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Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Capital One Venture: Which Should You Get?

When people talk about travel credit cards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Capital One Venture, are almost always in the conversation. Both cards offer some of the biggest and most popular reward cards currently available and can be great options if you have excellent credit. They are also quite similar to each other. Because of that, it can be difficult to decide between the two, when looking to add a new card to your wallet.

Within this article we are going to walk you through the different parts of each card. This will help you decide which card might be the best fit for you.

Comparing the Rewards

When you sign up online for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card you will receive 50,000 Chase Ultimate Reward points after spending $4,000 in the first three months. Plus, you will receive an additional 5,000 points when you add an authorized user and they make a purchase during the same three-month period. (Note: There is a differential if you account for the Chase Sapphire card’s original 100,000 bonus points, which are still available, but only if you apply at a branch by March 12.)

When you use your card at restaurants and on travel, you will receive two times the points. Every other purchase made with this card will earn one point.

The Capital One Venture card comes with a signup bonus of 40,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months. You will then earn two times the miles on every purchase you make.

Redeeming the Rewards

Chase Ultimate Reward points are a favorite for many because of how they can be redeemed. If you book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, your points will be worth 1.25 cents each. By going this route, you will be able to pay for portions of a trip, even if you don’t have the points to book the entire thing.

Where you will find the most value from your points, is by transferring them 1:1 to the following loyalty programs:

  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Korean Air SKYPASS
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards
  • United MileagePlus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • Hyatt Gold Passport
  • IHG Rewards Club
  • Marriott Rewards
  • Ritz-Carlton Rewards

By transferring your points to loyalty programs, many people are able to get a much higher value than 1.25 cents.

Capital One Venture miles are extremely popular with cardholders because of the flexibility they have. Each miles is worth one cent each and you can use them in a couple of different ways. You can book travel directly through Capital One, or you can book travel on your own, and then redeem your miles for a statement credit.

Both of these cards also give you option to redeem rewards for things like gift cards and merchandise, but you won’t get near the value you do when booking travel.

The Fees

Both the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Capital One Venture card waive the annual fee the first year. Then for each subsequent year, the Chase Sapphire Preferred charges $95 and the Capital One Venture card is $59.

Both the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Capital One Venture cards do not have foreign transaction fees. That makes both of these cards perfect for travel outside the United States.

Which One Is Right for Me?

As you can see, both of these are excellent options for anyone looking to pick up a new travel credit card. Both cards offer a generous signup bonus and the ability to earn double points on purchases. When deciding which card would be the best fit for you, it will come down to redemption. If you are looking for something that is a little more flexible, then the Capital One Venture card might be best.

However if you don’t have a problem booking your travel through individual loyalty programs, and know how to search for optimal value, then the Chase Sapphire Preferred card would be a great fit.

No matter which card you decide to go with, you’re likely going to be very satisfied with your choice. Before applying, it’s a good idea to check your credit scores to make sure there aren’t any errors or surprises on your credit reports that will keep you from being approved. It’s easy to get your two free credit scores, updated every 14 days, on Credit.com.

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

Related Articles

This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

How Can I Determine What My Mortgage Will Really Cost?

Costs to secure financing are a big factor when it comes to getting a mortgage. And knowing why your loan costs a certain amount is critical to being able to understand how lenders price loans in the marketplace. People tend to think of interest rates when it comes to mortgages, but that’s not the only cost to consider.

Here’s what you need to know about the things that determine your mortgage fees.

Do I Really Have to Pay Mortgage Fees?

Remember, all loans come with fees and all fees are paid for by someone. You can have what seems like the perfect loan and there will still be fees, like closing costs. There are two situations where you might not have to pay all of the closing costs. The first way is for a seller to credit the closings cost when you purchase your home. The second is to select an interest rate that generates an overage, or credit, which is applied to your loan fees.

For the purpose of this discussion, we’ll focus on the factors that determine your interest rate and any points associated with that rate.

Two factors that determine your loan fees above anything else are your loan-to-value (LTV) and your credit score. (Not sure where you stand? You can view two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com.) Your loan-to-value (LTV) is the difference between the loan amount you are seeking and the value of your home. Your credit score is particularly important to how your loan is priced because it determines the risk associated with your loan.

The following things play out in terms of how your loan is priced:

High Loan-to-Value (LTV) Loans

Loan adjustments start at 65% LTV, in increments of 5%, all the way up to 95% LTV on conventional loans. For example, if you’re looking for a conventional mortgage and you have 20% equity in the home — 80% LTV — your loan will be priced worse than someone who has 30% equity and 70% LTV.

Your Credit Score

Your credit score is the barometer the lender uses to gauge your potential for default. The higher your credit score, the less likely you are to default, and the less risk the lender assumes by granting you that mortgage. When it comes to mortgages, credit scores generally break down like this:

  • 740+ — Excellent
  • 720-739 — Great
  • 700-719 — Good
  • 680-699 — Fair
  • 620-679 — Poor

Occupancy

If the property you are looking to purchase is a second home or a rental property, you might end up paying an additional pricing adjustment in the origination of your mortgage loan. Rental properties are especially known for this pricing adjustment. This change can influence an interest rate by as much as .375 compared to a primary home loan.

Property Type

If your property is a condominium and/or a multi-family property, you can generally expect to pay more. Specifically, this is because both types of properties contain more risk to both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac than a single-family home.

Condominiums also have rules and regulations that single-family homes do not. A multi-family property, such as a duplex, is more risky because there is another unit involved and more potential liability compared to a single-family home.

Some General Guidelines

If you are looking for a mortgage with a high loan-to-value and a great credit score such as a 95% financing … then you can expect to be paying interest rate of .375 to .5 more than what you might see advertised online or in print.

If you are financing a triplex as either an owner or a non-owner-occupied transaction … then, if the property is a primary home, you can expect to pay about .5% in the form of a discount point based on the rate chosen.

If you will be renting your property out for investment purposes … then you can expect to pay as much as .5% more in the interest rate, with up to one discount point based on the rate chosen.

Final Thoughts

The moral of the story is that not all mortgage rates and pricing are created equal. If you are pricing out a loan with a lender and your scenario falls into any one or more of the intricacies outlined in this post, you can expect to pay more for the type of financing you are seeking.

Related Articles

This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

Should You Refinance Your Home in 2017?

Deciding whether or not to refinance your mortgage is complicated in the best of times. But with the unknown looming in 2017, the question is even messier than usual.

Many experts and economists are predicting rising interest rates this year. Kiplinger, for instance, predicts that the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage will rise to 4.6% this year. That’s still a fairly low rate compared with other points in history. But rising rates may have homeowners like you wondering if they should refinance sooner rather than later.

If you’re currently paying higher-than-average interest on your mortgage, you may want to consider refinancing this year before the interest rates rise. Of course, you’ll also need to factor in your credit since that’ll determine the rate you’re offered when you go to re-fi (more on this in a minute). You can view two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com. They’re updated every two weeks, and checking your scores won’t harm them in any way.

Here are some questions to ask to determine whether or not to refinance your mortgage this year:

1. What Interest Rate Will I Qualify For?

It’s important to figure out what interest rate you’re likely to qualify for. One way to do this is to check out a mortgage rate calculator, which will take some basic information and give you a likely APR for your mortgage.

The only way to find out for sure how much a mortgage will cost you, though, is to shop around. Check out different online mortgage lenders, as well as traditional bricks-and-mortar options. Remember, if you apply to refinance your mortgage with several lenders within a few days’ time, it’ll only count as one hard inquiry on your credit report.

What should you do if your credit score is on the low side? Consider taking some time to boost your credit score, especially if you can do it relatively quickly by paying down credit card debt. However, you’ll need to weigh the benefit of having a better credit score when you refinance against the possibility that interest rates will balloon before you can refinance. (Have bad credit? Here’s what to know if you’re thinking about refinancing anyway.)

2. How Much Will Refinancing Cost?

As with buying a home, there are usually closing costs involved when you refinance. Some lenders offer no closing cost refinances, which can save you a bundle up front. However, loans without closing costs may charge a higher interest rate. And even so-called “no closing cost” refinances may have some fees due at closing.

Generally, though, closing costs on a refinance will be similar to closing costs when buying a home. You’ll need to pay credit fees, appraisal fees, escrow and title fees, and other fees imposed by your lender. Overall, you can estimate closing costs to be about 1.5% of the total loan principal.

If you’ve got enough equity in your home, you may be able to roll closing costs into the overall principal amount. But you’ll still wind up paying these fees one way or another.

3. When Will I Break Even?

Calculating when you’ll break even is the essential piece to deciding whether or not you’ll refinance. Since you have to either pay up front or roll refinancing costs into your loan, you need to know how long it’ll take to get that money back.

To calculate your break-even point, you need to first find out how much money per month the refinance will save you. Then, calculate how much it will cost. Divide the total cost by the savings per month, and you’ll see how many months it will take to break even.

For example, say you expect to pay $3,000 to refinance your $200,000 mortgage. You’ll save $175 per month when you refinance. So your break-even point is about 17 months. Once you’ve paid on the refinanced mortgage for 18 months, you’ll be saving money overall.

4. How Long Do I Plan to Stay in My Home?

Generally, refinancing your home is a winning proposition any time you stay in your home longer than your break-even period. In the above example, you’ll come out on top if you own your home for at least 18 months after you refinance.

Of course, the longer you own the home after your break-even month, the more money you’ll save because of your refinance.

If you’re not reasonably sure you’ll own your home through your break-even month, refinancing won’t be worth your while. But if you think you’ll stay in your home, refinancing could save you a lot of money over the long haul.

 

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This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

Jessica Alba's Honest Co. recalls organic baby powder over infection risk

Jessica Alba's The Honest Co. is recalling its organic baby powder over risks of eye and skin infections.

The company, co-founded by Alba and Christopher Gavigan, announced earlier this month that it is recalling "all lots" of the product "due to possible contamination with microorganisms, including some species associated with skin infections or eye infections."

"We've decided to voluntarily recall this product out of an abundance of caution," Gavigan said last week in a YouTube video.

>> Watch the video here

<iframe width="390" height="219" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/-ZUnWLHNPZs" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

The recalled product has a UPC of 817810014529 and was sold in 4-ounce containers. Customers who bought the baby powder can return it for a refund.

>> Read more trending stories

For more information, call 1-888-688-8653 in the U.S. or 1-888-532-0190 in Canada from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT Monday through Friday. Customers also can email support@thehonestcompany.com with the subject "Baby Powder."

Read more here.

#RECALL: @Honest recalls their Organic Baby Powder due to possible eye and skin infections https://t.co/pSG0IqEk2V pic.twitter.com/CjNLtTpzxV— Today's Parent (@Todaysparent) January 14, 2017

5 Credit Cards That Help You Earn Hotel Elite Status

If you’re a frequent traveler, then having elite status at hotels can be pretty valuable. It will allow you to check into your room early or check out late. Status can get you upgraded to a bigger room with a nicer view. It can even award you with free breakfast or a complimentary drink in the evening. Having elite status with hotels can dramatically enhance your overall travel experience.

The only problem is that earning elite status with most hotel chains can be difficult. Many require you to stay for weeks before you will earn low level status. Unless you travel a lot for business, this can be pretty unattainable.

This is where your credit card can help. Some credit cards that earn hotel points will automatically award you elite status, just for being a cardholder. Other cards allow you to earn status when you spend a certain amount each year with your card. Here are five cards that will help you earn hotel elite status.

1. Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve

When you sign up for the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve card you will automatically receive Hilton HHonors Gold status. This will give you things like a 25% bonus on the base HHonors points you can earn, the fifth night free when you book five or more nights, and late checkout. You will then have the chance to earn diamond status when you spend $40,000 or more per year with your card.

The Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve card also will award you with two free weekend nights after you sign up and spend $2,500 within the first four months. You will also receive 10x HHonors points when you use your card at Hilton hotels, 5x points on airlines and car rentals, and 3x points on everything else. Plus, each year that you spend $10,000 on your card and pay the $95 annual fee, you will receive a free weekend night as a thank you.

2. Hyatt Credit Card

When you sign up for the Hyatt credit card you will automatically receive platinum status with Hyatt hotels. This will give you 15% bonus points, free premium Wi-Fi, and room upgrades when available.

After you sign up and spend $2,000 within the first three months you will receive a bonus of two free nights. Plus, if you add an authorized user to your account and they make a purchase in the same three-month period, you will receive 5,000 bonus Hyatt points. You will then earn 3x points when you use your card at Hyatt hotels, 2x points at restaurants and on airfare and car rentals booked with the airline or car rental agency, and 1x points on all other purchases. Each year on your anniversary, you will receive one free night that can be used at any category 1-4 Hyatt hotel, after you pay the $75 annual fee.

3. IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card

As an IHG Rewards Club Select cardholder you will automatically receive IHG platinum elite status. This will allow you to check into your room early, earn 50% more points and receive an upgraded room.

When you sign up for this card, you will receive 60,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 within the first three months. You will earn an additional 5,000 points when you add an authorized user and they make a purchase in that three-month period. When you use your card at IHG hotels you will earn 5x points. Spending done with the card at restaurants, gas stations, and grocery stores will earn 2x points, and all other purchases will earn 1x points. Each anniversary you will receive one free night. There is no annual fee the first year, but it will be $49 each subsequent year.

4. Marriott Rewards Premier Card

You will receive 15 elite nights each year that you are a Marriott Rewards Premier cardholder. This is enough to receive silver status, giving you an additional 20% in points when using your card. You will also receive one additional elite night for every $3,000 spent on your card. If you reach 50 nights, you will earn gold elite status.

When you sign up for the Marriott Rewards Premier card you will receive 80,000 Marriott points after spending $3,000 within the first three months. You will earn an additional 7,500 points when you add an authorized user and they make a purchase in the same three-month period. When you use your card at Marriott and Starwood properties you will earn 5x points. Booking airfare directly with the airlines or car rentals booked with the rental agency will earn 2x points. Any other purchase will receive 1x points. Each year on your card anniversary, you will receive a free night at any category 1-5 hotel. The annual fee on this card is $85.

5. The Platinum Card from American Express

The Platinum card is easily the most expensive card on the list with an annual fee of $450. However, it also offers you the most bang for your buck. As a cardholder you will not only receive Hilton HHonors gold status, but you will also earn Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status. With Starwood Gold, you will receive a 50% bonus on the points that you earn. You will also receive an enhanced room and a welcome gift, which could include bonus points, complimentary internet access or a free drink.

When you sign up for the Platinum Card from American Express you will receive 40,000 Membership Reward points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months. You can earn 5x points when you use your card to book flights directly through the airlines or through American Express Travel. Any other purchase you make with the card will earn 1x points. This card also comes with several other valuable benefits. You will receive an annual $200 airline fee credit to use on incidental fees. You will also have complimentary access to over 1,000 airport lounges worldwide. If you would like Global Entry or TSA Pre✓, you will receive up to a $100 statement credit to cover the expense.

Remember, before applying for any credit card, it’s a good idea to check your credit scores so you’ll have a better idea of whether you’ll qualify. Many rewards cards require excellent credit. You can check your two free credit scores, updated every 14 days, at Credit.com.

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

 

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This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

How to Handle Debt & Maintain Your Mental Health

It’s no secret that most people feel lousy when they’re in financial trouble, and one of the biggest financial stressors seems to be debt. When you’re in debt, simple tasks like going to your mailbox, where you anticipate finding an avalanche of bills or overdue notices, can bring on stress. If you relate to this feeling, you aren’t alone. According to a Time article, there are a plethora of Americans in an excessive amount of debt. In fact, the Federal Reserve reported at the end of 2015 that, on average, an American between the ages of 18 and 64 has $4,717 in credit card debt.

So aside from being a burden on our wallets, what does this debt do to us?

“Financial issues are a common source of stress,” Dr. Jay Winner, director of the Stress Reduction Program for Sansum Clinic in Santa Barbara, California, said. “Additionally, when someone has extensive debt, there is a tendency to work excessive hours. This deviation from a healthy work-life balance leaves people less resilient to other stressors in their lives.”

How Debt Stress Impacts You

Chronic stress is linked to a wide variety of mental health ailments. Dr. Robert Williams, a psychiatrist in Phoenix, explained that long-term stress physically affects the brain through the well-known “fight or flight” mechanism, which occurs during times of perceived danger, such as those experienced when a threat to financial well-being occurs. Williams explained that when the deep limbic system, or primitive brain, is less active, there is generally a positive, more hopeful state of mind. When it is heated up, or overactive from too much stimulation in the form of perceived threats, negativity can take over.

In addition to an overactive limbic system, Williams said some people are born with a thin cerebral cortex. Emotional stability is a manifestation of the cerebral cortex, and studies suggest a relationship between depression and a thinning cerebral cortex. Dr. Williams said the combination of an overactive limbic system and a thinning cerebral cortex could lead to severe depression. Long-term stress from things like too much debt can cause anxiety, restlessness, lack of motivation or focus, feelings of being overwhelmed, irritability or anger, sadness or depression, even thoughts of suicide.

Coping With Debt Stress

If you are stressed because of a financial situation, here are some suggestions from Dr. Winner that may help you cope.

  • Be mindful. Focus on doing one thing at a time with your full attention.
  • Learn a relaxation exercise. Learning to relax for a specified period of time will help you learn to relax through the day and reduce stress.
  • Do not resist the stress. There are not much in the way of health risks from short-term stress; so if you’re too stressed now, don’t stress about being stressed. Just learn some strategies so the stress does not become excessive in the long term.
  • Learn patience. This is important because the emotion most strongly associated with heart disease is anger and hostility.
  • Decrease the frustration of failure. Instead of thinking you are worthless when things go wrong, realize progress comes from learning from our mistakes. Ask, “What can I learn from this?”
  • Keep things in perspective. One way to keep things in perspective is to think of your health, family, friends etc.
  • Take care of yourself. Eat nutritiously and mindfully, enjoying the taste and aroma of your food. Get regular exercise.
  • Have some technology-free time. If you can spend some of that time out in nature, that’s all the better.
  • Talk with someone. If you’re overwhelmed by stress and basic techniques are not helping, discuss this with a physician or mental health professional.

Paying Off Your Debts

Getting out of debt is one sure-fire way to help reduce your stress levels. Of course this is easier said than done, so consider taking small steps toward this larger goal. To start, gather all the information about your debts, including who you owe what amounts to and any interest rates or fees that are applicable to each of the debts. From there, consider what options you have. Can you consolidate your debts? Move the debt to a balance transfer credit card and eliminate interest charges for a while? You may even decide to seek the advice of a professional debt counselor to help you find the right path.

Whatever you do, take a deep breath and keep moving forward. Not only will paying off these debts help your stress, but it will help improve your credit scores. (You can see how paying down your debts are affecting your credit by checking out two of your free credit scores, updated every 14 days, on Credit.com.)

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This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

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5 Tips To Balance Saving For Retirement With Other Savings

MoneyTips

It can be difficult to save the proper amount for retirement. Some pressing need always seems to take the place of your intended retirement contribution. Unexpected home or auto repairs, medical bills, education costs, that new outfit or gas grill... it is way too easy to find another use for your money. The solution to this problem is simple: make your retirement savings a priority. Executing the solution is the tough part. Here are five tips to help you keep your collective savings needs in perspective and follow through with your savings plans. 1. Take Full Advantage of Employer Programs – Direct as much of your paycheck as you can reasonably afford into any employee retirement program. This is especially important when an employer match is present — not to take advantage of an employer match is essentially to turn down free money. 2. Make Saving a Family Tradition – Too many seniors willingly take on the debts of their children and grandchildren. Assumed student loans, help with housing, and other financial burdens take away from your retirement. If you take money from your retirement for these purposes, you have more limited time and options to recover financially than your children do. By establishing good savings habits with your children, you make it more likely that they will be able to stand on their own two feet financially. We aren't suggesting that you should not help — we are saying that you must keep assistance in perspective, and lower the chances of your children needing assistance at all by teaching them sound financial principles. 3. Manage Debt Wisely – Spending on credit is fine, as long as it does not get out of control. As you start to carry a balance, your overall debt load is increased, and with credit cards, the debt generally carries a high interest rate. Try to limit credit card purchases to amounts that you can pay off at the end of the month. As you budget each month, allocate money toward your retirement savings, then an emergency fund, and then address your bills. Pay at least the minimum on all bills and then focus on the highest interest rate debt that you have. Look over the lower interest rate bills and compare the return on your investments with the interest charges, and decide whether your money is better used paying down bills or contributing to retirement funds. If you cannot even pay the minimum on all bills without dipping into retirement and emergency funds, reassess your spending. 4. Consider Housing Needs – For many people, a home is a reasonable, appreciable investment — but ask those who purchased immediately before the housing crash of 2007 to 2008 how they feel. Plan your down payment savings over the course of time, and don't funnel all of your savings toward a future home at the expense of retirement or emergency funds. It's important to load up retirement funds in the early years to take the greatest advantage of the time value of money. If you have a home and are looking at upgrading or downsizing, consider your options with your overall debt in mind. Again, do not shortcut retirement savings to meet a housing goal. Consider buying a smaller, less expensive home or save for a longer time to make the switch. 5. Assess Retirement Needs – You don't know if you're on track if you don't have a target. Assess your retirement needs now and every so often to see if your goals have changed. Use the free MoneyTips Retirement Planner A crude rule of thumb is that you need 70% of your pre-retirement annual salary to live on in retirement, but that depends on your retirement goals, health, and a series of uncontrollable factors. Set an income target that gives you the proper level of comfort. Next, assess your Social Security/pension income, expected income from other investments and assets, then see if your savings is on pace to fill in the remaining gap in income for your given life expectancy. Reassess every few years as your situation changes. Don't wait until retirement is imminent to think about your post-employment financial goals and needs. Start now and establish the proper savings balance, and you are more likely to live comfortably in retirement without excessive sacrifices during your later working years. The free MoneyTips Retirement Planner can help you calculate when you can retire without jeopardizing your lifestyle. Photo ©iStockphoto.com/c-George

Originally Posted at: http://www.moneytips.com/5-tips-to-balance-saving-for-retirement-with-other-savings

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5 Tips To Balance Saving For Retirement With Other Savings

MoneyTips

It can be difficult to save the proper amount for retirement. Some pressing need always seems to take the place of your intended retirement contribution. Unexpected home or auto repairs, medical bills, education costs, that new outfit or gas grill... it is way too easy to find another use for your money. The solution to this problem is simple: make your retirement savings a priority. Executing the solution is the tough part. Here are five tips to help you keep your collective savings needs in perspective and follow through with your savings plans. 1. Take Full Advantage of Employer Programs – Direct as much of your paycheck as you can reasonably afford into any employee retirement program. This is especially important when an employer match is present — not to take advantage of an employ...
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