Tag Archives: monthly bills

How technology can help you save money

Technology is such a big part of our lives nowadays, and it’s almost impossible to go a day without using it in some way or another. Whether you primarily use technology for work, for socializing, or for entertainment, there’s a good chance that it’s a big part of your life. And although staying connected and subscribing to certain services will mean additional monthly bills, have you thought about the different ways that technology can help you save money? If you haven’t been doing so already, consider taking advantage of some of the following:

Automatic payments

From monthly services to credit card bills, most—if not all—of your accounts can be paid online, and at no extra cost. In fact, not only is this a free and convenient way to take care of your monthly bills, but you’ll also usually have the option to enroll in automatic payments. This means that every month, your bank account will automatically be debited for the amount you owe. This saves you time because you won’t have to manually pay your bills every month, and you won’t ever miss a payment deadline. Missing a payment deadline can mean an increase in fees, service charges, and so on. In fact, you may qualify for certain incentives by enrolling in an automatic debt—for example, a slightly lower interest rate.

 

Payment deadline notifications

If you’re not really a fan of automatic payments, you can still be notified when due dates are approaching so that you never miss a deadline again. Depending on the bank or service provider, these notifications may arrive via email, or even through text messages. If you are signed up for automatic debt as well, you can also receive these messages a few days before your account is charged to ensure you have enough cash in your bank account to cover everything, which can prevent you from overdrafting.

 

Account activity alerts

If you have a credit card account, you no longer have to wait for your monthly statement to arrive in the mail, nor do you have to manually log in to your online account to ensure all of your charges are correct. A lot of credit card issuers give customers the option to sign up for account activity alerts. You can usually set the minimum amount required in order for an alert to come through—for instance, if any amount above $300 is charged, you’ll be notified via email or text message right away. This can help stop fraudulent activity the moment it happens, which can prevent too much damage from being done. This can save you a great deal of time, money, and frustration. 

 

Would you like to learn more about how J.G. Wentworth can get you your money sooner? Contact J.G. Wentworth today if you’re receiving long-term payments from a structured settlement and would prefer to receive a lump sum of cash.

J.G. Wentworth claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respective owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please e-mail information@jgwentworth.com with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

A letter to my past self: Put down those credit cards

Dear Past Self,

I have gone back and forth about whether I should send you this letter, because you know, if someone knows too much about their future it can mess with the space-time continuum and all that stuff. But things are kinda bad right now and I figured it was worth the risk.

I am writing to tell you to stop using those credit cards. This is not a joke. Seriously. Put. Down. The. Credit. Cards.

I know you’re having a lot of carefree fun right now and the bills seem manageable, but eventually things spiral out of control to the point of no return. Yes, future you is a bit dramatic. And broke. And depressed. And about to get evicted.

In particular, there are specific events that I’d like to warn you about, in hopes that you’ll recognize when they’re happening and avoid them completely:

You don’t have to accept every credit card offer you receive in the mail

I know you feel special every time a letter comes that says you’ve been selected to take advantage of a particular credit card program, and that being pre-approved means you simply can’t let the opportunity slip you by. But stop. Right now, you have two credit cards, and that’s an acceptable number. Future you has 27 of them.

Ban yourself from shopping online

It ends up getting way too easy to spend a lot of money in such a short time. You end up getting several packages on a daily basis over the next few years. You don’t even remember what you order anymore. You had a spare key made for the mailman. Your garage is literally filled with cardboard boxes and you can’t park your car in it. You’re sick, truly.

You really don’t need that Hawaiian t-shirt in every available color

They’re insanely overpriced, stupid looking, and we never end up wearing any of them. It’s kind of embarrassing how much we end up paying for them over the years when you factor in the interest charges. Now, there a ton of dumb purchases you’ve made throughout the years, but I really felt the need to bring this one to your attention. Please, just don’t.

Make bigger payments

I contemplated sending this letter to a point in time when you never even had a credit card yet, but when used responsibly, they are great tools for building your credit. But the keywords here are used responsibly. Those minimum payments are just barely covering the finance charges. Literally, our balances haven’t changed in the future by much. Make bigger payments! I know we have some extra cash to make it happen every month, and every little bit helps.

Don’t ignore your bills

If you’re stupid enough to ignore everything I’ve said in this letter so far, do us a favor and don’t end up ignoring your bills when things start to get overwhelming. Because it happens, and we end up getting awfully creative with those pesky bills that arrive every month. Campfire starters, birdcage liners, emergency toilet paper—you name it, we’ve done it. Definitely not good decisions. Open them up, make the payments, and repeat. Do what you can to work out payment plans with the creditors—don’t ignore their phone calls.

Contact J.G. Wentworth

I know times are tough and you’ve been using credit cards to catch up on other bills, but seriously, why? You’re receiving structured settlement payments and J.G. Wentworth can help get you that money sooner. Just call them and they’ll help you out!

 

That’s really all I can say, but I hope this letter reaches you and that you take it seriously, especially that last part.

Here’s to a less depressing future,

Your Future Self

What you’re spending money on vs. what you could be using it for instead

Do you often find that you’re just not saving as much money as you thought you’d be? You’re sticking to a budget, you’re refraining from large and unnecessary purchases, and yet you still aren’t meeting your savings goals. Sometimes, it’s the little purchases that can add up quickly and really sneak up on you. A dollar here and a couple bucks there may not seem like much, but it’s important to look at the big picture and think about how these spending habits can add up over the course over a few months or a year, and what you could have been using that money for instead:

The expense: Coffee at a local cafe

Average cost: $2.70/single basic coffee

The big picture: If you buy one coffee every morning before work (five days a week), that’s $702 a year!

What you could be using that money for instead: If you don’t have dental insurance, the money you saved from ditching that morning coffee habit can possibly give you what you need to afford it, and then some. With the average cost of dental insurance being about $326 annually, saving this money could give you enough to insure yourself and someone else in your household.

Cheaper alternative: Making your own coffee at home might not be as exciting, but it can certainly save you a lot of money. If you’re bored with the same old thing, give your at-home coffee a little extra pizzazz so you won’t feel like you’re missing out. A little caramel drizzle, some vanilla extract, or a dash of cinnamon—these are just some of the great ways you can flavor your coffee to make it taste like a café favorite.

 

The expense: Weekday lunches

Average cost: $10/meal

The big picture: Eating out every day for lunch when you’re working five days a week can really eat into your budget (yup, another pun) and cost you about $2600 a year. Even if you ate out just twice a week, you’re still talking $1040 annually in lunches.

What you could be using that money for instead: The nationwide average for rent is $1,231 monthly. How would you like one (or potentially two) months of free rent? Cut out those expensive lunches and the savings can be pretty similar.

Cheaper alternative: Making your own lunches at home and bringing them with you will almost always save you money. Making your lunch every morning might be the last thing on your mind, so be prepared by planning ahead. Make it the night before, or cook some food in one shot that can last the entire week. You can also prepare extras for dinner with the intentions of taking your leftovers for lunch the next day.

 

The expense: Gym membership

Average cost: $45/month

The big picture: Most gym memberships will lock you into an annual contract, so you’re looking at an approximate cost of $540 a year. However, when you also factor in initiation fees and other costs, it can be as much as $800 a year.

What you could be using that money for instead: If you’re in credit card debt and used to paying just the bare minimum each month, consider putting that extra money that would normally go to your gym membership towards one of your credit cards. Anything extra that you can afford to pay each month will help you to save money overall because you’ll pay more into your principal balance. And because you were already spending that money every month, you won’t notice the difference.

Cheaper alternative: You don’t need a gym membership in order to exercise, so consider canceling it if you want one less bill to pay every month. If you know that the gym is the only way you’ll workout, then it could be worth keeping—after all, your health is very important. But explore your other options that are totally free—running outside, going for hikes, playing sports and streaming free workout videos at home are just some of the many ways you can get in your daily sweat sesh without spending a penny.

 

The expense: Cable television

Average cost: $80/month

The big picture: Cable television usually isn’t a month-to-month thing, so you’re looking at an average cost of $960 a year.

What you could be using that money for instead: How about a nice cruise every year instead? The average ticket price per person, per day is $168. That means if you nixed the cable television, you could potentially have the money for a five-night cruise with some cash remaining.

Cheaper alternative: Downgrade your cable plan by only paying for the channels you watch frequently. Better yet? Ditch cable altogether in lieu of streaming video options, such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Instant Video. You’ll still be able to watch a lot of your favorite movies and television shows, but for a fraction of the cost.

 

The expense: Landline phone

Average cost: $22/month

The big picture: Just like with cable television, landline phone lines are usually something that people continuously pay for, month after month. After a year, you might spend approximately $264 on something you’re not getting much (or any) use out of.

What you could be using that money for instead: Saving just a couple hundred bucks every year can make a big difference, even if you just splurge and use it for something fun, and something you never would have spent money on otherwise. For example, you could spend the night in a luxury resort or you can celebrate a special occasion by going out for a nice dinner.

Cheaper alternative: No need to pay for both a cell phone and a landline, especially if you never even use your landline and the only phone calls you receive are from annoying telemarketers. A cell phone may not necessarily be cheaper, but if you already have one and you’re unwilling to part with it, cutting out that landline phone will save you money overall because you’ll have one less phone bill to worry about.

 

Do you receive money from a long-term payment stream, such as a structured settlement, but would prefer to receive your cash sooner? J.G. Wentworth may be able to help by purchasing some or all of your future payments. Contact J.G. Wentworth today to learn more about selling future payments for a lump sum of money. 

J.G. Wentworth claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respective owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please e-mail information@jgwentworth.com with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

Tips for paying off your debt

If you’re tired of those relentless calls from debt collectors and the pile of bills you haven’t even begun to tackle yet, the following tips can easily help you pay off your debt once and for all:

1. Create a budget

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If you haven’t already, sit down and make a list of the money you have coming in, and where it goes each month. It may not be the most thrilling task in the world (in fact, it can be downright depressing), but it needs to be done if you want a simple way to begin tackling your debt. Identify the expenses that are variable and the ones that you can cut down on. Some of your monthly expenses will be fixed, such as your rent. But other things, like food, utilities, etc. will vary month-to-month. Find things you can cut down on, ways you can spend more sensibly, and things you can get rid of completely (i.e. that monthly gym membership you’ve only used twice in the last three years). Once you can find areas that free up some extra cash, make a commitment to put it towards your overdue debts.

2. Go beyond the minimum payment

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It may seem impossible if you’re already struggling to make those minimum payments, but if you budget accordingly, it can be done. If you really want to make some serious progress, making the minimum payment won’t do much because that money mostly goes towards interest. Make it a goal each month to pay just a little bit more than your minimum. Even if you’re just paying a few bucks more, it’s a start. You can begin lowering more of your principal (and overall balance) when you go beyond that minimum payment.

 

3. Pick a repayment method

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You can tackle the debts that have the highest interest rate first and then work your way down. This might be a good method to choose if you have some credit cards with insanely high APRs. You’ll notice that as you begin banging out the stuff with sky-high interest rates, you’ll start saving more money overall. Another approach is just to work on your debts by the balances; you can start with your highest balance and work your way down, or if you want to begin closing out accounts as soon as possible by paying them in full, you might want to just get those small accounts out of the way first.

4. Don’t dodge the phone calls

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If you’ve gotten into the habit of storing all debt collector phone numbers under a “Do Not Answer” contact on your cell phone, or you’ve just simply blocked and/or tend to ignore any numbers you don’t recognize, consider actually answering. In fact, be the one to pick up the phone and reach out to them. Explain what’s happening and why you’ve fallen behind on your bills. Then, ask about settling your debt for less than what you owe. The older the debt, the more you’ll likely be able to negotiate it down. It’s actually possible to settle thousands of dollars of debt for just a few hundred. If they think they aren’t going to get anything out of you anyway, they often feel they have nothing to lose. At this point, settling may not help your credit score—unless they agree to wipe the debt from your credit report and mark it as paid in full. But at the very least, you won’t have to worry about other serious consequences, like your wages getting garnished.

Are you receiving structured settlement payments, but would prefer to receive your money sooner so that you can take care of debt? Contact J.G. Wentworth today to learn how you can sell future payments for a lump sum of cash.

 

Nothing above is meant to provide financial, tax, or legal advice. You should meet with appropriate professionals for such services.

J.G. Wentworth claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respective owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please e-mail information@jgwentworth.com with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

The process of getting your very first credit card

“I can’t wait until I’m old enough to finally get my own credit card,” you once told yourself, long before you knew any better. Fast-forward to the present and it might look a little something this: bills piling up, debt accumulating quickly, and tons of anxiety. If you can relate, you’d probably agree that the process of getting your very first credit card looks a little something like this:

1. Holy Batman! My very first credit card just arrived in the mail. I didn’t even have to do anything!

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2. Oh, it’s just cardboard. 

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3. Okay. An application that says I’m pre-approved. That sounds promising. Time to fill this bad boy out.

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4. Woohoo! I got approved! FREE MONEY!

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5. First bill arrived. Well, at least I only owe $10. I can swing that.

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6. Wait, these things come every single month?

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7. What is interest?

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8. Increased credit limit – MORE FREE MONEY!

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9. More approved credit card applications!

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10. …..and more bills.

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11. Confused as to why the minimum payments I make don’t really seem to go anywhere.

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12. People are calling here often. They sound….angry.

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13. This has gotten slightly out of hand.

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14. I guess I need to start selling some stuff.

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15. Maybe take on a second job.

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16. Or file for bankruptcy.

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17. Um, yeah. I think I’m gonna just use cash for a while.

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18. I hate my life.

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Do you have a substantial amount of credit card debt you need to pay off? If you’re receiving structured settlement payments, you may be able to receive that cash sooner and in a lump sum payment. Receiving your cash in a lump sum can make it easier to take care of large expenses, such as credit card debt. Contact J.G. Wentworth today to learn more and to receive your free quote!

J.G. Wentworth claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respective owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please e-mail information@jgwentworth.com with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

Your credit card: Signs it’s time to say goodbye

Whether it might be time to find a replacement for your first credit card, or it’s time to give up credit cards completely, the following are some signs that it might be time to cut ties:

1. Your interest rate is extremely high and you’re basically throwing away money.

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2. You have no self-control and your credit card is always maxed out.

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3. But it’s not completely your fault, because your limit is so low that it barely covers a week’s worth of food.

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4. You’re confused about the charges on your monthly bill, and it’s not because your card was stolen, but because you literally have no frickin’ clue what you bought that month.

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5. You depend on it way too much and for every little purchase…

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6. And with all the charges you rack up, you don’t receive any rewards or perks.

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7. You’ve gone over the limit so many times that you’re actually surprised when transactions aren’t declined.

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8. You struggle to make those monthly minimum payments.

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9. Your credit has improved significantly since you got your current credit card…

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10. Which means better offers are rolling in, including higher credit limits and/or lower interest rates.

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Do you need extra cash to take care of credit card debt? J.G. Wentworth may be able to help if you’re receiving long-term structured settlement or annuity payments. Contact J.G. Wentworth today to find out how you can sell some or all of your future payments so that you can receive your money sooner, and in a lump sum.

 

 

J.G. Wenworth claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respective owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please e-mail information@jgwentworth.com with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

Crazy ways you could be wasting money

It’s one thing if you’ve got a shopping habit that you just can’t kick or that “quick trip” to a department store turns into a five-hour endeavor. But sometimes, you could be wasting money without even realizing it. The following are just some ways that you could be overspending way more than you need to:

Energy usage

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If you have a tendency of falling asleep with the television on or leaving your HVAC on full blast when nobody is home, you could be paying a lot more than you need to be in utility expenses every month. Even poor insulation or old appliances can be wasting a lot more energy than you realize, and could be the cause of your high electric bills.

 

 

Food

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The cost of food can easily eat up your monthly budget (pun intended), but this is a variable expense that you can cut down on easily. If you eat out a lot, stop. If you’re throwing away leftovers and buying too many perishables at once that end up getting tossed, stop. If you haven’t already, make a grocery shopping list and stick to it every time you buy food. Use coupons, and pair them with sales for optimal savings.

 

Your cell phone bill

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Do you really need all of the minutes and cell phone data you’re paying for each month? If you quickly said “yes,” you may want to consider the other ways you can have what you need, but for a lower price. With most people having at-home Internet and most establishments offering free Wi-Fi for customers, it’s easier than ever to turn off your cell phone signal and connect your device to the Internet instead. If you don’t do this enough (or at all), you could be using all of your data when you don’t need to. If you’re almost always connected to the Internet, you could probably get away with a much cheaper data plan. And if you find that you’re constantly on the phone, find out from your service provider if and when you get free minutes, such as nights and weekends, and take advantage of them. Alternatively, you could opt for a landline phone and ditching your cell phone altogether.

 

Or just bills in general

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Before you just pay for the next bill you receive (or, you know, toss it to the side), be sure to check the individual charges very carefully. From medical bills to credit card charges, you could be paying for things you shouldn’t be paying for, and without even realizing it. Although it’s almost always accidental, it’s common for bills to contain errors, and you could be literally paying for those mistakes if you aren’t taking the time to fully read and understand what you’re being charged for.

 

Are you receiving structured settlement annuity payments, but need to receive your money sooner? Contact J.G. Wentworth today to learn more about selling your future payments for a lump sum of cash.

4 tips for saving up money fast

Do you need to save up some money quickly? Everyone has their own reasons if there’s a sudden need for cash, and the following tips can help you to save some extra money fast:

1. Sell things

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Whether you have a lot of junk around your home that you’ve been meaning to get rid of, or other items that you just don’t use enough (or at all), you can potentially sell those things if you’re looking to save money quickly. This means everything you could potentially let go of, including that shirt you wore once 14 years ago and haven’t even looked at since. Have a garage sale, and then sell the remaining items online. You’ll be surprised at what people will buy, and even if you think it’s crap, you could make a few extra bucks by getting rid of it.

 

2. Cancel things you don’t use

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How often do you really watch all 500 cable television channels that you’re paying for, or how much of that cell phone data are you actually taking advantage of? Cut back (or eliminate) what you don’t use enough of, or make some sacrifices and get rid of those non-essentials completely. If you truly need to save some extra cash quickly, this can make a huge difference.

 

3. Don’t eat out

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A lot of the time, you can save a great deal of money by eating all of your meals at home, especially if you stick to simple, basic ingredients and easy-to-prepare food. It may take some discipline if you’re used to eating out, but make the decision to eliminate all restaurant, fast food, and take-out visits until you save the extra money you need. If you’re a bad cook, just suck it up and apologize to your family in advance. They might hate you for a little while, but your bank account will thank you.

4. Don’t pay for things you could get for free

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You might be paying for plenty of things that you don’t have to, like, at all. Carefully consider where your money is going, and think of alternatives and ways to get those same products/services at no cost (legally, that is). For example, if you’re paying for a pricey gym membership, take your workouts outside or stream some free video workouts at home. If you find that you buy books a lot, check out your local library instead. Even if the sacrifices and cutbacks are temporary, eliminating these additional expenses can help you get the money you need, and faster.

 

Are you receiving long-term payments from an annuity or structured settlement, but need to receive your money sooner? J.G. Wentworth may be able to help. At J.G. Wentworth, we can potentially purchase some or all of your future payments and provide you with a lump sum of cash. Contact J.G. Wentworth today to learn more about selling future payments for a lump sum payment.

20 amusing tweets that hit close to home if you’re overwhelmed with bills

Monthly bills: They usually can’t be avoided, and sometimes adulting isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. If you’re overwhelmed with all of the different bills you’ve got to take care of each month, you’re certainly not alone:

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Do you need extra cash to take care of credit card debt? J.G. Wentworth may be able to help if you’re receiving long-term structured settlement payments. Contact J.G. Wentworth today to learn more about selling future structured settlement payments for a lump sum of cash.

Why prepaid cards are better than credit and debit cards

It’s almost impossible these days to avoid using some type of credit card, and while you may be able to get by just using checks and cash, it probably won’t make your life very convenient. Generally, there are three choices to consider when exploring credit card options, which include traditional credit cards, debit cards, and prepaid cards. They might all offer their own benefits, but consider all the extra advantages that prepaid cards can offer that traditional credit cards and debit cards don’t. The following are some examples of the different ways that prepaid cards can be much more beneficial:

No debt

Sure, charging up a storm on a credit card with a decent credit line might allow you to go on that dream trip you’ve always wanted to take or to furnish your new home, but you know what they say: it’s all fun and games until your statement arrives. You’ll eventually have to pay that money back, and the longer you wait, the more in debt you’ll get. A debt won’t just disappear; it lingers for many years, and in the meantime, you face a lot of consequences. From plummeting credit scores to wage garnishment, debt is just not something you want to mess with. If you are able to pay your bills by making those minimum payments, you’ll avoid getting in trouble (i.e. judgments), but depending on how much you charged, you’ll still be in debt. Most of your small payments will go towards interest, which really increases the costs of your purchases over the years. That hamster you bought at the pet store and charged on your credit card, for example, certainly won’t just cost $10 by the time it’s finally paid off.

Less stress and fewer bills

Remember back in the day when people sent each other real letters via postal mail, and other fun stuff, like birthday cards? Well, those days are pretty much gone. If you dread opening up your mailbox because all it ever seems to contain is bills, why do you want to add to that? Why receive more bills in the mail and why add to that stress? Although you can opt to receive a statement with a prepaid card, which simply reminds you of all the awesome things you purchased and can help you track your spending, there is no bill—because you already paid for it!

Inexpensive and easy to qualify for

If your credit score is shot, qualifying for a traditional credit card might be next to impossible. And unless you have amazing credit, you’ll likely end up with a credit card with a high APR, if you are eligible for a traditional credit card. In order to have a debit card, you’ll need a bank account. Not all consumers are eligible to open up checking accounts, or they might be required to keep their balance above a certain amount if they want to avoid being charged a monthly maintenance fee. In the end, prepaid cards often cost much less than these other two options, and they are also super simple to qualify for as long as you have a deposit for your spending money.

Safety

From shopping online to restaurant visits, there is always a risk of your financial information getting stolen. If someone gets a hold of your debit card information and makes a ton of unauthorized charges, it can be a total nightmare. After all, this is money that is coming straight from your bank account, and you may never see that money again. With a traditional credit card, it can be a little bit easier to dispute the charges and get them reversed, but it’s not always simple. Not only is it a hassle to deal with, especially if a lot of damage has been done, but you may not be able to dispute all of the unauthorized transactions. A prepaid card, however, can be the safest payment method of all. If you only load a small amount of money at a time, and only when you know you’re about to charge on it, there is much less at risk.

Are you interested in opening up your own prepaid card? Visit our prepaid card section for more information on the prepaid cards we offer and to get your application process started today!