Vital Dollar https://vitaldollar.com Personal Finance Blog Thu, 20 Feb 2020 12:33:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3.2 https://vitaldollar.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/cropped-gravatar-green-32x32.jpgVital Dollarhttps://vitaldollar.com 32 32 20+ Freelance Writing Jobs for Beginnershttps://vitaldollar.com/freelance-writing-jobs-for-beginners/ https://vitaldollar.com/freelance-writing-jobs-for-beginners/#respond Thu, 20 Feb 2020 12:33:08 +0000 https://vitaldollar.com/?p=6399 If you like the idea of having a flexible work schedule or even working from home around your other commitments, then you may have considered becoming a freelance writer. Freelance writing can provide a decent side gig or even develop into a full-time career, but how do you get started? Here we’ll explore freelance writing […]

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Freelance Writing Jobs for Beginners

If you like the idea of having a flexible work schedule or even working from home around your other commitments, then you may have considered becoming a freelance writer.

Freelance writing can provide a decent side gig or even develop into a full-time career, but how do you get started? Here we’ll explore freelance writing jobs for beginners and how you can begin your new career.

→ Related reading: 150+ Side Hustle Ideas to Make Money in Your Spare Time

What You Need to Get Started

Many people assume that you need to have lots of qualifications to be able to become a freelance writer, but this is not the case. While a degree may be helpful for some clients, most freelance writers have few academic qualifications. What you actually need is an interest in writing, but you also need to be prepared to do some reading.

Fortunately, you can focus on areas of interest to you, so you’re learning more about things you enjoy as you earn.

To be a successful freelance writer, you also need to have solid grammar skills. While most clients look for a conversational tone of writing rather than a formal style, you still need to make sure that your spelling and grammar are correct.

How to Get Started When You Have No Experience

Although it can be daunting to start a new job, particularly if you have no experience, there are some simple steps that can help you to bridge the gap and start working as a freelance writer.

Step 1: Choose Your Topics:

The first step for getting started is to choose your topics. No one can be an expert in everything, so it is a good idea to focus on two or three areas.

Ideally, you should choose topics that are of interest to you or where you have real-world experience. This will help you to feel more comfortable with the subject matter and provide your clients with a fresh perspective.

Step 2: Start Your Own Blog (for writing samples)

One of the first things a potential client will ask for is writing samples. Although you can create a portfolio on many of the platforms, it is a good idea to start your own blog to showcase your writing style.

Your blog will allow you to supply potential clients with a URL, so they can see published writing and assess the quality of your content. Therefore, it is worth taking some time to craft the best possible content. This work will be a reflection of your talent, so it should be your best possible work.

Please see this article: How to Start a Blog

Step 3 (Optional): Write Guest Posts for Other Blogs

Another way to showcase your writing and attract new clients is to write guest posts for other blogs. While many of these posts will be unpaid, they will allow you to get some experience and provide another way to promote your work as writing samples.

Step 4: Start Applying to Freelance Writing Jobs

Once you’ve decided on your topics and have some samples in place, you should start applying for freelance writing jobs. We’ll explore this in more detail below, so you’ll know where you can find work as a complete beginner.

→ Related reading: 30 Websites to Write and Get Paid Instantly

Websites to Find Freelance Writing Jobs for Beginners

Generally, beginner freelance writing gigs don’t offer the highest-paying rewards, but they are a good opportunity to gain experience. While the work may be lower-paying, if you live in an area with a low cost of living, the pay may be sufficient to cover your costs. If this isn’t possible, you may need to explore working as a freelance writer around your current job until you can develop the experience to score higher-paying work.

Regardless of how much you’re getting paid, it’s important to focus on providing excellent quality of work, because your work on these beginner-level jobs can open up better opportunities for you.

1. Upwork

Formerly Elance and Odesk, Upwork was established in 2015. This is one of the largest freelance marketplaces allowing members to find clients in a variety of fields, including freelance writing. You can browse the job boards for projects or create a custom search to narrow down the choices to your particular preferences. Each project has a budget set by the client, but you can specify your rate in your proposal.

To apply for a job, you’ll need to submit a proposal letter detailing why you’re a good choice for the opportunity, and once you win a job, Upwork provides a workroom where you can communicate with your client securely.

The Upwork fee structure is based on the length of your client relationship. It varies from 5 to 20%, and the longer you work with your client, the lower the fees charged. However, for this fee, you’ll enjoy payment protection, with payments typically processed in 5 to 7 days.

2. Fiverr

This is another massive platform that allows users to advertise their services. As the name suggests, you can charge $5 for your writing, but the platform does allow you to charge more, or you can use add ons to increase your price.

You’ll need to set up your Fiverr profile to showcase your writing and attract potential clients. Fiverr will alert you on your dashboard when you have a new client, so you can complete the work within your stated timeframe.

3. Freelancer

This is another freelance website where you can bid for jobs. Freelancer was launched in 2009, and it has offices around the world. To start working on Freelancer, you’ll need to create a profile and search for jobs. Like Upwork, you’ll need to place bids for any projects that appeal to you, and you’ll be paid based on your bid.

As a beginner, you can opt for a free basic profile, but once you start earning, it is worth considering upgrading to a professional profile that costs $29.95 a month. This package allows you to specify up to 100 skills on your Freelancer profile, make daily withdrawals, apply for 300 jobs each month and invoice externally.

4. Guru

Guru is another freelancer platform that has been around for years. There are a number of membership tiers that determine your job fee and how many bids you can place each year. These tiers range from a free basic membership that attracts an 8.95% job fee and allows 120 bids a year up to the Executive membership that reduces the job fee to 4.95% and allows 600 bids a year. However, this package costs $49.95 a month or $479 a year when paid annually.

Like Freelancer, it is a good idea for beginners to start with a basic free membership, as you can upgrade once you start to earn money. You can then gauge which membership package is best suited to your requirements.

5. PeoplePerHour

PeoplePerHour stands apart from many of the other freelance sites, as it has a location-based targeting feature. This allows clients to search for freelancers in their local area and vice versa. This platform was established in 2007 and allows access to clients worldwide in addition to your local area. Your payments are secured through the PeoplePerHour Wallet with the use of Escrow.

To join PeoplePerHour, you need to complete an online application that is reviewed by the moderation team. Once approved, you can start working. Like the other freelancer platforms, PeoplePerHour requires clients to post job opportunities or projects so you can bid for the work with a cover letter. You’ll be charged a service fee for each project you complete. The commission fee for transactions varies from 3.5 to 5%.

6. FreelanceWriting.com Morning Coffee Newsletter

The FreelanceWriting Morning Coffee eNewsletter has been published since 1998 and features new freelance writing jobs. This weekly digest features eight of the current, best new jobs, and this includes jobs that are exclusively submitted to FreelanceWriting.

The eNewsletter team also researches and handpicks jobs from popular sites. You can sign up for the newsletter as a free subscription service, and you can receive free alerts for jobs each morning.

7. FreelanceWritingGigs.com

This is a great resource, particularly for beginner freelancer writers. It features writing tips, advice, and a freelance writing job board. This board is updated each day, and the jobs range from internships to online writing jobs.

Each posting details the job and the client requirements, so you can explore whether you have the skillset to apply. If you decide that you want to apply for a post, you just need to click on the link and follow the instructions.

Since each job is posted by different potential clients, there is no set formula for applying for a job. Some require a resume while others have a dedicated application form, so you will need to follow the specific instructions carefully to stand a chance of scoring the gig.

8. Scripted.com

Scripted is a higher-paying gig, but beginners can still apply to work on the platform. Scripted aim to pair the best clients with great writers, and freelancers can earn an average of $0.10 per word, which is more than many of the averages on the other platforms.

The Scripted process is a little more involved, as you need to set up an account and pass tests before you can start to propose jobs. However, you’re guaranteed automatic payment, 15 days after jobs are accepted, and you can even qualify for partial payment if the content is rejected.

Additionally, while you can set your own prices, there is minimum pricing for each job to ensure a fair wage for all writers.

→ Related reading: How to Land High-Paying Freelance Writing Clients

9. Constant Content

This platform has been around for years and allows you to create a steady workload around your schedule. The application process is more rigorous than many other platforms. You’ll need to not only submit your application form but also pass a quiz and provide a writing sample that is approved by the Constant Content editorial team.

Once approved, you can set up your profile and start browsing and claiming jobs that match your interests and expertise.

Constant Content also provides a blog packed with writing tips and support team to answer any of your queries.

10. DotWriter

DotWriter is an online community of content specialists, providing opportunities for freelance writers to promote their writing online. You can create and sell articles to buyers and enjoy timely payments.

When you submit content, the Editorial team will review your article before it is released on the open content marketplace. You can also provide tailor-made content that is requested by clients, and you can be privately hired by clients who like your writer profile.

Payments are securely made through PayPal, but it is not clear what fees DotWriter applies to projects and transactions.

11. Writers Domain

Writers Domain was founded in 2011 and provides a platform to connect with small businesses requiring your writing services. Unlike many platforms, the clients pay Writers Domain, and then you’re paid as the writer to produce high-quality content. You will be required to write content for a variety of projects. Content is reviewed to ensure it meets the project guidelines, and on approval, you get paid at a rate of between $0.02 to $0.05 a word.

There are currently no submission volume requirements, so you can earn as much as you like. You’ll be paid every 5th of each month via PayPal.

To begin writing for Writers Domain, you’ll need to submit a writing sample, take a grammar test, and complete an application form. The editorial team will review your application, and you’ll hear back in a couple of days.

12. Writers Access

Writers Access is another marketplace that allows freelance writers to connect with clients. The pay ranges from 2.8 cents a word through to $2 a word. Your earnings are determined by the star rating assigned to you during the application process. Additionally, Writers Access takes 30% commission for all orders.

Like some of the other platforms, the application process is a little more in-depth and requires that you to complete an application form, tests, and a writing sample. This application is how Writers Access determines your star rating. However, after every order, customer reviews are tracked by a performance algorithm that determines if you should be awarded a higher star rating.

13. Textbroker

Textbroker has projects for beginners and more experienced writers. Once you’ve applied and submitted a sample article, Textbroker will assess your application and assign a rating. You can then set up your profile and start writing. As you browse the boards, you will see thousands of open orders, but you can also receive direct orders where you can set your preferred rate.

If you prefer to adopt a flexible work schedule, you can choose open orders as and when you’re ready to work. Your rate will be determined by your quality rating, and you’ll get paid via PayPal each week.

14. Hire Writers

Hire Writers is a platform that allows freelance writers to complete large or small writing tasks. The platform has thousands of native English speakers from different backgrounds and with different experience levels. You can earn money ghostwriting, creating product descriptions, crafting autoresponders, and blog posting.

Writers on Hire Writers earn money based on a ratings system. There are four basic skill levels; beginner, average, skilled, and expert, and as you increase in levels, you can earn more money per article. For example, a beginner can earn $2.25 for a 300-500 word article, but this increases to $10.66 for an expert writer. You’ll be paid every Friday automatically through PayPal, providing your account has a balance of at least $10.

15. Content Authority

Content Authority is open to writers of all skill levels providing you can use proper English at a high school level. You will be required to work to deadlines and accept critique about your content, but you’ll receive payments through PayPal.

Upon sign up, writers are rated at the lowest bracket, tier one. At this stage, you will be classed as a probationary member and only able to access tier one articles. At the end of the probationary period, your activity and content will be reviewed, and at this stage, you can increase tiers.

16. Remote Co

The Remote Co platform offers freelance opportunities in various niches, including writing. The writing board displays freelance job postings, but there are occasionally full-time positions offered. Each posting details the job and the client details; if you choose to apply, you’ll be redirected to the client’s website, which will explain the recruitment process and how you can apply for the position.

Each posting will have different requirements, so you may need to fill in an application form, send a resume, or send links to your portfolio.

17. Working Nomads

Working Nomads is another remote job board containing a curated list of remote positions from around the world. Job postings are updated every day, and you’ll find opportunities in a variety of areas, including sales, design, and marketing.
Like Remote Co, each job posting is different, but it will detail the project and client information. If the project appeals to you, you can click the link to apply. The pay varies for each project, but Working Nomads advertise that all postings are reliable, so you don’t need to worry about scams.

18. Flexjobs

This is another job board, but Flexjobs allows you to tailor the search results to suit your specific job requirements. While there are physical jobs advertised, the vast majority are online or remote positions, from beginners to expert skill levels.

Unlike some of the boards, Flexjobs requires that you sign up for an account to view the details of how to apply for any of the jobs advertised. The signup process is simple, but you need to commit to the monthly subscription of $14.95 a month. Although this may not seem like a large sum, you need to bear in mind that you’ll need to pay this fee, regardless of whether you’re successful in finding work or not.

Flexjobs does advertise that all jobs are hand-screened to ensure they are ad-free and scam free. While this may not be your first choice, if you’ve already started to make money on some of the free platforms, it may be worth considering Flexjobs.

19. Blogging Pro

Blogging Pro has a job board that is updated daily with fresh blogging jobs and other freelance writing. The main aim of the platform is to assist those who are trying to build a blog or are struggling to meet their blog content requirements. You can browse the boards to find areas that you’re interested in, so you can produce quality content that will help bring visitor traffic to your client’s blogs.

Each project has specific requirements, so as a beginner, you may not be able to apply for all of them, but there is enough variety to find projects to work on.

20. Problogger

Similar to Blogging Pro, Problogger offers freelancers an opportunity to find blogging clients in their area of expertise. The rates vary according to the project specifics, but you can search for jobs based on keywords, making it easier to find the ideal project for your skillset.

21. Media Bistro

Media Bistro has an impressive job board where you can find writing jobs in specialist areas. While many of the positions are location-based, there are plenty of online freelance opportunities. You do need to sign up as a member to apply to any jobs on the board on a monthly or annual basis. Membership also provides access to online courses, freelance tools, and other perks for the membership cost of $14.99 a month. However, you can benefit from a free 14-day trial.

22. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a crucial social media platform for any freelancer or business owner. You can set your profile to attract potential clients or act as a virtual resume. However, LinkedIn also has a job board where you can search according to keywords. LinkedIn will also compile suggested job opportunities based on your profile and send you an email alert when your profile has been featured in a search result.

 

As you can see, there are lots of places where you can find work as a beginner freelance writer. It’s worth checking out the job boards and establishing a profile. Although many of these platforms offer lower-paying work, once you’ve accrued some experience and developed your skillset, you can start to explore the higher-paying opportunities to expand your client base and your income.

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How I’ve Made Over $1 Million Blogginghttps://vitaldollar.com/how-i-make-money-blogging/ https://vitaldollar.com/how-i-make-money-blogging/#comments Wed, 19 Feb 2020 10:43:17 +0000 https://vitaldollar.com/?p=440 Is it possible to make real money as a blogger? If you’re looking to make some extra money aside from your full-time job, or if you’re interested in making a full-time income working online working from home, blogging may seem like a dream come true. Or… it could seem like a hyped-up fantasy that’s not […]

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How I've Made Over $1 Million Blogging

Is it possible to make real money as a blogger?

If you’re looking to make some extra money aside from your full-time job, or if you’re interested in making a full-time income working online working from home, blogging may seem like a dream come true.

Or… it could seem like a hyped-up fantasy that’s not really possible.

I’ve been working online since 2007, and full-time since 2008. Over the past decade, I’ve made well over $1 million thanks to my blogs. After working as a blogger for so long I can tell you that it is possible to make a good income with a blog.

But the truth is, building a successful blog takes a lot of work and some patience. The same can be said about any type of business. No business is easy or else we would all be doing it.

In this article, I want to talk about a few things that have been key in allowing me to make money with blogs.

If you’re interested in making money from a blog, be sure to see my course Blog Launch Breakthrough. It’s an in-depth course with more than 80 video lessons covering topics like setting up your blog, creating content that will get results, getting traffic, and monetizing. Check out the details on this page to see how you can get access to the course for free.

Keys to My Blogging Growth

The things mentioned in this article are based on my own personal experience. Some bloggers take different approaches. I’m not saying my way is right or better, but I do want to share what has worked well for me because maybe it will resonate with you.

Before I get into the details, I want to mention that I’ve had many blogs over the years. Some have been successful and made money, others didn’t get enough of my time and attention and never really went anywhere.

The money I’ve made over the years has come from several different blogs, including the price I got for selling the blogs when I was ready to move on (more about that later in the article).

→ Related reading: How to Start a Blog (Step-by-Step)

1. Long-Term Approach

When I started blogging more than a decade ago I wasn’t looking for a way to get rich quickly. I realized it would take a long time and a lot of effort for me to achieve the same type of success that I saw others having. I committed myself to build my first blog into a full-time income, but it took about 1.5 years of constant work, on top of a full-time job, in order to get to that point.

The hardest stage of blogging is the beginning when you have to build an audience and traffic from scratch. When you launch a new blog it’s natural to be excited. You’ve got a lot of great ideas that you want to share, and blog posts that you know people will love.

But then you publish the post and nothing happens.

No comments.

No social media shares (aside from your own).

And hardy anyone even visits the blog.

That excitement usually turns to disappointment pretty quickly. And if the disappointment sticks around for a while you probably give up on the blog.

If you’re launching a new blog and starting from scratch it’s extremely important that you have realistic expectations. If you know that it’s going to take a while to really make progress and that you’re going to have to put in a lot of work upfront without really seeing any results, you’ll be in a better position to avoid disappointment and you’ll be prepared to have patience. By keeping your focus on the long-term payoff, you can fight through the challenging first few months when it seems like no one cares about your new blog.

During my first year or so of blogging, I was really active networking with other bloggers in my niche. I commented on other blogs. I wrote guest posts all the time. I was active on social media. And I would even randomly reach out to bloggers just to introduce myself and make connections. The networking aspect helped me a ton with getting links, social media shares, comments, and to find guest post and paid freelance writing opportunities.

I was also able to talk to other bloggers about the challenges of growing a blog. Some of those bloggers had a long-term focus and I could tell they were going to be successful.

Others were doing really well from my perspective. Their blogs were filled with good content and traffic was slowly but steadily increasing. But for some of them, things weren’t happening as quickly as they expected, and they gave up. In my opinion, most of them gave up before they gave it enough time to know if their blog truly was a success or a failure.

The biggest lesson here is that if you start off with a new blog and you’re expecting big things quickly, you’re going to get burned out or disappointed and you’re likely to give up.

On the other hand, if you’re willing to accept the fact that you’re going to have to work consistently for a while even without seeing any significant results, you’ll be set up for a better chance at success.

Although it almost always takes a while for a new blog to take off, once it starts to grow, things can really happen quickly. You can be plugging along with only slow growth for a long time, and then you turn a corner and traffic & profit start to increase very quickly. At that point, you may even be able to cut back on the hours that you spend working on the blog and still see your income grow.

2. Multiple Blogs

I’ve made a decent amount of money blogging, but it’s come from several different blogs. I’ve had many blogs and websites over the years, but 99% of my income has come from a total of 6 different blogs. Five of them I have sold, and this one, Vital Dollar, is the 6th.

There are plenty of successful bloggers out there who put all of their efforts into one blog and it’s worked out very well. That’s not the approach I’ve taken. I didn’t set out from the start to have a lot of different blogs, and I usually have no more than two active blogs at any point in time. But as I got new ideas and saw opportunities I would start new blogs.

In several cases, I was able to use one of my existing blogs to springboard a new blog due to a crossover in the target audience. Once you have a successful blog and an established audience (especially if you have a solid email list), there are a lot of possibilities to leverage that audience by starting a new project. It doesn’t have to be another blog. It could be an e-commerce site, a service-based website, or anything else that your audience might be interested in.

Before I sell a website I typically try to think about how I could use that site and its audience to get a new project off the ground quickly. If I have a good idea for a new blog or website I can get that started before selling the other site.

3. Worked in Popular Niches / Industries

If you want to start a new blog and you’re trying to decide what you should write about, you probably see a lot of conflicting advice. Niche websites are very popular, especially for affiliate marketing. Most niche websites and blogs are created to target a very specific niche audience rather than a wide audience. For example, instead of starting a general fitness blog that would cover all aspects of health and exercise, you could start a blog for marathon runners.

Most people who run successful niche websites do a lot of keyword research to find low competition keywords that will make it easier for them to get to the top of Google’s search results. The idea is, by focusing on a specific niche and long tail keywords, you can avoid a lot of competition and achieve success easier.

While I’ve had some success with niche websites, and I’d actually consider my fifth successful blog (one that I sold in 2018) as a niche blog, the majority of my experience is in very popular, very competitive niches and industries. I’ve had blogs on graphic design, photography, travel, and now personal finance. All of those topics are extremely competitive and there are hundreds, if not thousands, of active blogs covering similar topics.

My approach has been to try to take a very small percentage of a big market. Yes, it’s true that there are a lot of design, photography, and travel blogs. But there’s also a huge audience that’s very interested in each of those topics.

Not only is there a big audience that you can tap into, but there is also money to be made if you have some success in a popular niche or industry. In a lot of cases, you don’t need to be a dominant player in one of these niches to be very successful with your blog. You just need to connect with a small percentage of the overall audience that’s interested in your topic.

I would much rather spend my time on an industry or niche that has a lot of other bloggers and a large income potential than a very tiny niche with almost no competition, but low potential income. That’s just my personal preference, others do very well in small niches. And as I mentioned, I have had some success with niche websites and blogs, but it’s a small percentage of my overall business through the years.

My advice to other bloggers is, if you really want to start a blog in a popular industry and you think it’s something you would enjoy, go for it. But be realistic that it is going to take extra work to succeed.

I think it’s also important to try to find your unique angle. A lot of leading blogs crank out several new posts each day and they make money based on the volume of content they produce. As a single blogger, you can’t compete with a blog that has a team of writers. Don’t attempt to get traffic based on a high volume of content, and don’t try to break news, because the bigger blogs will always have an advantage.

4. Multiple Streams of Income

If you’ve been interested in blogging for a while, you’ve probably come across some blogs that publish monthly income reports. These income reports usually show how much money the blog makes broken down into different categories, and sometimes even by each individual source. If you’ve seen income reports from successful blogs, you may have been surprised to see how many different sources of income they have. Usually there are many different affiliate programs, a few products of their own, some sponsored content, maybe services offered, and often ad revenue.

During the early days of my first blog I was making money only from services that I offered, and I promoted those services through the blog content. Then after realizing that I didn’t want to do client work forever, I shifted my business model to ad sales. Banner ads and AdSense accounted for almost 100% of my income for probably about two years.

When my first blog really turned the corner was when I added some other streams of revenue. I continued to sell banner ads and use AdSense, but I also started selling digital/downloadable products, and later I started using affiliate links to really increase the revenue. When I combined multiple streams of income, I saw my business grow very quickly.

The multiple streams of income can also be attributed to having multiple blogs and websites. Once I have a blog that’s turned a corner and doing well I like to start working on another website or blog, and that ultimately, if it’s successful, it will lead to a different stream of income. Having multiple websites or blogs making some money frees me up to make decisions about selling one of them, which leads me to my final point.

5. Selling Blogs

One of the reasons I love blogging is that when you’re building a profitable blog, you’re creating a valuable asset that you can sell (if you want to).

I know plenty of people who make a really nice income working as an employee for someone else’s business. But if they choose to leave their job, they’ll stop making money from that employer the day they quit. The exception would be sales reps with some sort of residuals.

If you own a profitable blog you can sell it when you decide you’re ready to move on to something else. The amount you’ll get will vary based on a lot of factors, but in many cases, you can get three years worth of profits, and sometimes more. That’s a huge incentive to build a successful blog! In fact, the thought of selling a blog was one of the motivating factors for me even before I was making money as a blogger.

Over the years I’ve sold several websites and blogs, and it’s accounted for a large part of my overall income. In 2010 I sold a blog for $50,000. In 2013 I sold a blog for $500,000. In 2016 I sold a few blogs together for $500,000. And in 2018 I sold a blog for $216,000. In total, that’s more than $1.25 million just from selling blogs. Of course, along the way I made some money from those blogs before I sold them, but getting that lump sum and being able to move on to something else has been a big part of my business model.

Like just about anything else in life, there are pros and cons to selling a successful blog. Yes, getting about three years’ worth of profit is really nice, and so is freeing up your time to do something else. But there’s no guarantee that your next project will be successful, so there is always some risk in selling a blog or website that is running smoothly. And if you sell too early you could miss out on some of the rewards for all of the effort that you put into building the blog.

Even considering those cons, I think that selling a blog is a great opportunity. If you’re able to have success with your next project and replace your income, you can build your net worth pretty quickly by cashing out.

Want to Build Your Own Money-Making Blog?

This article gives an overview of how I’ve made money over the course of more than a decade as a blogger. If you’d like to learn more about how you can apply some of these principles and start building your own successful blog, please check out Blog Launch Breakthrough and see how you can get access to this course for free.

How I've Made Over $1 Million Blogging

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The 10 Best Investment Apps for Growing Your Money (2020)https://vitaldollar.com/best-investment-apps/ https://vitaldollar.com/best-investment-apps/#respond Mon, 17 Feb 2020 16:15:50 +0000 https://vitaldollar.com/?p=5206 Smartphones make it easy to access information at any time, and what better way to make use of technology than to grow your money? In the past few years, loads of new financial apps have been released, and some older ones have been improved. In the past, we’ve looked at apps for saving money, apps […]

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Best Investing Apps

Smartphones make it easy to access information at any time, and what better way to make use of technology than to grow your money?

In the past few years, loads of new financial apps have been released, and some older ones have been improved. In the past, we’ve looked at apps for saving money, apps for making money, and budgeting apps. Today, we’ll shift our focus to the best investment apps.

Many of these apps have been created with new investors in mind, which means you can get started with small amounts of money. Many of them will also prioritize ease of use and some offer additional learning and educational resources that can help you to become a better investor.

10 of the Best Investment Apps

Please note that these are in no particular order as all of these apps have their own pros, cons, and unique features. Ultimately, it will be up to you to choose one that best fits your needs and taste.

1. Robinhood

Robinhood

Robinhood is a very popular mobile app that makes it easy to buy and sell stocks, ETFs, and cryptocurrencies. The company has had a significant impact on the industry by offering free trades and no minimum investments, making it a great option for beginners.

Robinhood is offering a free stock when you open a new account. See details here. 

Robinhood – Pros

  • This is where Robinhood shines and makes up for its simplicity; it provides 100% commission-free stocks, options, ETFs, and the ability to invest in cryptocurrencies, which is in itself another massive upside to Robinhood. Investors who trade often will love Robinhood as it saves them lots of money on commissions and trading fees.
  • Robinhood has no account minimum, so you can get started as soon as you like. You will obviously need money to purchase a share or a cryptocurrency, but you don’t need to put $25,000, as you do in Personal Capital, into the account to start investing.
  • Robinhood is very easy and quick to use. It takes a few minutes to open up the account and only one business day to transact anything under $1,000. Anything above that will take a few more days.
  • Robinhood Gold allows investors to trade on margins, meaning with borrowed money, at a relatively low monthly fee of $5.

Robinhood – Cons

  • Mutual funds and bonds are not supported. Nor is the ability to reinvest dividends into the security that issued them.
  • Only one account option is available – the brokerage account.
  • Customer support is only available through email, though their website is very helpful.

Learn more about Robinhood and how you can get a free stock

2. Webull

Webull Investing App

Like Robinhood, Webull also offers free trades on stocks and ETFs, although it does not allow you to trade options or crypto. Webull also requires no account minimum, making it another great option for new investors.

While Robinhood is a little more simple, Webull offers advanced reporting and analysis features that many investors will love.

Webull also has a free stock offer. See the details here.

Webull’s features include fundamental and technical analysis available for intermediate and advanced investors:

  • Fundamental – Analyst recommendations, revenue and historical eps data, key stats, dividends, etc.
  • Technical – Real-time bar, candlestick and line charts, oscillators, MACD, etc.
  • Research – Markets, news, screeners, and individual stock page.

Webull – Pros

  • Commission-free trading with 5,000+ different stocks and ETFs.
  • No account maintenance or software platform fees.
  • No charges to open and maintain an account.
  • Leverage of 4:1 on margin trades made on the same day and 2:1 on ones held overnight.
  • Great analysis tools.

Webull – Cons

  • Cannot trade options, mutual funds, OTC stocks, or bonds.
  • Only email customer support, but quick response time and great FAQ.

Learn more about Webull and how you can get a free stock

3. M1 Finance

M1 Finance Investing App

M1 Finance is a hybrid robo advisor and brokerage service. With M1 Finance you can invest automatically in a custom stock and ETF portfolio. You can choose from 80 pre-made portfolios, or create your own custom portfolio. One of the reasons why M1 Finance stands out is because it is free. You can even buy fractional shares. All you need to do is choose the portfolio that you want to use and deposit money.

M1 Finance – Pros

  • Unlike most asset managers that rebalance your portfolio on a monthly basis, you can rebalance with M1 Finance whenever you want.
  • You can open several types of account: individual, joint, retirement, trust, LLC, and a corporate investment account.
  • There are no fees or commissions so you can buy and sell and rebalance frequently. There are still fees such as SEC and FINRA TAF, but they are minimal.
  • You can borrow up to 35% of your account balance in M1 at an annual interest rate of 3.75%. This can be risky, but also very beneficial and an easy way to capitalize without loan officers or any sort of approval process.
  • You can easily create a diversified portfolio.
  • Good for all experience levels, especially beginners thanks to “pies”.
  • You can setup recurring investments and rebalance automatically.
  • It helps reduce the amount owed on taxes.

M1 Finance – Cons

  • Can only invest in stocks and ETFs. No mutual funds, bonds, cryptocurrencies. And the only stocks available are ones in NASDAQ and NYSE.

Learn more about M1 Finance and get a $10 bonus for signing up

4. Personal Capital

Personal Capital

Personal Capital offers wealth management services that are somewhat of a hybrid between a robo advisor and a traditional financial advisor. As a Personal Capital client, you will have a dedicated advisor, but they also make excellent use of technology.

In addition to wealth management services, Personal Capital offers a totally free app. You don’t need to be a customer to use the app, and the app has a ton of awesome features like net worth calculation and tracking, and reporting tools that pull in data from your various investments. It’s easily one of the best financial and investment apps.

Personal Capital – Pros

  • Personal Capital is a combination of a human advisor and robo advisor. The goal is to give you the best of both worlds.
  • They have many other products that help your financial life and many of them are free. For example, they can help manage your net worth as well as liquid net worth, scan your portfolio for any hidden or excessive fees, manage your cashflow, budget for you, and many more things. All for free.
  • There are no hidden fees, selling products with kickback, and no selling underperforming products.

Personal Capital – Cons

  • Fees are significantly higher for Personal Capital than many of its competitors (but Personal Capital provides many great, unique services as well. However, management and other fees may be too expensive for you, at 0.49% to 0.89%, which are much higher than like Wealthfront, which is only 0.25%).
  • You need $25,000 minimum to invest with Personal Capital.
  • You must manually input certain investments and expenses to track them on your dashboard, even though most of them do get automatically added by connecting your various bank accounts, credit cards, etc.

Get $20 for Free from Personal Capital

Personal Capital is a free app that syncs with your bank accounts, investment accounts, and credit cards to automatically calculate and track your net worth. It’s easy to set up and very powerful. Right now, Personal Capital is also offering a free $20 Amazon gift card just to try it. To get the gift card, sign up here, and after you’ve linked your first account, you will get an email with the code for the $20 gift card.

5. Acorns

Acorns

Acorns is a unique automated savings tool. You can automatically invest leftover change from your everyday purchases with their round-up feature. Acorns offers micro-investing, making it possible for anyone to start investing, even with very small amounts of money.

Acorns – Pros

  • Management fees are waived for college students for 4 years who register with a .edu email. After 4 years, students may have saved up and earned a substantial amount of money.
  • Acorns automatically takes spare “change” from every single purchase and invests it. With each purchase, Acorns rounds up to the nearest dollar and allows you to invest it. As it is automatic, you won’t have to do much work and it is saving you lots of time and money.
  • Low minimum of $5 to start investing into one of the prebuilt portfolios.
  • Cashback when you use a card, from a company that Acorns is partnered with, linked to Acorns.

Acorns – Cons

  • Quite high management fees of $1 a month for an Acorns Core taxable investment account, $2 a month for Acorns Later, an IRA account, and $3 a month for Acorns Spend, the checking account and debit card offering, which includes the investment accounts.
  • You have a choice of 5 portfolios and all of them are smaller than average robo-advisor portfolios

Learn more about Acorns and get a $5 bonus

6. Stash

Stash

Stash offers investing, saving, and banking, with a focus on new investors. You can get started with as little as $5 and build your own custom investment portfolios. The investments will be in stocks and ETFs and you can also benefit from the learning resources created by Stash.

Stash – Pros

  • Makes the process of selecting investments much easier for beginners. And you only need $5 to start.
  • You can buy various fractional shares.
  • Offers investments based on value and your risk tolerance.

Stash – Cons

  • The subscription fees are high. $1 a month for the brokerage account and a bank account. $3 a month that adds a retirement account.
  • ETF expenses are high – 0.30%.
  • Doesn’t provide lots of detail and transparency about their fees and investment options.

Learn more about Stash and get a $5 bonus

7. Stockpile

Stockpile Investing App

Stockpile is unique because you are able to give stocks to others as a gift. You can make your own wishlist of stocks and share it with others. Stockpile also makes it easy to get started by requiring a low minimum of just $5, and also by allowing the purchase of fractional shares.

→ Related reading: Robinhood vs. Stockpile vs. Webull

Stockpile – Pros

  • You can buy and receive gift cards (starting at $5 and going to $100) that allow you to purchase specific stocks, some of which are Apple, Google, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, Disney, Microsoft, McDonald’s, and even Bitcoin Investment Trust
  • There are no monthly or annual fees, only a very low trading fee of only $0.99 for each trade
  • You can buy fractional shares

Stockpile – Cons

  • Only have access to two types of accounts: a taxable and a custodial (for children, anyone under 18) one
  • Can only invest in stocks and ETFs. No bonds, options, or mutual funds
  • Before 3 p.m. trades are executed the same day, but after 3 p.m. trades are executed the next day

Learn more about Stockpile

8. Wealthfront

Wealthfront

Wealthfront is a popular robo advisor that offers brokerage accounts, savings accounts, retirement accounts, and college savings accounts. Wealthfront will help you to create a custom portfolio and reduce your taxes through their tax-loss harvesting functionality.

Wealthfront – Pros

  • It has great investment options. You take a survey that identifies your risk tolerance and recommends investments based on that. You get US stocks, foreign stocks, emerging markets, real estate, bonds, and many more.
  • Management fees are very competitive, at 0.25%, with the first $5,000 being managed for free.
  • It has one of the best tax-loss harvesting systems.
  • The free financial tool, Path, helps for all of your financial planning.
  • This is something very few robo-advisors have; a 529 college-savings account. (Though it is important to check locally and see if you have a better 529 plan.)
  • Very high-interest savings account: 2.32%, and up to $1,000,000 of your money is FDIC insured.

Wealthfront – Cons

  • You cannot buy fractional shares, so not all of your money can be invested.
  • No discounts for having a large balance (some investing apps do for larger accounts).
  • $500 account minimum.

Learn more about Wealthfront

9. Betterment

Betterment

Betterment is another excellent robo advisor that will help you to invest according to your goals and your level of risk tolerance. Strategies like asset location and tax-loss harvesting help yo reduce the amount that you’ll owe on taxes. In addition to investing, Betterment also offers checking and savings accounts.

Betterment – Pros

  • ETFs with 12 asset classes for different levels of risk tolerance and your specific goals.
  • Can choose a socially responsible portfolio which will use ETFs compromising companies with particular social causes.
  • Low management fees of 0.25% for Betterment Digital offering digital advice and tools or 0.40% for Betterment Premium, which provides a team of financial planners and unlimited phone calls and/or emails.
  • Financial planning packages ranging from $199 and $299, helping you with anything from college planning, marriage, retirement, etc.
  • Goal-based saving helps you set goals that match your answers to Betterment’s questions about your retirement and general investing goal.
  • High yield savings.
  • Tax-loss harvesting.

Betterment – Cons

  • No direct indexing.
  • If you want to transfer from Betterment, you will need to go through immense amounts of paperwork.

Learn more about Betterment

10. Wealthsimple

Wealthsimple

Wealthsimple is “investing on autopilot”. Although Wealthsimple does offer automated portfolios like other robo advisors, you’ll also be able to get expert advice and more personalized service. Individual and joint accounts, trusts, and IRAs are available.

Wealthsimple also offers

Wealthsimple – Pros

  • Open an account with as little as $1.
  • Several different types of portfolios to invest in based on your needs and wants (ex: Halal Portfolio for Islamic Investors to invest in a way that is consistent with their religious laws).
  • Tax-loss harvesting.

Wealthsimple – Cons

  • For balances up to $100,000, there is a fee of 0.50%, which is quite high (above that, however, is 0.40%).

Learn more about Wealthsimple

Bonus: Wealthbase

Wealthbase

Wealthbase is a virtual stock market simulation. You learn, compete, and share your investing ideas with other individuals to better your own investments. Up to 15 players can join a game. You start with $100,000 and can invest in stocks, ETFs, and cryptos. If you are a starter, this is the best place to start. Wealthbase will teach you as you go and you can access several free lessons and learn about investing so that when you do choose the correct investing app for yourself, you will know what you are doing and avoid losing your money.

Conclusion

There are a ton of investing apps available on the market. Some are certainly significantly better than others. It is up to you to weigh the pros and cons of these apps, see what your own needs are and how knowledgeable you are about investing, to pick the correct investing app for you.

READ NEXT: 9 Ways to Start Investing Without a Lot of Money

Best Investing Apps for Growing Your Money

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The Best Credit Card Signup Bonuses for Easy Money (2020)https://vitaldollar.com/best-credit-card-bonuses/ https://vitaldollar.com/best-credit-card-bonuses/#respond Mon, 17 Feb 2020 13:39:35 +0000 https://vitaldollar.com/?p=6841 One of the best ways to get free money is to take advantage of credit card bonuses and promos. Credit card issuers frequently offer generous bonuses in order to entice new customers to apply, and this equals easy money. Whether you’re getting cash rewards or travel miles/points, there are always some great offers available. If […]

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The Best Credit Card Signup Bonuses

One of the best ways to get free money is to take advantage of credit card bonuses and promos. Credit card issuers frequently offer generous bonuses in order to entice new customers to apply, and this equals easy money. Whether you’re getting cash rewards or travel miles/points, there are always some great offers available.

If you’re the type of person that can use credit cards for everyday expenses without getting into debt, maximizing the cashback and rewards that you earn is something that is well worth the small amount of effort that it will take.

Of course, most of the leading credit cards offer some sort of cashback or rewards as a percentage of the money that you charge to the card, but many cards also offer a bonus that can be earned by new cardholders. This may be called a signup bonus, a spend bonus, or something else. In order to qualify for the bonus, you’ll need to spend at least a specific amount of money on the card within a certain time frame (for example, spend $1,000 in your first 90 days to qualify for the bonus).

With some cards, the bonuses can be huge. If you’re considering applying for a new credit card, why not choose one that will pay you a nice bonus?

→ See our Free Money page for many more ways to get easy money.

This article will highlight some of the best bonuses that are currently available, but there are a few things to keep in mind when you’re evaluating these cards:

  • Be sure to consider the spending requirement as well as the bonus. Most of the cards with the larger bonuses will also require you to spend higher amounts in order to qualify. Be sure that your regular expenses will allow you to meet the spending requirement with no problem.
  • Do you want cash or travel rewards? Some of the best bonuses are offered by travel rewards cards. Some of these cards will allow you to claim your rewards as cash, but you’ll get a better value if you use the rewards for travel. Plan ahead and you can use these cards to get huge bonuses towards a vacation or upcoming trip.

Some of the cards featured here have smaller bonus offers, but they’re still a great deal because the spending requirement is very low. These are a perfect option if you’re looking for a bonus but you don’t have regular expenses that would allow you to meet the spending requirements of some of the other cards.

Best Credit Card Bonuses:

Now, let’s take a look at some of the best offers that are available.

1. Chase Sapphire Preferred

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Signup Bonus: 60,000 points (equal to $750 of travel if redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards)
Spending Requirement: $4,000 in the first 3 months

The Chase Sapphire Preferred tops our list of best bonus offers, and it’s also considered to be one of the best travel rewards credit cards. In order to qualify for the bonus, you’ll need to charge at least $4,000 to the card within the first 3 months. If your regular spending habits allow you to charge that much to the card, or if you know you have a big expense coming up, this card is an excellent choice.

The bonus is 60,000 points, which can be redeemed for your choice of cash or travel. Those points could be redeemed for $600 in cash. But if you want to maximize the value of the bonus, you can use them for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and get $750 in free travel. There are no blackout dates and no restrictions or expiration dates on the rewards.

For your regular spending, you’ll earn 2x points (2 points for every dollar) on travel and dining out and one point per dollar on all other purchases. This card does have a $95 annual fee.

Learn more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred

2. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Signup Bonus: 50,000 points (equal to $750 of travel if redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards)
Spending Requirement: $4,000 in the first 3 months

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is another excellent travel rewards card with an amazing bonus, but this card isn’t for everyone because of its $550 annual fee. Extensive travelers may find that the outstanding rewards and perks of this card more than make up for the high annual fee, but the average person is better off going with another card.

In order to qualify for the bonus, you’ll need to spend $4,000 within the first 3 months (the same requirement as the Chase Sapphire Preferred). The bonus for this card is 50,000 points, which seems to be less than the bonus for the Chase Sapphire Preferred, but if you’re redeeming the points for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal it comes out to the same $750. That’s because the Chase Sapphire Reserve gives you 50% more value for your points through Chase Ultimate Rewards while the Chase Sapphire Preferred gives you a 25% bonus. This is one of the main reasons why this card is an excellent choice for frequent travelers.

You’ll also earn 3x points on travel and dining, as well as 1 point per dollar on all other spending.

Some of the perks of this card include no foreign transaction fees, free access to 1,000+ airport lounges around the world, and up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®.

The $550 annual fee is definitely a factor that you’ll need to consider, but Chase softens the blow by giving $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement each account anniversary.

Learn more about the Chase Sapphire Reserve

3. Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture Card

Signup Bonus: 50,000 points (equal to $500 of travel)
Spending Requirement: $3,000 in the first 3 months

The Capital One Venture Rewards is another leading travel rewards card. The bonus of 50,000 points can be used for $500 of travel, and the spending requirement of $3,000 in the first 3 months is slightly lower than the requirement for the first two cards on this list.

While the signup bonus is not quite as good as the Chase Sapphire cards, the regular rewards for your spending are actually better. With the Venture Rewards card, you’ll earn 2x points for every purchase, which makes it nice and easy to remember.

Your points can be used toward travel with any airline or hotel. There are no blackout dates and your points/miles won’t expire. You’ll also benefit from having no foreign transaction fee.

The Venture Rewards card has an annual fee of $95, but it is waived for the first year.

Learn more about the Capital One Venture Rewards

4. Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Savor Card

Signup Bonus: $300
Spending Requirement: $3,000 in the first 3 months

While some of the best bonuses are offered with travel rewards card, the Savor gives you an excellent option if you’re looking for a nice bonus with a cashback card. The bonus is $300 and you’ll need to spend at least $3,000 in the first 3 months to qualify.

You’ll earn 4% cashback for purchases of dining and entertainment, 2% cashback at grocery stores, and 1% cashback on every other purchase.

This card has a $95 annual fee, but it is waived for the first year.

Learn more about the Capital One Savor

5. Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Quicksilver

Signup Bonus: $150
Spending Requirement: $500 in the first 3 months

Now we’re getting into some smaller bonuses, but these cards still offer an excellent opportunity because of the very low spending requirement. The Capital One Quicksilver is an excellent cashback credit card with a $150 bonus after you’ve spent at least $500 within the first 3 months.

You’ll also earn 1.5% cashback on every purchase that you make with the card, with no limits.

The Quicksilver also has a few other perks like no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, and 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months.

Learn more about the Capital One Quicksilver

6. Chase Freedom

Chase Freedom

Signup Bonus: $150
Spending Requirement: $500 in the first 3 months

The Chase Freedom card also offers a $150 bonus if you spend at least $500 in the first 3 months.

This card will allow you to earn 5% cashback on purchases in categories that rotate each quarter. For example, one quarter you might earn 5% cashback on purchases at gas stations and the next quarter you might earn 5% cashback for purchases at grocery stores (the 5% cashback offers are on the first $1,500 of spending in that category each quarter). All other purchases outside of that category will earn 1% cashback.

This card also has no annual fee and 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (3% fee for balance transfers).

If you like to maximize cashback, the Chase Freedom is a must-have card. The 5% cashback really adds up, and you can use another card that offers higher rewards for your purchases in other categories.

Learn more about the Chase Freedom

7. Chase Freedom Unlimited

Chase Freedom Unlimited

Signup Bonus: $150
Spending Requirement: $500 in the first 3 months

The bonus offer for the Chase Freedom Unlimited is the same, $150 after you spend at least $500 in the first 3 months. However, the on-going cashback is different. With the Chase Freedom Unlimited, you’ll earn 1.5% cashback on all purchases. There are no rotating categories and no caps.

Like the Chase Freedom, the Chase Freedom Unlimited has no annual fee and 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months (3% fee for balance transfers).

Learn more about the Chase Freedom Unlimited

8. U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card

U.S. Bank Cash+

Signup Bonus: $150
Spending Requirement: $500 in the first 3 months

This card is another excellent option if you’re looking for a nice bonus with a low spending requirement. The $150 bonus is very nice for the spending requirement of just $500 within the first 3 months.

The U.S. Bank Cash+ can be a great cashback card, depending on your spending habits. You’ll earn 5% cashback on purchases in two categories of your choice (up to $100 in cashback per quarter). You’ll also get 2% cashback in one everyday category (like gas or groceries) of your choice. And you’ll earn 1% cashback on all other purchases.

This card has no annual fee and 0% APR on balance transfers for the first 12 statement cycles.

Learn more about the U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card

9. Marriott Bonvoy Boundless

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless

Signup Bonus: up to 100,000 points
Spending Requirement: $5,000 in the first 3 months

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless offers a great bonus (although you do need to spend $5,000 in the first 3 months in order to qualify), but it’s hard to compare it to the bonuses of other cards. The value of the bonus can vary significantly depending on how you use it.

You’ll be able to use your points for nights at Marriott-owned hotels and resorts around the world, but the number of points that you’ll need will vary depending on the caliber of the hotel/resort and the location. As a result, it’s impossible to put a real cash value on the points without knowing how you would use them.

If you’re looking to maximize the value of the points and you have flexibility in your travel plans, the value of the points can be quite significant.

This card will give you 6x points for every dollar spent at Marriott Bonvoy hotels and 2x points per dollar for every other purchase.

There is an annual fee of $95.

Learn more about the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless

Best Bonuses from Business Credit Cards:

So far, we’ve looked at several cashback and travel rewards credit cards. Now, let’s take a look at the best bonus offers that are available for business credit cards. These won’t be an option for everyone, but if you own a business (including the self-employed and freelancers), these cards are a great option.

Chase Ink Business Cash

Chase Ink Business Cash

Signup Bonus: $500
Spending Requirement: $3,000 in the first 3 months

If you spend an average of $1,000 or more per month on business expenses, the Chase Ink Business Cash offers a generous bonus of $500.

This is also a great cashback card for your everyday business expenses. You’ll earn 5% cashback at office supply stores, as well as internet, cable, and phone services (on the first $25,000 spent each year).

You’ll also earn 2% cashback on purchases at gas stations and restaurants (also capped at $25,000 in spending each year). And you’ll earn 1% cashback on all other purchases.

This card has no annual fee and you can get employee cards at no additional cost.

Learn more about the Chase Ink Business Cash

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

Capital One Spark Cash for Business

Signup Bonus: $500
Spending Requirement: $4,500 in the first 3 months

The Capital One Spark Cash for Business offers the same $500 bonus as the Chase Ink Business Cash, but you’ll need to spend $4,500 in the first 3 months in order to get it (as compared to $3,000 with the Ink Cash for Business).

The cashback component for this card is simple. You’ll earn 2% cashback on every purchase with no limits or restrictions. You can also get free cards for your employees.

This card has a $95 annual fee, but it is waived for the first year.

Learn more about the Capital One Spark Cash for Business

 

As you can see, there are a lot of amazing bonus offers available from credit card issuers. Find the one that is best for you and you’ll love the easy money. For more offers, don’t miss our Free Money page.

See our other collections of top credit cards:

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The Best Bank Account Bonuses and Promotions (February 2020)https://vitaldollar.com/best-bank-account-bonuses/ https://vitaldollar.com/best-bank-account-bonuses/#respond Thu, 13 Feb 2020 15:10:25 +0000 https://vitaldollar.com/?p=6810 Banks want your business, and many of them are willing to pay you a bonus just for signing up for an account and depositing some money. If you need a new bank account, or if you just want to make some easy money, bank account bonuses are a great opportunity. All bank account bonuses will […]

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Best Bank Account Bonuses and Promotions

Banks want your business, and many of them are willing to pay you a bonus just for signing up for an account and depositing some money. If you need a new bank account, or if you just want to make some easy money, bank account bonuses are a great opportunity.

All bank account bonuses will have some terms and conditions that determine who is eligible for the bonus and what you need to do in order to earn the bonus. In many cases, the bonuses are offered only to new customers, but some bank account bonuses are available for existing customers as well. There will almost always be some sort of minimum deposit required, and you may need to leave that money in the account for a specified period of time in order to earn the bonus.

Checking account bonuses often require that you set up a direct deposit into the account in order to qualify for the bonus. If your employer offers direct deposit for your compensation, this is probably an easy requirement to meet.

On this page, you’ll find a list of the best bank account bonuses currently (as of February 2020) available.

We’ll aim to keep this page as up-to-date as possible, but offers come and go quickly, so we cannot make any claim about the availability of these offers. Be sure to visit the website of the banks and read through all of the terms and conditions to verify the details for yourself before signing up.

For even more free money offers, please see our Free Money page.

The Best Bank Sign Up Bonuses and Offers:

CIT Bank: $100 – $200 Savings Account Bonus

CIT Bank

CIT Bank is one of the leaders in the competitive world of high-yield savings accounts. They consistently offer interest rates at or near the top of the industry, and they are currently offering a bonus of $100 – $200 for deposits made into one of their Savings Builder accounts.

Savings Builder is currently (as of 2/12/20) paying up to 1.75% APY. In order to earn the 1.75% APY, you’ll need to maintain a balance of at least $25,000 or deposit at least $100 per month. If you don’t meet either of those thresholds, the APY will be 1.15%.

What makes this offer unique is the fact that it’s open to existing CIT customers as well as new customers. 

The bonus offer is for either $100 or $200, based on the amount of money that you deposit. In order to qualify for the $100 bonus, you’ll need to deposit at least $25,000 into a new or existing CIT Savings Builder account. If you deposit $50,000 or more, you’ll be eligible for the $200 bonus. You’ll also need to maintain that balance (or more) for at least 30 days.

To get this bonus, go to this promotional page and scroll down to see the details of the bonus offer. When you’re ready, click on the “let’s get started” link for new customers or the “let’s get started” link for existing customers.

Offer Details:

  • Type of account: savings
  • Bonus offer: $100 or $200
  • Required deposit: $25,000 for $100 bonus or $50,000 for $200 bonus
  • Maintain balance for: 30 days
  • Offer expires: not specified
  • Promo page link

Capital One: $100 – $500 Savings Account Bonus

Capital One

Capital One has offered online savings accounts since they acquired ING Direct in 2011. However, Capital One has rolled out a new type of savings account that they call Performance Savings, which offers a higher interest rate. The new Performance Savings accounts are currently earning 1.70% APY.

The sign up bonus from Capital One is quite generous and enticing because there is no direct deposit requirement. However, if you have or had an open savings or money market account with Capital One since January, 2016, you’re ineligible for this bonus.

Here are the bonus tiers that you can earn:

  • Deposit at least $10,000 to earn a $100 bonus
  • Deposit at least $20,000 to earn a $200 bonus
  • Deposit at least $30,000 to earn a $300 bonus
  • Deposit at least $40,000 to earn a $400 bonus
  • Deposit at least $50,000 to earn a $500 bonus

The deposit must be from an external transfer, new to Capital One (transfers from another Capital One account do not meet the requirement). Also, you must maintain the balance for 90 days.

Go to this promotional page to open your account.

Offer Details:

  • Type of account: savings
  • Bonus offer: $100 – $500
  • Required deposit: $10,000 – $50,000
  • Maintain balance for: 90 days
  • Offer expires: March 31, 2020
  • Promo page link

Chase: $150 – $350 Checking and/or Savings Account Bonus

Chase

Chase is offering a $200 sign up bonus for a checking account and a $150 bonus for a savings account. You can earn either one of them individually or both of them.

The checking account bonus ($200) is for their Chase Total Checking account. In order to qualify, you’ll need to open a new account and set up direct deposit. It’s important to note that the Total Checking account has a $12 monthly service fee, although that can be reduced to $0. You will not be charged the service fee if you meet any of these criteria:

  • You receive at least $500 in direct deposits into the account during the month
  • You have a balance of at least $1,500 at the beginning of each day
  • You have an average beginning day balance of at least $5,000 (which can also include linked qualifying Chase checking and savings accounts).

The savings account bonus ($150) requires you to open a new Chase Savings account and deposit at least $10,000 within 20 business days. You must also maintain at least a $10,000 balance for 90 days in order to qualify for the bonus.

Please note that the Chase Savings account comes with a $5 monthly fee, which can be reduced to $0 if any of these apply:

  • You have a balance in this account of $300 or more at the beginning of each day
  • You have $25 or more (per month) in automatic transfers from your personal Chase checking account
  • You have a Chase College Checking account linked to this account for overdraft protection
  • There is an account owner who is younger than 18 years old
  • You have another qualifying Chase account linked

Participate in both offers to earn a total of $350.

The checking account bonus is not available to current Chase checking account holders and the savings account bonus is not available to current Chase savings account holders.

Offer Details:

  • Type of account: checking and/or savings
  • Bonus offer: $100 – $500
  • Required deposit: $10,000 – $50,000
  • Maintain balance for: 90 days
  • Offer expires: March 31, 2020
  • Promo page link

Citibank: $200 – $500 Checking and Savings Account Bonus

Citibank

Citibank is offering a bonus for new customers who sign up for both a checking and savings account. You can earn the $200 bonus through their “Basic Banking Package”. You’ll have a monthly service fee of $12, but there are a few different ways to avoid the fee. You will not be assessed the service fee if:

  • You make one qualifying direct deposit and one qualifying bill payment per statement period
  • You maintain a combined monthly balance average of $1,500 in linked accounts
  • The account owner is over 62 years old

In order to qualify for the $200 bonus, you’ll need to deposit at least $5,000 and maintain a minimum balance of at least $5,000 for 60 days.

They are also offering a $400 bonus for their “Citibank Account Package”. This package comes with a $25 monthly service fee, but that fee will be waived if you maintain a combined average monthly balance of $10,000 in eligible linked accounts.

In order to qualify for the $400 bonus, you’ll need to deposit at least $15,000 and maintain a minimum balance of at least $15,000 for 60 days.

You can also get an additional $100 bonus (making it a total of $500) if you make at least one qualifying direct deposit each month for two months within 60 days of opening the account.

Because there are a few different bonuses and multiple account types, please be sure to read of all the details on the promotional page to be sure that you understand the terms and conditions.

If you have had a Citibank checking account within the past 180 days, you are not eligible for these bonuses.

Offer Details:

  • Type of account: checking and savings
  • Bonus offer: $200 – $500
  • Required deposit: $5,000 – $15,000
  • Maintain balance for: 60 days
  • Offer expires: March 31, 2020
  • Promo page link

Discover: $150 – $200 Savings Account Bonus

Discover

Discover is offering a bonus of $150 if you open an online savings account and deposit at least $15,000 (enter code “FE20” when you are opening your account). Or you can deposit at least $25,000 to earn a $200 bonus.

In order to qualify, accounts must be opened by March 2, 2020 and the deposits must be posted by March 16, 2020.

One of the ways that this bonus stands out is by the fact that you do not have to maintain the balance for 60-90 days. The terms state that the bonus will be in your account by March 30, 2020.

If you have an existing Discover savings account or if you had one in the past, you are not eligible for this bonus.

Offer Details:

  • Type of account: savings
  • Bonus offer: $150 – $200
  • Required deposit: $15,000 – $25,000
  • Maintain balance for:  N/A
  • Accounts must be opened by: March 2, 2020
  • Promo page link

TD Bank: $150 – $300 Checking Account Bonus

TD Bank

TD Bank is offering a $150 bonus for new customers who open a TD Convenience Checking account. In order to earn the bonus, you’ll need to receive direct deposits of $500 or more within 60 days of opening the account. This account has a monthly maintenance fee of $15, which is waived in any of these circumstances:

  • You maintain a $100 minimum balance daily
  • You are 17 – 23 years old

They are also offering a $300 bonus for new customers who open a TD Beyond Checking account. In order to earn this bonus, you’ll need to receive direct deposits totaling $2,500 or more within 60 days of opening the account. This account has a monthly maintenance fee of $25, which is waived if any of these are true:

  • You have at least $5,000 in direct deposits monthly
  • You maintain a $2,500 minimum daily balance
  • You maintain a $25,000 minimum daily combined balance across multiple eligible accounts with TD Bank.

Offer Details:

  • Type of account: checking
  • Bonus offer: $150 – $300
  • Required deposit: N/A
  • Required direct deposit: $500 within 60 days, $2,500 within 60 days
  • Maintain balance for:  N/A
  • Accounts must be opened by: Unspecified
  • Promo page link

Wells Fargo: $400 Checking Account Bonus

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo is offering a $400 bonus for their Everyday Checking account. You must open the account with a minimum deposit of $25. You’ll also need to receive at least $4,000 in direct deposits within 90 days of opening the account. After that 90 day period, the bonus will be deposited into the account within another 30 days.

The Everyday Checking account comes with a $10 monthly service fee, which is waived if any of the following apply:

  • You maintain a $1,500 minimum daily balance
  • You receive $500 or more in qualifying direct deposits
  • You have 10 or more posted debit card transactions during the month
  • The account is linked to a Wells Fargo Campus ATM or Campus Debit Card
  • The primary account holder is 17-24 years old

Current customers are not eligible for this account. You are also not eligible if you have received a bonus for opening another Wells Fargo consumer checking account within the past year.

Offer Details:

  • Type of account: checking
  • Bonus offer: $400
  • Required deposit: $25
  • Required direct deposit: $4,000 within 90 days
  • Maintain balance for:  N/A
  • Accounts must be opened by: July 31, 2020
  • Promo page link

Bank of America: $100 Checking Account Bonus

Bank of America

Bank of America is offering a $100 bonus for new checking account customers (if you’ve had a Bank of America personal checking account in the past, you are not eligible for this bonus). The account must be opened online (this offer is not available at Bank of America branch locations).

There are three different types of checking accounts that you can choose from, so be sure to see the details on the promo page to decide which one is best for you. The offer and the requirements are the same for each of the three types of checking accounts. To qualify, you must open a new Bank of America Advantage Bank account by June 30, 2020 (use offer code “PSR100CIS”). Within 90 days of opening the account, you must also receive two qualifying direct deposits of at least $250 each.

The minimum deposit to open a checking account will be $25 – $100, depending on which type of account you choose. Monthly maintenance fees range from $4.95 – $25, but there are some options that allow you to have the fee waived. Please see the promo page for all of the details on the different types of accounts.

Offer Details:

  • Type of account: checking
  • Bonus offer: $100
  • Required deposit: $25 – $100
  • Required direct deposit: Two deposits of at least $2,500 each within 90 days
  • Maintain balance for:  N/A
  • Accounts must be opened by: June 30, 2020
  • Promo page link

SunTrust: $200 Checking Account Bonus

SunTrust

SunTrust is offering a $200 bonus for new checking account holders (if you’ve had a checking account with SunTrust in the past, you are not eligible for the bonus). You must use the promo code “Q120ESSENTIAL” when you are opening the account in order to get the bonus. You’ll also need at least $500 in direct deposits per statement cycle for two statement cycles. The account must be opened by March 31, 2020.

The checking account will have a $7 monthly maintenance fee, which will be waived if any of the following situations apply:

  • You make 10 or more client-initiated transactions per statement cycle
  • You make at least $500 in qualifying direct deposits per statement cycle
  • You maintain at least a $500 minimum daily collected balance
  • You’re a student

Offer Details:

  • Type of account: checking
  • Bonus offer: $200
  • Required deposit: N/A
  • Required direct deposit: At least $500 per statement cycle for two statement cycles
  • Maintain balance for:  N/A
  • Accounts must be opened by: March 31, 2020
  • Promo page link

PNC: $50 – $300 Checking Account Bonus

PNC Checking Account

PNC Bank is offering a bonus of $50, $200, or $300 for opening a new checking account. The bonuses vary depending on the type of account that you open, and the requirements for each are different.

To qualify for a $50 bonus, you can open a Virtual Wallet account. To qualify, you’ll need a total of at least $500 in qualifying direct deposits within 60 days.

To qualify for a $200 bonus, you can open a Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend. To qualify, you’ll need a total of at least $2,000 in qualifying direct deposits within 60 days.

To qualify for a $300 bonus, you can open a Virtual Wallet with Performance Select. To qualify, you’ll need a total of at least $5,000 in qualifying direct deposits within 60 days.

This offer is not available for current PNC Bank checking customers, or those who have closed checking accounts within the past 90 days, or those who have been paid a promotional bonus within the past year.

Offer Details:

  • Type of account: checking
  • Bonus offer: $50 – $300
  • Required deposit: N/A
  • Required direct deposit: At least $500 – $5,000 within 60 days
  • Maintain balance for:  N/A
  • Accounts must be opened by: March 31, 2020
  • Promo page link

BBVA: $200 – $250 Checking and Savings Account Bonus

BBVA

BBVA is offering a $200 bonus for opening an online checking account and receiving a qualifying direct deposit of at least $500 (only available in AL, AZ, CA, CO, FL, NM, and TX). The account must be opened by February 28, 2020 and the direct deposit must be received by April 30, 2020. This account comes with no monthly service fee, although there is a $3 fee if you choose to receive paper statements (there is no fee if you go with electronic statements).

You can also earn an additional $50 bonus by also opening a savings account by February 28, 2020 and having a minimum balance of at least $500 by April 30, 2020.

Offer Details:

  • Type of account: checking and savings
  • Bonus offer: $200 – $250
  • Required deposit: $500 (for savings account)
  • Required direct deposit: At least $500 (for checking account) by April 30, 2020
  • Maintain balance until: April 30, 2020 (for savings account)
  • Accounts must be opened by: February 28, 2020
  • Promo page link

Investment Account Bonuses:

Ally: $50 – $3,500 Bonus for Ally Invest Account

Ally

Ally Invest is a great platform for traders and investors. They offer free trades on stocks and ETFs, with a wide selection of ETFs available. Right now they are offering a bonus for new account holders. Current Ally Invest customers are not eligible. You are also not eligible if you closed an account within the past 90 days. The account must be opened through the promo page in order to qualify.

Here are the bonus amounts based on the deposit:

  • Deposit $10,000 – $24,999 to get a $50 bonus
  • Deposit $25,000 – $99,999 to get a $200 bonus
  • Deposit $100,000 – $249,999 to get a $300 bonus
  • Deposit $250,00 – $499,999 to get a $600 bonus
  • Deposit $500,000 – $999,999 to get a $1,200 bonus
  • Deposit $1,000,000 – $1,999,999 to get a $2,500 bonus
  • Deposit $2,000,00+ to get a $3,500 bonus

There are a few details that are very important to note. All new accounts will be reviewed 60 days after opening. Bonuses will be paid into the account within 10 business days after the review. The bonus and qualifying deposit (minus any trading loss) will not be available for withdrawal for 300 days.

See all of the details at the promo page.

Offer Details:

  • Type of account: investment
  • Bonus offer: $50 – $3,500
  • Required deposit: $10,000 – $2 million
  • Maintain balance for: 300 days
  • Accounts must be opened by: March 31, 2020
  • Promo page link

E*TRADE: $100 – $2,500 Bonus for Investment Accounts

E*TRADE

E*TRADE is offering a bonus for opening a new investment account. The amount of the bonus varies, depending on how much money you deposit into the account. Here are the bonus tiers:

  • Deposit $5,000 – $24,999 for a $100 bonus
  • Deposit $25,000 – $99,999 for a $200 bonus
  • Deposit $100,000 – $249,999 for a $300 bonus
  • Deposit $250,000 – $499,999 for a $600 bonus
  • Deposit $500,000 – $999,999 for a $1,200 bonus
  • Deposit $1,000,000+ for a $2,500 bonus

Please see the promotion page for all of the details on this offer. This offer is only for non-retirement brokerage accounts opened by March 2, 2020. Eligible deposits must be made within 60 days of opening the account. Please note that the deposited money must remain with E*TRADE for 12 months, or else the bonus cash may be surrendered.

Offer Details:

  • Type of account: investment (non-retirement)
  • Bonus offer: $100 – $2,500
  • Required deposit: $5,000 – $1 million+
  • Maintain balance for: 12 months
  • Accounts must be opened by: March 2, 2020
  • Promo page link

You Invest by J.P. Morgan: $200 – $625 Bonus for Investment Accounts

You Invest

Open a You Invest Trade account with J.P. Morgan Chase and you’ll be eligible for a bonus of $200, $300, or $625. You can open a brokerage account, traditional IRA, or Roth IRA. Here is a breakdown of the bonus tiers:

  • Deposit $25,000 – $99,999 for a $200 bonus
  • Deposit $100,000 – $249,999 for a $300 bonus
  • Deposit $250,000+ for a $600 bonus

If you’re interested in this offer, you need to act fast. New accounts must be opened by February 27, 2020 in order to be eligible for the bonus. After opening the account, you’ll have 45 to fund the account with a qualifying deposit or transfer (it cannot be transferred from another J.P. Morgan or Chase account in order to qualify). You must leave the money in the account for 90 days, and your bonus will be added to the account within 10 business days.

Offer Details:

  • Type of account: You Invest Trade account
  • Bonus offer: $200 – $625
  • Required deposit: $25,000 – $250,000+
  • Maintain balance for: 90 days
  • Accounts must be opened by: February 27, 2020
  • Promo page link

Webull: 2 Free Stocks for Opening and Investment Account

Webull

Webull, a popular investing app, is currently offering 2 free stocks. To get the first free stock (valued at $2.50 – $250), all you need to do is open an account. Deposit any amount of money and you’ll get a second stock (valued at $12 – $1,400).

Webull offers commission-free trades of stocks and ETFs. You’ll also get access to advanced reporting and analysis tools that can help you to invest more effectively.

Offer Details:

  • Type of account: investment
  • Bonus offer: free stock worth $2.50 – $1,400
  • Required deposit: no minimum
  • Accounts must be opened by: unspecified
  • Promo page link

 

Want to see more free money offers? Be sure to see our Free Money page.

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Liquid Net Worth: What it is, Why it Matters, and How to Calculate Ithttps://vitaldollar.com/liquid-net-worth/ https://vitaldollar.com/liquid-net-worth/#comments Wed, 12 Feb 2020 10:35:07 +0000 https://vitaldollar.com/?p=5296 Most people have heard of the term net worth and many also have a good understanding of it and what it means. Net worth is quite simple; the total amount of an individual’s assets, including any and all cash, minus the total amount of their liabilities or what they owe. So, net worth is the […]

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Liquid Net Worth

Most people have heard of the term net worth and many also have a good understanding of it and what it means.

Net worth is quite simple; the total amount of an individual’s assets, including any and all cash, minus the total amount of their liabilities or what they owe. So, net worth is the value by which a person’s assets exceed their total liabilities (or net worth can be a negative number if liabilities exceed assets).

But determining a person’s liquid net worth is perhaps a better tool to use to evaluate a person’s financial health.

→ Related reading: 9 Convincing Reasons Why You Should Be Tracking Your Net Worth

What is Liquid Net Worth and How Does it Affect Your Finances?

Liquid net worth is the value of your estate if it was all liquidated (immediately sold and converted to cash).

The basic formula to calculate this is to subtract your liabilities from your assets (more detail on this later) just as net worth, except the assets must be liquid in order to be counted. This is an accurate definition, but there are some important factors that you need to consider when calculating your liquid net worth.

Liquid net worth can be important because not all types assets are equal, or equally accessible. In the case of an emergency or a situation where cash is needed quickly, those liquid assets will be extremely valuable.

For example, if you or someone in your family has an unexpected medical crisis and you’re hit with an unexpected hospital bill of $20,000, what’s more useful: $20,000 in a savings account or a car that has a Blue Book value of $20,000? Of course, the savings account is more useful because you can access that money immediately and you know exactly how much it’s worth (you may not be able to sell the car for $20,000).

Because liquid net worth is only taking your liquid assets into consideration, your liquid net worth will be lower than your total net worth, which includes all assets.

Why Liquid Net Worth is Important

There are several benefits to calculating and constantly keeping track of your liquid net worth.

Liquid net worth is a very important measure as it allows you to evaluate your financial security (something many people avoid because they know it isn’t pleasant).

Another purpose that calculating your liquid net worth serves is to motivate you to create an emergency fund. You should already have a few months’ worth of living expenses in your savings account, which is an asset and is added into your liquid net worth, but suppose you encountered a major emergency/expense that your savings can’t pay for.

For this reason, it’s very important to know your liquid net worth so that you can liquidate any assets necessary to pay for that large emergency as soon as possible.

Liquid Assets

Stocks and bonds are great examples of liquid assets since you can sell them and have money in your hands within 3 business days.

They are, however, still taxed. You’ll be responsible for capital gains taxes, which should be considered in your calculations of liquid net worth.

Other liquid assets are any cash you have on hand as well as cash equivalents like any cash in savings and checking accounts.

Non-Liquid Assets

The gray area with this definition is whether or not assets that take more time to sell, and put cash in hand, can be considered liquid and therefore used in the calculations.

Some examples of non-liquid assets, if we use the standard definition, would be your home, car, and retirement investments such as a 401k or IRA. The reason for this is because liquidating (selling) something like your home could take several months (and it’s possible that you might not find a buyer), so although you might be able to get the money, it won’t happen immediately. Additionally, the amount of cash that you’ll walk away with will be less than the value of your home, due to realtor commissions, taxes, and fees (plus you’ll likely have other moving expenses).

These non-liquid assets would definitely be considered while calculating your total net worth, but maybe not in your liquid net worth, unless you do a few important things (more on this later).

Real Estate

While equity in your home is important, it’s not quite as useful as cash. The typical net worth calculation values all assets the same, so $50,000 in cash would be the same as $50,000 equity in your home. But liquid net worth will either ignore the equity in your home or reduce the amount to allow for things like transaction costs or selling a little below the value in order to liquidate it quickly.

When calculating liquid net worth, the goal is to figure out how much cash you could get for your assets. If you had to sell your house or an investment property quickly, how much cash would you walk away with? That $50,000 of equity might be more like $10,000 if you have to sell below market value in order to move it quickly, and after the transaction costs like realtor fees and taxes.

Retirement Investments

Similar to the home, retirement accounts are, using strict definitions, not exactly liquid assets.

For example, if you have an emergency and choose to withdraw your 401k under the age of 59.5, you will incur a 10% penalty on investment earnings as well as taxes if you have a traditional 401k. That’s a hefty price that can seriously eat away at the value of your assets. And don’t forget the fact that you’ll also have to pay ordinary income tax on the money that you get out of a 401k or Traditional IRA.

But, of course, that doesn’t mean that retirement accounts have no value to you today. You can still manage to remove your contributions, not your gains on your contributions, without being taxed. So that’s another factor you may want to consider when calculating your liquid net worth.

 

So, some people consider liquid net worth the amount you can get right away, within a set period of time like 24 hours or 7 days. Others add in their home and retirement savings, depending on how long it would take for them to receive the cash.

A common approach is to devalue assets like your house, car, and retirement account by 10-30% to account for fees or the fact that you might not get fair market value if you’re forced to sell quickly.

There is no exact definition, so it’s up to you what you want to include and how much you will deduct from assets like a home, car, or retirement account.

If you plan on including your retirement savings, your car, and your house in your liquid net worth, it’s recommended that you place around a 10-30% deduction on each of those assets to make them fit in the liquid net worth definition.

The important thing to realize is that even though these non-liquid assets may not be used while calculating your liquid net worth, they still hold value. Therefore, the way you calculate liquid net worth may be a bit different from someone else’s or you may even choose to calculate two versions of it, one including your home and retirement savings and the other without them or with ~20% fees on them.

You should also consider the reason why you’re calculating your liquid net worth. If you’re simply trying to get a more accurate picture of your overall financial position, maybe the best approach is to include all of your assets in the calculation, but reduce the value of the non-liquid assets like a home, cars, and retirement accounts. But if your primary reason for calculating liquid net worth is to see how prepared you are for a financial emergency, maybe the best approach is to not include the non-liquid assets at all since you wouldn’t be able to sell them quickly.

How to Calculate Your Liquid Net Worth

It’s quite simple.

Liquid Net Worth = Liquid Assets – Liabilities

As we already discussed, assets include:

  • Cash (including checking accounts)
  • Savings
  • Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc.
  • Retirement accounts (can omit this or reduce the value to account for fees/penalties/taxes)
  • House (can omit this, as discussed before, or have the 10-20% deduction)
  • Car (can omit or include an undervalued amount)
  • Jewelry, art, collectibles, etc. (these can appreciate, depreciate, or stay the same)

Liabilities include things like:

  • Total remaining balance on your mortgage
  • Credit card debt
  • Student loans
  • Car loans
  • Personal loans, payday loans, and other loans
  • Any other types of debt

That’s all there is to it.

If you want an easier way to track your net worth and liquid net worth (the ideal thing to do so you get the value of everything you own as well as how much cash you can get on hand in an instant), Personal Capital is the best tool.

They offer several paid services but the free app will allow you to easily calculate and track your net worth, with no need to sign up for any of the paid services. Personal Capital will help you track your net worth and liquid net worth as well as help you to think about and create a comprehensive financial plan using these free tools.

Get a Free $20 Amazon Gift Card from Personal Capital

Personal Capital is a free app that syncs with your bank accounts, investment accounts, and credit cards to automatically calculate and track your net worth. It’s easy to set up and very powerful. Right now, Personal Capital is also offering a free $20 Amazon gift card just to try it. To get the gift card, sign up here, and after you’ve linked your first account, you will get an email with the code for the $20 gift card.

Calculating your liquid net worth may really be an eye-opener and make you appear less-well-off than you thought you were. It is, however, a very interesting and very essential exercise to achieve financial freedom and build assets.

Calculating Liquid Net Worth: An Example

If you aren’t looking for an app and other helpful features (although we highly recommend Personal Capital for other handy features and simplicity), this is a nice, simple example to follow.

All you do is create a spreadsheet and insert liquid assets and liabilities manually.

First, put down all of your liquid assets into one column and decide how much to discount non-liquid assets.

AssetsValueDiscountValue After Discount
Total Assets$375,000$295,000
Cash$50,0000$50,000
House$300,00025%$225,000
Cars$25,00020%$20,000

Next, add all of your liabilities and subtract them from the liquid value of your assets

Update the date in the spreadsheet as the need arises, as your home may appreciate, your car will probably depreciate, etc.

Don’t despair if the final figure is lower than you expected. Focus on paying off your debts (liabilities) if you ended up with a negative liquid net worth. If and when it is positive, set up a goal for your net worth and work on achieving that. It could be $100,000, $1,000,000, or more, or less. For some tips on how to increase your liquid net worth, scroll down and continue reading.

→ Related reading: How to Calculate Your Net Worth

How to Increase Your Liquid Net Worth

Ok, so we’ve looked at a lot of aspects of the topic so far, but you may be wondering what you can do to improve your own situation. Here are a few suggestions.

→ Related reading: 7 Steps to Grow Your Net Worth

1. Review and Reduce Your Liabilities

This is an easy number to calculate and if you have now calculated your liquid net worth, which you should have, you know what your liabilities are and how much they add up to.

Are there any liabilities that you eliminate or reduce? Getting rid of debt is a huge factor in increasing your net worth.

Consider making more payments towards your debt. Rather than paying monthly towards your debt, try to pay weekly. This may help reduce the principal faster and that will reduce the amount of interest you will have to pay.

Find ways to tackle your debt efficiently and quickly as possible.

→ Related reading: Debt Snowball vs. Debt Avalanche

2. Trim Your Expenses

Many people spend far more than they need to or even expect themselves to be spending. Track all of your expenses and look for areas where you can cut back and I guarantee there will be a lot of them. If you’re looking for ideas, please read 40 Smart Ways to Reduce Your Monthly Bills.

This includes the big things as well, not just day-to-day expenses such as gas, food, magazine/streaming service subscriptions, etc.

Cutting your expenses by even just a couple of dollars here and there (although you can probably cut back much more) will add up very quickly.

3. Review Your Annual Costs

This is another overlooked aspect in many peoples’ financial lives. Look at things like healthcare premiums and your insurance every year.

Compare interest rates and see whether or not any of your annual costs can be trimmed or eliminated completely.

Then, make sure to save or invest the remainder.

4. Start a Side Hustle

Now this is where things may get a bit harder and require more work as you are now trying to add to your income and not lessen your expenses.

Having multiple streams of income is very smart. Not only will it add to your primary source of income (9-5 job), but it will add safety in case you lose that source of income.

A good side hustle can pay anywhere from $100 to several thousand or even more a month. Freelance writing, selling crafts on Etsy, starting a blog, teaching English, etc. are all great examples of side hustles that you can start with only an hour or less a day.

You can also use this time to work on whatever passion/hobby you love and try to find ways to make money off of that. You’ll be doing what you already do, but earning money for it.

For example, if you like poetry and creative writing, try to earn income on that by writing a book and selling it on Amazon, creating a writing course, etc.

→ Related reading: 40 Exciting Hobbies That Make Money

5. Start Investing

Of course, if you want to increase your net worth you should be investing. You could invest in stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, real estate, or other alternative investments. What’s right for you will depend on your personal situation, age, current net worth, and goals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few common questions, as well as answers, related to the topic at hand.

How do you figure out your liquid net worth?

Calculate your liquid net worth by adding up your liquid assets and subtracting all of your liabilities. When you’re adding up the total of your liquid assets you have the choice of counting only the assets that are completely liquid (like cash and cash equivalents like savings and checking accounts), or you can reduce the value of non-liquid assets according to how much cash you could get right now for the asset. For example, the value of your home equity would be reduced by the realtor fees and other transaction costs that you would incur if you were to sell the house. You may also want to reduce the value of non-liquid assets to account for the fact that you may not get the full value if you need to sell quickly.

What qualifies as a liquid asset?

Cash, checking accounts, savings accounts, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and ETFs will almost always be counted towards your liquid assets.

Does liquid net worth include your house?

No, generally it does not. Selling a house takes time and even in a good market, you would have to wait at least a month until you’d get the cash for your house. Fees, transaction costs, and taxes will also cut into the amount of cash that you walk away with. You can include the value of your home equity in your calculation if you want to, but you should reduce it to account for the costs of selling and the possibility of selling below market value.

Is a 401(k) considered liquid?

No, retirement accounts like 401(k)s and IRAs are generally not considered to be liquid. If you’re under the age of 59.5, you’re likely to pay penalties if you withdraw money from your retirement accounts. At any age, you’ll owe income tax on the money withdrawn (Roth IRAs are the exception). If you want to include the value of your retirement accounts in your liquid net worth calculation, be sure to reduce the value by 10%-30% to get a more accurate cash value.

Is a CD a liquid asset?

It depends. Most CDs will involve a small fee if you withdraw the money before the date of maturity, however, some CDs are penalty-free. If you would face any penalties for taking money out of your CDs, be sure to reduce the value by that amount when you’re calculating liquid net worth.

Is a car a liquid asset?

Generally, cars are not considered liquid assets. Cars can be sold quickly in some cases, but it’s also possible that it could take a while to sell your car, and it’s also challenging to know how much you could actually get for it. You can include the value of your car in your calculation if you’d like, but be sure to reduce the value by 10%-30% so you’re not overestimating how much cash you could actually get for it.

What does it mean if I have a negative liquid net worth?

Negative net worth and negative liquid net worth are common. This is especially true if you’re in the early stages of your career or if you have large amounts of student debt. Many people do not have enough cash or liquid assets to completely cover all of their liabilities. Follow the steps covered in this article to reduce your liabilities and increase your assets.

 

Liquid net worth may not get a lot of attention, but it is a very important metric that you should be aware of. Take some time to calculate your own liquid net worth and see if you’re surprised by the results. If needed, follow the suggestions in the last section of this article to improve it.

READ NEXT: Living Off Dividends

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How to Make Money by Writing and Selling Books and Ebooks on Amazonhttps://vitaldollar.com/become-author-amazon/ https://vitaldollar.com/become-author-amazon/#respond Mon, 10 Feb 2020 13:16:45 +0000 https://vitaldollar.com/?p=6393 If you’re looking for a way to make money and you enjoy writing, one legit option is to write and sell books or ebooks on Amazon. The world of self-publishing has changed very rapidly over the past 5 years, and Amazon’s platform has been a major contributor to those changes. Amazon makes it possible for […]

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How to Make Money by Writing and Selling Books and Ebooks on Amazon

If you’re looking for a way to make money and you enjoy writing, one legit option is to write and sell books or ebooks on Amazon. The world of self-publishing has changed very rapidly over the past 5 years, and Amazon’s platform has been a major contributor to those changes.

Amazon makes it possible for the average person to become a published author and make money by selling books of all types. Regardless of whether you already have an existing audience or are starting from scratch, it’s very possible to make money with this approach, and people all over the world are proving it.

KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) has lowered the barriers and made it fast and easy for anyone to start making money as an author.

While I have experience selling private label products on Amazon, I’ve never sold books or ebooks on their platform. I wanted to get some insight from an experienced Amazon author so I reached out to Avery Breyer.

Avery launched her first book in 2015 and she currently has six different books for sale on topics related to personal finance and making money (check out her books here). Avery graciously agreed to answer some questions related to selling books/ebooks on Amazon and you’ll find that interview below.

Avery Breyer is a multiple best-selling author, freelance writer, and real estate investor. She is passionate about helping people take control of their money and create the life they want.

She’s been seen in Woman’s World and Essence magazines, on live radio, and other media outlets.

She helps her readers get the motivation and action plans they need for financial success, with simple techniques anyone can implement, starting now.

Her popular Smart Money Blueprint series of books includes, How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck, How to Raise Your Credit Score, and How to Be Debt Free. You can also learn how she started a particularly lucrative side hustle from home in her bestselling book, Turn Your Computer Into a Money Machine.

Avery Breyer

Avery Breyer

How to Sell Books and Ebooks on Amazon

In this interview, I think you’ll find some great introductory information that can help you to decide if becoming a self-published author would be a good fit for you.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I never know where to begin with this question, but I’ll try to be brief… 🙂

In a nutshell, I’ve always had this crazy dream to travel full-time for as long as possible – I wanted to be a digital nomad. And in mid-2014 my husband and I had what I like to call our “epic mid-life crisis” (we quit our perfectly good jobs, decided to homeschool our kids, and travel the world for as long as we could… a lot of people thought we were crazy to do this!).

Anyways, we needed income to support this if we wanted our travel lifestyle to last more than 6-12 months.

So, since I’d always had a knack for writing, I started with freelance SEO writing on UpWork, which was very successful.

But due to these crazy eye problems I have, depending on freelance work as my main source of income was risky… I needed something that could generate income even if my eyes failed me and I needed to take time off work. And with freelancing, you only get paid when you are actively working. So, this brings me to your next question….

How and when did you get started with selling books/ebooks on Amazon?

It seemed like it might solve my problem of how to generate income that would continue to come in even if I had to stop working for a while due to my eye problems flaring up (i.e. preventing me from actively working).

So, in late 2014 – after reading everything I could get my hands on about self-publishing – I started writing my first book, How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck. I finally published it in March of 2015.

Did you have any previous experience selling books or ebooks?

No, I had zero experience with this. I had to learn it all from scratch.

However, the cool thing is that there are some great blogs and Facebook groups where one can learn from. For example, there’s the 20BooksTo50k Facebook group – this one is my current favorite because it’s still a super active group and the people running it genuinely seem to care about keeping the group drama-free and focused on helping everyone learn to be better at self-publishing.

→ Related reading: How to Write, Create, and Sell an Ebook

What are the benefits for authors who sell on Amazon?

You call the shots – you get 100% control over your covers, your content, and your marketing. The only people you answer to are yourself and your readers… and Amazon, of course.

Amazon has really lowered the barriers to entry in the book publishing world, which is pretty awesome.

How do you promote your books and ebooks?

What works changes from year to year. Amazon’s algorithm gets tweaked, effective book promotion sites come and go, etc.

In my first year, my book marketing efforts were primarily via paying to be featured in 99-cent and free-book newsletters such as Buck Books. I mention Buck Books because I still use them today. Their newsletter can be a bit cheeky at times, but the guy who owns it is a good guy, they charge a reasonable price, and I always get good results with their newsletter promos.

However, I also use Amazon ads extensively. When I started, I spent literally months of full-time effort doing nothing but studying what works for my books and what doesn’t. Some people do it in less time, mind you. But I wanted to make sure I’d maximize the odds of learning what works for me, so I feel it was a good investment of my time.

Do you think it’s possible for new authors to have success without an existing audience outside of Amazon?

Absolutely. The 20BooksTo50k Facebook group is full of people doing just that, even today.

And when I started I had an audience of zero.

Don’t get me wrong – it’ll take hard work. But is it still doable? Definitely.

How have you managed to get so many reviews for your books?

It’s all because of my email list – I have close to 10,000 people on it right now… in the past, it’s been as high as 13k or 14k. I cull it regularly though, to remove anyone who isn’t engaged. There are 2 main reasons for this:

1) It’s important to me that my email content adds value for people, and if they’ve already gotten all that they need from me, then there’s no need to continue to email them… and…

2) The more people on your list, the more money it costs you each month to maintain that list. So from a financial standpoint, it makes no sense to have people on my list whose interests are no longer in alignment with what I have to offer them.

Also, in regards to asking one’s email list for reviews, an important caveat is that you can’t ask people for GOOD reviews (or for 5-star reviews) because understandably, Amazon frowns on that big time.

What you can do is ask for a review, without trying to influence whether the person will say good or bad things about you, and without trying to influence how many stars they’ll give you. As long as one doesn’t try to manipulate things, all should be fine.

What are some of the most important keys to success for new authors/sellers?

Write the best book you know how to write. And if you’re writing in the non-fiction genre, only write about things you know well and can actually help people with.

→ Related reading: Merch by Amazon Review

Do books provide ongoing revenue or do the sales typically drop off quickly?

Unfortunately, for most books, sales do indeed drop off quickly.

I’ve been fortunate that my books provide ongoing revenue… for example, How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck is still going strong almost 5 years after it was first published and even made it to the #119 best-selling book in the entire Amazon store in December 2020. The pre-Christmas season can be really good for book sales.

However, if you look at the new releases that come out every day on Amazon, unfortunately, sales for the vast majority drop off quickly within days or weeks. (You can tell by looking at the Amazon sales rank… the lower the sales rank, the higher the number of books sold.)

What are some of your favorite and least favorite things about this money-making opportunity?

Some people love the process of writing a book… but I’m not gonna lie… I find it mentally tiring to do – it’s a long process that requires a lot of prolonged focus (for me, anyways). And to be completely honest, at times it feels like writing a long research paper in university, except with my books I get to write more conversationally (i.e. it doesn’t have to be stuffy and formal) and I get to choose the topic. 🙂

But my favorite thing about self-publishing is that I love teaching – it is one of my absolute favorite things in the world to do.

And my books allow me to find people who need help with the kind of things I can teach them how to do.

And it’s also allowed me to do more teaching in the form of courses I’ve created to dive deeper into some of the topics covered in my books.

So it’s a win-win for all involved.

As I’m sure your readers can relate, we all have to earn a living, and the only way to get paid for anything is to do something of value to the person paying, right?

One way is to get a job and provide value to one’s employer.

In the case of book publishing, one does it by teaching people something they want to learn (or in the case of fiction, by entertaining people).

For me, although writing the books always feels like a long process for me, what comes after makes it all worth it.

Not only do I love the teaching I get to do because of my books, but I also enjoy the marketing side of things – it’s fun to figure out how to get my books in front of people who will benefit from reading them.

And I frigging LOVE interacting with my readers – they are amazing!

And while preparing the learning materials (i.e. the books and any follow-up courses) is hard work, the fact that they help people really feels good.

In any case, being able to earn a living doing so many things I love to do is a dream come true.

→ Related reading: 100 Amazing Resources for Amazon Sellers

Is there anything else that you want to share?

I like people to have realistic expectations. So a word of caution is that every single online calculator I’ve ever seen that estimates what a book is making drastically over-estimates the income generated by the book.

In almost 5 years of self-publishing, the only times these calculators have even been close to accurate for my own books is in the 1-2 weeks immediately after publication.

This drives me bananas because it sets people up to think they’ll make x amount of money month-after-month from their books if they attain an Amazon sales rank of whatever, when in reality they will earn much, much less. And if one’s goal is to earn a full-time living from one’s books, one has to plan on writing many more books than those online calculators would lead one to believe.

The reason these calculators will likely never be able to estimate book sales accurately is because Amazon doesn’t share their behind-the-scenes data on every book with random people who want to create calculators.

Aside from Amazon, only the authors themselves get this data.

Amazon’s book sales rank is calculated based on a combination of things that calculator creators don’t have access to, including:

  • the # of paid sales
  • the percent royalty the author is earning (might be 30%, might be 70%)
  • the Kindle Unlimited “free” downloads and the number of pages read (the author gets paid less than a penny per page read via this program)
  • if the book is in Amazon Prime, every free Prime download of a book helps improve the book’s sales rank – however, the amount the author is paid for this varies and is not public info

So my advice to anyone reading this is to use the online calculators as entertainment, but do not use them to get an accurate idea of how much a book is actually making.

Other than that, I’d say that if anyone wants to write a book, go for it! Whether you sell a lot with your first book, or you don’t make much at all, you’ll learn a lot from the process that you can apply to your next project.

 

I hope you enjoyed this interview with Avery, and if you’d like to learn more about her, please be sure to visit her site AveryBreyer.com.

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The Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards (2020)https://vitaldollar.com/best-travel-rewards-credit-cards/ https://vitaldollar.com/best-travel-rewards-credit-cards/#respond Fri, 07 Feb 2020 16:38:58 +0000 https://vitaldollar.com/?p=5164 Paying for your necessary expenses with cashback credit cards is an easy way to make some extra money that you can use for anything, including travel. But if you do a lot of traveling or if you’re planning for an upcoming trip, a good travel rewards credit card may give you more bang for your […]

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Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards

Paying for your necessary expenses with cashback credit cards is an easy way to make some extra money that you can use for anything, including travel. But if you do a lot of traveling or if you’re planning for an upcoming trip, a good travel rewards credit card may give you more bang for your buck.

Of course, the benefit of a cashback or cash rewards credit card is the fact that you can use the cash in any way that you choose. With a travel rewards credit card, you’ll need to use your rewards for travel (the details will vary by card). It may be a little more restrictive, but the value of those rewards can often exceed the cash that you would earn with a cashback credit card. There may be other additional benefits or perks for travelers as well, like upgrades.

One of the downsides of travel rewards cards is that they can sometimes be confusing. Cashback cards are more straightforward and you know exactly how much you can earn in terms of a percentage of your purchase. Most travel rewards cards use miles or points, so you’ll need to understand the cash value of those miles or points and how it works. The good news is, it’s not difficult.

This article should help you to find the best travel rewards credit cards and to get a basic understanding of how they work, so you can determine the right one for your own situation.

→ Related reading: See our list of the best cashback credit cards here.

Choosing the Right Travel Rewards Card for You

With so many great choices of the best travel rewards credit cards, it can be a little daunting to choose the right card for you. So, when assessing cards, there are some factors that should be considered.

An Impressive Introductory Bonus

While there is almost always a spending requirement, there are some impressive introductory bonuses to jump-start your points or miles. Just remember that if the spending requirement is too high, you may struggle to qualify, so be realistic about your spending habits.

For example, Chase requires a $4,000 spend in the first three months for the Sapphire Rewards card to receive a $750 bonus. The Capital One® VentureOne® Card only requires that you spend $1,000 to qualify for the bonus, but that bonus is only worth $200. Although the $750 bonus is attractive, if you will struggle to meet this requirement, you would be better off aiming for the lower reward tier.

Redemption Options

There are several different ways that credit cards will allow you to redeem your rewards, and the details will vary by card. Some cards allow you to redeem points/miles by booking hotel rooms or flights. Others may allow you to use your points/miles to cover travel-related expenses that you charge to your card. It’s important to understand these details before you decide which card is right for you.

Special Perks

While the best travel rewards credit cards all offer special perks, look for a card with perks that appeal to your spending habits and lifestyle. These perks will usually increase in importance for those who travel frequently.

No Foreign Transaction Fees

Foreign transaction fees can quickly rack up for frequent travelers, so look for a card that doesn’t charge a fee every time you use the card overseas, unless you are not planning to use the card overseas.

Annual Fees

Some of the best travel rewards credit cards come with very high annual fees. The fee may be worth paying if you use the card enough and earn rewards that far outweigh the annual fee, but it really depends on your own usage (for example, the Platinum Card from American Express has a hefty fee, but you can enjoy some serious rewards that can be well worth it, if it matches your spending habits and travel plans). Be sure that you consider the annual fee when you are evaluating cards, and remember that some cards waive the fee for the first year.

The Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards

1. Chase Sapphire Preferred

Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a must for any travelers who love to dine out and enjoy high rewards. New cardholders can claim a newly upgraded bonus if they spend $4,000 on purchases during the first three months. Qualified cardholders will receive 60,000 bonus points, which is worth $600 of travel, $750 of travel if you redeem the points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. This portal adds 25% more value to Preferred card points, which is a significant perk.

Cardholders can enjoy double points (2 points per dollar) on all travel and restaurant dining, with 1 point for every dollar spent on any other purchase worldwide.

Cardholders of the Chase Sapphire Preferred who also hold a Freedom, Freedom Unlimited or other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards can combine points, so your rewards can add up even more quickly. This makes this card one of the best for big spenders, but casual spenders may find the annual fee ($95) difficult to offset.

In addition to the signup bonus, there are ongoing high reward rates, including the Chase Unlimited Rewards program. This allows you to take advantage of rewards outside of any travel. For example, you can exchange 5,000 points for a $50 gift card, a $50 check, or other eligible merchandise.

Highlights:

  • Earn one point for every dollar spent
  • Earn double points on travel and dining expenses
  • 60,000 points signup bonus, which equals $750 of travel if points are redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • $95 annual fee

Learn more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred

2. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Just like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, cardholders of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card can enjoy $750 in travel dollars as their introductory reward. This and the other benefits are the reason why this card was named Money Magazine’s 2018 Best Premium Travel Credit Card. As a new cardholder, you can earn 50,000 points ($500 in travel) when you spend $4,000 in the first three months. When redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards, this is worth $750.

However, this is not the only reason to choose this card. Based on your account anniversary, you will receive $300 in statement credit per year to cover your travel expenses, including airfare and hotels. You will also earn three points for every dollar spent on qualifying travel and dining, with one point per dollar on everything else. You can also increase the value of your points by 50 percent when redeemed for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, which can save you loads of money.

The Sapphire Preferred Card is the Sapphire Reserve card with some luxury polish, but this is reflected in the $550 annual fee. There is also a $75 charge for each additional authorized user. In addition to the points structure and added bonuses, you can enjoy free access to airport lounges at more than 1,000 locations worldwide.

Highlights:

  • Earn one point for every dollar spent
  • Earn triple points on travel and dining expenses
  • 50,000 points signup bonus, which equals $750 of travel if points are redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • $550 annual fee
  • $300 in statement credit each year for travel-related expenses
  • Free access to airport lounges

Learn more about the Chase Sapphire Reserve

3. Capital One® Venture® Card

Capital One Venture Card

If you love to travel frequently, the Capital One Venture is a very attractive option. In the first year, Capital One will waive the $95 annual fee, and you will receive 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 in the first three months. This is equal to $500 of travel.

You can earn two miles for every $1 spent with no limits and earn 10 miles for every dollar spent when you book a stay with Hotels.com/Venture.

There are no restrictions or blackout dates for redemption, and you can stay at any hotel or fly any airline. It is also possible to transfer miles to more than 12 leading travel loyalty programs.

You’re not limited to claiming your rewards on just airlines, as you can redeem them for a myriad of travel expenses, including theme park tickets, auto rentals, and hotel accommodation.

Another benefit of the Capital One Venture card is that you may be eligible for reimbursement of TSA Pre✓® or Global Entry application fee, which is worth up to $100. The card also does not charge foreign transaction fees. This can add up to some serious savings, as the average foreign transaction fee is 3 percent, so frequent travelers will find this a great incentive.

However, if you’re likely to spend less than $10,000 each year, you may be better with a travel rewards card that doesn’t charge an annual fee.

Highlights:

  • Earn 2 miles (equal to $0.02) for every $1 spent
  • 50,000 mile signup bonus ($500)
  • $95 annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees

Learn more about the Capital One Venture Card

4. The Platinum Card from American Express

American Express Platinum Card

The Platinum Card from American Express isn’t for everyone; there is a sizable $550 annual fee, and you will need to practice a level of fiscal responsibility that can appear daunting. However, if you have strong financial discipline and excellent credit, the Platinum Card does offer some enticing benefits for those who travel enough to overcome the annual fee.

This card is a charge card rather than a credit card. This means that you are expected to pay your balance in full at the end of the billing cycle. There is no spending limit unless specifically requested, and there is no interest rate. Since the card needs to be paid off every month, you can avoid accumulating hundreds of dollars in interest payments.

You can enjoy a 60,000 point bonus if you make $5,000 of purchases in the first three months and ongoing there is five points for every dollar spent on flights booked using American Express Travel or directly with the airline (which can really add up if you fly a lot). There is also one point for every dollar on every other purchase.

Other benefits of the card include Platinum Club Concierge services to help with your travel arrangements, buying gifts, or obtaining event tickets. You will also receive a credit of $85 or $100 for TSA Precheck or Global Entry application fees, respectively. You can earn up to $200 each year in statement credit to cover your travel fees including in-flight meals, luggage costs, or similar charges associated with a qualifying airline. You may also be eligible for up to $200 per year in Uber savings.

The Platinum Card also allows you to enroll in Priority Pass Select and enjoy complimentary access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection, so you can wait for your flight in complete comfort.

Highlights:

  • 60,000 point signup bonus
  • Earn 5 points for every $1 spent on flights
  • Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on other purchases
  • $550 annual fee
  • Many perks for frequent travelers

Learn more about the Platinum Card from American Express

5. Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Capital One VentureOne

The Capital One VentureOne card tends to avoid the spotlight in the shadows of the Venture Rewards card, but there are some unique and generous benefits. There is no annual fee, and you can enjoy 1.25 miles for every dollar spent. While this isn’t as high as the reward structure offered with the Venture Rewards card, there are “no strings.”

VentureOne cardholders, like Venture cardholders, can also earn 10 miles for every dollar spend on Hotels.com/Venture, in addition to the Hotels.com rewards program. However, the most attractive feature is the one-time 20,000 miles bonus if you spend $1,000 within three months of account opening, which is equal to $200 in travel.

You can also transfer your miles to 12 leading travel loyalty programs with no blackout dates, miles expiration or foreign transaction fees. You will enjoy a zero percent introductory rate on purchases for the first twelve months.

The VentureOne is considered a “no strings” card as there is no annual fee, even after the first year, unlike many cards that implement a sizable annual fee. While you may not earn as many miles or points as some other travel reward cards, you don’t need to try and offset against any annual fees. It’s an ideal travel card for those who don’t travel enough to offset a high annual fee from some of the other leading travel rewards cards.

Highlights:

  • 20,000 miles signup bonus ($200 cash value)
  • Earn 1.25 miles for every $1 spent
  • No annual fee

Learn more about the Capital One VentureOne

6. Wells Fargo Propel American Express

Wells Fargo Propel

This relaunched card has been designed as a rewards card with some nice travel-related features. The Wells Fargo Propel American Express offers generous balance transfer rewards, solid benefits, and some additional perks.

You can receive three points for every dollar spent on your travel-related purchases including hotels, flights, homestays, gas stations, transit, car rentals, and rideshares. You can also qualify for three points for every dollar on your dining purchases and on popular streaming services as part of the “eating out and ordering in” category. All your other purchases will attract one point per dollar. This earning structure encourages you to use the card for more than just booking your flights and hotel stays.

There is also up to $600 of cell phone protection against theft and covered damage when you pay your cell phone bill with your card.

Cardholders can also enjoy a 30,000 point welcome bonus if you spend $3,000 in your first three months, which has a cash redemption value of $300.

Additionally, there is an introductory offer of 0% interest on qualifying balance transfers and purchases for the first 12 months. After this period, the interest rate is 15.99- 27.99% variable.

Unlike most other travel rewards cards, this one comes with no annual fee.

Highlights:

  • 30,000 points signup bonus (cash value of $300)
  • Earn 3 points per dollar on travel-related purchases
  • Earn 1 point per dollar on all other purchases
  • No annual fee

Wells Fargo Propel American Express: Learn How to Apply

7. Bank of America Travel Rewards

If you enjoy the simplicity of no restrictions and flat-rate rewards, then the Bank of America Travel Rewards could be the card for you. Every time you use your card, your rewards will be adding up for your next trip. You can enjoy a 25,000 point bonus if you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days, which is equal to $250 in statement credit for your next break.

Unlike many cards in this category, the Bank of America Travel Rewards card does not have an annual fee, and you can enjoy 1.5 points unlimited on every purchase. For the first 12 billing cycles, there is a 0 percent APR.

The Travel Rewards card has no restrictions or blackout dates to redeem your points and booking your trip. The points do not expire, and you have the flexibility to redeem points for statement credit to pay for your rental cars, baggage fees, vacation packages, or cruises.

However, the card offers more innovative ways to earn rewards. If you are a Bank of America banking customer, you will receive a 10 percent bonus just by holding a qualifying checking or savings account. Preferred Rewards clients can increase the rewards by as much as 75 percent depending on the account type.

Cardholders can also access many additional perks, including overdraft protection, Shop Safe and use of Bank of America ATMs and financial centers. There are also no foreign transaction fees, which can add up to some serious savings, given that the average fees are around 3 percent. You can also transfer your points into an eligible savings account, so your reward points can even earn interest.

Highlights:

  • 25,000 points signup bonus ($250 cash value)
  • Earn 1.5 points per $1 spent
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Several perks for those who also have banking accounts with Bank of America

8. Marriott Bonvoy Boundless

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card allows you to earn reward nights at Ritz Carlton or Marriott Starwood properties. You can earn six points for every dollar spent at over 6,000 participating properties, with two points on all other purchases. The points do not expire unless your card is not used for 24 months.

There is also a generous introductory bonus of 100,000 points provided you spend $5,000 within 3 months of opening the account. You can use those points for a stay at a huge number or Marriott-owned hotels and resorts. The number of points needed for a night will vary depending on when and where you want to go.

The card also provides a number of travel-related benefits including Free Night Awards valued at 35,000 points, automatic Silver Elite Status and a path to Gold Status.

The main advantage of this card is that you are generously rewarded when you are brand loyal. You can offset the $95 annual fee with stays in over 6,900 locations including an additional free night on your account anniversary.

There are no foreign transaction fees, and you can enjoy coverage with baggage delay insurance, trip interruption insurance, Visa Signature Concierge Service, and lost luggage reimbursement. This excellent package provides you with coverage for unreimbursed expenses such as hotel stays and meals if your flight is delayed for more than 12 hours. There is also up to $100 per day for five days if your luggage is delayed on your trip. If your bags are damaged or lost, there is up to $3,000 per passenger cover for you and your immediate family.

The card also provides access to the Marriott Bonvoy program, so you can progress from Silver to Gold and Platinum Elite status for stays at participating hotels. Higher tiers attract additional bonuses, including complimentary room upgrades, enhanced in-room internet access and guaranteed late checkout.

Highlights:

  • 100,000 points signup bonus
  • Earn 6 points per $1 spent at participating hotels and resorts
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Free Night Award (up to 35,000 points) every year after your account anniversary
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $95 annual fee

Learn more about the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless

9. American Express Gold Card

American Express Gold Card

The American Express Gold Card has a lot to offer for those whose spending habits will offset the $250 annual fee. For starters, new cardholders can get a bonus of 35,000 membership rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months.

You’ll earn 4x membership rewards points for purchases at restaurants and grocery stores, 3x membership rewards points for flights booked on amextravel.com, and 1x rewards points for all other purchases.

This card also brings some additional perks, with the most noteworthy one being a $100 per year airline fee credit.

Highlights:

  • 35,000 membership rewards points as a signup bonus
  • Earn 4x membership rewards points at grocery stores and restuarants
  • Earn 3x membership rewards points on flights booked at amextravel.com
  • Earn 1x membership rewards points on all other purchases
  • $250 annual fee

Learn more about the American Express Gold Card

Which card is right for you? The answer to that question will depend on your spending and travel habits. If you’re just getting started with travel hacking and you don’t travel extensively, the Capital One VentureOne is a safe choice, in part because it has no annual fee. If you travel a little more frequently, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is worth the $95 annual fee. And if you travel extensively, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is as good of a travel rewards card as you will find.

Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards

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The Best Cashback Credit Cards (2020)https://vitaldollar.com/best-cashback-credit-cards/ https://vitaldollar.com/best-cashback-credit-cards/#respond Fri, 07 Feb 2020 15:31:49 +0000 https://vitaldollar.com/?p=5114 If you’re serious about rewards, the credit card you choose should offer cashback. These types of credit cards offer a way to earn cashback on your purchases, and this can add up to some serious savings. While you need to use any credit card smartly, by choosing a card aligning with your spending habits and […]

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Best Cash Back Credit Cards

If you’re serious about rewards, the credit card you choose should offer cashback. These types of credit cards offer a way to earn cashback on your purchases, and this can add up to some serious savings. While you need to use any credit card smartly, by choosing a card aligning with your spending habits and credit history, you could enjoy substantial rewards.

→ Related reading: How to Maximize Your Credit Card Rewards and Cashback

The Types of Cashback Cards

The average American has four credit cards, and with hundreds of options in the marketplace, it is crucial to choose the right cards to suit your unique circumstances. So, before you jump straight to an application, you need to understand the different types of cashback cards to make the right choice for you. Broadly speaking, cashback credit cards can be divided into four categories. These are:

Flat Rate

These cards offer a fixed percentage of cashback on all your purchases, regardless of amounts or spending categories. For example, the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card offers 1.5% on every purchase as unlimited cashback.

Tiered

With these cards, the amount of cashback will vary depending on a fixed spending category. This could mean that you get 6% on your supermarket purchases, but only 1% on all your other purchases.

Rotating

These credit cards offer a flat rate on all purchases, but there are bonus cashback offers on any purchases made in a category designated in that quarter. Generally, the cardholder needs to activate quarterly to receive the bonus cashback. These bonuses are often capped at specific spending levels, but as the categories change each quarter, you can gain some significant rewards. A good example of this is the Chase Freedom card. This card offers 5% cash back on the first $1500 spent in the bonus category with 1% on all other purchases.

Cardholder’s Choice

These are not common, but there are more and more of these cards being launched. Cardholder’s choice cards are a combination of tiered rewards and rotating categories with some customer choice as an added extra.

Generally, the reward structure involves tiers, with spending caps, but you may also be able to choose a couple of categories where you can earn extra rewards. A good example is the U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card. This allows the cardholder to earn 5% cashback in purchases in two categories of the customer’s choice. Additionally, the cardholder can choose another category to earn 2% cashback, and all other purchases earn 1% cashback.

See our other top credit card recommendations here:

The Best Cashback Credit Cards

Now, let’s take a look at our favorite cashback credit cards. This list includes cards from all four of the categories mentioned above.

1. Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Quicksilver

This is a flat-rate cashback reward card that is great for those who enjoy cashback on autopilot. You don’t need to plan your purchases to fit in a particular category as you’ll just receive a set percentage. The Quicksilver offers 1.5% cashback on all purchases with no spending cap.

Another feature that makes the Quicksilver one of the best cashback credit cards is that there are no foreign transaction fees. This makes this a great choice of card for those who enjoy traveling abroad.

The Quicksilver has a 0 percent interest introductory offer for 15 months, and there is a $150 bonus if you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months of membership.

This card has no annual fee.

Highlights:

  • Flat 1.5% cashback on all purchases
  • $150 signup bonus
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees

Learn more about the Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card

2. Chase Freedom

Chase Freedom

The Chase Freedom offers rotating rewards. The categories rotate each quarter, and you can enjoy 5% cashback in the specific category that is featured for that quarter. So, if you plan your spending strategically, you can enjoy some serious savings. This card also allows you to accumulate Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which can be combined with your other Chase cards for maximum benefits. You can earn 5% cashback on purchases up to $1,500 in the quarterly bonus categories and 1% on all other purchases.

There is an introductory period of 15 months from the account opening with 0 percent APR on all purchases and balance transfers. There is also a $150 bonus if you spend $500 during the first three months.

Highlights:

  • 5% cash back on purchases in rotating categories
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • $150 signup bonus
  • No annual fee

Compare this card to other cashback cards

3. Chase Freedom Unlimited

Chase Freedom Unlimited

The Freedom Unlimited card exemplifies the flexibility and other benefits of flat-rate reward cards, hence its inclusion on this list of the best cashback credit cards.

Like the Chase Freedom, this card offers a $150 signup bonus if you spend at least $500 within the first months after opening the account. Where it differs from the Chase Freedom card is the cashback details. Instead of using revolving categories, the Chase Freedom Unlimited offers a flat 1.5% cashback on all purchases, making it a great everyday card for the majority of your purchases.

There is also a 0% interest rate for the first 15 months on all purchases and balance transfers, but a balance transfer fee does apply.

Like the Chase Freedom card, you’ll be able the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal to get more value out of your rewards/cashback.

Highlights:

  • Flat 1.5% cashback on all purchases after the first year
  • $150 signup bonus
  • No annual fee

Learn more about the Chase Freedom Unlimited

4. Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Savor Card

This tiered cashback card makes the list of the top cashback cards because it offers great rewards for both cooking at home and dining out. With the Savor Cash Rewards Card you can earn an unlimited 4% cashback on all dining and entertainment purchases with 2% cashback on grocery store purchases and 1% cashback on all other purchases.

Capital One offers a $300 bonus if you spend $3,000 in the first three months, and there are no foreign transaction fees. The annual fee is set at $0 for the first year, but it increases to $95 per year after that first year.

Highlights:

  • Earn 4% cash back on dining and entertainment
  • Earn 2% cash back at grocery stores
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • $300 signup bonus
  • $95 annual fee (waived for the first year)

Learn more about the Savor Cash Rewards Card

5. Capital One SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One SavorOne

The Capital One SavorOne is fairly similar to the Savor card, but with some key differences. The SavorOne card comes with slightly lower rewards, but also has no annual fee. Determining which card is best for you will depend on your spending habits and how much cashback you can earn with the card.

For starters, the SavorOne’s signup bonus is $150 if you spend $500 in the first 3 months (compared to a potential $300 from the Savor card). With the SavorOne, you’ll earn 3% cashback on dining and entertainment, 2% cashback at grocery stores, and 1% cashback on all other purchases.

Highlights:

  • Earn 3% cashback on dining and entertainment
  • Earn 2% cashback at grocery stores
  • Earn 1% cashback on all other purchases
  • $150 signup bonus
  • No annual fee

Learn more about the SavorOne Cash Rewards Card

6. U.S Bank Cash+ Visa Signature

U.S. Bank Cash+

This innovative card allows you to decide where you’ll earn the highest percentages of cashback. This means that you can tailor your U.S Bank Cash+ card to fit your spending habits perfectly, with the option to change your settings each quarter. There is no annual fee and you can receive a $150 signup bonus if you spend $500 in purchases in the first 90 days.

The reward structure is 5% cashback on $2,000 of combined purchases in two categories of your choice, with 2% cashback on one “everyday” category of your choice, such as groceries or gas. Any additional purchases attract a 1% cashback reward.

Highlights:

  • Earn 5% cash back on purchases in two categories that you choose (up to $400 in cashback per year)
  • Earn 2% cashback on purchases in one “everyday” category
  • Earn 1% cashback on all other purchases
  • $150 signup bonus
  • No annual fee

Learn more about the U.S. Bank Cash+ Card

7. Citi Double Cash

If you’re good at paying your credit card balance off each month, then the Citi Double Cash could be a great card for you. If you have excellent or good credit, this is a fantastic flat-rate card that could help you to rethink the best ways to earn rewards.

You can earn 1% cashback on every purchase with an additional 1% cashback as you pay the balance, for a total of 2% cashback. To earn your cashback, the minimum due amount must be paid on time. There is no annual fee, and you can enjoy a 0% introductory rate for the first 18 months on balance transfers. This is more generous than the standard one year or less introductory rates offered with most cards for balance transfers. The 18 month period could be helpful if you are planning a major purchase and need time to make payments.

This double cash reward is a different structure compared to most reward cards, so you will be able to think about how you accumulate points differently.

This card also provides access to the Citi Price Rewind Program. This involves Citi searching for lower prices, and if the same item is found at a retailer’s site within 60 days, you will be refunded the price difference. This is limited to $300 per item and $1,200 per year, but it is an excellent bonus for accumulating rewards.

Highlights:

  • Earn 2% cashback on every purchase (as long as you make at least the minimum payment on time each month)
  • Currently, no signup bonus offered
  • No annual fee

8. Wells Fargo Cash Wise

Wells Fargo Cash Wise

This card is a flat-rate cashback credit card with the added bonus of cell phone protection covering you against theft to your phone and eligible damage when you pay your cell phone bill with your Cash Wise card.

If you spend $500 in the first three months, you’ll earn a $150 bonus, and you can earn an unlimited 1.5% cashback on all your purchases. You can also earn 1.8 percent cash back on your qualifying digital wallet purchases such as Apple Pay or Google Pay throughout the first 12 months.

Highlights:

  • Flat 1.5% cashback on all purchases
  • $150 signup bonus
  • No annual fee

Compare this card to other cashback cards

9. Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express

Blue Cash Every Day

The Blue Cash Everyday Card has no annual fee and a $150 bonus if you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months.

The amount of cashback that you’ll earn will vary depending on what you are purchasing. You’ll get 3% cashback at grocery stores (on spending up to $6,000 per year), 2% cashback at gas stations and select department store, and 1% cashback on all other purchases.

There is also a 0% APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months.

Highlights:

  • Earn 3% cashback at grocery stores
  • Earn 2% cashback at gas stations and select department stores
  • Earn 1% cashback on all other purchases
  • $150 signup bonus
  • No annual fee

Learn more about the Blue Cash Everyday Card

10. Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

American Express Blue Cash Preferred

The Blue Cash Preferred Card may be the right card for you, depending on your spending. The cashback offerings are very generous, but there is an annual fee of $95 that you will need to keep in mind. In order for this card to work for you, you’ll need to spend enough that the cashback more then compensates for the annual fee.

You’ll earn a whopping 6% cashback on up to $6,000 spent at grocery stores each year. If you do spend the full $6,000, that would equal $360 in cashback. You’ll also earn an unlimited 3% cashback at gas stations, and 1% cashback on all other purchases.

New cardholders are also able to earn a $250 signup bonus by spending $1,000 within the first 3 months.

Highlights:

  • Earn 6% cashback at grocery stores (capped)
  • Earn 3% cashback at gas stations (unlimited)
  • Earn 1% cashback on all other purchases
  • $250 signup bonus
  • $95 annual fee

Learn more about the Blue Cash Preferred Card

11. Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

Journey Student Rewards from Capital One

The Journey Student Rewards is a great card for students looking to build credit and earn a few rewards. This card rewards good behavior to help develop lifelong, healthy financial habits. However, if you’re going to use this card, you should plan to pay the balance in full each month as the APR is higher than many other cards.

Another attractive feature of the Journey Student Rewards card is you can set up the account to receive email reminders and text alerts to help you to keep track of all your spending. You can earn 1% cashback on all purchases with 1.25% cashback when the monthly bill is paid on time. You can also access a higher line of credit when your first five monthly payments have been paid on time. This card is also available to those with average or fair credit.

Highlights:

  • Specifically for students
  • Earn 1% cashback on all purchases
  • Earn 1.25% cashback when the monthly bill is paid on time
  • No annual fee

Learn more about the Journey Student Rewards Card

Best Practices for Using a Cashback Credit Card

Now that you’ve had access to the information on the top cashback credit cards, you should be aware of the best practices for your new card. Here is some expert advice to help you rack up rewards and make the best use of the card.

Consider Change

Your circumstances are likely to change constantly, so you’re likely to need a card that can change too. You should review your spending periodically to ensure that your card is still working for you. If things aren’t working out, look around for a card that is better suited to your circumstances.

For example, if you’ve changed jobs and no longer drive miles and miles to work, a card offering high cashback rewards on your gas station purchases may no longer be the best deal for you. You may be better suited to a card that offers higher rewards on other areas of spending.

Use the Best Card for Each Purchase

This sounds simple, but there are different cards that are better for different things. So, before you pay for your purchase, think about which is the best card for that situation. Don’t just grab the first card in your wallet, and use the card that will offer the most rewards for that purchase.

→ Related reading: 11 Ways to Maximize Your Credit Card Rewards and Cash Back

Pay the Balance with Each Billing Cycle

Nothing offsets rewards as quickly as allowing interest charges to mount up. If you want to make the most of the cashback rewards, you’ll need to be responsible with your credit card and ensure that the balance is paid in full each month. Don’t spend more than you can afford just to accumulate rewards, as it will end up costing you far more in the long term.

Cash, Points, or Miles?

Whether you choose a card offering cash, points, or miles will depend on your goals and lifestyle. Just remember to compare apples to apples, so look at dollar equivalents of the rewards to determine which is best for you.

For example, if you don’t fly frequently or stay in hotels, you’re not likely to enjoy the benefits of an airline-branded credit card as much as a jet setter would. In this scenario, a cashback program will be far quicker and better than trying to accumulate miles for flights or hotel stays. You’ll also be able to spend the money on anything you want.

Cash back credit cards can offer fantastic benefits and fit seamlessly into your habits and lifestyle. If you want to compare cashback credit cards to find the best option for you, please visit this page at CardRatings.com.

READ NEXT: How to Stack Rewards and Cash Back

Best Cash Back Credit Cards

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The Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses (2020)https://vitaldollar.com/best-small-business-credit-cards/ https://vitaldollar.com/best-small-business-credit-cards/#respond Fri, 07 Feb 2020 12:47:34 +0000 https://vitaldollar.com/?p=5274 Whether you run an established small business or work as a freelancer, it’s vital to keep your personal and business finances separate. It can quickly get muddy when you charge your monthly business expenses and drinks with friends to the same credit card. A business credit card can make your life easier, particularly when you […]

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Best Small Business Credit Cards

Whether you run an established small business or work as a freelancer, it’s vital to keep your personal and business finances separate. It can quickly get muddy when you charge your monthly business expenses and drinks with friends to the same credit card.

A business credit card can make your life easier, particularly when you need to file your taxes and could even save you thousands each year. And not only will it make your life easier, but adding a business credit card to your wallet may allow you to earn more cashback and rewards. Most of the cards listed here offer signup bonuses (if you meet the listed qualifications), which can be a very convincing reason to pick up a new card.

Here we’ve compiled a list of the best credit cards for small businesses.

See more of our top credit card recommendations:

1. Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

Capital One Spark Cash for Business

If you want a straightforward way to enjoy cashback on your business spending with no tiered systems or complicated terms, then the Spark Cash for Business could be the solution. From paying your employee phone bills to purchasing office supplies, you can earn 2 percent cash back on every purchase.

Capital One also offers a $500 bonus if you spend $4,500 during the first three months. You will also enjoy a $0 annual fee introduction rate for the first year before it increases to $95 per year.

Capital One also provides free employee cards, quarterly and year-end summaries with itemized reports, and no foreign transaction fees. Other bonuses of the Spark Cash for Business include emergency and travel assistance services, extended warranty protection, and auto rental collision damage coverage.

The Spark Cash for Business offers a rewards program with no caps, sign ups, expiration dates, or rotating categories. However, if you spend less than a thousand dollars a month, you may be better suited to a card that doesn’t have an annual fee. While there is the potential to earn more cashback if you tend to spend in one particular category, typically, these cards only offer 1 percent on categories outside these categories. Additionally, these types of cards typically have a spending cap. The Spark Cash for Business card offers double the baseline 1 percent on every purchase with no need to worry about categories and spending caps. This simplifies your spending to keep everything simple.

Highlights:

  • 2% cashback on every purchase
  • $500 signup bonus
  • $95 annual fee (waived for the first year)
  • No foreign transaction fees

Learn more about the Spark Cash for Business Card and compare it to other business credit cards

2. Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business

Capital One Spark Cash Select

Like the Cash for Business card above, the Capital One Spark Cash Select for Business offers fantastic simplicity. The benefits are easy to understand, making it simple to take full advantage of the offers. If you don’t do a great deal of traveling, this card can provide a valuable addition to your business finance package.

Although there isn’t a fantastically lucrative intro offer, there is the potential to save hundreds or thousands of dollars. You can enjoy 0 percent on all your purchases during the first nine months, before the rate increases to a variable rate. There is also a $200 bonus if you spend $3,000 in the first three months.

This isn’t as attractive as the Spark Cash for Business, as you receive 1.5 percent cashback, but there is no annual fee. So you don’t need to worry about offsetting an annual fee with your cashback.

You can also request additional cards if you have employees with the authority to purchase on the company credit card with no charge. This means that multiple people can be racking up rewards.

The Spark Cash Select for Business also offers quarterly and year-end summaries, no foreign transaction fees, and free fraud protection. You can also enjoy Visa Business Benefits including travel and emergency assistance, purchase security, extended protection, and auto rental collision damage waiver.

This card is fantastic for new business owners who don’t frequently travel and would prefer a card with no annual fee. You’ll be saving at least $95 per year, and the introductory bonus is easily attainable. Additionally, there is no limit on cashback earnings.

Highlights:

  • 1.5% cashback on every purchase
  • $200 signup bonus
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees

Learn more about the Spark Cash Select for Business Card and compare it to other business credit cards

3. Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business

Capital One Spark Miles Select

This is the perfect card for small business owners who occasionally travel, but also want to keep budget in mind. The Spark Miles Select for Business might not be as well-known as other business cards on the market, but if you have a modest monthly budget, this card is an attractive proposition. Unlike many cards, which require thousands of dollars spend to earn rewards or balance the annual fee, there are some distinct perks to the Spark Miles Select for Business.

You can earn 1.5 miles for every dollar, with a 20,000-mile bonus if you spend an average of $1,000 a month for the first three months. This translates into approximately $200 of travel credit, with no seat restrictions or blackout dates. You can even enjoy free employee cards if needed.

Capital One also offers an introductory rate of 0 percent for the first nine months, travel and emergency assistance, no foreign transaction fees, extended warranty protection, purchase security, and auto rental damage waiver.

The Spark Miles Select for Business is one of the few business travel reward cards with no annual fee. So, you don’t need to offset your rewards against $95 or more per year. Additionally, your bonus miles and rewards don’t expire, and you’re not limited to certain companies. When you do travel, you will have access to the Visa Business Benefits package for complete protection.

Highlights:

  • 1.5 miles for every dollar spent
  • $200 worth of travel as a signup bonus (20,000 miles)
  • No annual fee

Learn more about the Spark Miles Select for Business Card and compare it to other business credit cards

4. Chase Ink Business Preferred

Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

The Chase Ink Business Preferred card is a popular choice for good reason. While there is a $95 annual fee, the signup bonus quickly makes up for this modest expense. There are also impressive redemption offers and quick point earning potential. All of these elements can help small business owners enjoy serious savings.

When you spend $5,000 in the first three months of account opening, you’ll receive an 80,000 point bonus, which is worth $1,000 in travel or $800 cash. This is in addition to the 3 points for each dollar spent on travel and selected purchases and 1 point for every dollar on everything else.

You can redeem your points towards hotels, cruises, car rental, and airfares or exchange them for cash transfers or gift cards. You can also transfer your points to participating travel programs with a full one-to-one value. This means that one Ultimate Rewards point offers one partner mile or point.

The Chase Ink Business Preferred offers a great package for the modest annual fee. There is cell phone insurance for your primary phone number and any employee numbers on the same account. Additionally, there are some fantastic business categories that can be beneficial for small business owners, including social media advertising and search engine marketing with a cap of $150,000 annually. However, if the bonus categories don’t fit your business needs, or you’re likely to spend more than the annual $150k threshold, you may prefer a card offering maximum cashback. After the cap, you’ll earn only one point per dollar.

Highlights:

  • 3 points per dollar spent on travel and select purchases
  • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases
  • 80,000 point signup bonus (worth $1,000 in travel or $800 in cash)
  • $95 annual fee

Learn more about the Chase Ink Business Preferred and compare it to other business credit cards

5. Chase Ink Business Cash

Chase Ink

If you’re a small business owner who is looking for great rewards for actual business spending, with flexible rewards, no annual fee, and a low APR, then the Chase Ink Business Cash could be just what you’re looking for. New card owners can enjoy 0 percent APR on purchases during the first 12 months, and bonus cashback offers. If you spend $3,000 in the first three months, you’ll receive a $500 cashback bonus.

The Chase Ink Business Cash card offers flexible rewards tracked as points. There is 5 percent cashback on your first $25,000 spent per year in combined purchases of office supplies, and phone and television services. There is also 2 percent cash back on restaurants and gas station purchases up to a $25,000 cap and 1 percent on all other purchases.

Once you reach 2,000 points, they can be redeemed for statement credit or electronic deposit to checking or savings accounts. You can also redeem your points for travel and gift cards, but these redemptions are at a rate of one point per penny. So each 100 points is worth $1. Additionally, there is no expiration on your points, and you can have employee cards at no extra charge.

The Chase Ink Business Cash card can also be managed through the Ink Mobile App, so you can receive instant purchase alerts and avoid unpleasant surprises. This allows you to manage employee spending, which will help you to stay on top of all your business expenses. After the first 12 months, the rate increases, so it is important to properly manage your account and pay off the card each month, or your rewards will be quickly absorbed by the interest charges.

Highlights:

  • 5% cashback for office supplies, phone, and TV (capped)
  • 2% cashback at restaurants and gas stations (capped)
  • 1% cashback on all other purchases
  • $500 signup bonus
  • No annual fee

Learn more about the Chase Ink Business Cash and compare it to other business credit cards

6. American Express Business Gold Card

American Express Business Gold

The Business Gold Card from American Express is a high rewards charge card that is geared towards small business. There are generous perks and Membership Rewards points. You can receive 4 points on two select categories with a $150k cap. This does mean that you need to choose your categories where your business will spend the most every month. You can also enjoy 25% points back after you use points for part or all of an eligible flight booked through Amex Travel, up to a limit of 250,000 points per calendar year.

There is also an introductory offer, where new cardholders can receive 35,000 membership rewards points with $5,000 in eligible purchases during the first three months of membership.

You can redeem your points with over 500 brands or gift cards, and while the $295 annual fee is higher than many business credit cards, this may be offset by the fantastic rewards package (depending on your spending habits).

The Business Gold Card does differ from a conventional credit card. American Express offers a “no pre-set spending limit,” but this doesn’t mean that you have unlimited spending power. Instead, the card adjusts your limit according to your credit record, financial resources, and payment history. This means that you shouldn’t be tempted to roll over balances, accumulating interest.

The Business Gold Card is ideal for your business-related purchases, particularly travel and shipping, but the card is geared towards small businesses that routinely make large purchases. Since this is a charge card, there are no interest charges, but you will need to plan for each building cycle. Other perks include no foreign transaction fees.

Highlights:

  • Earn more points on purchases in your choice of categories
  • 35,000 membership rewards points in you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $295 annual fee

Learn more about the American Express Business Gold and compare it to other business credit cards

7. Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business

Capital One Spark Miles for Business

The Spark Miles for Business may not have all the perks of some other business cards, but the simple rewards program is an ideal fit for many small business owners. The enticing welcome bonus allows you to earn 50,000 miles (equal to $500 in travel) if you spend $4,500 in the first three months. There is also unlimited 2x rewards on every purchase, and the miles don’t expire.

The Spark Miles for Business also has an introductory $0 annual fee, which allows you to try out all the features and perks before the $95 annual fee kicks in. Given the easy redemption options and rewards earnings, it should be very simple to offset this fee from the second year onwards.

The most attractive feature of this card is the flexible rewards program. You can log into your account to make travel plans using your points, or you can be reimbursed for previous travel purchases. The additional features include quarterly and year-end summaries, a mobile app to manage your purchases, downloadable purchase records, free employee cards, roadside dispatch, purchase protection, no foreign transaction fees, lost luggage reimbursement and car rental insurance. You’ll also find that there are no airline or seat restrictions or blackout dates to worry about when redeeming your points. However, if you spend less than a thousand dollars a month, you may be better suited to a card with no annual fee.

This card allows small business owners to keep costs under control. You can monitor your business expenses without needing to hold an accounting degree. It is simple to make the most of the flexible redemption program, and the introductory bonus is very generous.

Highlights:

  • Earn 2 miles for every dollar spent
  • 50,000-mile bonus (worth $500 in travel)
  • $95 annual fee

Learn more about the Spark Miles for Business and compare it to other business credit cards

8. Business Platinum Card from American Express

American Express Business Platinum

While the Business Platinum Card may not be right for every small business owner, it can be the perfect card for those who travel extensively. It’s important to note that this is a charge card, not a traditional credit card, so you can’t carry a balance from month-to-month. Additionally, there is a $595 annual fee (no cost for additional employee cards). However, those who travel a lot will be able to offset the cost of the annual fee, and then some.

You can earn 50,000 membership rewards points after you spend $10,000 and another 25,000 membership rewards points by spending another $10,000 on qualified purchases with the first 3 months.

You’ll also earn 5 points per $1 spent on flights and pre-paid hotels on amextravel.com, 1.5 points per dollar on purchases $5,000 or more, and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.

When you’re traveling, you can use your membership rewards points to pay for a first-class or business-class flight and receive 35% of the points back. Or when you book a flight in any class with your pre-selected qualifying airline you can also get 35% of your points back. With these offers you can get up to 500,000 points back per year.

Other perks include access to more than 1,000 airport lounges in 500 different airports, complimentary room upgrades, free breakfast, late checkout, free wifi, and more.

Learn more about the Business Platinum Card from American Express and compare it to other business credit cards

9. American Express Blue Business Cash Card

American Express Blue Business Cash Card

The American Express Blue Business Cash Card may be a good fit for small businesses that have low expenses. This card has no annual fee, which is a major perk. Additionally, you’ll earn 2% cashback on all purchases up to $50,000 per year, and 1% cashback on purchases after you’ve spent $50,000.

The lack of an annual fee and high cashback make it an attractive card, but if your business has expenses significantly exceeding $50,000 per year, you could do better with another card.

Currently, there is no signup bonus for this card.

For small businesses just getting started, this may be a solid choice.

Highlights:

  • No annual fee
  • 2% cashback on spending up to $50,000 per year, 1% cashback on all purchases beyond that.

Learn more about the American Express Blue Business Cash Card and compare it to other business credit cards

 

The right card can be a boon for small business owners. However, the best credit cards for small businesses offer rewards that work with your spending habits. Be sure to take the time to consider your business honestly, so you can choose a card that will offer you the best rewards for your business spending. You will need to think about the bulk of your business spending, whether your spending will be sufficient to offset an annual fee and whether you prefer points, travel rewards, or cash.

The right small business credit card will offer plenty of benefits, perks, and options that will provide rewards for your typical business spending. It will also allow you to separate your business and personal spending to make it easier to monitor your transactions and simplify your accounting. Just be sure to choose a card that offers maximum benefits for your usual business spending. There is no point in choosing a card that requires you to change your spending patterns, or you will not be able to harness the reward potential.

Compare more business credit cards here.

Best Small Business Credit Cards

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