Shopping Credit – Discount Shopping Channel Mon, 24 May 2021 06:51:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Shopping Credit – Discount Shopping Channel 32 32 Victoria COVID four-way balloon case; Highpoint shopping center listed as an exhibition site Mon, 24 May 2021 06:15:46 +0000

“Genomic sequencing is underway and should be back tomorrow or shortly thereafter,” Mr. Foley said.

“The dates don’t line up immediately, so we can’t rule out if there’s a missing link.”

One of the new cases went to Highpoint Mall on May 20.Credit:Simon schluter

The new cases are the first confirmed cases of community transmission in Victoria in almost three months.

One of the new positive cases visited Highpoint Shopping Center on Thursday, May 20, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Anyone in the mall during these hours should self-isolate until further notice and get tested immediately.

The jump! Swimming school at 4/37 The Concord in Bundoora has been listed as an exhibition site, and anyone who attended the school between 8:55 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. on Friday, May 21 should immediately self-isolate for 14 days. and get tested.

Victoria’s chief health worker Brett Sutton said one of the new cases had a high viral load and was ‘likely to be quite contagious’, given that three other family members were already tested positive.

“Obviously we have the positives and they were the immediate close contacts, and there hasn’t been a lot of close contact, but we have to go through this interview and the re-interview process to identify someone. else, “he said at a press conference on Monday.

“We have to prepare for all the other positive aspects and when there is close contact that turns positive, you know, that raises the possibility that even casual contact becomes positive as well.”


Professor Sutton said he believed the child who tested positive was part of a swim lesson at the Jump! Swimming school on May 21.

He said health officials were not yet sure how many close contacts were on the premises when a positive case was in school.

Mr Foley said there appeared to be no link between the latest coronavirus cases and hotel quarantine, but the public health team was working through secondary contacts to rule out that possibility.

Health officials have warned Victorians not to be complacent, calling the discovery of four new cases a “wake-up call.”

Mr Foley said they didn’t believe any of the new cases worked in high-risk areas.

He said “we are concerned there is no doubt” following the discovery of the new cases, with a man being symptomatic for three days before being tested. None of the four new cases was hospitalized.

“After nearly three months without community transmission, a certain degree of complacency having set in, it is a reminder to all Victorians … it is not over,” Foley said.

“We are a long way from collective immunity in Victoria and Australia.”

He said they were awaiting the results of genomic tests – which will attempt to link the new cases to the positive Wollert man who also visited Epping while he was infectious – by tomorrow.

Professor Sutton said the state is working on a local transmission hypothesis occurring in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, with a particular focus on the town of Whittlesea where the COVID-positive family lives.

He said the state “will always be at risk until we have high immunization coverage” and as such it was important to follow the ground rules – wear masks, get tested and get vaccinated if you can.

“These critical messages wear a mask when you can’t physically move away and it’s mandatory in Victoria,” Professor Sutton said. “Get tested whenever you are symptomatic. And if you’re eligible, get vaccinated and don’t delay. “

Mr Foley said Victoria would not be subject to stricter COVID provisions on Monday, as health authorities await more information on the movement of the four confirmed cases.

Professor Sutton said they are not considering forcing residents of the town of Whittlesea to wear masks outside their homes as the virus cannot be limited geographically.

He said major changes to COVID rules, such as broader mask-wearing warrants, are “really expected to happen across the board.”

The cases come days after the Department of Health admitted on Friday that it named the wrong supermarket as the exhibition site when COVID-19 was confirmed in a Victorian man who returned from state to state, which led to public health alerts earlier this month.

The ministry has since blamed an electronic banking transaction for the confusion.

Authorities had listed the Woolworths in Epping, when it should have been the Woolworths in Epping North.

He admitted his mistake, identifying the correct site as Woolworths Epping North, two miles away.


Authorities were still awaiting test results from three people linked to the exhibition site on Sunday, while 10 others returned negative results.

Victorian President of the Australian Medical Association Julian Rait said he suspected the new cases were related to confusion at the department’s exposure sites and feared authorities had missed the opportunity stop the transmission.

“The biggest concern is that the virus is brewing in silence,” Professor Rait said.

“If there was a delay in detecting these cases, they could each have produced two or three more cases by now. Those additional cases in turn could potentially have produced two or three more cases each, so you are currently looking at 10-30 cases. “

Prof Rait said the error showed the department’s data cleansing for contact tracing, which involves cross-checking information to make sure it is correct, still falls short.

“My concern again is that they haven’t learned from the mistakes of the past as they should have been very diligent in making sure they had the right exhibition sites to start with,” he said. declared.

“Everyone in Epping knows there is more than one Woolworths. It just re-emphasizes that they should constantly improve and test the systems and check everything so that these errors don’t happen.

“The degree of double-checking and data cleansing that you would normally expect just wasn’t there. It is probably human error, but it is simply extremely disappointing. “

Mr Foley attempted to explain how the error occurred during an interview with the ABC on Saturday.

He said contact tracers received an electronic transaction receipt from a banking app, indicating that the person at risk had made their purchases at Epping Woolworths.

“After reviewing the evidence and re-interviewing the main close contacts involved, the receipts from what turned out to be Epping North Woolworths nevertheless indicated on the receipt Epping Woolworths,” Mr Foley said.

“Since Epping Woolworths is right across from another established exhibition site, the public health team concluded that it was in fact Epping Woolworths.

“Further investigations revealed that it was in fact Epping North Woolworths.”

The health ministry later clarified that it was an “electronic transaction receipt provided through the individual’s banking app” that the contact tracers had used.

“The department thanks Woolworths for their help in clarifying the correct location and in quickly organizing staff testing,” the department’s daily statement reads.

Initially, people who visited Woolworths Epping for an hour on May 8 were asked to get tested and self-isolate after a Victorian man tested positive for coronavirus on his return from hotel quarantine in South Australia .

With Nick Bonyhady

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For community solar buyers, a market of choice and confusion Sun, 23 May 2021 08:00:46 +0000

Robert Caverly and his wife reflected on the potential benefits of a community solar farm. They like the idea of ​​saving money while supporting green energy, but don’t have a roof suitable for solar panels.

So it was about time a man from a group called Community Solar Advisors came to their home in Chelsea recently. He asked if they wanted to subscribe to electricity from a project under development in the nearby town of Augusta.

The Caverlys have been told they could save up to 15% on their electric bills for 20 years, depending on their credit rating. They could also cancel the contract at any time, with 90 days notice.

Robert Caverly said last week that the couple are considering the offer. But they want to study the fine print, especially the cancellation policy.

“It’s one thing to take your word for it,” he said. “It’s another to see the paperwork. This element, the exit policy, can have the most influence on our decision. “

Individuals and small businesses in Maine are responding these days to multiple solicitations from businesses wishing to subscribe to community solar projects. They receive emails, see offers on social media, and, as pandemic restrictions ease, come face to face with salespeople.

And although there is no official count, it’s a safe bet that tens of thousands of Mainers have already signed up for community solar. A benchmark: Boston-based Nexamp Inc., which has at least 10 projects under development in Maine, told the legislature last March that it has more than 9,000 subscribers.

But for the Caverlys and thousands of other Mainers, the winning double message of paying less on your electric bill while supporting local, clean energy raises many questions. Among them:

Are these community solar offers some kind of scam?

What is the difference between a competitive energy supplier and a community solar project?

Why do some projects offer 10% savings, while others say 15%?

What happens if I want to cancel my contract?

What’s the best way to compare different offers?

In short, community solar is not a scam. For many Mainers, this can be an opportunity.

But subscriber-based projects, like the one marketed to Caverlys, represent a new business model in Maine. And while marketers try to make the process easier, the people who sign up enter into a legally binding contract.

Unlike a competitive energy supplier, which becomes your home’s electricity supply, a community solar company applies a kilowatt-hour charge credit to your monthly utility bill. The credit reduces the payment you owe your electricity supplier, which for the majority of homes in Maine is coordinated through the Utility Board’s Standard Offer Provision process.

Discounts in Maine range from 10% to 15%, based on market competition and proprietary financial calculations. They only apply to kilowatt-hours used and not to fixed charges. The duration of the contracts varies from month to month up to 20 years. Cancellation conditions also vary; many have no fees but require specific time notice, say 90 days.


To give some bite to the state’s oversight of these provisions, a bill going through the Legislative Assembly, LD 507, would give the PUC the power to adopt consumer protection rules around community solar energy. These rules would mirror those in place for competitive energy suppliers. They would require certain disclosures and empower the PUC to impose penalties for violations.

Maine policy makers have been made aware of the potential for abuse by recent years’ experiences with the competitive household energy market. Last year, Electricity Maine agreed to a $ 14 million settlement in a class action lawsuit alleging fraud and deceptive practices in marketing power contracts to state electricity customers.

And as consumer protections and online tools evolve to help Mainers assess community solar power, there is no central resource or clearinghouse. There’s no one-stop-shop for finding the best deal, according to Kiera Reardon, consumer advocate at the Office of the Public Advocate.

“I think there’s a lot of interest,” Reardon said. “I also think there is a lot of confusion.”

These factors led the public defender to create a information page to help residents navigate community solar. It includes a link to the PUC webpage where solar sponsors and marketers need to register with the agency. However, the list is an imperfect tool – mostly simple contact information for hundreds of people. A question of whether a company has been the subject of enforcement action elsewhere in the past five years receives an overwhelming “no” answer.

A new online tool called Community solar market allows users to search for available projects by zip code. It offers a unique way to compare features, like when a project will go live and an estimate of monthly dollar savings. But his presentation is limited to projects currently working with Energy Sage, the Boston-based company that runs the website.

“It’s a useful tool, but it’s a for-profit website,” Reardon said. “It comes down to what you expect from community solar power. “You have to do the work to verify the companies. This new market will involve steps on the part of the consumer. “


All of this activity is tied to two-year laws designed to encourage and develop solar development in Maine. While some aspects are currently under consideration by the legislature and could ultimately reduce the developer incentives that drive the market, the net effect so far has been to trigger an avalanche of community solar projects.

Until recently, these companies depended on people investing thousands of dollars up front in part of the project and receiving all the benefits of power generation. But today’s explosive growth is driven by an increasingly popular business model, in which clients do not invest. They simply agree to receive a kilowatt-hour credit on their monthly electricity bills for a share of the electricity produced, often the production that matches the annual demand of their home. As a reward, they get a reduction in the cost of their existing supply.

Developers and marketers must register their clients months before projects launch. This gives the project investors confidence that there is a large enough customer base to support production. That’s why Mainers is getting all of these solicitations now, even though some subscription projects might not go live for about a year.


One way to see how this dynamic is playing out in Maine is to explore the Community Solar Marketplace website.

For example: a person lives in Portland. Their average electricity bill is $ 100 per month or $ 1,200 per year. Entering this information brings up a screen with five potential projects to choose from in the Central Maine Power service area.

A project in Rumford is already operational. It has a production capacity of 3,900 kilowatts and is 59 percent subscribed, with 1,600 kilowatts to fill. A banner reads: “Fill quickly.” Typically, according to Energy Sage, 150 homes can be powered by 1,000 kilowatts (1 megawatt) of community solar power.

This project offers a 10% credit on the kilowatt-hours used, an estimated savings of $ 96 per year. There is no cancellation fee, but the developer will need to be contacted for specific conditions.

The other four projects are located from Poland to Waterville. Each offers a better discount, 15 percent, or about $ 144 per year. But none are operational yet. The estimated launch dates are four months to one year.

The website offers advice on how to compare projects. He notes that customers will start receiving two monthly bills – their typical electric bill plus the new solar project.

The site also contains reviews from customers, including those from other states where the developers have an operating history, such as New York and Massachusetts. Some companies get a badge called “top rated”, although not all reviews are positive.

“Historically,” said Spencer Fields, director of market strategy at Energy Sage, “the community solar market has been very opaque. We want to make it accessible, but also transparent. So you can compare several options. “

But Community Solar Marketplace has limits. Energy Sage makes money every time they connect a buyer to a project on their website. But this Portland resident who saw five options likely has several other choices. Because Energy Sage has not yet established a relationship with all active developers, these options are not displayed on this website.

Fields said he expects offerings to become more competitive as the market evolves. Some companies already have promotions, like $ 50 gift cards, to attract customers.


If Robert Caverly enters his Chelsea zip code on the Energy Sage website, he’ll see the same handful of options a Portland resident offers. But the fact that a living person knocked on their door promoting a project not listed on the site is a testament to the growing competition for clients in Maine.

Seth Reynolds was that sales rep. He said he was a private contractor working on commission for Community Solar Advisors USA, a national marketing company specializing in selling subscriptions to local projects.

For the Caverlys, Reynolds started a solar farm off Route 3 in Augusta through a subsidiary of Syncarpha Capital, a New York-based private equity fund that finances and builds solar projects. The 7,000-kilowatt project offers a 15% savings on a 20-year contract with no cancellation fees, according to Syncarpha’s website. It shows 544 remaining customer places.

Reynolds said he’s been more successful selling solar power in areas where other neighbors have already subscribed, perhaps a reflection of word-of-mouth. A constant challenge, he said, is that many people remain confused as to the difference between this offering and competing electricity providers. Others remember the media coverage of Electricity Maine and are suspicious.

“It’s a big obstacle,” he said. “But I love my job. I try to guide people as best I can. “

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Household debt rises despite the ‘conservatism’ of credit cards in the Covid era Sat, 22 May 2021 17:00:00 +0000

New Zealanders focused on paying down their consumer debt when Covid-19 first hit the country, but an increase in the size of our mortgages means we are still more in debt than ever before.

The Reserve Bank’s National Household Balance Sheet shows that between December 2019 and December 2020, households paid $ 2 billion on their collective consumer debt, such as credit cards. The total fell from just under $ 17 billion to just under $ 15 billion.

But that’s not glaring evidence of a new national financial conservatism inspired by tens of thousands of households that had to seek mortgage repayment “vacations” from banks during the nationwide foreclosure in April and May of the United States. last year.

Overall, households are now more indebted than they were before the signing of Covid-19, because while consumer debt is down, mortgage loans have pushed the national household debt down by $ 236 billion. from $ 250 billion, according to figures from the Reserve Bank.

“We certainly saw that last year, during the foreclosure, people were paying off their credit card debts,” says Lyn McMorran, executive director of the Financial Services Federation, the industry lobbying body for lenders. second-tier like Instant Finance and Avanti Finance.

But, says McMorran, what households have done since then with their debt is less clear.

Financial research website Moneyhub has compiled the 12 “ holy rules ” of credit cards that every cardholder should follow if they don’t want to fall victim to easy and expensive consumer debt.

The Centrix credit bureau is tracking credit applications and reporting that consumer credit demand is strong again.

“A year after the economic shock of the Alert Level 4 lockdown, credit demand has returned to 95 percent of its pre-Covid level,” McLaughlin says.

“While the demand for credit fell in March and April 2020, we are facing a different scenario this year following a steady recovery. Our latest data shows a 3% month-over-month increase in credit demand in March 2021 compared to February, ”says McLaughlin.

Consumer confidence remains high, he says, but borrowing patterns are uneven.

Demand for buy it now and pay later is more subdued than during the lockdown, when people were doing a lot more of their shopping online, he says. The demand for auto loans is increasing.

But buying now, paying later has shifted some credit card spending, and McLaughlin sees this as an advantage, as it’s shorter-term, lower-cost debt that makes it especially appealing to young people.

“Auto finance remains the most popular credit product,” says McLaughlin.

Keith McLaughlin, CEO of Centrix, says auto loans are in high demand.


Keith McLaughlin, CEO of Centrix, says auto loans are in high demand.

“People usually improve their cars when they’re feeling optimistic about their future, strong auto financing is a sign of consumer confidence,” says McLaughlin.

Auto finance collapsed the deepest of all loan forms during the 2020 foreclosure, so some catch-up spending may be underway.

But even Centrix data may not give the full picture of credit demand, some believe.

Demand may well be dampened slightly by delays in global freight movements, which force people to wait longer for items.

“People would borrow to finance a new motor vehicle,” McMorran says. “But buying a motor vehicle is another matter.”

McMorran says households at the start of the year saw that there could be three to four month waits for certain products like thermal pools and lounges.

There can also be a lot of consumer debt covered up.

McMorran says mortgage debt with banks also includes items such as cars and living rooms financed by mortgage loans but recorded as mortgage debt.

She also doubts that lower-tier loans were factored into the Reserve Bank’s figures.

And here at the lower end of the lending pyramid, where fees and interest rates are much higher, reflecting the riskier nature of loans, McLaughlin says some borrowers may hold back.

“It was a forced conservatism that followed the introduction of responsible lending,” he says.

The introduction of responsible lending rules has led to a decline in loan defaults year after year, and changes have continued to occur, reducing the willingness and ability of lower level lenders to extend loans to borrowers. more marginal, he says.

In June, lenders who charged interest of 50 percent or more were prohibited from making more than 100 percent of the amount they lent to any borrower on a loan.

A tightening of the rules for more responsible lending is underway. All lenders will soon have to conduct income and expense audits when deciding whether to extend loans, top-ups, or increase a credit limit.

There is no evidence of conservatism in mortgages, especially among first-time homebuyers, according to data from the Reserve Bank.

First-time home buyers take out larger loans and multiples of their income.

In December 2019, the average pre-tax income of a couple buying a first home on a loan of four to five times their income was $ 108,000.

In December 2020, that was the average pre-tax income of couples taking out loans of five to six times their income.

“Is this a change in attitude towards debt or is it simply the desperation of people to move up the property ladder?” McMorran asked.

People often have credit card debt not because they are comfortable having it, but because they have poor financial skills.

Keith Srakocic / AP

People often have credit card debt not because they are comfortable having it, but because they have poor financial skills.

A survey by Finder, an online financial products advertising website, also found that some aspects of consumer debt are not related to current financial conditions, but to the financial ineptitude of borrowers.

Finder said they surveyed people aged 18 and over and found that 41% had credit card debt, with an average credit card debt of just under $ 3,800.

And the main reason they cited for having credit card debt was not low income, but poor budgeting skills.

Kevin McHugh, Finder editor in New Zealand, explains that the main reason people said they hadn’t paid off their balance yet was because they were either badly in budgeting or didn’t have money. savings to count on.

“Other reasons regularly included giving in to impulse purchases, not having the means to pay off with a credit card, or using a credit card to keep up with bills and refunds,” says McHugh. .

The skills gap was smallest among young people.

“Among those with card debt by age group, 18-24 year olds are the most likely to have an outstanding balance because they are bad at budgeting or have no savings,” says McHugh.

Nationally, the increase in household debt has been eclipsed by the additional wealth added by rising house and land prices – worth $ 70 billion between December 2019 and September 2020.

Another $ 22 billion in wealth has been added to their pension funds, businesses and equity portfolios.

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Hospital gown helps with theft case as 24-year-old Crossett is sentenced to two years in prison Sat, 22 May 2021 04:00:00 +0000

A 24-year-old Crossett man, who was arrested in November after committing thefts while wearing a hospital gown, was sentenced to two years in prison earlier this month for several crimes.

Nicholas A. Price pleaded guilty in a deal negotiated May 10 to two counts of class D break and enter and eight counts of property theft for class D felony. He was given two days of jail credit. .

The Searcy Police Department was called out of social concern on November 4 when a white man wearing a hospital gown was seen “pulling on the doors” of the Town and Country shopping center on North Poplar Street, according to the affidavit prepared by Detective Tim Smith.

When officers arrived, the man was standing at the Simmons Bank ATM. He was said to have first given a false name before being identified as Price, and it was determined that he was “under the influence of an unknown illicit drug”. Price was arrested and had in his possession a black credit card and an ATM receipt, indicating that he had just tried to withdraw money.

Smith’s investigation, “based on multiple witness statements and video surveillance,” showed Price left the emergency room at Unity Health-White County Medical Center around 8:05 am and got into an unlocked vehicle. to Harbor Freight and Leap Kids Dental over the next 40 minutes. He stole $ 1,054 in property from vehicles, including seven credit cards, which were returned to their owners. Surveillance video showed him using one of the stolen credit cards at the ATM.

When Price was interviewed at the Police Department on November 18, Smith wrote that Price said, “He couldn’t remember getting into a vehicle or a lot of other things about that day because of his being. mental state and drunkenness.

Price was also sentenced to two years in the Arkansas Corrections Department on May 10 for Class D criminal theft by fraudulently receiving and using a Class D credit or debit card for an incident that occurred a day earlier. . His sentences unfold simultaneously.

According to the affidavit prepared by Detective Greg Mote, a bank card and credit card were stolen from a vehicle on November 3 at Park Avenue Baptist Church while the owner was at the PrimeCare Medical Clinic. Bank statements showed the cards had been used at Walgreens, Walmart Supercenter and King Tobacco for a total of $ 1,187.83 in purchases.

When Price was questioned by Smith and Mote, he “admitted to using” the cards, but said they were given to him by someone else.

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Free Flights and Hotels are Easy – Here’s How to Use Credit Card Rewards for Rental Cars Fri, 21 May 2021 16:30:22 +0000

Advertiser Disclosure: At Slickdeals, we work hard to find the best deals. Some products in our items are from partners who can provide compensation to us, but this does not change our opinions.

a man wearing sunglasses driving a car

© Provided by Slickdeals

Spend enough years as travel rewards geek, and you can almost book free flights and hotel stays in your sleep. But especially in 2021, car rental can be one of the biggest expenses you’ll have to worry about on your next vacation. Indeed, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the rental car industry spent 2020 selling its cars while trying to avoid bankruptcy. And prices are skyrocketing, as car rental services have not been able to replace their cars quickly enough to meet growing demand after the pandemic.

Luckily, there are a few tips I’ve learned for redeeming my car rental credit rewards.

Use credit cards that offer travel statement credits

The easiest way to use points and miles to pay for your rental car is to use a credit card that offers statement credits for travel purchases. The main card in this area is the Capital One® Venture® Rewards credit card. The Venture Card offers double the miles on all purchases, and its miles are worth one cent each as statement credits for a variety of travel purchases, including rental cars.

The current offer for this credit card allows you to earn 100,000 bonus miles, with a minimum value of $ 1,000, when you spend $ 20,000 in the first 12 months after opening the account. You can also earn 50,000 miles if you spend $ 3,000 on purchases within three months of opening the account. Other benefits of the Venture Card include a $ 100 credit towards the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee, and the ability to transfer rewards to airline miles or hotel points. There is an annual fee of $ 95 for this card.

RELATED: No Annual Fee Credit Card Bonus: Earn Miles, Points & Cash

Another card with a similar offer is the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card, which offers 1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases. Points are worth one cent each as statement credits for travel and restaurant purchases, including rental cars. New applicants can earn 25,000 bonus points, worth $ 250, after spending $ 1,000 on purchases within 90 days of opening the account. But unlike Venture, there is no annual fee for this credit card.

Likewise, the Discover it Miles card offers 1.5 Miles per dollar spent on all purchases and will match the miles you have accumulated in the first year of your account. Miles can be redeemed for travel statement credits, cash back rewards, or other options. There is also no annual fee for this credit card.

Consider credit cards that allow you to book rental cars directly with your rewards

Another way to pay for your rental car with credit card rewards is to use a card that lets you redeem your points directly for travel.

the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card allows you to book rental cars through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Center, which is powered by Expedia. The rates are quite low and you get 1.25 cents of value per point redeemed.

chase away Business Preferred® ink cardholders can do the same. And if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you will then receive 1.5 cents of value per point redeemed for rental cars and other travel bookings. So if your rental car or other travel reservation costs $ 150, all you need to do is redeem 10,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points from your Sapphire Reserve account, or 12,000 points from your Sapphire Preferred or Ink Business Unlimited® credit card.

Save money on rental cars using loyalty programs

You still want to join the car rental company’s loyalty program and earn rewards that you can redeem later to help pay for a rental. Of all the rental car loyalty programs, my favorites are National and Hertz.

national is great because it offers points based on the number of times you rent a car. This is therefore ideal for those who often hire for shorter periods, rather than for those who occasionally hire vehicles for several days at a time. It also makes sense for those who are just renting a mid-size car or other inexpensive car.

Another value National has to offer is its One Two Free promotion which it has been offering every fall for many years. This promotion gives you one free rental day for any two cars you hire.

Likewise, Hertz has a decent loyalty program that rewards you based on how much you spend. So this is often a better program than National for those who rent expensive vehicles and for those who rent for longer periods.

RELATED: 35% discount on rental cars at the airport

Additionally, there are two other ways to earn Hertz Points. The first is to complete eRewards surveys, which is time consuming, but earns rewards that can be redeemed for Hertz points. You can redeem eRewards points for other things, but the Hertz option seems to be the most valuable.

Additionally, you may occasionally find Hertz Points sold as part of the US Travel Association’s Daily Getaways online promotion. And while it can be great value, these points sell out fast, and this event hasn’t even happened in 2020. However, there have been indications that the Daily Getaways promotion could return in 2021, so keep your eyes open. Also note that Hertz has significantly devalued its program over the past couple of years, but I think it’s still a program worth using.

At the end of the line

Some people have called 2021 the year of the rental car apocalypse, and for good reason. With many rentals selling for two to three times what we used to pay, now is the best time to look for ways to redeem your points and miles instead of spending your money. Looking at all of these ways to use credit card rewards and other points To pay for your car rental, you may be able to get the wheels you need without feeling like you’re being taken for a ride.

Related financial offers

>> WIN: Credit Card Signup Bonus Offers: Earn Points, Miles & Cash

>> SAVE: Travel credit card bonus: get up to $ 1,700 in travel exchange

>> FRUGAL: Rewards credit card offers: compare the most popular offers

>>PREMIUM: Biggest banking bonuses right now: cash promotions for new deposit accounts

>> PROMO: Earn $ 175 bonus when you open a new SoFi Money account

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Although we work hard on our research, we don’t always provide a complete list of all available offers from credit card companies and banks. And as offers may change, we cannot guarantee that our information will always be up to date, so we encourage you to check all terms and conditions of any financial product before applying.

Read on

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Identity theft can victimize anyone Fri, 21 May 2021 02:24:12 +0000

We’ve talked a lot in this column about the ever-growing problems of identity theft and scams. This includes making sure you don’t share personal information, like your social security number and driver’s license number; be diligent in carefully reviewing all of your financial statements; and periodically check your credit reports.

Last week I was the victim of some form of identity theft when someone attempted to charge something to my Visa card account.

Luckily, Bank of America’s fraud department reported the $ 307 payment attempt to the Nike Store, put it on hold, and contacted me. Here’s game by game, and some thoughts and tips.

At 12:30 p.m. on a Friday, there was a message on my answering machine, allegedly from the Bank of America fraud department, indicating that there was a questionable charge on my Visa card. He requested that I call back, and he provided a call back number, which was not the number on the back of my card, and a code. I called this number on my card knowing it was a valid bank number, not a “fraudster”. The rep confirmed that he called me, and later admitted that it was okay, and perhaps best practice, to call a number that you know is actually a bank number.

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Best cheap auto insurance in Knoxville Thu, 20 May 2021 21:04:17 +0000

Knoxville, Tennessee offers its residents plenty of college football and beautiful mountain views. It also offers inexpensive auto insurance, with minimum coverage averaging $ 390 per year and full coverage averaging $ 1,304 – well below the national averages of $ 565 and $ 1,674, respectively. But Knox County also had 42 fatal accidents in 2019 on 374 in total in the state of Tennessee, which highlights the critical need for a comprehensive and well-balanced auto insurance policy.

Bankrate reviewed a number of carriers to find out which ones offer the cheapest auto insurance in Knoxville, based on a sample of each company’s premiums for 2021.

Best cheap auto insurance companies in Knoxville

There are tons of options when it comes to auto insurance companies in Knoxville, but choosing the best one requires careful consideration. Bankrate analyzed several based on Quadrant Information Services rates, JD Power 2020 customer satisfaction ratings, available discounts and hedges, and financial strength. Based on this information, there are a handful of carriers that excel in these categories. Many of these companies even offer coverage below the average cost of auto insurance in Knoxville.

Insurance company JD Power Score
(Southeast region)
Average annual premium for minimum coverage Average annual premium for full coverage
barn N / A $ 252 $ 964
USAA 909/1000 $ 341 $ 1,118
Safe Auto N / A $ 357 $ 1,660
State farm 835/1000 $ 377 $ 1,143


Grange, a regional transporter founded in 1935, operates with a network of agents. Grange has a long list of available discounts, ranging from Good Grades and Away to School, to Loyalty Savings and Bundles. The covers are varied as well, with standard covers and more personalized options available. Add-ons such as full glass repair, pet injury, and rental car reimbursement are a few ways to supplement your policy with Grange.

Find out more: Grange Insurance Review


USAA provides insurance exclusively to current or former members of the military and their immediate family members. In addition to low premiums. USAA offers some of the highest customer ratings in the industry, with a score of 909 out of 1000 in the JD Power Auto Insurance study and a financial strength rating of A ++ (superior) by AM Best. USAA offers many coverage and discount options, many of which are intended for military personnel, such as reduced premiums while deployed.

Learn more: USAA Insurance Review

Safe Auto

Safe Auto was founded in 1993 and now offers insurance products in 28 states, including Tennessee. The company is perhaps one of the best auto insurance companies in Knoxville for drivers in need of an affordable policy, such as low income families. Safe Auto specializes in providing auto insurance coverage to traditionally high-risk drivers, such as those who have been refused by other carriers. Coverage options include standard coverages, as well as SR-22 and full coverage policies. Safe Auto also offers discounts to help you save more on your premiums.

Learn more: Safe Auto Insurance Review

State farm

Whether you buy your Knoxville auto insurance online, through a mobile app, over the phone, or work directly with an agent, State Farm has it all for you to suit your preferences. State Farm also offers a wide variety of coverages and discounts, including carpooling coverage and rental car reimbursement. State Farm not only offers good customer service ratings, with 835 points out of 1000 JD Power, but also an A ++ (superior) rating with AM Best, also demonstrating its financial strength.

Learn more: State Farm Insurance Review

Cheapest auto insurance in Knoxville

The average cost of a minimum coverage policy in Knoxville averages $ 390 per year, while a comprehensive policy averages $ 1,304 per year. Compare that to Tennessee, where the overall state average is $ 371 per year for minimum coverage and $ 1,338 for a full coverage policy, and you’ll find that the rates are a bit varied.

Insurance company Average annual premium for minimum coverage Average annual premium for full coverage
Geico $ 236 $ 915
USAA $ 341 $ 1,118
In all the countries $ 356 $ 1,065
Travelers $ 375 $ 1,073
Erie $ 377 $ 1,569

Geico, USAA, Nationwide, and Travelers are all national carriers offering competitive rates along with a wide range of coverage options and discounts in Tennessee, including the city of Knoxville. Erie, while smaller in size, also offers big savings, along with enough coverage and discount options to compete with domestic carriers. Erie also relies on a strong network of agents, with more than 13,000 agents to serve 12 states.

Insurance Requirements in Knoxville

When purchasing auto insurance, Knoxville drivers are required to follow state auto insurance laws. State of Tennessee requires minimal auto insurance, and those who don’t buy it could face heavy fines and license suspension. Tennessee requires 25/50/15 liability coverage, which includes:

  • $ 25,000 in bodily liability or accidental death
  • $ 50,000 in bodily liability or accidental death
  • $ 15,000 for property damage per accident

While only buying the minimum to stay on budget can be tempting, it could make you financially vulnerable. For example, Tennessee ranks third in the country for the most uninsured motorists – almost 24% of drivers do not purchase insurance. If you are involved in an accident with someone who has no insurance and who is the at-fault driver, adding uninsured motorist coverage to your policy helps cover your medical costs and loss of insurance. salary.

Auto insurance discounts in Knoxville

While average premiums in Knoxville are lower than the national average, taking advantage of as many discounts as possible is a great way to save even more on your premiums. Knoxville residents should consider looking for additional discounts, including:

  • Good student: Whether you’re a high school student, enrolled at the University of Tennessee, or any other school, you may be eligible for an additional discount if your grades are good.
  • Fully Paid: If possible, pay your premiums all at once, rather than in monthly installments. You could save money by avoiding additional down payment fees and possibly late payments, as well as a possible reduction for the upfront payment.
  • Security equipment: If your car is equipped with safety features such as airbags or an anti-theft system, inquire about reduced premiums for additional safety equipment.
  • Grouping: Buying your auto insurance policy from the same carrier you purchased your home / tenant insurance means additional savings for the bundle.

Discounts are a smart way to save even more on your premiums, but there are other ways to save, too. Accepting a higher deductible – which means you pay more in costs if you have a comprehensive claim or a collision claim – lowers your premiums. This can be a good option if you can afford the higher personal expenses of a claim. Comparative shopping is another way to save. When you compare multiple carriers, you can see how far rates and coverage can vary from carrier to carrier.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best auto insurance company?

Choosing the best Knoxville auto insurance company depends on both your budget and what matters most to you from a carrier. Competitive pricing, discounts, coverage options, customer service ratings, and digital assets are all worth considering.

How much auto insurance do I need in Knoxville?

The amount of auto insurance you need depends on both your budget and your driving lifestyle. In addition to the minimum state requirements, most lenders require you to add comprehensive coverage and collision insurance if you lease or finance a vehicle, for additional protection.


Bankrate uses Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2021 rates for all zip codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, DC Rates shown are based on a 40 year old male and female driver with a clean driving record , good credit and the following. coverage limits:

  • $ 100,000 of civil liability per person
  • Civil liability of $ 300,000 per accident
  • Liability for property damage of $ 50,000 per accident
  • $ 100,000 of uninsured bodily injury by a motorist per person
  • $ 300,000 in uninsured bodily injury by a motorist per accident
  • $ 500 collision deductible
  • Full $ 500 deductible

To determine the minimum coverage limits, Bankrate used minimum coverage that meets the requirements of each state. Our example drivers own a 2019 Toyota Camry, commute five days a week, and travel 12,000 miles a year.

These are sample rates and should only be used for comparison purposes. Your quotes may be different.

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Poshmark Mini will bring snippet of their shopping experience to Snapchat Thu, 20 May 2021 17:40:00 +0000

Poshmark thinks small.

The social commerce resale giant has teamed up with Snapchat to create a mini shopping experience on the Snapchat app, becoming the first pre-loved e-merchant to sell on the platform.

Poshmark in 2018 became one of the first retailers to partner with Snapchat through Snap Kit, allowing Poshmark users to share and sell their ads. Poshmark is now building on that integration by bringing the first bargain buying experience to Snapchat via a Mini.

“We’ve been working with Snapchat for some time now and have a deeper relationship around how the two platforms fit together,” said Steven Tristan Young, Marketing Director of Poshmark. “Snapchat has a similar target audience. In the past, we’ve worked with their Snap kit to make sure we can sell by listing them.

“Snap Mini, we are the # 1 resale company,” he added. “Other online marketplaces have done it, but not resale. This allows us to integrate the Poshmark experience a bit. Snapchat has so many different sides, including the camera and messaging. Snap branched out into more content. What they’re trying to do is keep you on the platform. It’s not just about cameras, it’s about engagement. How to keep users inside the platform. “

The Poshmark Mini allows the social communities of Poshmark and Snapchat to seamlessly connect, explore selected products, and experience the thrill of the Poshmark scavenger hunt without leaving the Snapchat app. Poshmark can also be found on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Pinterest, and YouTube.

In addition to serving as a channel for product discovery and unique shopping experiences, the Poshmark Mini will benefit Poshmark sellers by increasing the distribution and visibility of their listings to a new audience of millions of Snapchat users. .

“Community is at the heart of everything we do,” Young said. “We are focused on creating the world’s largest and most accessible social shopping community where everyone is welcome and everyone can thrive. Snap is a brand that also prioritizes and encourages the community. This partnership is the natural extension of our founding mission to put people at the heart of commerce and allows us to create more engaging, dynamic and personalized shopping experiences. “

Snapchat users in the US will be able to use the Poshmark Mini in three ways, including Posh Parties virtual purchases, the platform’s real-time virtual shopping events where users can discover, share and sell new and new items. ‘opportunity. Snapchat users can invite Snapchat friends to view Posh parties or specific lists using the share to camera / share to chat features.

Snapchat users will be able to purchase the entire Poshmark catalog, a large marketplace with 4.5 million active sellers, 9,000 brands and over 200 million products. Shoppers will also be able to shop for the latest trendy brands in the Poshmark community.

With Mini, Poshmark is clearly trying to appeal to young consumers, stressing that the shift to social shopping is largely driven by the younger generations. Snapchat reaches 90% of 13-24 year olds. “The Poshmark Mini will introduce millions of new buyers to Poshmark while deepening its relationship with Gen Z, a large and rapidly growing part of its community.

Advocating for social shopping, Poshmark said active users in 2020 bought, browsed, bought and sold and interacted with each other through more than 30 billion social interactions.

“Poshmark is going through one of the most exciting times in our history,” said Manish Chandra, Founder and CEO of Poshmark. “We are thrilled to partner with Snap on this innovative experience that will allow us to continue to grow our community of over 80 million users. This is an incredible opportunity to showcase the magic of our community brand to millions of consumers, especially younger ones, on a large scale. “

Tristan Young declined to give a projection of the average order amount on Snapchat. “We’re going to look and think about how we drive it and increase it,” he said. “We are showing products to a new audience. Most credit card services don’t use Gen Z. They prefer Chime and Venmo. It’s an interesting change. Gen Z doesn’t like the credit card value proposition.

However, Get Z is very concerned with sustainability and wants to think about purchasing in a sustainable way, ”said Tristan Young.

Poshmark creates personalized email communications using users’ social signals. . “We’re putting together what we think are the best features of Poshmark and Snapchat,” said Tristan Young. “We will continue to expand and improve our social marketplace to deliver on its promise of creating the most engaging and impactful social shopping experience possible.”

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The Exact Strategy I Used To Save Over $ 500 On My Car Loan Thu, 20 May 2021 16:38:10 +0000

  • I recently bought a used car and saved over $ 500 in interest buying a loan.
  • I started by checking my credit score to make sure I qualified for the best rates.
  • Then I shopped for the lowest rate and asked the dealer if he could beat it.
  • Read more stories from Personal Finance Insider.

Buying a car is stressful enough, so adding financing to the mix can make the whole process overwhelming. It’s tempting to choose the first loan you’re approved for, but I knew I wanted to shop around and make sure I could get the best rate I could.

In the end, getting pre-approvals from various lenders and then using them as leverage when negotiating with a car dealership saved me $ 549 in interest.

I checked my credit score first

The first step I take before submitting a credit application, whether for a loan or a credit card, is to check my credit rating. This gives me an idea of ​​what I can possibly claim before filling out dozens of applications. Checking your credit score won’t hurt your credit, but it can cost money.

Fortunately, I have access to my free credit rating through American Express and Chase. All cardholders get a free credit score from these two issuers. My VantageScore was listed as 738 in the American Express MyCredit guide and 710 in Chase Credit Journey.

However, it’s more common for lenders to pull your FICO score, so I wanted to check that out as well. I signed up for an Experian CreditWorks Basic subscription, which is free and includes your credit score and credit monitoring. My FICO score, pulled by Experian, was 736.

While I could see things like my credit usage and recent applications through Experian, I wanted to make sure my complete credit history was correct before applying for loans. If my credit report contained any errors that could lower my score, it would be important to dispute and have them removed before applying for credit.

I had recently pulled my credit report through, which you can do once a year for free. Everything looked good, so I was ready to start applying for car loans.

I shopped for the pre-approval rates before approaching the dealers

I knew I wanted to shop around for pre-approvals before I spoke with car dealerships. This gave me an idea of ​​what rates I’m eligible for, which I could then use as leverage when negotiating with a car dealership. I wasn’t determined to borrow from a particular lender, nor was I opposed to going through a dealer for financing – I just wanted to go for the option that gave me the most rate. low.

Knowing that multiple loan applications in a short period of time would be consolidated into one credit check, thereby minimizing damage to my credit rating, I requested pre-approvals from a wide variety of lenders. Some lenders made a strong draw on my credit report (which may affect your score), while others just made a soft draw (which does not impact your score).

I applied through my credit union, several others

credit unions
in my area, a few traditional banks and an online lender. The only lender that turned me down was LightStream, an online lender. Credit unions have approved me rates ranging from 3.2% to 4.25% pending the model year of the vehicle. My own credit union, First Tech Federal Credit Union, had the lowest rate, so I printed my loan approval offer to take with me when shopping for cars.

I asked the dealer if he could beat my best rate

My plan was to find a car I wanted to buy first and then ask the dealership if they could beat the rate I was offered with their own financing. Most of the dealerships I have visited offer financing in conjunction with local credit unions, including the ones I applied to.

When I found the car I wanted, I first negotiated the price. After that I clarified that I wanted to buy the car and asked them if their finance department could beat the lowest rate that was offered to me, showing them a copy of the loan approval from my credit union. .

The dealership went through all the lenders they partner with to find the one who would be able to offer me the lowest rate. They ended up getting me a much better deal through the Oregon Community Credit Union, an institution I had not applied to. With dealer financing, I qualified for 2.48% APR as long as I signed up for automatic payments. I had to be a member of the credit union to get a loan, but all I had to do to become a member was to provide proof of address.

Shopping for the lowest rate saved me over $ 500

In the end, I put some of the price of the car in cash and took out a loan of $ 11,566 at 2.48% with a loan term of 60 months (or five years). If I don’t pay early, I’ll end up spending $ 744 on interest, which isn’t bad in my opinion.

If I had gone for the lowest rate my credit union offered (3.2%) instead of trying to negotiate with the dealership, I would end up paying $ 965 in interest. It’s not a huge difference, but it’s still over $ 200 that I saved by just asking the dealership if they could beat my best rate. If I had neglected to shop and opted for the very first pre-approval I got, which came with a 4.25% APR, I would have paid $ 1,293 in interest.

In the end, I saved $ 549 in interest by shopping and negotiating with the dealership.

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Here’s what you need to know about purchasing travel insurance during a pandemic Thu, 20 May 2021 14:30:00 +0000

Just 18 months ago, the standard travel insurance policy would not have covered losses resulting from a pandemic. But nowadays some countries require exactly that and travel insurers have been forced to pivot.

Costa Rica, for example, now requires all international visitors to purchase at least $ 50,000 in travel medical insurance that covers quarantine costs and medical bills for visitors who test positive for the coronavirus.

Some airlines will help you make sure you have the right coverage for your destination by checking your documents at the boarding gate. “They don’t want to take you somewhere just to tell yourself you can’t get in because the airline is then responsible for bringing you home,” said Scott Keyes, founder of Scott’s Cheap Flights.

But there are other things you might want to consider. Even when not needed, travel medical insurance can fill gaps in your health insurance coverage and potentially save you tens of thousands of dollars in emergency medical bills.

Medicare and many U.S. health insurance plans often do not cover health care for people traveling outside of the United States. Some US insurance networks are so restrictive that even medical emergencies during domestic travel would incur high costs.

“Don’t make the mistake of assuming you’re covered no matter the situation,” Keyes said.

Read the fine print

As the world closed in early 2020, travelers were forced to contend with the fine print of their travel insurance policies. Not only were pandemics not explicitly covered by travel insurance at the time, but the full refunds expected by some buyers did not materialize.

“They should have bought a more expensive policy,” Keyes said.

Today, travel insurers explicitly state how their policies apply to Covid-19. Allianz travel insurance, for example, will take into account trip cancellation and interruption requests if an insured person, family member or travel companion becomes ill with Covid-19 before or during the trip. Being afraid to travel is not enough to trigger Allianz’s epidemic protection.

Whichever carrier you are considering, you’ll want to carefully read the COVID-19 portion of their fine print to make sure it meets your needs.

There are other caveats to be aware of as well. Those wishing to use included travel insurance as a credit card benefit must book their trip with this card. This also applies to rental cars. Being a card holder is not enough for coverage to come into play.

Remember that you can buy your trip first and then shop for a travel insurance policy for your trip, especially if you buy parts of your trip on multiple sites.

Determine the type of coverage you want

The typical travel insurance policy in the United States includes coverage for trip cancellation, trip delays, and baggage delays. Many policies also include coverage for emergency medical care and evacuation if needed.

The most common reasons for trip cancellation – unforeseen illness and death in the family – are usually covered by standard travel insurance policies.

These policies generally do not cover the type of emergencies you can anticipate. Normally, COVID-19 would come under this umbrella, but insurers have had to adapt and now treat it as they would other medical emergencies.

However, for expenses related to the change of mind, travelers will need to switch to Cancel coverage for any reason. Cancellation policies for any reason cost more, but give travelers extra leeway to recoup at least some of their lost costs. “It’s actually ‘cancel for whatever reason’,” said Stan Sandberg, co-founder of comparison site

This coverage is for anyone who wants the ability to change their plan without having to provide documentation about their illness, including COVID-19. Travelers should always expect to be absent for a portion of the cost of their trip – typically 25% for something other than a covered medical reason.

Travelers wishing to cancel for any reason will need to change their plans at least 48 hours in advance, unless the decision is driven by unforeseen illness, weather related disruption, or hospitalization.

Determine the level of protection you want

Coverage for trip cancellation tends to be the costliest part of travel insurance. It usually costs between 4% and 10% of the total cost of the trip, making an expensive dream trip more expensive to insure.

For travelers who can live without trip cancellation coverage, travel insurance can be purchased for less than $ 25.

For international travel, Stanberg recommends between $ 50,000 and $ 1 million in travel medical coverage. But he adds, “I can’t think of too many scenarios where you would face evacuation costs of $ 1 million.”

Hiking the Himalayas and dealing with a medical emergency would be one of them. It recommends that travelers engaging in adventure sports or traveling to remote locations consider paying more for additional perks.

“The extra cost might not be as high as you think,” he said, “especially if you’re looking for peace of mind.”

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