the international flavor of the neighborhood.
Find Apartments in Loring Park

Downtown East

Hugging the Mississippi River, the Downtown East neighborhood features an array of urban attractions for families and young professionals. Between museums, sporting events, concerts and the famous Stone Arch Bridge, this neighborhood offers something for everyone.
Find Apartments in Downtown East

Prospect Park

Prospect Park Minneapolis

With a large section of the neighborhoods listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Prospect Park is a mixture of residents, from empty nesters to young professionals and even students. This neighborhood encompasses a section of the University of Minnesota, which offers scenic walks and public art displays around campus.
Find Apartments in Prospect Park
Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com’s multifamily rental property inventory of one-bedroom apartments. We pulled our data in January 2021, and it goes back for one year. Our team uses a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.

Source: rent.com

Must Have Tools for Thanksgiving Dinner Prep This Year

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Tools for cooking Thanksgiving Dinner | Thanksgiving dinner | Kitchen tools

We don’t have to tell you that Thanksgiving looks and feels a lot different this year.  This may be the first you you are cooking the big meal yourself.  While we wish we could be there to help, the next best thing is to share with you our favorite tools for prepping a Thanksgiving feast.  And once you’ve got all the tools ordered, be sure to check out our Pinterest boards, for all of our favorite recipes both for Thanksgiving dinner and for the accompanying drinks.

fat separator–ALL THE GRAVY-NONE OF THE GREASE

BRINING=ACING THE TURKEY GAME

SAVE STOVETOP SPACE -SLOW COOK YOUR MASHED POTATOES

BECAUSE YOU’RE PROBABLY NOT EATING THAT WHOLE PIE IN ONE SITTING…BUT WE WON’T JUDGE IF YOU DO

GET THE RIGHT TEMP

Ready to find your next apartment?

BASTE LIKE A PRO

BECAUSE MANHANDLING A HOT TURKEY IS NOT A GOOD LOOK

Stainless Steel Trash & Recycling Center

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Must Have Tools for Thanksgiving Dinner
Article Name
Must Have Tools for Thanksgiving Dinner
Description
Cooking Thanksgiving Dinner for yourself this year? These tools will help you prep Thanksgiving dinner like a pro.
Holli Beckman
Publisher Name
Apartminty
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Source: blog.apartminty.com