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Money!

One way to build a safety net and prepare for the future is to use certificates of deposit (CDs). These cash products are generally considered relatively safe ways to preserve your capital, create and emergency fund, or grow wealth (albeit at a snail’s pace). Before you commit to a CD, though, it is important to consider some important points.

Choosing a CD that works best for your circumstances is vital if you want to meet your goals. Here are some suggestions for choosing a CD:

Consider your financial goals:

Look at where you are with your finances, and where you want to be. Do you have a financial plan? Consult your plan and your goals to determine whether a CD can help you reach your goals. Also, consider what role you want cash products, including CDs, to play in your investment portfolio or your emergency fund.

Know the maturity date:

Make sure you are clear on the maturity date. If you plan to use a CD ladder for an emergency fund, you want to make sure your maturity dates line up so that you get access to the money with regularity. If there is a long maturity date, make sure that you are okay with having that money tied up for the length of time in question.

Confirm the interest policy:

You also want to know the interest policy. Fin out what rate you will receive, and whether it is variable, changing with the market. You also want to know how you will be paid interest. Some banks add the interest back into the CD, while others issue interest payments on a regular basis (monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, annually). Also find out whether the payment is issued via electronic funds transfer or by check. Understand whether there are special schedules, steps or bonuses.

Understand early withdrawal:

Know the penalties charged for early withdrawal. Most banks will charge you a penalty if you withdraw money from your CD before it matures. This can be quite a hefty penalty, destroying a good part of your investment if you are not careful. There are some banks that offer no-penalty CDs, but these are few and far between, and the yields are lower.

Know about the call options:

Some CDs come with call options. It is vital to know what sort of call option is on a CD. For instance, if the CD is “non-callable for a year”, that means that for a year, the bank has to leave the CD alone. However, after one year the bank can actually redeem the CD anytime. So, if interest rates fall, the bank can call CD after the “non-callable” period ends, redeeming the principal and unpaid accrued interest to you, and forcing you to get a new CD at a possibly lower rate. However, a call option does not affect the maturity date. You do not have the same privilege to call the CD as the bank does. If you try, before the maturity date, you will be stuck with penalties.

CDs can be a good fit for your financial plan — as long as you understand the policies that go with them. Make sure you double check the fine print, and that you are clear on maturity dates, call options and penalties before committing to a CD.

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Your credit score greatly influences your ability to qualify for loans and the APR of the loans that you do qualify for. By using the credit you currently have responsibly, you can help to improve your credit score. Additionally, you can take several corrective measures to get your credit score back on track.

Revolving Credit

One of the primary factors that affect your credit score is the amount of revolving credit you have available on your accounts. Generally, the more revolving credit available, the higher your credit score will be. Prepaid credit cards, however, do not affect your percentage of available revolving credit. Since closing credit card accounts will reduce your percentage of available credit, it is not a good idea to close credit card accounts if you want to improve your credit score.

Inquiries

Every time you apply for a new credit account, your credit report will list the application as a credit inquiry. Excessive inquiries will lower your credit score. Therefore, you should only apply for new credit accounts sparingly, to avoid damaging your credit score. Applying for prepaid credit cards does not count as a new inquiry on your credit report so this is a useful product to have if you need to buy things online but have a poor credit rating.

Timely Payment

Making on time payments is the single most important factor to building and maintaining a good credit history and credit score. Always pay your credit accounts prior to the due date to avoid late payments. If you must pay your account late, pay the account prior to the 30th day after the account becomes past due. Creditors will not report late accounts to the credit bureau until after the account passes this 30-day threshold. Prepaid credit cards do not require you to make payments and therefore, do not affect your credit score.

Types of Credit

Credit bureaus also consider the types of credit you use when calculating your credit score. You want to establish a good balance between revolving accounts such as credit cards and instalment accounts such as mortgages and car loans. Avoid opening new credit accounts from finance companies, as these loans will generally have an adverse impact on your overall credit score.

Challenge Information

Any negative information on your credit report will adversely affect your credit score. Negative information should only remain on your credit report for seven or 10 years, depending on the type of negative information. Periodically, request a free copy of your credit reports from the major credit bureaus.

Dispute any inaccurate or outdated negative information that appears on the credit report. By law, credit bureaus must investigate disputed information within 30 business days. Any disputed information that the credit bureau cannot confirm will automatically be deleted from the credit report. Many third party companies can assist you with removing inaccurate and outdated information from your credit report. However, it is not necessary to use the services of these third party companies to initiate a dispute.

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Online banking has simplified life in more ways than we have imagined. It is possible to perform banking transaction from the comfort of one’s home and all that is needed is a computer and Internet connection. It is almost like having a branch at your doorstep all through the day and night where you can do any transaction. Most banks today understand the importance of this feature and they provide it to all their customers. One such bank is Zions Bank that optimally uses technology to bring a good banking experience to its customers.

With Zions Bank Internet banking, you can access all your account information in a safe and convenient way. Any information pertaining to any of the accounts at Zions Bank can be retrieved at the click of a mouse. This will give you a powerful tool to have a better control over your finances. Besides, funds can be transferred easily with Zions Bank online banking. You can do other banking transactions as well like reordering checks. It is even possible to get email alerts and notifications if the balance in your checking account goes below a certain amount.

Zions Bank electronic banking also makes it possible for you to pay your bills quickly and easily. You can schedule your payments on a specific date and the bank will automatically pay it from your checking account. You can use this feature to get monthly bank statements and there is no more need for paper and postage charges. All these features make it a convenient way to bank.

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The Zion Bank internet banking has its roots back into the early Mormon settlement in Utah. That church’s involvement with this bank ended in 1960, and it is now considered a regular type of bank, taking deposits from anyone who wishes to do business with them.

The Zion Bank online banking is available 24 hours a day, just as their mobile banking. This service is similar to what the larger online banks are offering that include the viewing of your account balances, recent transactional history, and transferring of funds. This is for savings, checking, certificates of deposit, credit card accounts, and loans. You will also be able to view all of your canceled checks online.

There is also a special Visa Purchase alert that will notify you by text or email if your debit card is used in a transaction involving a service station, declined transaction, foreign transaction, online, phone, or mail purchase.

The Zion Bank electronic banking also includes the online bill paying service for those with a checking account. With this service, you can pay anyone in America any amount you have on deposit in your account. With it, you have the ability to schedule payments in advance so you can better control your money. You can also receive your bills online so all of them will be in one place when you are ready to deal with them. Once a bill is paid by Zion Bank, you will receive an email confirmation that a payment has been delivered.

You can also check out Zion Bank certificate of deposit rates here at Zion Bank CD rates.