Do you have something that drives you absolutely crazy, even though nobody else is fazed by it? We all do—whether it’s someone taking the last of the coffee without refilling, or seemingly arbitrary office policies. It’s strange when we get angry over nothing… but sometimes it’s also oddly liberating.
It seems like it’s something different that tips everybody over the edge—so let’s talk about some of the most common things that make us irrationally angry.
1. YouTube Video Recommendations
One user posted, “YouTube recommending videos that don’t start with the first one of a series. Why start on part 6…?”
“YT can’t count. You’ve watched episodes 1, 2, and 3 out of a series? What comes after episode 3? Episode 7, obviously. Next up is episode 21. Followed by episode 2 even though you’ve already watched it. It’s baffling how a simple episode list is beyond YT’s algorithm to understand,” one user replied.
Another user also commented, “Yeah, but 7 has higher engagement metrics than 4,5, or 6, so YT thinks that is more important than chronology.”
One responded, “For me it’s the 30s of unskippable ads, followed by another ad 25s into the video.”
2. Motion Sensor Doesn’t Work
One user posted, “When the motion sensor on a paper towel dispenser doesn’t work.”
Another user replied, “I hate it when you have to negotiate to get soap, water and towels but the germaphobe in me really likes not touching anything.”
One user commented, “As a fellow public toilet germaphobe, it shits me to tears when the amenities are designed to be no touch (sensor soap and paper towel etc) and then the door has a handle.”
Another user stated, “As long as they use real paper towels and not those shitty hand dryers, you can use the towel to grab the door handle. Some places now have the thing at the bottom of the door where you can use your foot. That is also pretty handy. It’s pretty gross though when you see some absolute slob come out of a stall and go right out the door using the handle you have to touch. I wouldn’t describe myself as a germaphobe by any stretch, but there is a level of basic hygiene that everyone should be at.”
3. People who Won’t Let you Merge
One Redditor posted, “When people speed up when I indicate a lane change.”
Another responded, “Omg thank god someone said this. Knew those jerks do that… on purpose lmao.”
One user also commented, “Me too, and I always wondered why they do that.”
Another Redditor added, “Some people are mean on purpose. Some people aren’t paying attention to their speed and when they notice they’re going slow cuz someone is trying to pass them, they correct.”
“I get [annoyed with] people who cut me off on the right, while my blinker to change lanes to the right is active and I’m intentionally trying to move over to the slow lane. They’re so eager to pass me that they won’t even let me get over to the slow lane or exit lane. I’m trying to move over, and it’s infuriating,” a user replied.
4. People who are Confidently Wrong
One user added to the thread, “Overconfident people who are clearly not very bright.”
Another responded, “People that [make up] an answer instead of admitting they don’t know something.”
Another one added, “I agree this is cringe but unfortunately as a medical student, doctors get pissed if I say ‘I don’t know’ to some of their random… questions, so I have to force myself to make up some [crap] instead.”
“My 11th grade English teacher was one of those teachers. He also got mad at you for making stuff up though and refused to use anything but your full legal name (first and last) but the second you tried to call him Mr instead of professor he’d yell at you and lecture the whole class about respect and if someone has a name/title preference you should accept that so [idk] what his problem was lmao.”
5. No Headlights in the Rain
One user commented, “Drivers who don’t turn their headlights on when it’s raining.”
Another user added, “Or ones that don’t use turn signals when turning.”
“They use it as they turn instead of before,” one Redditor replied.
Another user responded, “And it always seems to be gray or silver cars that completely blend in with the haze.”
6. Blocking the Grocery Aisle
One Redditor posted, “When people block the entire… aisle with their shopping carts.”
Another user responded, “Lmao my wife gets so pissed when people do this. She literally moves their cart for them.”
One user added, “I do that, too. I’ll pick up the end of their cart and just move it out of the way. Usually people are apologetic about it and I’m outwardly nice to them but I’m always thinking ‘If you’re so sorry why… did you do it in the first place??’”
One user shared, “My grocery store trigger is when someone stops in an aisle to peruse a section, and they leave their cart dead center in the aisle…preferably at an angle to ensure maximum blockage.”
7. People Stopping in Busy Stores
One user posted, “Pet peeve… people having friends and family gathering in the busiest intersection in the store right in front of the items everyone needs to get at with their kids running around, and getting in everyone’s way. Not slightly to the side by the frozen dinner entrees, or something, but in the worst imaginable spot impeding every other customer’s ability to get around, and get the stuff they need.”
One added, “I swear lockdown made everyone dumber. People can’t drive [at all] now and it seems to be the social norm to go slow as [heck] down isles and stop I the center of the isle.”
8. Setting Multiple Alarms
One user added, “My wife’s second and third alarms in the morning when I don’t have to get up for work.”
Another replied, “When you get into bed looking forward to a good night’s sleep, knowing you’ll be getting quite a lot of hours in bed before you have to get up for work the next day, and then what feels like just one blink later…”
One user then asked the OG commenter, “Do you have sleep apnea or insomnia? I’ve got relatives who have one or the other and it doesn’t seem fun. The one with sleep apnea got the CPAP machine and now he can function on 4 hours of sleep whereas before the machine, he would get 8 or so hours of sleep but still be extremely exhausted because his body wasn’t fully going to sleep. I get acid reflux, where if I eat too late I will wake up choking on stomach acid (or just throw up).”
The OG commenter answered, “I have narcolepsy, but you’re on the right lines yeah.”
9. When your Headphone Cord Snags
One Redditor posted, “Headphone cord snag.”
One user added, “On the kitchen drawer… WHILE I’M COOKING.”
One also shared the same sentiments and replied, “I’m so… angry just reading your comment.”
Another also added, “Similar rage level- you must carry some stuff, you’ve found a way to stack everything securely to carry in one trip. But it requires both hands. You manage to open a door with either your foot or by carefully stretching your fingers…. Then your belt loop/baggy top gets caught on the door handle when you’re almost fully through.”
One user commented, “Printers. If I plug you in, you should work. WHY YOU NO WORK?!”
“PC Load Letter? What the [heck] does that mean???” one user replied.
Another added, “Sounds like someone’s got a case of the Mondays…”
One user said, “Haha. The cry of the IT guy!!”
Who is one actress you can never stand watching, no matter their role? After polling the internet, these were the top-voted actresses that people couldn’t stand watching.
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These 7 Celebrities are Genuinely Good People
We’ve all heard the famous adage that “no publicity is bad publicity,” and while it tends to be accurate, there are certainly exceptions. But what about those few stars who stay out of the limelight and get along without a hint of trouble?
These 7 Celebrities are Genuinely Good People
Have you ever known someone and thought you liked them—until you learned about their hobbies? Then you get to know them and then you’re like, “Wow, red flag.” Well, you’re not alone.
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10 Celebrities That Made the Big Times Then Disappeared Off The Face of the Earth
We’ve all been there – sitting through a movie that we can’t help but cringe at, but somehow it still manages to hold a special place in our hearts.
These 10 Terrible Movies Are Still People’s Favorites
In 2019, one out of every 100 homes were purchased by an iBuyer, short for instant buyer, per a new report from real estate brokerage Redfin.
While it doesn’t sound like iBuying is catching on, consider the fact that the number is up nearly double from 0.6% in 2018.
And about 10 times higher than it was back in 2016, when virtually nobody sold their home via an iBuyer service.
Also recognize that iBuying at scale is a very novel concept, and a business that big household names have just recently got involved in.
Some of the larger names in the space include Offerpad, Opendoor, RedfinNow, and Zillow Offers.
Simply put, an iBuyer will purchase your home for a fee somewhat similar to what a real estate agent would charge, only to rehab it and list it weeks or months later to a new buyer.
The advantage is you don’t need to find an agent, list it, stage it, hold open houses, and deal with uncertainty from prospective buyers.
In essence, you can consider these iBuyers institutional home flippers.
If they streamline their operations enough to lower costs, they might grow even more popular and eventually displace thousands of real estate agents.
iBuying Most Common in Raleigh
While iBuyers still account for a tiny piece of the overall pie, they snagged a whopping 7.3% share of home sales in Raleigh, North Carolina last year.
That was nearly double the 3.9% share reported in 2018, a testament to both the viability of iBuying and the good fit cities like Raleigh present to such companies.
Per Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather, places like Raleigh are “iBuyer sweet spots” because they are affordable, have newer housing stock, and are easy to price because many of the homes reside in homogeneous tract neighborhoods.
Raleigh is also a city poised to see home price growth, another important detail iBuyers have to consider when looking to turn a profit.
Lastly, it has been a pilot city for many iBuyers, who aren’t live in all cities across the United States just yet.
Similarly hot was Phoenix, AZ, where iBuyers scooped up 5.9% of homes for sale, followed by Charlotte and Atlanta (tied at 5.2%), and Las Vegas (4.1%).
iBuyers had a market share of 3% or more in 11 markets nationally, and at least 1% share in 21 total markets.
Again, because iBuyers haven’t rolled out to all cities nationwide, the numbers are still a bit scattered and lopsided.
In terms of volume, iBuyers purchased the largest number of properties in Phoenix (5,200+), followed by Atlanta (4,300+) and Houston (2,100+).
iBuying Surged in Tucson During the Fourth Quarter
iBuyer market share saw its biggest year-over-year increase in Tucson, AZ, where the number rose from 3.1% of homes in the fourth quarter of 2019 from zero a year earlier.
Again, this may reflect companies moving into new markets, but it also shows how quickly they are gaining traction and beating out traditional agents.
The second biggest increase was in Denver, CO, where the iBuyer share rose to 2.7% from 0.4% the year before.
Despite growing popularity, iBuyer market share did fall year-over-year in select markets, including Las Vegas (-3.4%), Phoenix (-1.2%) and Orlando (-1.0%), compared to Q4 2018.
However, Orlando was the only metro area to see its share fall on an annual basis from 2018 to 2019, declining from 2.6% to 2.2%.
iBuyers Like to Buy Homes on the Cheap
As noted, iBuyers tend to be interested in mid-market homes that are easily bought and sold, but there’s still quite a range nationwide.
The most expensive markets in 2019 were Riverside, CA, Denver, CO, and Portland, OR, where these companies purchased homes at a median $391,000, $386,000, and $377,000, respectively.
The cheapest markets included Tucson, AZ, Jacksonville, FL, and Atlanta, GA, where the median was $201,000, $202,000, and $212,000, respectively.
Overall, iBuyers paid a median $269,000 for the homes they purchased, up three percent from 2018, but well below the national median of $306,000 in January.
In every housing market other than Riverside, CA and Orlando, FL, iBuyers paid below the metro-area median.
In terms of unloading the homes once purchased, iBuyers were able to sell homes 15 days faster in 2019 than they did a year earlier, this despite the typical home sale taking two days longer.
iBuyer-owned properties were listed on the market for a median 38 days in 2019, compared to 53 days in 2018.
Meanwhile, a non-iBuyer home spent a median 37 days on the market last year, compared to 35 in 2018.
If iBuyers get better at what they do, it might become a more practical solution for home sellers, assuming these companies pass the savings onto consumers.
Applying for a life insurance policy often involves multiple steps and can take longer than getting other types of insurance. Let’s take a look at what’s commonly involved in the life insurance application process so you can proceed with confidence.
Term or Whole?
Before applying for life insurance, it’s a good idea to consider such things like how much coverage you need, how much you’re prepared to pay for premiums, and which riders you might like to include. You’ll also need to figure out whether a term life or permanent life policy makes sense for you. Whole life insurance is one type of permanent life insurance.
Term life and whole life insurance have important differences. Term life tends to be simpler and more straightforward. Someone purchases a policy for a certain dollar amount and term, and then has life insurance coverage for the designated time period (10, 20, 25, or 30 years, for example).
If the policyholder keeps up premiums and dies within that term, beneficiaries will receive the appropriate payout. Monthly payments are generally fixed with term life policies.
Reasons people choose term life include:
• Term policies almost always cost less than whole life, sometimes significantly so.
• Policyholders predict they’ll have enough money saved by the time the policy expires.
• Beneficiaries are expected to be financially independent by the time the term expires.
Whole life policies, which also require regular payments, are intended to last the holder’s entire lifetime — there is no expiration date. They can cost up to 10 times as much as a term life policy because part of that money is invested into what’s called the policy’s cash value.
Policyholders can typically borrow against their cash value at an interest rate that’s specified in their policy. They may also be able to cash in their policy to receive money; that action closes out the whole life policy. Whatever is left over after the policyholder dies will be distributed to beneficiaries.
Recommended: 8 Popular Types of Life Insurance for Any Age
The Application Process
When you’re ready to get the ball rolling on obtaining a policy, the first step is to fill out an application with your carrier of choice. The insurance company will review the application for completeness. If any information is missing, they’ll likely follow up to ensure that the application is completely filled out. Some carriers may conduct a phone interview when someone applies, while others do so only if an application is incomplete.
Recommended: How to Buy Life Insurance in 9 Steps
The Underwriting Phase
Next comes the underwriting phase, which every applicant goes through. There are two tracts of underwriting available: traditional and accelerated. The traditional tract requires a medical exam, and your blood and urine samples may be collected. The accelerated tract typically does not require a medical exam or blood or urine tests.
During this time, the insurance company will review your application for a wide range of factors that may include:
• Your age
• Your gender
• Your current health
• Your personal health history, including prescriptions
• Your family health history
• Your lifestyle and personal habits (for instance, a history of alcohol abuse or tobacco use)
• Your occupation
• How frequently you participate in hobbies that could be considered high risk
• Other factors, including your driving record
The insurance company uses this information along with actuarial tables to determine your risk profile, or how much of a risk you are to insure. Your risk profile can impact how much coverage you qualify for and at what cost.
A life insurance carrier will sometimes require a medical exam before issuing a policy.
The exam may be similar to a person’s regular annual physical. A medical tech will likely ask questions that are similar to those on the application, and a professional will conduct a physical exam. It can include measuring height and weight, checking blood pressure, and taking blood and urine samples.
In some cases, an EKG may be performed to measure the electrical activity of the heart. Men over age 50 may need to have a prostate-specific antigen test done to check prostate health.
When medical exams are required in applying for life insurance, it’s part of the underwriting process that helps a carrier understand the risk level of insuring the applicant. The tests performed can indicate if a person has high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol, elevated glucose, or other health issues.
Some people may be tempted to downplay personal health issues when filling out a life insurance application. That is never a good idea. If someone didn’t fully disclose the truth about their state of health and died within two years of getting a policy, the insurance company can delve into the details. If information is found to be lacking or inaccurate, the carrier could deny beneficiaries the death benefit.
Applying for life insurance often starts with deciding how much coverage you need, how much you’ll pay in premiums, and whether a term life or permanent life policy is right for you. Once you’ve finished comparison shopping and weighing your options, the first step is to fill out an application with the carrier of your choice and then undergo an underwriting process. During this time, the insurance company will consider a number of factors, including your age, gender, current health, personal health history, family health history, and lifestyle. A medical exam may also be required. The insurer uses this information, along with actuarial tables, to determine your risk profile, which can impact how much coverage you qualify for and at what cost.
If you’re shopping for life insurance, SoFi has partnered with Ladder to offer competitive life insurance policies that are quick to set up and easy to understand. You can apply in just minutes and get an instant decision. As your circumstances change, you can easily change or cancel your policy with no fees and no hassles.
Complete an application and get your quote in just minutes.
Are there advantages to applying for life insurance when you’re young?
Yes, because carriers generally base policy price on risk factors, buying a policy when you’re young and healthy typically means lower premiums. Plus, with some term life insurance policies, buyers can lock in pricing when they purchase, and locking in at a low rate can be a financial plus.
Can I change the specifics of a life insurance policy — for example, change the amount of coverage?
Yes, some insurance carriers do allow this kind of flexibility. Current policyholders should check with their carrier. New applicants can check with the carrier to see what kind of flexibility is provided.
Is having employer-sponsored life insurance enough?
Maybe. While having this benefit is good, these policies are generally in the amount of one to two times an employee’s salary. That’s typically not enough to address debt and provide sustained financial help to beneficiaries, which is why it may make sense to purchase a second policy. Plus, employer plans may not be portable: If the employee leaves the company, the policy may be terminated.
What’s the right amount of coverage?
Each person’s situation is unique. Some use the DIME formula to determine the right amount. That acronym stands for Debts, Income, Mortgage, and Education. What will be needed to cover all of those bases? To streamline the process, you might want to calculate your life insurance needs.
Does it make sense to use an agent when buying life insurance?
Possibly. An agent can educate a consumer about what’s involved in getting a life insurance policy. This can be especially helpful if the process seems overwhelming. Many agents work on commission, so using one that does charge a commission can cause the cost of the policy to go up. Higher commissions are typically charged on whole life policies than on term life. However, not all agents charge a commission.
Coverage and pricing is subject to eligibility and underwriting criteria.
Ladder Insurance Services, LLC (CA license # OK22568; AR license # 3000140372) distributes term life insurance products issued by multiple insurers- for further details see ladderlife.com. All insurance products are governed by the terms set forth in the applicable insurance policy. Each insurer has financial responsibility for its own products.
Ladder, SoFi and SoFi Agency are separate, independent entities and are not responsible for the financial condition, business, or legal obligations of the other, Social Finance. Inc. (SoFi) and Social Finance Life Insurance Agency, LLC (SoFi Agency) do not issue, underwrite insurance or pay claims under Ladder Life™ policies. SoFi is compensated by Ladder for each issued term life policy.
SoFi Agency and its affiliates do not guarantee the services of any insurance company.
All services from Ladder Insurance Services, LLC are their own. Once you reach Ladder, SoFi is not involved and has no control over the products or services involved. The Ladder service is limited to documents and does not provide legal advice. Individual circumstances are unique and using documents provided is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances. SOPT0523006
Millions of Americans would love to become homeowners—if they could only find an affordably priced home to purchase, that is.
Cue the builders. After years of focusing on the more profitable move-up, custom, and luxury homes, they are finally figuring out how to put up starter homes that first-time and other cash-strapped homebuyers can afford.
“Buyers should expect that over the next 12 to 24 months there will be a notable increase in the number of entry-level homes available,” says Ali Wolf, chief economist of Zonda, a building consultancy.
Homebuilders have begun to focus on this group in the wake of rising mortgage interest rates dramatically cooling off the housing market. Many current homeowners who don’t have to trade up into a new home at a higher monthly rate are choosing to stay put.
And that’s left much of the demand for housing coming from first-time and other buyers who aren’t finding the kinds of homes they want on the resale market.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, about half of all new homes cost $300,000 or less, according to Zonda. However, lumber prices soared over that period and global supply chain snafus led to high prices and long delays in receiving materials, appliances, and other building components. In the first quarter of this year, just 15% of new construction was available at that price range.
To produce housing more inexpensively, builders downsized the median new-home footprint about 3% year over year, to about 2,270 square feet in the first quarter of this year, according to the National Association of Home Builders. The logic goes that smaller homes on less land typically cost less to construct than larger residences on more acreage. So builders can sell these properties at lower prices.
Townhome construction has also risen as builders can put up more residences on less land. Two years ago, townhomes made up 11.5% of all single-family construction, according to NAHB. It has since risen to 15% in the fourth quarter of 2022.
“Whenever you see an increase in interest rates and a decline in housing affordability, the market shifts a little bit toward somewhat smaller homes,” says NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz.
However, buyers shouldn’t get their hopes up too high.
Builders are expected to erect just 6% more entry-level homes this year compared with last, according to the May homebuilder survey from John Burns Research and Consulting.
“Builders will increase their supply of entry-level homes, but it won’t be enough,” says Dietz. This kind of home “will probably remain undersupplied. That’s frustrating news for first-time buyers.”
Why builders aren’t producing more starter homes
Fixing the housing shortage might seem simple: Builders need to put up more homes. But like most things, it’s easier said than done.
In the run-up to the Great Recession, builders erected homes at what seemed like a breakneck pace. But when the housing market went bust in the 2000s, many builders went belly up. Construction workers found other jobs, and sites sat fallow. Even as housing demand has soared over the past decade, builders have struggled to ramp back up. They have also been more cautious this time around, preferring to construct homes they are confident they can sell.
More new construction did go up during the pandemic, and many builders profited from the increase in home prices. But the challenges to putting up more affordable homes aren’t exaggerated.
The shortage of skilled construction workers has persisted, supply chain issues have caused delays and pricier building materials and appliances, and there is a lack of land in many parts of the country. Builders must also contend with zoning restrictions and community opposition to smaller homes. Many local governments also charge builders impact fees, which can total tens of thousands of dollars in some places, to pay for new roads, schools, and water and sewer lines.
Then throw in higher mortgage rates hampering demand for these abodes and a banking crisis that’s likely to make it harder for builders to get loans to erect new homes.
“There is a desire and an acknowledgment of the need for more entry-level housing, but there are also a lot of constraints that prevent that from happening,” says Wolf.
Where are starter homes going up?
While there is a need for starter homes across the country, not every community will see them rise. Builders will focus on areas where there is more land available and fewer costly regulations. They include states such as Texas and Florida in the Southeast as well as swaths of the Midwest.
Starter homes will still be built in the Northeast and West, but costly land, labor, and regulatory expenses tend to push construction prices out of reach of cost-constrained buyers.
“Where the zoning permits it, you are seeing builders trying to provide more affordable homes,” says Dietz.
How homebuilders are making starter homes more affordable
The trade-off that buyers will face as more affordably priced, new construction goes up for sale is that it likely won’t be as luxurious as new homes have traditionally been.
“The home probably won’t feel particularly premium at a low price point right now,” says Wolf.
More than half of builders are changing things on the exterior or in the interior of their homes to bring down costs, according to the John Burns survey. This could be vinyl countertops instead of granite and carpeting instead of hardwood floors.
About 42% of builders plan to reduce the square footage of the homes they produce, 22% will offer smaller lots, and 20% will construct more attached homes, such as townhomes and duplexes, according to the survey.
For example, the nation’s largest homebuilder, D.R. Horton, is shrinking the average square footage of its homes by 2% in the second quarter of this year to address affordability concerns, according to a company spokesperson.
“When affordability gets stretched, buyers will accept smaller square footage and less expensive finishes in order to purchase a home,” says Devyn Bachman. She is the senior vice president of research and operations at John Burns.
Another tool that builders have at their disposal is buying down mortgage rates. Many have their own financing arms, which allow them to offer buyers savings through temporary and permanent mortgage rate buydowns.
The 2-1 buydown allows buyers to shave 2 percentage points off of their mortgage in their first year of homeownership, 1 percentage point in the second, and then it reverts to whatever the rate was when the borrower took out the loan for the rest of the mortgage. That means if rates are currently 6.5%, borrowers would have a 4.5% rate in the first year, a 5.5% rate in the second, and then the rate would revert to 6.5% for the remaining 28 years of a 30-year fixed-rate loan.
“When housing demand pulls back, builders try to provide a more affordable product,” says Dietz.
When you choose a bank for your daily checking and savings needs, you can choose between a national bank, a smaller regional bank, credit unions of varying sizes, and even online banks and financial technology companies.
Since early 2023, when Signature Bank and Silicon Valley Bank both experienced failures after customers pulled out large amounts of money during bank runs, banking customers may feel more comfortable choosing a national bank.
Although the U.S. government took extraordinary measures to protect the assets of SVB and Signature Bank customers, and deposits held in the accounts were FDIC insured, many customers were still rightfully concerned about gaining access to their money in a timely manner.
After the banking crisis of 2008, the Federal government declared banks like JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citibank, and Wells Fargo as “too big to fail.” But these aren’t the only national banks or credit unions available.
You might think that smaller online banks may have lower fees, while small local banks are known for friendly and responsive customer service. But the national banks on this list blend the best of all worlds: low fees, high marks for customer satisfaction, ways to avoid overdraft fees, convenient ATM networks, and a variety of banking products.
16 Best National Banks
Here are the 16 best national banks that offer exceptional services, excellent customer support, and innovative banking solutions to meet all of your financial needs.
1. SoFi – Best for Digital Banking & High Yields
SoFi became a nationally chartered online bank in 2022, after acquiring Golden Pacific Bancorp, Member FDIC. Originally known for its vast array of loan products, including private student loans, today SoFi has a combination checking and savings account, or a cash management account, with no monthly service fee.
SoFi also has no minimum balance requirements, no overdraft fee, and overdraft protection up to $50 with qualifying direct deposits each month. You can bank for free at any of 55,000+ fee free Allpoint ATMs nationwide.
As an online bank, SoFi offers higher interest rates than you may find at brick and mortar banks. Earn up to 4.20% APY on your savings account balance and 1.20% on money in your checking account. When you use your SoFi debit card at select local businesses, you can earn up to 15% cash back.
SoFi offers two tiers of accounts: SoFi and SoFi Plus. To qualify for the “freemium” SoFi Plus membership, bank customers must have qualifying direct deposits. Plus, when you sign up before December 31, 2023, you can earn a cash bonus of $250 when you set up direct deposits of $5,000 or $50 with a direct deposit as low as $1,000.
SoFi Plus members receive loan rate discounts, bonus rewards, access to special entertainment events and more, making SoFi a unique company when it comes to online banks.
2. Discover Bank – Best for Cash Back
Discover may be best known for cashback and rewards credit cards. But its online banking products are some of the best you’ll find among national banks.
With no monthly fees and no minimum balance, your Discover Cashback checking account pays 1% cashback on up to $3,000 worth of debit card purchases monthly. You’ll never pay overdraft charges, and you can withdraw cash at a network of 60,000+ fee free ATMs.
You can qualify for overdraft protection by linking your Discover Bank savings account. Discover Savings pays a high 3.90% APY with no minimum deposit required.
Other Discover Bank deposit accounts include CDs with terms from 3 months to 10 years, and a money market account that pays 3.80% APY for balances under $100,000 and 3.85% on balances $100,000 and up.
For questions or help with your account, you can reach a U.S.-based customer service representative for Discover Bank by phone, 24/7/365.
3. Chase Bank – Best for Credit Card Rewards & Referral Bonuses
As the world’s largest national bank, JPMorgan Chase Bank doesn’t need to do much to entice customers. People will choose Chase based on its name, reputation, and more than 4,700 convenient branch locations across the U.S.
However, Chase happens to have one of the best bonuses for new customers and a generous referral bonus program when existing customers refer their friends. This, coupled with a robust and easy-to-use mobile app and a variety of checking, savings and investment services, puts Chase on our list of top national banks in the U.S.
Chase is currently offering new Chase Total Checking customers a $200 bonus when they open a new account and set up direct deposit within the first 90 days.
New or upgrading Chase Private Client customers can earn a $3,000 bonus with a deposit of $500,000 or more within the first 45 days of account opening. Deposits of $150,000 to $249,999 earn $1,000 and cash deposits of $250,000 to $499,999 earn $2,000. You must keep the money in your J.P. Morgan Wealth Management or JPMorgan Chase deposit accounts for 90 days to qualify.
In addition to Chase Total Checking, the bank’s most popular checking account, and Private Client services, Chase also offers other checking and savings accounts.
Chase Secure Banking has a $4.95 monthly fee and no overdraft fees. Chase Premier Plus Checking offers a few added benefits beyond Chase Total Checking, including ATM fee rebates up to four times per statement cycle, a linked personal checking account with no monthly fees, and a 0.01% interest rate on balances.
Chase also offers bank accounts for kids, teens, and college students, as well as CDs, savings and money market accounts, mortgages, loan products, and a full array of top-rated rewards credit cards.
If you have multiple Chase accounts, it’s easy to manage them all within the mobile app.
4. Chime – Best for Building Credit
Chime is a financial technology company backed by Stride Bank, Member FDIC, and Bancorp Bank, Member FDIC. It is not a bank, itself, but offers some of the same features, including online banking, a debit card, and direct deposit up to two days earlier than some other banks.
Chime has no monthly service fee, no overdraft fee, and no minimum balance requirements. For customers who need a little boost to make it from paycheck to paycheck, Chime offers fee-free overdraft up to $200 through the SpotMe5 program and a credit builder secured Visa credit card with no annual fees, interest or minimum security deposit.
Use your Chime debit card at any of 60,000+ fee free1 ATMs in the Allpoint, MoneyPass or Visa Plus Alliance ATM networks. Out of network ATM fees may apply, otherwise.
You can qualify for Chime’s SpotMe program with a single direct deposit of $200 or more during any monthly statement period. If you process a transaction that would put you into overdraft, Chime will accept the transaction even if it puts your balance into the negative by up to $200.
The Credit Builder Secured Visa card carries the same requirements of a $200 monthly minimum direct deposit. You can build your credit and raise your credit score with responsible use of the card.
5. Citi® – Best for Large Cash Deposits
The third of the four largest national banks in the U.S. based on assets, Citi, owned by Citigroup, is best for high net worth customers or those with large cash deposits divided among Citi checking, savings, and other accounts.
Currently, you can earn a generous cash bonus of $200 to $2,000 when you open a qualifying Citi checking account and meet specific minimum opening deposit requirements. Your bonus will be determined by your account balance on the 20th day after opening the account. Funds must remain in the account for an additional 60 days after the 21st day.
Citi offers multiple checking accounts to meet various customers’ financial needs, all with monthly fees that are easy to waive if you hold the required minimum balance. The bank accounts include:
Citi Priority, which includes travel perks and access Citi Personal Wealth Management advisors
Citigold, relationship banking and investment services
Basic Banking and ATM access
Access Account, a debit account with no paper checks
For the Basic Checking account, you’ll need to maintain a $1,500 minimum balance to waive the fees. The other accounts have larger minimum balance requirements to avoid monthly maintenance fees and take advantage of other perks, up to $200,000 for a Citigold account.
All accounts provide access to personal banking at Citi branches and access to more than 65,000 fee free ATMs across the U.S. All accounts except for Basic and Access accounts also have no fees at ATMs outside the Citi network.
Like all the larger national banks on this list, Citi has a full gamut of rewards credit cards, savings and money market accounts, and high-yield CDs.
6. CIT Bank – Best for High Interest Rates
CIT Bank, a division of First Citizens Bank, has earned awards and accolades for customer satisfaction, rated by American Banker as #1 for “delivering the most humanized experience in banking.”
You should be aware that deposits in First Citizens Bank & Trust Company, Member FDIC, are not separately insured. This only matters if you hold more than $250,000 in any single account type, such as checking or savings, in both First Citizens Bank and in CIT Bank.
CIT is the online only banking arm of First Citizens Bank, with high-yield savings accounts, CDs, money markets, and eChecking, all with no monthly fees and no overdraft fees. You won’t pay any ATM fees at CIT Bank machines, and CIT Bank reimburses up to $30 per month when you use out-of-network ATMs.
CIT offers 0.25% APY on checking when you hold more than $25,000 in your account, and 0.10% APY on balances under $25,000. The bank has high interest rates for savings, offering customers a 4.85% APY on balances of $5,000 or more with the Platinum Savings account.
CIT Bank has two other savings accounts as well:
Savings Connect, with a 4.60% APY
Savings Builder, which requires a minimum balance of $25,000 or a $100 monthly deposit to earn 1.00% APY
You’ll need a $100 minimum deposit to open a checking or savings account at CIT Bank.
7. Bank of America – Best for College Students
As the second largest of the best national banks, behind Chase, Bank of America has the full gamut of banking products, with three checking accounts plus a student account, savings, CDs, and investment products.
It’s easy to waive monthly maintenance fees on a checking account with a minimum daily balance, direct deposits, combined balances across eligible linked Bank of America accounts, or by enrolling in their Preferred Rewards programs.
We like the Advantage SafeBalance banking for kids, teens, and college students under 25 years old. They have no monthly fee and no overdraft fees. Teens ages 16+ can have sole ownership of the account.
For everyone else, the bank offers Advantage Plus and Advantage Relationship checking accounts with easy ways to waive the monthly fees with direct deposit or a minimum daily balance.
When you open a new checking account, you can qualify for a $100 bonus when you receive qualifying direct deposits of at least $1,000 within 90 days of opening the account.
Of course, Bank of America also has CDs, and a savings and money market account. Plus you can invest with Merrill. All of these deposit accounts count toward your Preferred Rewards membership.
When you have a combined average daily balance of at least $20,000 for three months, you’ll qualify for the rewards program.
8. U.S. Bank – Best for Military Members & High Balance Savings
U.S. Bank offers the Bank Smartly checking account so you can earn interest on your money. The current interest rate is just 0.01% APY on all checking balances. You’ll pay a $6.95 maintenance fee, but this is waived if you meet minimum deposit requirements or if you are a member of the U.S. military.
You can link your Bank Smartly checking account to a standard savings account or Elite Money Market to earn even more. To avoid fees on your savings account, you’ll want to keep a $300 minimum daily balance or a $1,000 average monthly collected balance. If you are already a Bank Smartly customer, you can enroll in Smart Rewards to waive savings account fees.
The Elite account is better for those with high balances. You can earn up to 4% APY on balances from $25,000 up to just under $500,000.
The appeal of U.S. Bank is in its high ratings for banking satisfaction across the board from customers. U.S. Bank earned accolades for having the best mobile app, the best digital mortgage tools, the best customer service features, and best mobile check deposit capabilities. These factors all contribute to its ranking as a best national bank.
9. Axos Bank – Best Online Bank
Axos is an online only bank with a rewards checking account that delivers up to 3.30% APY, with no fees and unlimited ATM fee rebates for out-of-network ATMs.
To earn the maximum APY, you’ll need to set up direct deposit and Axos Bank’s free Personal Finance Manager for 0.70% interest. Then, open an investment account and take out an Axos personal loan or auto loan and earn another 2.60% annual percentage yield on your checking account balance.
Axos also offers an Essential Checking account with early direct deposit and no fees, and a Cashback Checking account, which gives you 1% cash back on debit card purchases, along with no maintenance fees and unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements.
Voted the best online bank by many top personal finance sites, Axos Bank offers more than just high interest, no fee checking.
Axos Bank offers CDs with terms between 3 and 60 months and a savings account with 0.61% annual percentage yield, with interest compounded daily. You can also find personal loans, car loans, mortgages, and investment products.
Like other national banks, Axos Bank provides FDIC insurance up to $250,000 or $500,000 for joint account holders. But you can expand your coverage up to $150 million with Axos Bank InsureGuard+ Savings from IntraFi Network Deposits.
Axos splits up your large deposit into multiple accounts across several banks, each covered up to $250,000. If you are dealing with a substantial amount of cash and want your savings protected at a single bank, Axos may be a good choice for you.
New customers can earn a $100 welcome bonus by opening an account with just a $50 minimum opening deposit.
10. Truist Bank – Best for Relationship Banking & Innovative Savings Perks
Truist Bank is one of the top 10 largest national banks, formed as a merger between BB&T and SunTrust in 2019. Called “the biggest bank you’ve never heard of” by CNN Business, Truist holds assets of $574 billion and has been growing steadily since the merger.
Truist offers checking and savings accounts, CDs, and credit cards. Truist checking and savings customers can earn perks and benefits. This includes access to Long Game, a savings game app that lets you earn cash when depositing into your Truist savings account. It also includes bonus rewards on your Truist credit cards.
Truist has four levels of relationship banking in its Truist One checking account. This means the more you deposit, the more perks you will receive, up to a 50% loyalty bonus on Truist credit cards, and a discounted annual fee for a Delta SkyMiles debit card. Benefits for relationship banking begin at $10,000 in combined average monthly balances for Truist deposit accounts.
Your Truist checking account has a $12 monthly fee, which is easy to waive with $500 or more in direct deposits each month or a $500 minimum balance across all Truist deposit accounts. Truist personal loan, mortgage or credit card customers also pay no fees on their Truist checking account.
You can also waive the monthly fee with a linked Small Business checking account or if you are a student under the age of 25. You’ll need a $25 minimum opening deposit for a Truist One checking.
Customers with lower income or just getting started establishing their finances can benefit from Truist Confidence checking and savings accounts. The account has just a $5 monthly maintenance fee, which is easily waived.
11. Capital One – Best for High Interest Rates at a Brick and Mortar Bank
Like Chase Bank, Capital One is well known for its top-rated rewards credit cards. The company is also one of the best national banks with a savings account and CDs offering interest rates higher than the national average.
Capital One Performance 360 savings has a 3.90% APY, no monthly maintenance fees, and no minimum deposit to open your account. A Capital One 360 Performance checking account, similarly, has no monthly maintenance fee, overdraft protection through your linked savings account, and early direct deposit.
You can bank with no fees at a network of 70,000+ ATMs nationwide, and can deposit cash easily at CVS retail locations. Although you must open your Capital One Performance account online, you can receive personalized service and deposit cash at any Capital One bank branches or Capital One Cafes.
12. PNC Bank – Best in East and Southwest
PNC Bank is a large, national bank with branch locations across 29 states. Most branches are in the east, south, and southwest, although you will also find branch locations in some Midwest states.
PNC Bank’s online checking account is called Spend and it links to the PNC VirtualWallet. You can add a savings account, called Reserve, or upgrade to the Performance Select product with two tiers of savings and double layer overdraft protection.
When you set up your VirtualWallet with PNC Bank and open your Spend account, you can earn a $50 bonus.
Combining your Spend account with a PNC Bank Reserve account yields even more benefits. Earn a $200 bonus when you qualify. Finally, if you open a Performance Select VirtualWallet, you could earn $400.
Each account comes with a low monthly fee that is easily waived through qualifying monthly direct deposits or by meeting minimum balance requirements.
13. Wells Fargo – Best for Checking Account Options
Wells Fargo, one of the “big four,” is the fourth largest of the best national banks in the U.S. It is known for having many convenient bank locations, with 4,700 branch locations.
The vast number of branches across the country puts it top on our list for in-person banking and customer satisfaction.
Plus, we also rated it best for various checking account choices for everyone from children to retail investors.
Like the other national banks on this list, Wells Fargo has checking, savings, and CD accounts. The bank has four checking account options for consumers at various stages of their financial lives:
Clear Access Banking, with no overdraft fee and a low $5 monthly fee, waived for teens and young adults ages 13 to 24
Everyday Checking, the most popular bank account, with optional overdraft protection
Prime Checking, offering discounted interest rates for loans and higher interest rates for linked CDs and savings accounts
Premier Checking, a relationship banking service with 24/7 support and discounts on investing services
It’s easy to waive the $10 fee on Everyday Checking with a $500 minimum daily balance or $500 in monthly direct deposits. Waive the $25 fee on your Prime checking with $20,000 in linked balances. Similarly, your Premier Checking account will be free with $250,000 in linked balances, including investments with the bank’s Advisors.
You’ll need a $25 minimum opening deposit to open your account.
14. Ally Bank – Best Online Only Bank for Savings
Ally Bank is widely recognized as one of the best national online banks. It has very few fees, including no maintenance fee, no overdraft fee, and no ACH fee (even on expedited transfers). Plus, you’ll earn interest of 0.25% in your checking account and 3.85% APY on savings, including money you have allocated into various buckets.
We rated Ally Bank as the best online only bank for savings, not just because of the high interest rate, but because it offers so many ways to manage your money and ramp up your savings efforts.
You can set up recurring transfers into your savings account for specific goals or just to build up your emergency coffers. You can choose to round up transactions made with your Ally Bank debit card, or even electronic payments and checks. When Ally Bank finds at least $5 in “round-up” savings, it will be transferred automatically to your checking account.
Finally, Ally Bank analyzes your checking account periodically to reveal extra funds that are “safe to save.” Ally Bank automatically transfers that money for you. But you can transfer it back whenever you’d like.
In addition to these savings benefits, Ally Bank lets you access your money with your debit card with no fees at any of 43,000+ Allpoint ATMs. The online bank also refunds up to $10 in fees charged by out-of-network ATMs.
You can avoid stress and overspending with the Overdraft Transfer Service, which automatically transfers money from your Ally Bank savings account into checking. If you exceed six transfers or six savings withdrawals per month, Ally Bank will reimburse those fees, too.
You can also apply for CoverDraft℠ Coverage, which will cover up to $250 in charges that would put your account in the negative. You’ll qualify 30 days after you deposit at least $100 into your checking account. If you receive qualifying direct deposits of at least $250 two months in a row, you can increase your coverage to $250.
15. TD Bank – Best for Overall Banking Satisfaction
TD Bank, deemed America’s most convenient bank for its number of branches, branch hours and excellent customer service, blends the best of brick and mortar banks with easy online banking.
Most TD Bank locations are open seven days a week, including Sundays, with extended hours beyond what most brick and mortar banks provide. Most TD Bank branches are located across the East Coast, with locations in 15 different states and Washington, D.C.
TD Bank is the 7th largest bank in the U.S. based on deposits, with 1,668 branch locations nationwide. You can also reach customer service by phone, 24/7/365, which earns TD Bank high marks for banking satisfaction.
TD Bank offers six checking accounts for customers in various life stages:
TD Essential Banking
TD Convenience Checking
TD Beyond Checking
TD Simple Checking
TD 60 Plus Checking
TD Student Checking (for ages 17 to 23)
Currently, TD Bank is offering sign-on bonuses for new customers who open a TD Beyond or TD Convenience bank account. You’ll need a qualifying direct deposit (or more than one) totaling $2,500 within the first 60 days to earn $300 with TD Beyond, and a direct deposit of just $500 within the first 60 days to earn $200 with TD Convenience.
16. Schwab Bank – Best for Investors
Schwab may be best known as an investment service, but the bank was rated highest in banking satisfaction with checking accounts from J.D. Power & Associates four years running.
If you have a Schwab investment account, or are considering opening one, Schwab could be the best choice in banking for you.
The Schwab Bank Investor checking account has no foreign transaction fees, no minimums, and unlimited ATM fee rebates. Plus, earn 0.45% annual percentage yield on checking. Schwab’s savings account offers 0.48% APY.
Schwab also offers exceptionally high interest rates for CDs, with up to 5.40% APY and terms as short as 30 days. You’ll receive FDIC protection exceeding the federal maximum because you can purchase CDs from multiple banks, all through Schwab investment.
Methodology: How We Chose the Best National Banks
We evaluated a variety of banks and credit cards, taking into consideration the:
Variety of products
ATM fees and ATM fee reimbursement
Branch locations and number of branches
Minimum deposit requirements
Fraud protection and security
We also looked at consumer reviews, and drew on the general reputation of each bank to find the best national bank.
Finding the Best National Bank
Now that we’ve explored the specifics of the best online banks and brick and mortar banks nationwide, you probably still have questions about which one is really the best national bank.
Let’s compare the three largest in the U.S. based on number of branches, interest rates, and overall banking satisfaction.
Chase vs. Wells Fargo
For the largest nationwide bank, Chase offers excellent banking satisfaction with an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, 4,800 branch locations, and an easy and intuitive mobile app. If you are shopping for a bank credit card, Chase also offers some of the best rewards cards available today.
Wells Fargo rivals Chase when it comes to number of branches, with roughly 4,700 locations across the U.S. It’s somewhat easier to waive the checking account fees at Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo offers higher interest rates for savings, with a 0.15% APY compared to Chase’s 0.01%.
Both banks have lower interest rates than you might find at online banks. However, if you are looking for national banks with a solid reputation, many branches, and high marks in banking satisfaction, either Chase or Wells Fargo would be a good choice.
Wells Fargo vs. Bank of America
Bank of America and Wells Fargo are the second and third-largest banks in the U.S. based on assets. BofA only has 4,000 branches compared to Fargo’s 4,700, but BofA boasts more ATMs nationwide.
BofA stands out when you join the Preferred Rewards program because you can waive the fees on your bank account and enjoy perks, bonus rewards on BofA credit cards, and rate discounts on loans.
If you have a large balance or are looking for an investing platform through your bank, BofA may be your best choice. On the other hand, Wells Fargo offers high interest rates on savings and convenient branch locations nationwide.
People have many questions related to whether an online bank is better than a traditional bank or whether a local bank is better than one of the largest national banks. We break it all down here.
Which is better, an online bank or a brick-and-mortar bank?
If you are looking for the highest interest rates and generous rewards programs, you are highly likely to find them at online banks. However, there are some advantages to a brick and mortar bank, including in-person service at local branches, the availability of paper checks, and easy ways to deposit cash in person or at branch ATMs.
You should expect the best national online banks and the best brick and mortar banks to have robust mobile apps, easy-to-waive fees, and fraud protection.
Make sure whatever bank you choose is “Member FDIC,” which means your deposits are insured up to $250,000 per account holder, per account type. That means joint accounts have $500,000 worth of FDIC insurance protection.
Is my money safer in a national bank vs. a regional bank (or a national credit union vs. a regional credit union)?
All banks on this list are Member FDIC, which means they are insured to the maximum allowable limit of $250,000 per account holder, per account type. Credit unions are covered up to the same limits by the National Credit Union Administration.
Many online banks are insured up to $2 million or more. These financial institutions divide cash deposits among multiple partner banks. Each bank insures deposits up to the maximum limit allowed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Read the fine print to determine your coverage limits when you choose a bank.
Beyond that, your money should be equally safe in a national bank, a smaller bank, or a credit union of any size. Also look for features such as fraud protection, fraud alerts via text, email or in the mobile app, and enhanced website security measures. You should also be able to lock and unlock your debit card in the mobile app if you misplace it or believe it may have been stolen.
What makes big banks different from smaller banks?
By definition, big banks will have larger market capitalization, which represents the total value of a bank’s stocks. Big banks will also hold more assets. For instance, Chase, which is the world’s largest financial institution, holds $3.2 trillion in assets. The second-largest national bank, Bank of America, possesses $2.41 trillion in assets. Larger financial institutions may also have more bank branches.
In many other ways, big national banks and smaller banks are similar, especially today. Customers want specific features and are unwilling to compromise on things like fee-free ATMs, no monthly fees, early direct deposit, and an intuitive mobile app.
How much interest do the best big banks pay?
In general, some of the largest national banks do not have the highest interest rates for savings and very few offer interest earning checking accounts.
Capital One 360 and Discover are two of the best national banks that offer interest on checking. To earn a higher APY with one of the largest national banks, you might want to consider CDs.
Are national banks better than other kinds of banks?
National banks aren’t necessarily better or worse than other kinds of banks. They may have more convenient branch locations, a higher number of branches, and a greater variety of products, but they might also have higher fees. Decide what’s most important to you when you choose a bank.
If you’d prefer to trust your money with one of the largest national banks, with a large market capitalization, high value, and branches nationwide, consider opening your checking and savings accounts with one of the best national banks on this list.
Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services and debit card provided by The Bancorp Bank N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC. Credit Builder card issued by Stride Bank, N.A.
The Chime Credit Builder Visa® Card is issued by Stride Bank, N.A., Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa credit cards are accepted.
1. Out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees may apply with Chime except at MoneyPass ATMs in a 7-Eleven, or any Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATM.
5. Chime SpotMe is an optional, no fee service that requires a single deposit of $200 or more in qualifying direct deposits to the Chime Checking Account each at least once every 34 days. All qualifying members will be allowed to overdraw their account up to $20 on debit card purchases and cash withdrawals initially, but may be later eligible for a higher limit of up to $200 or more based on member’s Chime Account history, direct deposit frequency and amount, spending activity and other risk-based factors. Your limit will be displayed to you within the Chime mobile app. You will receive notice of any changes to your limit. Your limit may change at any time, at Chime’s discretion. Although there are no overdraft fees, there may be out-of-network or third party fees associated with ATM transactions. SpotMe won’t cover non-debit card transactions, including ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, or Chime Checkbook transactions. See Terms and Conditions.
Mortgage rates are rising, refinances are trending, and older news is looming. Let’s cover all of it in this week’s Mortgage Monday update!
Last week, mortgage rates hit their highest since October 2019 – but let’s rewind a bit. For the week ending February 3, Freddie Mac actually reported generally stable rates from the average lender. Like many experts, they believe our economic recovery following Omicron will result in rate increases; what their weekly survey didn’t account for, however, was last Friday’s market changes.
On February 4, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics released their monthly jobs report for January. In short, things are looking up – there were significant job increases last month even in the face of Omicron – and markets were forced to respond. A return to a better economy will also inevitably mean a return to higher rates, and last week’s mortgage rate increases are already reflecting that.
We’ll likely see Freddie’s PMMS catch up with last week’s rate spike on Thursday. But for now, get in touch with your Total Mortgage loan officer if you’ve been considering a home purchase or refinance. Rates are rising faster than ever and are projected to continue doing so, especially after the Fed’s recent hinting at further increases in March.
Refinances are Trending as Rates Rise
Because rates are rising, refinance numbers are up and trending. In late January, mortgage refinancing accounted for 57.3 percent of applications in The Mortgage Bankers Association’s Refinance Index. As rates rise, the window to refinance at something lower naturally closes; we predict that refi numbers will continue along this trend through February until mortgage rates hit pre-pandemic levels.
In the meantime, our door is always open if you’re looking to refinance. The opportunity to do so is certainly dwindling, so be sure to act fast and get in touch with us. Find your mortgage banker today!
Older, But Still Important News
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced upcoming fee increases for certain Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac home loans. Effective April 1, 2022, upfront fees for these options will have the following increases:
Upfront fees for high-balance loans will increase between 0.25 and 0.75 percent.
Upfront costs for second home loans (non-primary residence) will increase between 1.125 and 3.875 percent.
These increases will ultimately depend on each product’s loan-to-value ratio. “High-balance” loans qualify as any that go above the conforming baseline limit introduced on January 1 – more information on that below.
Last month, the borrowing limits for Conventional and Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan options saw significant increases to help buyers combat rising market prices. The conforming limit for single-unit home loans is now $647,200 – an 18.05 percent increase from last year’s limit. To learn more about these changes and your new borrowing options, get in touch with your Total Mortgage loan officer.
So far, 2022 has shown us just how reactive the markets (and mortgage rates) can be. In just a couple of months, rates have gradually shifted to their highest in years – meaning that the historic lows we’ve been used to seeing are now behind us. If homeownership is one of your goals for the year, it would be best to act sooner than later. Contact us at any time to get started!
As always, we’ll continue to monitor mortgage rates, industry news, and more to keep you informed. Enjoy the rest of your week!
With the average cost of college currently at $35,551 per year, most students have no choice but to take out student loans. Whether you go to a public or private university in or out of state, you’ll probably need at least a little help. And we’re here to help you get it.
Students might turn to private student loans instead of or in addition to federal student loans to help cover the cost of tuition and boarding. So how do you choose between the many private lenders — including banks, credit unions, and online marketplaces — out there? We’ve compared many of the top lenders to find those with the best rates, repayment terms, range of options, and more.
But enough suspense. Let’s dive into the best private student loans for you.
Best private student loans
Best for flexible repayment terms: SoFi
Best for low rates: Credible
Best for no cosigner: Ascent
Best for cosigner: Earnest
Best for graduate students: Sallie Mae
Best for student loan refinancing: Splash Financial
Best for multi-year approval: Citizens Bank
Best for flexible repayment terms: SoFi
Fixed APR range – 3.99% – 8.24% APR (including auto-pay discount of 0.25%)
Variable APR range – 3.99% – 8.24% APR (including auto-pay discount of 0.25%)
Fees – None
Prepayment penalty – None
Minimum – Minimum $1,000
Maximum – Full cost of attendance
Loan terms – 5, 7, 10, or 15 years
Forbearance – Up to 12 months
Minimum credit score – 650
SoFi is a peer-to-peer lender offering private student loans for both graduate and undergraduate students. They also provide private and federal student loan refinancing for those who meet citizenship, employment, credit, and income requirements (minimum $5,000).
SoFi stands out for offering more repayment terms than most as well as the option to put membership points toward your loan balance. You have four repayment choices:
Defer monthly payments until six months after you graduate
Pay only interest while in school
Make fixed monthly payments of $25 while in school
Start making regular monthly payments toward the full balance right away
And should you need student loan relief, SoFi provides Unemployment Protection of up to 12 months to qualified borrowers.
There are two discounts available that can help reduce the cost of your loans. The first is a 0.25% interest rate discount when you schedule automatic payments and the second is a 0.125% rate discount for previous SoFi borrowers.
You’ll need at least fair credit to qualify for a private student loan with SoFi, or you can apply with a cosigner for a better chance of approval. We encourage you to check your rate with no effect on your credit. SoFi offers cosigner release after you’ve made 24 consecutive payments toward the principal and interest.
Read our full review.
Best for low rates: Credible
Interest rate range – starting at 4.44% fixed APR (with autopay)* and 4.74% Var. APR (with autopay), See Terms*
Fees – None
Prepayment penalty – None
Minimum – $1,000
Maximum – Full cost of attendance
Loan terms – 5 – 20 years
Forbearance – Varies by lender
Minimum credit score – Varies by lender
Though not a direct lender, Credible is a good place to go if you’re looking for a private student loan. Credible is an aggregator that partners with top lenders including Sallie Mae, Citizens, Ascent, and more to show you many student loan offers in one place. This is an especially great option if you don’t really know where to start because the platform begins by asking you questions to understand your needs, then shows you what you might qualify for.
To compare your options, you’ll fill out a single application to receive offers from up to eight different lenders. This will show you personalized rates you prequalify for to help you easily find the lowest ones. Although you won’t know your final rate until you actually apply to borrow with your chosen lender, this can give you a good idea of what you might pay. Using Credible to shop loans and check your rate does not affect your credit and the application takes just a couple of minutes to complete.
The Credible Best Rate Guarantee means that if you find a lower interest rate with another lender, you may be eligible for a $200 “Best Rate Reward.”
Credible’s partners do not charge origination fees or prepayment penalties. Also, all eight make it easy to apply with a cosigner and offer cosigner release to eligible borrowers.
Read our full review.
Credible Credit Disclosure – To check the rates and terms you qualify for, Credible or our partner lender(s) conduct a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, when you apply for credit, your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies will be requested, which is considered a hard credit pull and will affect your credit.
Maximum – $200,000 ($20,000 for Non-Cosigned Outcomes-Based loans)
Loan terms – 5, 7, 10, 12, or 15 years
Forbearance – Up to 24 months
Minimum credit score – Varies
Ascent is a unique private lender for those looking to avoid using a cosigner. They specifically cater to those who want to apply on their own by offering a couple of ways to qualify. There are two types of non-cosigned loans from this lender: credit-based loans and outcomes-based loans. You’ll need at least two years of credit history and an income of $24,000 or more to qualify for a credit-based loan, but you may be eligible for an outcomes-based loan without any credit at all.
Ascent’s outcomes-based private student loans take your future income, not your current income, into consideration. When you apply for this loan, Ascent looks at your GPA, anticipated graduation date, school, program, and more to determine your eligibility. The better your grades and higher-paying your career path, the better your chances. You must be a junior or senior attending school full-time to qualify.
Interest rates are higher for non-cosigned loans, but there are discounts available. These include a 0.25% autopay discount and a 1% cash-back graduation reward.
While in school, you can pay $25 each month or make interest payments only. Alternatively, you can defer payments for up to nine months after you graduate. You may qualify for up to 24 months of Temporary Hardship Forbearance if you find yourself unable to make payments.
Read our full review.
Ascent Disclosure:Ascent’s undergraduate and graduate student loans are funded by Bank of Lake Mills, Member FDIC. Loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions. Certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions may apply. For Ascent Terms and Conditions please visit: www.AscentFunding.com/Ts&Cs. Rates are effective as of 4/17/2023 and reflect an automatic payment discount of either 0.25% (for credit-based loans) OR 1.00% (for undergraduate outcomes-based loans). Automatic Payment Discount is available if the borrower is enrolled in automatic payments from their personal checking account and the amount is successfully withdrawn from the authorized bank account each month. For Ascent rates and repayment examples please visit: AscentFunding.com/Rates. 1% Cash Back Graduation Reward subject to terms and conditions. Cosigned Credit-Based Loan student must meet certain minimum credit criteria. The minimum score required is subject to change and may depend on the credit score of your cosigner. Lowest APRs require interest-only payments, the shortest loan term, and a cosigner, and are only available to our most creditworthy applicants and cosigners with the highest average credit scores.
If you already know you want or need to apply for private student loans with a cosigner, Earnest has excellent cosigned loans. Earnest is a direct lender offering private student loans with low rates and forgiving terms to make repayment easier for student borrowers.
Applicants must have a credit score of at least 650, an income of at least $35,000, and U.S citizenship to qualify. These might be difficult requirements for a college student to meet, which is why Earnest encourages cosigners. In fact, 66% of Earnest borrowers use a cosigner. However, Earnest does not offer cosigner release, but you may qualify to refinance with this lender under only your name when you graduate.
If you have a great cosigner willing to help you out, Earnest will make it easier for you to hold up your end of the bargain with alternatives to the standard repayment plan. In addition to four different repayment options, they give all borrowers a nine-month grace period after graduation before monthly payments are due and the option to skip a payment once a year if needed. You may also qualify for one of the following assistance programs:
Rate Reduction Program – decreased rates and monthly payments for six months
Extended Term Program – loan term extension of up to 30 years to reduce payments
Earnest also has more generous loan forgiveness and discharge policies than most.
Read our full review.
Earnest SLR Disclosure – Actual rate and available repayment terms will vary based on your income. Fixed rates range from 5.21% APR to 9.24% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Variable rates range from 5.24% APR to 9.19% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Earnest variable interest rate student loan refinance loans are based on a publicly available index, the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The variable rate is based on the rate published on the 25th day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month, rounded to the nearest hundredth of a percent. The rate will not increase more than once per month. The maximum rate for your loan is 9.13% if your loan term is 10 years or less. For loan terms of more than 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.21%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.24%. Please note, we are not able to offer variable rate loans in AK, IL, MN, NH, OH, TN, and TX. Our lowest rates are only available for our most credit qualified borrowers and contain our .25% auto pay discount from a checking or savings account.
Best for graduate students: Sallie Mae
Fixed APR range – 4.25% – 12.92% (for graduate loans, including 0.25% auto debit discount)
Variable APR range – 3.87% – 13.50% (for graduate loans, including 0.25% auto debit discount)
Fees – None
Prepayment penalty – None
Minimum – $1,000
Maximum – Full cost of attendance
Loan terms – Up to 15 years
Forbearance – Determined on a case-by-case basis
Minimum credit score – 650
Sallie Mae offers a variety of different loans for both undergraduate and graduate students, but this lender is especially great for graduate private student loans. Let’s get into what makes this option different than others for higher education.
First, Sallie Mae offers 100% coverage for all of your tuition and living expenses from classes to travel with no cap. After graduating, you can defer payments up to 48 months if you’re going right from school to a fellowship or internship. And unlike most loans of this type, you do not need to be enrolled full-time or even half-time to qualify to borrow.
You’ll have a 94% chance of being approved if you’ve already had a Sallie Mae student loan and you apply for a new one with a cosigner. And if you do use a cosigner, you may be eligible to release them after just 12 consecutive monthly payments made on time.
You can either defer your payments for six months after you graduate, make fixed monthly payments of $25 while you’re in school, or pay just the interest while you’re in school and during the six-month grace period after graduation. While Sallie Mae’s interest rates are a little higher than some, you can get a 0.25% rate discount for setting up automatic payments.
Read our full review.
Sallie Mae Disclosures: Borrow responsibly. We encourage students and families to start with savings, grants, scholarships, and federal student loans to pay for college. Students and families should evaluate all anticipated monthly loan payments, and how much the student expects to earn in the future, before considering a private student loan. Sallie Mae loans are subject to credit approval, identity verification, signed loan documents, and school certification. Smart Option Student Loans are for students at participating schools and are not intended for students pursuing a graduate degree. Graduate student loans are available for students at participating degree-granting graduate schools. Graduate Certificate/Continuing Education coursework is not eligible for MBA, Medical, Dental, and Law School Loans. Student or cosigner must meet the age of majority in their state of residence. Students who are not U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents must reside in the U.S., attend school in the U.S., apply with a creditworthy cosigner (who must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident), and provide an unexpired government-issued photo ID. Requested loan amount must be at least $1,000. 1 Interest is charged starting when funds are sent to the school. With the Fixed and Deferred Repayment Options, the interest rate is higher than with the Interest Repayment Option and Unpaid Interest is added to the loan’s Current Principal at the end of the grace/separation period. Payments may be required during the grace/separation period depending on the repayment option selected. Variable rates may increase over the life of the loan. Undergraduate – Advertised variable rates reflect the starting range of rates and may vary outside of that range over the life of the loan. Advertised APRs assume a $10,000 loan to a borrower who attends school for 4 years and has no prior Sallie Mae loans. Associate & Trade School – Advertised APRs assume a $10,000 loan to a borrower who attends school for 1 year and has $10,000 in prior Sallie Mae loans. All Advertised APRs assume a $10,000 loan. Medical School Loan and Dental School Loan APRs assume 4 years in school. Law School Loan APRs assume 3 years in school. MBA Loan, Graduate School Loan for Health Professions, and Graduate School Loan APRs assume 2 years in school. 2 Loan amount cannot exceed the cost of attendance less financial aid received, as certified by the school. Sallie Mae reserves the right to approve a lower loan amount than the school-certified amount. Miscellaneous personal expenses (such as a laptop) may be included in the cost of attendance for students enrolled at least half-time. 3 Examples of typical costs for a $10,000 Smart Option Student Loan with the most common fixed rate, fixed repayment option, 6-month separation period, and two disbursements: For a borrower with no prior loans and a 4-year in-school period, it works out to a 9.63% fixed APR, 51 payments of $25.00, 119 payments of $172.95 and one payment of $121.42, for a Total Loan Cost of $21,977.47. For a borrower with $20,000 in prior loans and a 2-year in-school period, it works out to a 10.07% fixed APR, 27 payments of $25.00, 179 payments of $125.36 and one payment of $49.52 for a total loan cost of $23,163.96. Loans that are subject to a $50 minimum principal and interest payment amount may receive a loan term that is less than 10 years. Examples of typical costs for a $10,000 Smart Option Student Loan with the most common fixed rate, fixed repayment option, 6-month separation period, and two disbursements: For a borrower with no prior loans and a 2-year in-school period, it works out to a 10.02% fixed APR, 27 payments of $25.00, 119 payments of $153.59 and one payment of $108.14, for a Total Loan Cost of $19,060.35. For a borrower with $10,000 in prior loans and a 1-year in-school period, it works out to a 10.19% fixed APR, 15 payments of $25.00, 179 payments of $117.46 and one payment of $46.27 for a total loan cost of $21,446.61. Loans that are subject to a $50 minimum principal and interest payment amount may receive a loan term that is less than 10 years. 4 Example of a typical transaction for a $10,000 Graduate School Loan with the most common fixed rate, Fixed Repayment Option, and two disbursements. For borrowers with a 27-month in-school and separation period, it works out to 12.78% fixed APR, 27 payments of $25.00, 178 payments of $154.24 and one payment of $152.19, for a total loan cost of $28,281.91. Loans that are subject to a $50 minimum principal and interest payment amount may receive a loan term that is less than 15 years.
Best for student loan refinancing: Splash Financial
Refinancing your student loans is a good way to lock in a lower interest rate for your existing loans, reduce your monthly payments, and consolidate your debt. As a loan marketplace, Splash Financial offers some of the best refinancing options currently available.
To find a loan with Splash Financial, you’ll complete one application and compare your available offers from a variety of banks and credit unions. Using Splash Financial’s marketplace does not affect your credit or cost anything. If you see an offer you like, you can begin an application directly with a lender partner.
If you didn’t get the rates you wanted the first time around when applying for student loans as a new borrower, refinancing can help you save on interest and simplify repayment. It can also let you assume full responsibility for your loans if you originally borrowed with a cosigner. And if you’re recently married, you can refinance with a partner to combine your balances.
Read our full review.
Best for multi-year approval: Citizens Bank
Fixed APR range – 4.74% – 12.06%
Variable APR range – 3.75% – 11.21%
Fees – None
Prepayment penalty – None
Minimum – $1,000
Maximum – Full cost of attendance ($150,000 for all undergraduate and most graduate degrees)
Loan terms – 5, 10, or 15 years
Forbearance – Up to 12 months at a time
Minimum credit score – Not disclosed
If you like the idea of applying once for private student loans and not having to again, you might want to check out Citizens Bank.
This lender provides multi-year approval for between four and six years to eligible borrowers. If you qualify, you’ll be approved for all the money you need to complete your degree upfront. Instead of filling out a new application each year (and adding hard credit pulls to your report), you’ll request more funding when you need it and Citizens will use only a soft pull to confirm you’re still eligible. Citizens will let you know if you qualify for Multi-Year Approval after you submit your application.
You can enroll in autopay for a 0.25% interest rate discount. may also be eligible for a loyalty discount, an interest rate reduction of 0.25%, if you’re already a Citizens customer with a qualifying savings account, checking account, credit card, or loan (or if your cosigner is a customer).
99% of borrowers with Citizens use a cosigner. You can apply for cosigner release after you’ve made 36 on-time, full payments in a row if your credit profile is found to be satisfactory. Can defer payments until after graduation but Citizens does not offer income-based repayment.
Federal vs. private student loans
Federal student loans offer many benefits over private student loans and you should go with this option before you even consider private student loans.
But you may not end up choosing one or the other — in fact, it’s not uncommon for a person to have both federal and private student loans. You’ll want to make sure to understand the (many) differences between federal student loans and private student loans and how they work before applying for either.
Requirements to qualify
Overall, federal student loans are a lot easier to get than private student loans. Federal loans are administered by the federal government, not companies or lenders. They do not require a credit check at all when you’re applying, so it doesn’t matter how low your score is. To assess your eligibility, the U.S. Department of Education will determine your financial need and this will be used to create your loan offer.
In contrast, a lot of private lenders are looking for a credit score in the 670 range, which is considered good. It’s pretty hard to have good credit when you’ve never borrowed before, and by “pretty hard” we mean not possible. This is why so many students use a cosigner for private loans – because they need to.
Repayment and relief options
Federal student loans also provide more wiggle room than private loans by offering more opportunities for relief and support.
Both federal and private loans may qualify for forbearance if you’re unable to make payments due to financial hardship, but only federal loans can be forgiven completely.
Most private loans are not eligible for forgiveness or income-based repayment plans. Income-based repayment plans ensure that your monthly payments make sense for your financial situation and are widely available for federal loans.
One advantage of private student loans is higher borrowing limits. Federal loans are given based on your financial need, but you may not qualify to have the full cost of your education covered (even if you can’t pay). Many private loans do not have a maximum borrowing limit and will let you borrow up to the full cost of your education or certificated cost of attendance (COA).
Federal student loans always have lower interest rates. And because they don’t check your credit, you don’t need a perfect credit history to qualify for the best rates. Even the best private loans come with steep APRs by comparison.
Also, interest on federal loans is more likely to be tax deductible than interest on private loans.
This is one where private loans come out on top. Unlike federal student loans, many private student loans don’t charge origination fees. These are fees charged as a percentage of your loan and deducted from your total disbursement.
Should you get a private student loan?
The first question you should ask yourself when looking for ways to fund your education is not whether you should get a private student loan but whether you’ve taken full of advantage of (much cheaper) federal funding and alternatives.
Federal student loans are a better option than private loans for almost everyone due to the fact that they’re less expensive and more flexible. They don’t require a credit check so you can qualify without any credit, and you’ll spend less over the life of the loan.
With that said, you may need to take out a private student loan if you can’t get all the funding you need from federal loans. This is fairly common, especially if you’re attending a costlier college or university.
But student loans aren’t your only option.
Alternatives to student loans
Student loans are just one way to pay for college. If you’d like to avoid taking out a private student loan or want to reduce the amount of debt you’re taking on, look into these options first.
Maximizing your financial aid should be your first priority when you’re thinking of borrowing money for college. After all, avoiding student loan debt is the goal. With financial aid, you probably don’t have to pay the money back. The Federal Pell Grant, for example, given to students who show exceptional financial need, doesn’t need to be repaid.
You might qualify for federal student aid even if you don’t think you do.
You can apply for federal aid through the U.S. Department of Education by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA assesses your financial situation to determine if you are a good candidate to receive help from the government. This is also the form you’ll complete when applying to see how much you qualify to borrow in federal loans.
Unfortunately, international students are less likely to qualify for most financial aid.
Read more: How to read a financial aid award letter
Scholarships are just another way to get free money. Some student loan borrowers don’t know how to apply for scholarships or think they definitely won’t qualify and don’t bother. But the fact of the matter is that there are foundations just waiting for someone like you to come along so they can hand you money. True story.
Between merit-based and need-based scholarships, there’s usually something for everybody. There are also a variety of options specifically for different types of students such as graduate students, international students, or even those enrolled in particular programs like pre-med or education.
Many private lenders even have scholarship programs you can apply for when applying for a loan. This can help soften the blow a bit when applying for a loan.
Parent PLUS loans
Parent PLUS loans are a type of unsubsidized federal loan parents can take out on behalf of their dependents. Only biological or adoptive parents with clean credit histories (e.g. no delinquencies) can qualify.
PLUS loans are usually used alongside other forms of loans and funding, not as a primary source.
If you qualify for federal financial aid, you may also qualify for Federal Work-Study.
Work-study is a well-named program through the Department of Education that lets you work while you study and earn money for college. Work-study jobs are often on campus and may even be in the academic buildings you’re already visiting, and they’re designed to be flexible for students. You can use the money however you need to, for the most part, and it does not count toward your financial aid. You also don’t have to pay it back – it’s yours free and clear.
How to choose a student loan
Student borrowers should consider the following factors when comparing different private and federal student loans.
Fixed vs. variable loans
Student loans can be either fixed for the entire term of the loan or variable. Fixed means that the interest rate is locked in for the length of the loan and variable means that the interest rate is subject to change.
Should you choose a fixed or variable interest rate?
This is an important question to ask yourself because it’ll ultimately determine how much you’ll pay in interest when all is said and done and your loan is paid off.
Generally speaking, variable rates on student loans are lower. But long-term, fixed-rate loans often carry less interest. Variable-rate loans will fluctuate over time and there’s the potential for rate hikes, making this the riskier choice.
Note that federal student loans only offer fixed rates while private loans might offer the choice between fixed or variable rates.
Maximum loan amounts
For federal student loans, the maximum loan amounts are between $31,000 and $57,500 for undergraduates and up to $138,500 for graduate students.
Private student loans can have maximum limits of anywhere from $150,000 to $500,000 or may allow you to borrow up to the full cost of your education (including tuition, boarding, and more).
As mentioned, many students require a mix of both federal and private loans.
For federal student loans, terms are typically available between 10 and 30 years. Most private loan terms are between five and 20 years.
While it might be tempting to just choose the shortest loan term available to get your student loans over with, you need to consider what monthly payments you can realistically take on when they come due.
There are many different options for repaying your student loan debt. Most private lenders will let you choose to make interest-only payments, fixed payments of a certain amount (such as $25), or full payments while you’re still in school or wait until you’ve graduated to start making monthly payments.
Each type of repayment comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Interest-only payments, for example, will reduce the amount of interest you pay but will mean that it takes you longer to repay your loan than if you were making payments toward the principal too.
It’s important to consider all of your repayment options and take advantage of tools such as calculators to understand what you’ll be paying and when.
Read more: 20 terms for understanding student loan debt
Federal student loans require origination fees, which currently range between 1.057% and 4.228% of the loan amount taken. Origination fees are deducted from your total payout. Private student loans normally don’t charge origination fees or other types of application fees.
Neither federal nor private student loans charge prepayment penalties if you decide to make your payments early or pay more than what’s due each month.
The annual percentage rate, or APR, is the effective rate on a loan. It includes both the base interest rate and any required fees added to the calculation.
For example, if you borrow $100,000 and pay a 2% origination fee, the net proceeds of the loan will be $98,000. When a 5% interest rate is calculated on the loan, the APR will be slightly higher due to the reduced net loan proceeds.
Your APR will depend on your credit history and the terms of your loan. You may qualify for a discount through some lenders for activities such as enabling autopay or having another account with a bank.
With private student loans, you might have anywhere from six months to a year after graduating before you’re required to start making repayments. With federal student loans, you don’t need to start making payments until six months after you graduate. When payments are due, you may need to defer or pause them if you’re not able to pay.
Student loans may come with a variety of deferment options. For example, federal student loans come with the option to defer payments if you graduate and have trouble finding a job. Private student loans may offer deferment on a case-by-case basis, but the deferment period will vary by lender.
Just note that interest may still continue to accrue during deferment and factor this into your repayment plan.
Forbearance and loan forgiveness policies
Federal student loans offer both forbearance and loan forgiveness. For example, under the Income-Driven Repayment plan, your monthly payment can be reduced to a small percentage — usually 10 or 15% — of your monthly income.
Under a Public Service Loan Forgiveness plan, your debt can be completely forgiven if you make 120 monthly payments while working full-time for either a government agency or a qualifying nonprofit organization.
With private student loans, loan forgiveness is not an option. However, some will provide forbearance if you experience economic hardship, such as unemployment. Your options depend on which lender you’ve chosen and it’s worth looking into this before borrowing.
Cosigner release terms
You probably won’t need to use a cosigner for federal loans because these don’t have credit requirements, so cosigner release doesn’t apply. However, cosigners are common with private student loans, and you may decide to use one.
If you decide to use a cosigner, they might not be stuck on your student loans until your debt is fully paid off. Many lenders provide a cosigner release option that lets you release your cosigner and continue on the loan alone. If a lender does provide the option for cosigner release, you’ll need to apply and qualify for it by meeting repayment and credit requirements.
Look into the cosigner release terms for any loan you think about taking out and be sure to have a conversation with your cosigner about this too.
How to qualify for a private student loan
If you’ve exhausted all of your options from federal loans to financial aid and scholarships, you might decide it’s time to apply for a private loan. Here’s what you need to know.
Your credit history and income will be used to determine your loan eligibility. If you have a really limited credit history — which is common for first-time student loan borrowers — you may not be able to qualify for a private loan on your own with the terms and interest rate you want. Lenders will also look at your income as a way of determining how risky it is to loan money to you and if you have the financial means to pay them back. Again, many new borrowers don’t meet minimum income requirements.
Some lenders will let you check to see if you prequalify for a loan and show you what rates you might receive with no effect on your credit. If you have this option, use it to avoid submitting more applications than you need to.
If you can’t qualify by yourself, you might want to think about using a cosigner.
When you use a cosigner, their credit history and income will count in your favor because lenders will look at this information as an extension of your application.
Should you use a cosigner?
Applying for student loans with a cosigner makes you look better to lenders. Using a cosigner means choosing a person with more credit than yourself — such as an older relative or parent — to assume responsibility for your loan along with you. This means that their credit profile will be used to determine your eligibility and interest rates.
A cosigner must be someone more creditworthy (i.e. less risky to lenders) than yourself. Someone with a good credit score and high income is a good candidate to cosign.
Your cosigner is only partially responsible for your loan when applying. But if you fail to pay your loan back, they become fully responsible for repaying the debt.
There are several factors to consider when you’re making the decision to use or not use a cosigner on your private student loans. Beyond the financial implications of signing their name to your debt, there are personal implications as well. Asking someone to be responsible for your debt is more than just a favor and a decision that shouldn’t be made lightly.
And if you do end up applying with a cosigner, you might want to have the option to release them as soon as possible. Cosigner release gives you the flexibility to assume full responsibility for your student loan after applying. To qualify for cosigner release, you usually need to make a certain number of consecutive monthly payments – such as 12 or 24 – toward both the principal and interest of your loan. Then, your eligibility as an individual can be reassessed.
Navigating the process of taking out a private student loan for the first time is a tricky business. But while it isn’t our idea of a good time, it’s definitely worth sitting down and comparing your options before signing your name to thousands of dollars of student loan debt.
If you start with these private lenders and take your time to make the right decision, you should be in good shape to get the loan you need and borrow responsibly.
Fewer applications show borrowers’ demand for mortgage loans fell this week, despite a decline in rates due to concerns of an economic recession, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).
The survey, which includes adjustments to account for the long Fourth of July weekend, shows mortgage applications down 5.4% for the week ending July 1, compared to a week earlier.
“Mortgage rates decreased for the second week in a row, as growing concerns over an economic slowdown and increased recessionary risks kept Treasury yields lower,” Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, said in a statement. But he added: “Rates are still significantly higher than they were a year ago, which is why applications for home purchases and refinances remain depressed.”
The Refinance Index decreased 7.7% from the previous week and was 76% lower than the same week one year ago, as homeowners still have reduced incentive to apply for the product.
The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index fell 4.3% from the previous week and 7.8% compared to the same week in the previous year because borrowers face an ongoing affordability challenge and a low inventory problem.
The trade group estimates the average contract 30-year fixed-rate mortgage for conforming loans ($647,200 or less) decreased to 5.74%, from 5.84% the previous week, falling 24 basis points during the past two weeks. Jumbo mortgage loans (greater than $647,200) went from 5.42% to 5.28%.
Another index, the Freddie Mac PMMS, showed purchase mortgage rates dropped 11 basis points last week to 5.70%, ending a two-week climb.
Refis were 29.6% of total applications last week, decreasing from 30.3% the previous week, the survey shows.
The adjustable-rate mortgages (ARM) share of applications declined from 10.1% to 9.5%, still demonstrating continued popularity among borrowers. According to the MBA, the average interest rate for a 5/1 ARM fell to 4.62% from 4.64% a week prior.
The FHA share of total applications remained unchanged at 12%. Meanwhile, the V.A. share went from 11.2% to 11.1%. The USDA share of total applications remained at 0.6%.
The survey, conducted weekly since 1990, covers 75% of all U.S. retail residential mortgage applications.
It’s time to give yourself a 10-second financial check-up: are all of your hard-earned dollars earning interest? Even your short-term savings that you’ll need in two years or so?
Savvy investors know that every dollar deposited at a bank, brokerage, or financial institution should be making money — and that includes your short-term savings, cash investment balances, even your checking account. If not, you should be looking for somewhere else to store your dollars.
Let’s look at where best to stash your short-term savings.
High-yield savings accounts
High-yield savings accounts pay up to 5x the national average savings rate and are convenient to open and manage. You can transfer money in and out electronically from your checking account or other bank accounts — a process that rarely takes more than two business days.
Most high-yield savings accounts have no fees or minimum balance requirements, so there’s no excuse for not using one for short-term cash reserves.
You can check out our full list of the best high-yield savings accounts, but here are three of our favorites that you may want to consider for short-term savings:
Aspiration Bank is a great bank if you love earning rewards. And, because this bank plants trees for you with your rounded-up change, you can pride yourself on taking care of the environment through your banking.
You only need a minimum balance of $10 in the account and can earn up to 5.00% APR, depending on the account you have — they have a free account and a subscription account (Aspiration Plus) that gives you access to more of their products as well as a higher APY.
Given these easy terms and high returns, the Aspiration Plus Savings Account can be a very lucrative place to stash your short-term savings.
Learn more/apply or read our full Aspiration Bank review.
Citi Accelerate® Savings
The Citi Accelerate® Savings has one of the highest APYs when it comes to high-interest savings accounts, coming in at 2.20% APY. And their monthly fee is waived if you have at least $500 in your account, so it’s a great option if you have a larger short-term savings goal in mind.
And since there’s no minimum opening deposit, they’re great for just about anyone who wants to start socking away money every month.
Unfortunately, the Citi Accelerate® Savings is only available in certain U.S. markets. If you live in California, Connecticut, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, Washington, DC, or select markets in Florida or Illinois, you’ll need to go with an alternate account option.
Capital One 360 Performance Savings
If you’re looking for a more full-service experience with your high-interest online savings account, consider Capital One 360 Performance Savings. They have plenty of services to help you out with your savings, and an APY of 3.00%. Plus, there are no minimums or monthly fees.
It’s a great option if you’re starting out with a low balance and you want to increase it until your short-term savings project is completed.
Read our full Capital One 360 Savings review.
Cash management accounts
A cash management account is an account that’s held by a robo-investor. It’s not a checking, savings, or investment account. Instead, the brokerage firm holds your money for you to use. They issue debit cards just like a checking account, but they have higher interest rates than those types of accounts.
These are a great option if you’re already using a robo-advisor for your long-term investments. You can find them at companies like Wealthfront, which has a cash account.
Short-term bonds are issued either by corporations or by the government. Each bond has different terms, so you’ll want to research what you’re signing up for before you make a purchase. But they’re overall low-risk investments.
But what is a bond? Good question. Bonds are basically IOUs that a company or government gives you on a debt. These groups are trying to fund something, but need capital, so they sell off bonds and tell you that after X amount of years, they’ll pay you Y in interest.
Read more: How does a bond work? A simple (and informative) guide
Treasury bills, or T-bills, are another great short-term savings storage plan. They work similarly to bonds — you buy them from the treasury, and then you wait until they mature. Once they mature, you sell them and receive your money back, plus any interest.
You can buy them in intervals of 1, 4, 8, 13, 26, and 52 weeks, so they’re great for short-term projects that take about a year for you to save for.
Money market accounts
Money market accounts, also known as MMAs, are similar to both checking accounts and savings accounts.
How does that work? Well, you have interest rates that are higher than checking accounts and more on par with savings accounts, but you’re able to get a debit card to access your funds like a checking account. However, there is a limit to how many transactions you can make a month.
Money market accounts are good for short-term savings because they have higher accessibility than a savings account, but are low-risk. As long as you keep money in the account — and stay below the monthly withdrawals limit — you’ll earn interest on the account.
Read more: Best money market accounts
Certificates of deposit
Savers who are looking for the best return on their money on a slightly longer-term basis (minimum three months) should take a look at a certificate of deposit. CDs have terms that typically run from a period of three months to five years. Rates increase as the CD term gets longer.
You can get the best rate on a CD by shopping online, as these tend to change quite often. Most CDs will have minimum deposits of $500 or more, and patient investors can get a higher rate the longer their term.
Browse today’s best CD rates.
To reap the benefits of long-term CD rates with short-term savings, check out this article on CD laddering, which explains how to build your own.
Should you invest your short-term savings?
When you save money in an FDIC-insured bank account, your money is guaranteed not to lose value. When you invest money, you’re taking on risk for the chance at a greater return. You might very well earn a much better return on your money than you could with a bank, but you could also end up with less money than you put in.
In general, you want to save money you’ll need in the short term and invest money you won’t need for a long, long time. That’s because the risk of losing money on an investment diminishes the longer you’re able to hold that investment. We all know the stock market is volatile. If you put your money in the day before a crash, you could lose a big chunk of value overnight. If you leave that money invested for 30 years, however, you’ll likely come out way ahead (despite the initial crash!)
Risk tolerance is a personal thing, but my philosophy is that I never invest money I’ll need in the next two years. If don’t need the money in the next two years but will need it in the next five years (for example, money I’m saving for a future car purchase), I might invest the money, but very conservatively.
If you’re looking for a simple way to save money for a short-term goal, but you’d rather take your chances investing it rather than parking it at a bank, check out the Acorns app. You just download the app, link a bank account, answer a few questions, and you’re an investor. You can connect the app to any number of debit or credit cards, and Acorns automatically rounds up each of your purchases and invests that amount on your behalf. While this won’t make you rich, it can help any first-time investor make a little extra cash.
The bottom line
For most people, the best place to put short-term savings is an online savings account that pays a fair interest rate.
But other options, like certificates of deposits, money market accounts, short-term bonds, T-bills, and cash management accounts are all good alternatives you may not have considered for saving up for a short-term goal.
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