Scotiabank Gold American Express Credit Card Review

October 20th, 2021 | Posted in Business, Uncategorized

Hey everyone, thanks for joining me for this week’s review! Today, I’m going to bring it back to Canadian credit cards with the Scotiabank Gold American Express credit card. This one has gained a bit of buzz lately in the blogosphere. So, I figured I’d review it to see what it was all about. As always, this is going to be a nothing held back review! You’re about to learn the good, bad and ugly for the Scotiabank Gold American Express travel rewards credit card!

Scotiabank Gold American Express Credit Card Short Review

Scotiabank Gold American Express Credit Card Pros – If you’re looking for a credit card with a decent size spending limit, you’ve found it here. The maximum spending limit for this card is $5,000! Also, it has a pretty low annual fee, weighing in at only $99. However, the biggest perks associated with this credit card is the rewards. You can earn up to 4 Scotia Rewards points on qualifying purchases (I’ll go over what that means in the long review below), and 1 point for every standard purchase. You’re able to redeem the rewards for travel purchases, gift cards and more. It really is a great rewards program.

Scotiabank Gold American Express Credit Card Cons – The interest rate is a bit high, but that’s to be expected when it comes to any rewards credit card. However, this isn’t the highest interest rate out there for sure, and there are ways to avoid the interest when using rewards credit cards. I’ll explain the best way in my long review.

Scotiabank Gold American Express Credit Card Overall – Overall, this is a great credit card. The lender behind it is a trusted one, it comes with great rewards, a great spending limit, and an annual fee that’s lower than most of the competition. The only draw back is the interest rate. However, when it comes to rewards credit cards, we come to expect higher than average interest.

Scotiabank Gold American Express Credit Card Long Review

OK, now it’s time to dig deep into the details. Because the most important factor of a credit card for most people is cost, that’s where I’ll start. First off, the Scotiabank Gold American Express Credit Card comes with a $99 annual fee. In line with it’s competition in the travel rewards credit card industry, this one definitely stands out as one of the lower fee options. At least when it comes to the annual fee. The interest rate on the other hand, well, it kind of blends in with the rest.

The standard interest rate on this card is 19.99%. It’s not incredibly high, however, it’s not the lowest either. I’d call it average. However, if you own credit cards, you know that standard interest rates aren’t the only interest rates you should be concerned with. Cash advance and balance transfer interest rates may come into play depending on how you decide to use your new card. That being said, on the Scotiabank Gold American Express card, these rates are both 21.99%.

I promised that I would explain to you how you can avoid interest entirely, and here it is. It’s simple, pay your balances off as soon as you create them. Interest only can be charged to you if you carry a balance past the grace period. If you pay your credit card balance off every time you get paid, chances are, you’ll fall well within that grace period and never pay a dime in interest on your debts.

Now, let’s talk a bit about rewards. After all, if it wasn’t for the incredible rewards it offers, chances are, you wouldn’t be interested in this card. The Scotiabank Gold American Express card rewards operate on Scotia Rewards points. They work just like any other rewards program. Spend money, earn rewards! However, it’s how quickly you can accumulate these points and how much you can redeem them for that makes this rewards program so valuable.

With the Scotiabank Gold American Express Credit Card, you can earn up to 4 Scotia Rewards points for entertainment, gas, grocery store, and dining purchases. That covers most of what we all buy on a regular basis! So, on the vast majority of your purchases, you could be earning 4 Scotia Rewards points. Of course, outside of these categories, you’ll still earn Scotia Rewards points. As a matter of fact, you’ll get 1 for every dollar spent!

Once you’ve accumulated enough points, it’s time to redeem them, but what can you redeem them for? This is a travel rewards program. That being said, you can redeem your points for qualifying travel based purchases, like airfare. You also have the option to redeem the points for gift cards and other miscellaneous rewards.

Finally, let’s talk about the bank itself. The truth is, it doesn’t matter how good the perks are printed out to be if the company is known for not fulfilling it’s promises. That being said, Scotiabank is one of the leading lenders in Canada. They’ve made a name for themselves as having some of the best customer support surrounding their very secure products. When it comes down to it, there are few to no lenders that are better than Scotiabank.

Should You Apply For The Scotiabank American Express Card?

Well, that all depends on you. What are you looking for from your credit card? Are you financially responsible enough to pay your bill completely off every time you get paid? How often do you travel? The bottom line is, if you want a credit card with a good spending limit and great travel rewards, you’ve found it! However, with great perks come great costs if you’re not careful. That being said, the Scotiabank American Express Card card is reserved for financially sound individuals.

Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa Card Review

October 19th, 2021 | Posted in Business, Uncategorized

This Credit One Bank® Platinum Card is a card that can be useful, but should be handled with extreme caution. Do I have your attention? Let’s proceed. First of all, this is a card focused on folks with miserable credit. The card is marketed as a tool to rebuild deplorable credit scores. And it can! But if you don’t keep up with it, things can be worse for you than they were before. For the right customer, this card can be a strong ally, however. Read on to learn more.

Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa Card Short Review

Credit One® promises to provide premium credit history on your behalf to the 3 Credit Reporting Agencies…if you keep up with your payments. And this shouldn’t be too difficult. The credit limits are very low, designed to allow small payments that can be immediately paid off. If you use the card this way, you will see your credit score rise and all will be well. There may be a charge for the lift to your score. But for many customers, the boost in their credit card is significant and fast. This is the good news.

Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa Card Long Review

I have read a lot of reviews of this card. Customers say it works and they’re happy with the resulting boost to their credit scores. But this is a specific type of customer. People who suffered a catastrophic financial loss and its consequent hit to their credit score are the best candidates. They may already be reliable in their financial lives, their credit score just doesn’t reflect this. For this kind of person, this Credit One® Platinum Visa is a great choice. As a general credit card, it is not the best choice. But then, that’s not what it’s designed for. If a customer deviates from its intended use, fees abound and the interest rates for debt you carry as a balance are sky high.

So have a plan and stay the course. This isn’t a normal credit card. It has a specific purpose. One reviewer compared it to fire: used properly it can warm you and be all the difference in your life; used improperly and it can be very harmful.

Final Thoughts

So I recommend this Credit One Bank® Platinum Card, but only for specific and cautious customers. If you can reliably pay off your balance every month, and don’t mind an annual fee, you can enjoy real growth to your credit score in a short amount of time. This can get your financial life back on track fast. If you are not this sort of person, I would recommend a secured card of some kind. Used properly, this is an effective and legitimate financial product that I don’t mind recommending.

LearnVest Review – Exclusive Review of LearnVest

October 18th, 2021 | Posted in Investment, Uncategorized

Hey everyone, thanks for joining me for this week’s review. Today, we’re going to look at one of the most unique personal finance management tools out there. The tool is LearnVest. The biggest reason it’s unique is that it was designed to be custom tailored to women. The program is meant to teach women the concepts involved in better money management. Let’s see if this program stacks up as a viable option in today’s review!

LearnVest Short Review

LearnVest Pros: LearnVest offers an incredibly easy to use platform that makes it simple to find and manage everything you need. Another cool thing about LearnVest is that it allows you to attach all of your finance accounts ranging from credit cards to checking accounts, investment accounts, loans, credit cards, mortgages, and more! The program watches your spending and other aspects of your overall financial profile and gives suggestions that help you to take control of your finances! Oh yea, and it’s free!

LearnVest Cons: There’s really not much bad to be said about LearnVest. The only thing I can come up with is they haven’t provided a way to track cash purchases. I don’t know about you, but I still have some of that green paper floating around from here to there. I think at some point for one of these financial management platforms to reign supreme, they’re going to need to offer a way to track cash purchases too. I’m sure a simple input system would be fine, but no one seems to be offering it.

LearnVest Overall: Overall, LearnVest is an amazing program that I’d recommend to anyone that wants to take control of their finances. Although it was designed for women, I think it works perfect no matter what sex you are. Not to mention, it’s free. So, there’s no reason not to give it a shot.

LearnVest Long Review

Short reviews are never enough to get into any great detail on a product or service. That being said, thanks for sticking around for the long review. In true, Modest Money review fashion, let’s start off with the price. Ready? The price is free! That’s right, the service is absolutely, 100% FREE. LearnVest makes their money through advertisements so that they don’t have to charge you a dime in the process of helping you manage your money.

So, What Exactly Does LearnVest Do?

It’s actually better to ask what it doesn’t do when it comes to personal finance management. When you sign up for an account, you attach all of your debts, checking accounts, savings accounts, credit cards, etc… to your profile. Once everything is attached to your profile, LearnVest software will dig through and look for improvements in all areas of your financial profile. That may be cuts in spending or telling you which debts are best to pay off. Although many applications offer these types of services, I haven’t come across a more intuitive option. The system is very accurate!

Isn’t There Danger In Giving A Company Access To So Much Information?

Yes, it is dangerous to give access to all of your financial data to some companies. However, LearnVest isn’t just any company, they’re LearnVest. They have made a name for themselves in the personal finance industry by offering exceptional tools, awesome training, and top of the line security measures on your accounts. Although it may be dangerous to give your information to just anyone, they aren’t just anyone, they’re know for being a trustworthy, secure company.

Some Of My Favorite LearnVest Features

Categorizing Income and Purchases – If you’re a fan of the Monday Money series, you know that I’m a budget nut. Unlike most people, I actually love to sit down and crunch numbers to see where I can improve. However, using LearnVest makes it so you don’t have to. Once you attach your accounts, the program automatically categorizes everything for you. This way, you can go into the account once in a while and see where improvements in your budget can be made, since they’ve already done the work of separating and categorizing the purchases you’ve made.

Debt Advice – Debt can be overwhelming to say the least. Not knowing where to start, it may seem almost impossible to dig your way out of debt. However, LearnVest makes it simple. They show you opportunities to reduce overall interest paid by allocating funds to the right debts at the right times. And I’ve gotta say, their advice is spot on.

Education – This is the strongest point that LearnVest has going for them. They want to do a lot of things, but one more than anything else. Their ultimate goal is to educate their users on money management and how to save. Through various forms of education material, they teach everything from basic strategies to advanced strategies that revolve around saving money and living a more financially free lifestyle.

My Overall Thoughts Of LearnVest

LearnVest is an absolutely amazing company and I would tell all my friends and family to use it if asked. The bottom line is, it’s free, so you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain. LearnVest is more than a personal finance management software, they go beyond showing you what you can do with your finances. Their core goal is to teach you the fundamental aspects of living a financially free lifestyle, which I think is great! And you know what else? The do a great job at it!

Lending Club Review – Peer to Peer Lending Platform Review

October 17th, 2021 | Posted in Investment, Uncategorized

Peer to Peer Lending (or P2PL) is an industry that’s still in its infancy. But in the United States, it’s not altogether clear whether the P2P ethos is going to survive! Many of the early US P2PL players have been co-opted by the large financial institutions they were meant to supplant. Next time you’re thinking about investing or borrowing with an American company that’s nominally “P2P”, read the fine print and see where your money is coming from.

That said, there are still a couple of American lenders that still hold the P2P line pretty well, Lending Club being the most well known, along with Prosper. Lending Club is coming off of a big year. In 2014, LC had the biggest IPO of the year, was valued at over $8 billion, and reported more than $6 billion in loans issued. For a business that, at it’s core, is just people lending money to people, this was quite an accomplishment.

So, does Lending Club still have what it takes to be a compelling lending option to a diverse array of American borrowers? And will investors still have something to smile about when they see their returns? The answer isn’t as simple as you might think, but I will say there is still plenty to love about Lending Club, all of which I will make clear in this Lending Club review.

First Review Impressions

So why P2PL at all? Well, Peer to peer has a lot of advantages over traditional lenders. First, banks take a lot of time to issue loans. They also tend to have high standards for their borrowers. People with mid-to-low credit may be denied a loan entirely, or given an APR that’s in the stratosphere. There are all kinds of P2P companies, some of which cater directly to folks that are denied loans by these institutions. Second, because these loans are financed by individuals bidding on them in a “reverse auction” format, loan rates are driven lower, at least in theory. In true P2P, rates go as low as an individual investor is willing to risk.

Lending Club doesn’t totally solve either of these problems. In the case of high standards from traditional loan providers, Lending Club also expects a lot from their prospective borrowers. their minimum accepted credit score is 640, which isn’t that low. But at that level, a borrower may have an APR in the upper 20’s per cent! That’s not what I would call affordable, so right away this is going to put a Lending Club loan out of reach for many people. This is not necessarily a bad mark for Lending Club. They’ve got to be picky. Otherwise, users would default all the time, which would jeopardize the other side of their business, the investors. Most borrowers see interest rates in the 7 to 15% range. That’s not so bad.

In the real world, some users pick Lending Club because they have no other option, even if the interest and fees paid are pretty expensive. Accessibility and convenience is a key leverage point for Lending Club, and a key to their continued success. As always, look for the best loan available if good terms don’t seem to materialize. But even if you can’t secure Lending Club’s best rates, you can be sure that this is reputable company. There won’t be any surprise fees, and even their middle rates can save you money, especially if you’re paying off a credit card debt or other expensive loan.

In the case of investors driving down interest rates through competition, it doesn’t quite work that way with Lending Club. Borrowers are lumped into “Loan Grades” according to their credit score and Debt-to-Income ratio. Interest rates are pretty much set in stone from there, so there’s no real “Reverse Auction” power happening. Borrowers get what they get, as do investors. Again, this isn’t necessarily a negative comment. In fact, it’s all pretty transparent. Borrowers will know exactly what they’re getting, and investors will have a very good idea of the default risk they are taking on. Whether individual borrowers will be able to qualify or afford the loans…that’s another story. But for highly qualified borrowers, Lending Club personal loans may be the cheapest and most convenient option in the country.

A Deeper Look

So you get the basics. But how does borrowing and investing look for real users. The average 36 month personal loan APR is 11.72% at the time of this writing, 60-month 15.67%. There is no fee for early repayment. Borrower candidates that I can see benefiting from this model, at these rates, are high-credit-score candidates who need money fast, but don’t want to get screwed by usurious quick lending loan sharks. For these folks, this will be an affordable loan, provided faster than could be had through a bank. Lending Club is especially great if you can afford to pay off your loan faster than the 36-60 month loan terms. That’s where you really save. People who use Lending Club in this way love it!

For lender/investors, users are seeing an average 8.6% annual return. I like that number. Investing with Lending Club is more “hands on” than other investment forms. You’ve got to do a fair bit of mucking around on the loan forum, jumping on promising loans when you find them. Your success as a Lending Club investor depends entirely upon your energy, commitment, and skill. If you fund hundreds of quality loans, you can see returns that well exceed 10%. But then, you’ve got to put in the work. With Lending Club, you’ll get out what you put in more than any other investment form I can think of.

Final Thoughts on Lending Club

So to me personally, Lending Club is more attractive to the lender than the borrower. This is not to say that there isn’t a certain type of borrower who will love Lending Club. To reiterate, this is a borrower with strong credit credentials, a need for fast lending, and the ability to repay faster than the given terms of their loan. To me, it’s hard to imagine this candidate not having even better loan terms available from other providers, but let’s say there aren’t and you can’t wait. If that sounds like you, Lending Club will be your best friend.

Investors, especially those who like to tinker, will really like Lending Club. While 401(k)s and IRAs are available, the ideal investor candidate will be someone who is interested in the P2PL format for its own sake and will savor the hunt for juicy loans! These folks can see awesome returns, even better than passive investment options like set-it-and-forget-it stock and bond funds. But it takes some work and experience to learn the system, what to look for, and how to make the most money.

At the end of the day, Lending Club is a quality company, though one that isn’t right for everybody. If it’s a good fit for you, you can rest assured that it is a reliable service. Lending Club has very detailed, transparent terms, rates, and user statistics. The risk that is involved is laid out on the table, where everyone can see it. Whether this is a system that works for you, that’s up to your best judgment. But for certain individuals, Lending Club’s take on P2PL will be both profitable and inspiring.

Betterment Investing Review

October 16th, 2021 | Posted in Investment, Uncategorized

Hey everyone, Josh here again for another review. I really enjoy talking about investment options, strategies, trends, etc…. So, today, I’d like to go over a new investment option that you may really enjoy. It’s called Betterment Investing. Just in case you haven’t heard of them. Betterment is a relatively new company in the investment market and, they are really making a name for themselves pretty quickly. In this Betterment review, I plan to tell you why they are growing so quickly, inform you of the positives in working with them and of course go over the cons of working with them. So, let’s get to it…

Short Betterment Review

Betterment Pros – Betterment boasts about smarter investing for busy people and, they are really able to do that! They’ve created a platform that helps to automate the process of investing by assessing risk vs. reward and making the split second decisions that you simply don’t have the time to make. With straight forward pricing, Betterment is not only an easy choice, it’s a fairly low cost one!

Betterment Cons – Although the costs associated with investing with Betterment are very straight forward, it’s important to remember that there is a cost associated with automation. The automation Betterment provides helps to increase your investment dollars as fast as possible but, the increases do come at a cost. It’s important to decide if the added cost of automation is worth it for you.

Betterment Overview – Betterment really is a great company to work with. By providing ways to automate your investing, they have become a great start up investment for new investors that don’t have too much to work with. They give consumers the opportunity to invest very little and grow. However, if you’re a bigger investor, you may want to consider other options to avoid the added cost for automation that you don’t need.

Long Betterment Review

OK, now it’s time to get into the juicy details that I just can’t get into when it comes to a short review. Wow, there is so much…I’m not quite sure where to start. I guess I’ll start with pricing which, is pretty unique in this case. With most investment platforms, we see pricing on a per trade basis. You have to worry about what type of trade, is it broker assisted, ect… With Betterment, the pricing structure is quite a bit different. Instead of charging a per trade cost that can be difficult to calculate, they charge a small percentage based on the type of account you have and the amount of money that you have in the account. So, depending on your exact account, your fees will range from 0.15% to 0.35%.

How Does It All Work?

Betterment set out to make their platform as simple and use friendly as possible. So, the process is pretty simple. First, you sign up for a free account and link the account to your checking account. You can set up automatic monthly withdrawals so that you don’t have to think about when it’s time to invest as well. Once you account is set up, you have 2 options. Either you can invest in a predetermined basket of stock ETFs or you can invest in a predetermined basket of bonds. Either way, Betterment has done a good job of diversifying the baskets to make sure that chances of loss are pretty slim.

What Investment Options Are Available

Currently, betterment allows you to put your hands into 6 different stock ETFs. Here is how it works… 25% of the investment will grow through the Vanguard Total Stock Market, another 25% will go into the iShares S&P 500 Value Index, 25% into Vanguard Europe Pacific, 10% in Vanguard Emerging Markets, 8% in iShares Russell Midcap Value Index, and 7% in 7% iShares Russell 2000 Value Index. As far as bonds are considered, they work on a 50/50 split between iShares Barclays TIPS Bond Fund and iShares Barclays 1-3 Year Treasury Bond FUN. As you can see, Betterment does a pretty good job of diversifying your investment profile for you so that you don’t have to!

My Favorite Part Of The Betterment Platform

I have to say that the coolest feature that they have is the dashboard. When you first sign up, you will create goals that you would like to reach in a specific amount of time. Based on how your investments are performing, Betterment will show you what you need to do to reach your goals and how close you actually are. They will tell you the monthly investment that they suggest as well as other key factors that will help you to keep your goals in the cross hairs!

Who Should Consider Betterment Investing

Because of the ease of use, I would say that this is a great option for the start up investor. This is because, starters don’t generally know how to diversify their portfolios and keep them safe. To learn, they generally work with brokers which can get crazy expensive. With Betterment Investing, all investments are predetermined baskets created with risk in mind. By cutting out much of the risk, it seems to me that Betterment created a platform to meet the needs that the newer guys will have.