Big List of Ways To Protect Your Credit: Free Credit Monitoring, Credit Locks, Fraud Alerts, and Credit Freezes (Updated 2018)

“The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone.”

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Updated. After the 2017 Equifax hack that affected half of all Americans, there was renewed interest in the various ways you can monitor and/or protect your credit report. Below is a summary of the options available.

Free credit freezes mandated by 9/21/18, some available now. By law, all three credit bureaus must offer free online credit report freezes (and thaws) to consumers by Friday, September 21st, 2018. TransUnion and Equifax actually have this live already (see below), while Experian has chosen to wait until they are forced to comply. In addition, the same law requires that free credit freezes also be made available for children under 16 years old. (I would warn folks that you have to send in multiple sensitive personal documents like birth certificate and possibly notarized forms to verify your kids’ identities. Makes sense but a lot of work.)

Free credit reports. Everyone should take advantage of the free copy of their credit reports (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion) and their bank report (ChexSystems, TeleCheck) available every 12 months. I would also add LexisNexis to the ones I personally check. This free access is mandated by the government. Here again is my Big List of Free Consumer Reports.

Free credit monitoring. There are many offers nowadays for free credit scores and partial snapshots of your credit report. These are provided by private services, either in partnership with or as a subsidiary of the major credit bureaus. In addition, some offer credit monitoring, where they will e-mail or text you when a significant change occurs (new accounts, etc). I choose to take advantage of this, knowing it is in exchange for some ads. Here’s a recipe for credit monitoring coverage across all three major bureaus:

Free credit locks. The credit bureaus now have a feature that allows you to instantly “lock” and “unlock” the credit report of a specific credit bureau and thus prevent access. These are nice because you can unlock it for a day or so when you need, but otherwise keep it locked. Again, if they are free, they are probably supported by ads and/or upgrades (which is fine by me, I just decline the occasional upsell and it stays free).

Free Fraud Alerts. If you are concerned that your personal information is compromised (you should be!), you can any one of the three major credit bureaus and ask for a “Fraud Alert” to be placed on your credit report. This supposedly lets all potential creditors know that you are at high risk and that they need to do extra identity verification. Be sure that they have your current information as they will call you every time someone tries to check your credit report.

(Update: I’ve had a Fraud Alert on my account for over 12 months now, and I have not seen any special precautions taken despite applying for multiple credit cards during that time. No verification phone calls, no snail mail letters, etc. I wouldn’t depend on a Fraud Alert to stop any criminal activities.)

This is free of charge. It will expire automatically after 1 year but you can call in and renew by submitting a new request within 30 days of your current alert expiring. If you are a documented victim of identity theft, you can ask for an Extended Fraud Alert of up to 7 years. By law, you should only need to one of them, and they are supposed to the other two companies and thus have the Fraud Alert active on all three accounts. Taken from FTC.gov:

Credit Freezes. This is the most comprehensive measure to take. Once you initiate a credit freeze, it will stay on there permanently in most states (or at least 7 years in others). In order for a business to check your credit report, you must manually “unfreeze” your credit temporarily. As of 9/21/18, this should be free by law at all three credit bureaus. As of this writing, TransUnion and Equifax freezes are already available for free. You must each credit bureau separately.

I decided to initiate a free 90-Day Fraud Alert to try it out (through Equifax since they should do the extra work).

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I already access my credit reports/ChexSystems/LexisNexis every 12 months, and I continuously monitor my own credit using the services listed above. Here’s a sample free alert I got from CreditKarma:

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I then cross-referenced with a similar free credit monitoring alert from CreditSesame (TransUnion) that included more info like date and card issuer:

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Bottom line. That’s the menu; I would start at the top and pick what works for you. I tend to open a relatively high number of credit and bank accounts throughout the year, often for a time-senstive promotion, so I choose to decline the extra hassle and cost that comes with a credit freeze. I use the free monitoring services listed above instead to get an e-mail whenever a new credit check occurs or a new line of credit is reported. If you rarely get new accounts or simply feel otherwise, go more extreme.

Chase Sapphire Banking: 60,000 Bonus Points For New Customers

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Chase Bank has a new premium checking account tier called Sapphire Banking. To qualify, you will need to maintain at least $75,000 in deposits or investments in qualifying Chase accounts. Otherwise, a $25 monthly fee applies. Sapphire Banking perks include:

  • No ATM fees, including rebates on fees charged by non-Chase ATMs.
  • No fees for foreign exchange (ATM/debit), outgoing wire transfers, or stop payments.
  • No fees on the first four overdrafts within 12 months.
  • Free online stock and ETF trades with You Invest by JP Morgan.
  • Access to Sapphire lounges at concerts, sports and special events, early ticket sales and premium seats
  • $0 monthly service fee on a linked Chase Total Business Checking account.

Everyone wants assets under management now, even the banks. Since investments count towards the $75,000 requirement, if you have that much in ETFs, mutual funds, or stocks at another broker, you could perform an in-kind ACAT transfer over to Chase You Invest. This would let you avoid parking $75,000 at Chase earning nearly zero interest. (2% interest on $75k is $1,500 per year.) I’ve previously moved over some Vanguard funds to Bank of America / Merrill Edge in order get their asset-based perks.

Here’s the fine print:

There is a $25 Monthly Service Fee for Chase SapphireSM Checking OR $0 when you have an average beginning day balance of $75,000 or more in any combination of this account and linked qualifying deposits/investments. Qualifying personal deposits include this checking account and up to nine personal Chase checking accounts (excluding Chase Private Client CheckingSM ), personal Chase savings accounts (excluding Chase Private Client SavingsSM), Chase Liquid® Cards, CDs, certain Chase Retirement CDs, or certain Chase Retirement Money Market Accounts (balances in Chase Money Purchase Pension and Profit Sharing Plans do not qualify). Qualifying personal investments include prior end of month balances for investment and annuity products offered by JPMorgan Chase & Co. or its affiliates and agencies. Balances in certain retirement plan investment accounts, such as Money Purchase Pension and Profit Sharing Plans, do not qualify. Investment products and related services are only available in English.

New account bonus. According to this press release, “Sapphire cardholders will be able to earn 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points when they bring in $75,000 in new qualifying deposits and investments and open or upgrade to a Sapphire Banking account”. The exact date is to be announce “shortly”, but it will be sometime in October. This language suggests you’ll need to also have either the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve credit cards. Offer is available online and in-branch.

Now, 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points can be redeemed for $600 cash. With the Sapphire Preferred card, 60,000 UR points can be redeem for $750 in travel booked through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal (think Expedia). With the Sapphire Reserve card, 60,000 UR points can be redeem for $900 in travel booked through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal (think Expedia). You could also transfer those points to airline miles. That’s a pretty good bonus, although I wonder if Chase will issue a 1099-INT and with what value amount.

Cost-benefit analysis. I don’t know of Chase savings accounts with high interest rates. That means if you’re bringing over cash, again you might be giving up bank interest of 2% or higher. $75,000 would earn $125 interest per month at 2% APR. If they require you to keep it there for 90 days and it’s in an account that doesn’t earn any interest, that’s $375 in foregone interest already. Then you have to wait up to another 45 days to get the bonus, during which you’ll need to keep the account open. If you take out all your money, you’ll still need to pay the $25 monthly fee, which means another $50 to keep it open two more months. I don’t like having to give up hundreds of dollars upfront in the hopes of an eventual bonus. I would consider moving over some index funds instead, especially if they agree to rebate the account transfer fee ($25 to $75), as many other brokers do. I’ll wait until all the details come out.

Bottom line. Chase Bank has a new premium checking account tier called Sapphire Banking, targeted at the “mass affluent”. There is a new account bonus of 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points for existing Sapphire credit cardholders if you move over $75,000 in cash and/or investment assets, but the full details have not yet been confirmed.

CIT Bank Review: 11-Month No Penalty CD 2.05% APY, 18-Month CD 2.50% APY, Money Market 1.85% APY

“The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone.”

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Rates updated 9/11/18, No-Penalty CD now at 2.05% APY. CIT Bank (not to be confused with Citi Bank) is an online-only bank with a multi-year history of competitive rates. They don’t offer a checking account and instead focus on a variety of savings and CD products with high interest rates. Here are the highlights:

  • 11-Month No-Penalty CD at 2.05% APY with $1,000 minimum to open. 11-month CD keeps a fixed rate, but no withdrawal penalty seven days or later after funds have been received. This means that your interest rate will never go down, but you can still move out if interest rates go up. (If you have an existing No Penalty CD that you want to close and open up a new one, please see my instructions below.)
  • Money Market Account at 1.85% APY, currently available on all tiers ($0+) with no max. $100 minimum to open, but no minimum balance requirement. Up to 6 withdrawals per month.
  • 18-month CD at 2.50% APY, 13-month CD at 2.25% APY. Each CD also has a $1,000 minimum opening deposit. The early withdrawal penalty is 6 months of interest on CD with terms of 1 to 3 years.

Each of these types of account has their pros and cons. The No-Penalty CD has a rate that can’t go down, but also has a $1,000 minimum balance. The 18-month CD has a higher rate, but significant penalties if you make an early withdrawal. The Money Market rate could rise or drop, and also has more flexibility as you can easily make more deposits and also make 6 withdrawals every month.

Check out my rate chaser calculator to see if it makes sense for you to move money over.

New customer? Opening process overview. Here’s my review of the opening process if you are a new customer.

  • The application process was completely online. You provide the usual personal information.
  • You must submit to a credit check, but in my experience it was a “soft” pull which did not harm my credit. None of my various credit monitoring services showed it was a hard pull.
  • You may fund via (1) electronic ACH transfer, (2) wire transfer, (3) mobile check deposit via CIT Bank mobile app (iOS and Android), and (4) mailing in a paper check. There was no option for credit card funding. I picked online ACH funding and you need to provide routing and account numbers, followed by manual verification via micro-deposits after a day or two. There was no instant linking option via login information.

After deposit verification, then your funding will go through.

You have successfully verified your external account. Please allow up to 5 business days for your funds to appear in your CIT Bank account.
No further action is required for this account. Thank you!

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Existing savings or money market customer? Check your rate. If you already have an existing High Yield Savings account, it may remain at a lower interest rate than this money market account. If so, take a minute and upgrade yourself to the better interest rate. Click on “Open an Account” here, then “I have a CIT Bank account”, and then login with your username/password. You can do everything online and even fund your new Money Market account with an instant transfer from your existing Premier High Yield Savings. I wish I didn’t have to do this, but at least it literally only took a minute to complete.

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How to transfer your money from an existing No Penalty CD into an new, higher-rate No Penalty CD (or any other new account). Let’s say you opened up a No Penalty CD at 1.55% APY or 1.85% APY, but then the rate for a new CD has risen to 2.05% APY. You have the option of moving the funds (with no penalty of course) over to a new CD with a new 11-month holding period. I just did this, and here’s the easiest way to do so:

  • Start a new online application for the 11-Month No-Penalty CD. Click on “Get Started” and sign-in as an existing CIT customer.
  • After signing in, go through the opening process but look for “Existing CIT Bank Account” under “Funding Source”. You should see a list of your existing accounts, including any No Penalty CDs. (Screenshot below.)
  • Note that online, your only option will be to have the entire CD balance (including accrued interest) moved over into the new CD. If you want a different amount, you’ll have to call CIT Bank customer service at 855-462-2652, open M-F 8a-9p ET, Sat 9a-5p ET, Sun 11a-4p ET. Press “0” for operator. Tell them you opened up a new No Penalty CD and you wish to fund it by closing out your old No Penalty CD.
  • That’s it. The online option says it will take 2-3 business days to complete. Your new accounts will show up online.

User interface. While the front-facing website is pretty slick, after you login the backend is run by Fidelity National Information Services (subdomain ibanking-services.com). This is a popular backend software system used by many smaller banks who don’t want to create their own software from scratch. As of early 2018, the user interface was upgraded to be look more appealing and be more user-friendly. Two-factor authentication is available using voice or SMS.

There is also an app available (iOS/Android) provided by the same company. It is similarly functional and includes mobile check deposit. Here are some screenshots:

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Bottom line. CIT Bank is a lean bank offering targeted products for folks looking to get higher interest rates on their cash balances. They don’t do physical bank branches, checking accounts, or fancy apps. However, I have been pleasantly satisfied with their customer service on my accounts with them. Their most compelling products are their Money Market accounts, 11-month No Penalty CD, and usually they have a top rate on one of their Term CDs. The No Penalty CD is unique in that you are always able to move out to a higher rate, even within CIT bank itself.

Hilton American Express Cards Limited-Time Offers – Up to 125,000 Hilton Points Each

“The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone.”

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Hilton Hotels has two American Express consumer cards, a no annual fee and a $95 annual fee version (with more perks of course). There is also a business card version. Right now, all of them have a limited-time increase to their welcome offer, from 75,000 to 125,000 points. (Up from 50k and 100k.) Each person can only get one welcome offer, per card in your entire lifetime, so it’s best to apply during one of these temporary bump-ups. (You could get all three of these welcome offers separately, but only one per card per person per lifetime.)

What are 75,000 or 125,000 Hilton Honor points worth? The best value is from booking free hotel nights or using their “Points & Money” option where you pay with a combination of Hilton points and cash. Hilton has some really nice properties, but the value varies from hotel to hotel. I just ran a search and for the same 60,000 Hilton points, I could book rooms that cost $320 or $532 cash. I’ve seen some valuations around 0.6 cents per point, which I think is fair on average, but I would be more conservative at 0.5 cents a point. That would make 75,000 points = $375 value and 125,000 points = $625 value towards Hilton hotel stays.

The good part of Hilton points is that they have so many different hotel brands, from business-class DoubleTree to luxury Waldorf Astoria. Hilton also lets you transfer and pool points with other with other family or household members. As long as you keep them active (once every 12 months), I do like to keep some around. Here’s a tip on how to keep Hilton points active with $1 Amazon gift codes.

Hilton Honors Ascend Credit Card from American Express

  • 125,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Earn a Weekend Night Reward certificate after you spend $15,000 on purchases in a calendar year.
  • 12X Hilton Honors points on purchases at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio.
  • 6X Hilton Honors points on purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.
  • 3X Hilton Honors points for all other eligible purchases.
  • Free upgrade to Hilton HHonors Gold status (free breakfast, room upgrades based on availability, 5th standard reward night free).
  • Spend $40,000 in a calendar year on this card and get HHonors Diamon status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Terms apply.

Hilton Honors Credit Card from American Express

  • 75,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • 7X Hilton Honors points on purchases at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio.
  • 5X Hilton Honors points on purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.
  • 3X Hilton Honors points for all other eligible purchases.
  • Free upgrade to Hilton HHonors Silver status (5th standard reward night free, 2 bottles of water in your room).
  • Spend $20,000 in a calendar year on this card and get HHonors Gold status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • No annual fee.
  • Terms apply.

Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

  • 125,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Earn a Weekend Night Reward certificate after you spend $15,000 on purchases in a calendar year.
  • Earn another Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend an additional $45,000 in purchases in the same calendar year.
  • 12X Hilton Honors points on purchases at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio.
  • 6X Hilton Honors points on Select Business & Travel Purchases (ex. U.S. gas stations, U.S. restaurants, flights booked directly with airlines)
  • 3X Hilton Honors points for all other eligible purchases.
  • Free upgrade to Hilton HHonors Gold status (free breakfast, room upgrades based on availability, 5th standard reward night free).
  • 10 free airport lounge visits each year once enrolled in complimentary Priority Pass™ Select membership, which offers access to over 1,000 lounges in over 120 countries.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Terms apply.

Bottom line. If you can use the points towards Hilton hotel stays, the best time to apply for a Hilton co-branded American Express card is during a limited-time increase to their welcome offers. This is because American Express has changed their policy to only allow each person to get a welcome bonus once per card per lifetime.

“The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone.”

Webull App: Free Stock Trades + Free Share of Stock Referral Bonus

“The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone.”

Webull is a new brokerage app that has unlimited free stock trades with no platform fees, free real-time quotes, and no minimum balance requirement. (Similar to Robinhood.)

Webull also has a referral program where new users can get a free share of stock worth between $3 and $1,000. I believe the referring user also gets the exact same share of stock. Also similar to Robinhood, most people will get a stock closer to $5 in value.

Here are the full odds from their Terms and Conditions:

$4 to $6 value, odds are ~1:1.1
$10 to $20 value, odds are ~1:24
$50 to $100 value, odds are ~1:200
$150 to $250 value, odds are ~1:333
$1,000+ value, odds are ~1:1,000

Here is my Webull referral link. (Thanks if you use it!) I received a free share of ABEV worth about $4.46. I have also seen SNAP and some lucky ones got AAPL. You will need to sign-up initially either with a phone number or e-mail address, and then open an account after downloading the app (Android or iOS). Webull is a real SIPC-insured broker, and the application is the same (name, address, SSN, work questions, investing experience questions, etc). I did not have to make any deposit, make any trade, or even link a bank account to receive my free share of stock. My account was approved and I claimed my free share within 12 hours.

(Note: I opened a cash account. Margin accounts will require a minimum balance of $2,000. I believe this requirement is the same for all brokers.)

Robinhood vs. Webull.

  • Robinhood definitely has a sleeker user-interface, which should appeal to younger users and those who want a simple trading experience. Webull has a more “busy” interface with charting, news, technical indicators, and stock screeners. You may like having more information, or you may want a cleaner app.
  • Robinhood offers free options trading. Webull does not offer options at all.
  • Both are primarily apps, but Robinhood has a web trading option now. Webull does not that I know of.
  • Webull has customer service available via Live Chat or phone number. Robinhood only has an e-mail address.

Both will make money from normal users via interest on cash balances and selling order flow. Robinhood’s premium features basically let newbie users access a simple version of margin (flat fee instead of interest rate). Webull has traditional margin accounts that allow shorting, and makes money by selling premium subscriptions to advanced quotes so serious traders can get the absolute best bids and offers across any of 13 different stock exchanges.

Firstrade is a traditional discount brokerage firm that recently started offering free stock trades and free options trades.

Bottom line. Webull is a new entrant to the world of free stock trading apps. The feel is more of a full-featured traditional brokerage account in app form as compared to competitor Robinhood. The free trades are the real draw, but new users can also grab a free share of stock worth up to $1,000 (but probably $5). It’s like a free lottery ticket, so why not?

Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers – September 2018

“The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone.”

Are you fully aware of how valuable that space in your wallet or purse is? Credit card companies are in heated competition right now, offering strong perks and $500+ value a pop during the first year to try out a new card. In my opinion, these are the top 10(ish) credit card offers for consumers in September 2018. Please see links provided for full details.

If you pay off your balances every month, then you can join me and many others in funding a huge chunk of your annual travel with cash credits, points, and miles. You don’t need to be a “I only fly business class” world traveler. I mostly use my rewards points on domestic economy flights, mid-class hotels like Staybridge Suites and Courtyard Marriott, and cheap car rentals. If you have credit card debt, you should focus on paying that off first as the interest charges could offset most of the perks.

Note: Certain Chase cards have a “5/24 rule” which is an unofficial rule that they will automatically deny approval on new credit cards if you have 5 or more new credit cards from any issuer on your credit report within the past 2 years. This rule applies on a per-person basis, so if you are new, you might want to start with those Chase cards.

Citi ThankYou® Premier Card

  • 60,000 Thank You points (worth $750 towards travel) after $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

  • 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points (worth $625 towards travel) after $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.
  • Alternative: Chase Sapphire Reserve Card. More rewards, more perks including lounge access, $450 annual fee, $300 annual travel credit.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus Card

  • 60,000 points (worth $600 towards travel) after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days and paying the annual fee. See link for details.
  • Unlimited 2X miles on every purchase.
  • $89 annual fee.

Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Card

  • 100,000 Marriott Rewards points after $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. See link for details and rough valuation of points.
  • $95 annual fee, free night award upon card anniversary.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.

Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Card

  • 40,000 Rapid Rewards points (redeemable for $600+ in Wanna Getaway airfare) after $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • $99 annual fee.
  • Combine with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Card to earn the Southwest Companion Pass.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select Card

  • 50,000 American Airlines miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • First checked bag free on domestic flights perk.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $99.

Chase World of Hyatt Card

  • 60,000 Hyatt points (enough for two nights at any Hyatt). 40,000 Bonus Points after $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. Plus an additional 20,000 Bonus Points after a total of $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months. See link for details and rough valuation of points.
  • $95 annual fee, free night award upon card anniversary.
  • NOT subject to 5/24 rule.

Chase IHG Rewards Club Premier Card

  • 100,000 IHG Rewards points after $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. See link for details and rough valuation of points.
  • $89 annual fee, free night award upon card anniversary.
  • NOT subject to 5/24 rule.

Bank of America Premium Rewards Card

  • 50,000 points (worth $500 towards travel) after $3,000 in purchases within the first 90 days. See link for details.
  • 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • $100 annual Airline Incidental Statement Credit.
  • Up to $100 credit towards TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee.
  • $95 annual fee.

Gold Delta SkyMiles Card from American Express

  • 60,000 Delta Skymiles after you make $3,000 in purchases within your first 4 months. Offer expires on 9/19/2018. See link for details.
  • First checked bag free on every Delta flight.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Card

  • $500 cash bonus after $3000 in purchases within the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • 4% cash back on dining and entertainment.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Sprint One Year of Free Unlimited Data Plan: Extended Through September 2019

“The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone.”

Updated with my 12-month experience. Now through 9/30/19. Sprint has an unadvertised “secret” promotion (no TV, radio, newspaper ads, not even mentioned on front page of website) that is only available online to new customers who use the right link. If you sign up at the special link HERE, bring over your own eligible smartphone, and port-in your phone number, Sprint will give you a free year of unlimited talk, text, and data. There is no requirement to continue service past that. I did have to pay approximately $3 to $4 a month in taxes and fees per line.

Offer is valid for multiple lines (up to 5). If your household bill is currently $100 a month, this promotion is worth $1,200 over a year.

My experience.

First off, here’s a picture of our monthly bill. Two lines for six bucks a month!

  • Offer keeps getting extended. I signed up in June 2017, but they keep extending the offer each month. At this writing, you can get free service from September 2018 to September 2019. It could still end at any time.
  • Sprint will perform a hard credit check. They will check your credit, so be aware. It was worth it to me for the several hundred dollars in savings.
  • My total cost for two SIMs was $15.98 + sales tax ($2.99 each + $10 flat shipping). If you order by 2pm EST, they will send the SIM cards that same day by UPS Next Day Air.
  • Activation was quick and easy. The activation process was done 100% online, and it took under 20 minutes to swap SIM cards and port the existing numbers over. To complete activation after you get the SIM cards, you will need your SIM card #, phone IMEI/MEID #, and current carrier’s account number and PIN.
  • Some people have been successful switching from prepaid service, especially Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile Prepaid. However, they do state that they require port-in from a postpaid plan. Use the phone compatibility checker tool after you click “Get Started” here. Another tactic is to first move to T-Mobile’s cheapest prepaid $3/month plan ($10 minimum load) and then immediately port over to Sprint.
  • My total monthly bill always ranged from $6.xx to $7.xx including all taxes and fees for 2 lines. This matches with the online reports of monthly bills in the $3 to $4 range (per line) including everything.
  • No surprise fees or charges. We got what was promised for all 12 months with no funny business. I recommend their online Live Chat if you have any questions.
  • Sprint coverage is worse than my previous carrier (Verizon), but it’s acceptable. I primarily notice this in terms of slower data speeds. Sprint is definitely slower than Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile in my area. I get fewer bars of 4G LTE and occasionally I can only get 3G. I am not a heavy data user, so I feel the inconvenience is worth the $100 a month in savings. I haven’t had any problems with dropped calls or a complete lack of coverage. Check OpenSignal for a better coverage comparison in your specific zip code.

Important requirements and fine print:

  • You must bring over a phone that is already unlocked and compatible with Sprint (so that you just need to switch SIM cards). If you have AT&T or T-Mobile you may need to call them up and ask to unlock your phone. See list below, but be sure to use the phone compatibility checker tool after you click “Get Started” here.
  • You must own the phone(s) you’re bringing to Sprint. (Not on a lease plan.)
  • You must port-in a phone number.
  • You must still pay a small monthly fee: “standard $1.99 admin fee, $0.40 regulatory fee and other taxes and fees apply.”
  • The $30 activation fee is waived as part of this promotion. The fee will appear on your first bill and a credit will appear within 2 bills.
  • Requires a Sprint SIM card ($2.99 each + $10 shipping), paperless statements and Sprint AutoPay ($5/mo./line discount applied within two invoices). If AutoPay and eBill are removed, a $7.99/mo. charge will apply.
  • This deal is not available in any stores, you must sign up online through the special link above.
  • According to the terms, you must port-in from another postpaid carrier. Sprint requires a hard credit check on all new postpaid customers, including this offer.
  • If you keep the service past the first year, you will then start to pay $60/mo. for line 1, $40/mo. for line 2 & $30/mo./line for lines 3-5.
  • This plan also comes with Sprint Global Roaming, which includes “data up to 2G speeds and text messaging in any of our 165+ Global Roaming countries at no charge, calling for just $0.20 a minute.”

Details about the Sprint Unlimited Plan:

  • Unlimited talk, text, and 4G LTE data subject to the following limits below. Data deprioritization applies during congestion after 23 GB.
  • Stream video at up to HD 1080p, music at up to 1.5mbps, gaming at up to 8mbps.
  • 10GB of high-speed mobile hotspot data per line. Once your 10GB is used up, continue at up to 2G speeds (32 Kbps) for no additional cost, or purchase more on-network high-speed data for $15/1GB until the monthly billing cycle resets.

Here are select eligible phones. (Not the entire list! Use the checker tool to be sure.)

  • Apple iPhone 5c (Verizon only)
  • Apple iPhone 5s (Verizon only)
  • Apple iPhone 6
  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
  • Apple iPhone 6s
  • Apple iPhone 6s Plus
  • Apple iPhone 7 (Verizon only)
  • Apple iPhone 7 Plus (Verizon only)
  • Apple iPhone 8 (Verizon only)
  • Apple iPhone 8 Plus (Verizon only)
  • Apple iPhone SE
  • Apple iPhone X (Verizon only)
  • BLU S1/VIVO S
  • Essential Phone
  • Google Nexus 5 (16 & 32 GB – black/white/red) (Verizon only)
  • Google Nexus 5X (all versions)
  • Google Nexus 6 (32 & 64 GB – black/white)
  • Google Nexus 6P (all versions)
  • Google Pixel
  • Google Pixel XL
  • Google Pixel 2
  • Google Pixel XL 2
  • HTC One A9 (Sprint Version only)
  • LG X Charge
  • moto e4
  • moto e4
  • moto g4
  • moto g4 play
  • moto g4 
  • moto g5 
  • moto g5s special edition
  • moto x pure edition
  • moto x4
  • moto z2 play
  • Orbic Wonder
  • Samsung Galaxy Note8 Special Edition
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge Special Edition
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 Special Edition
  • Samsung Galaxy S8 (Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile)
  • Samsung Galaxy S8+ (Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile)
  • Samsung Galaxy S8 Special Edition
  • Samsung Galaxy S8+ Special Edition
  • Samsung Galaxy S9 Special Edition
  • Samsung Galaxy S9+ Special Edition
  • Samsung Galaxy Note9 Special Edition

If you don’t have one of the phones above, you could probably buy a new Android model for under $300 or a used one for under $100. If you prefer Apple iPhones, on the cheap end you could get a used iPhone 6S 64GB from $200 or used iPhone 7 for $370 and then get a brand new battery for $29, which should last you a while. Alternatively, you could just take the hundreds of dollars in savings and buy a new phone with it.

Bottom line. Sprint is offering an unadvertised promotion of unlimited talk/text/data FREE for an entire year if you bring over your own phone and port in a phone number. My wife and I were able to save $1,000 over a year with this promotion. The coverage wasn’t as good as Verizon in our area, but the savings was worth it. All we had to pay was about $3 to $4 a month in taxes/fees per line. There were no surprise charges. You must sign up via this special link, as it is not advertised on TV or on Sprint’s home page.

Bonus Delta SkyMiles for Washington State Residents

“The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone.”

seahawksBack again for the 2018-2019 season. If you are a resident of Washington state and age 18+ (as indicated by your Skymiles account), you can register at SeaHawks.com/12status and receive the following perks from Delta Airlines:

  • 1 bonus mile for each passing yard accumulated by the Seattle Seahawks (regular home and away games).
  • Priority boarding when departing out of SeaTac Airport on Delta during the season (Tuesday, September 4, 2018 through Sunday, February 3, 2019.).
  • Chance to win various free stuff like tickets, gift cards, and VIP access.

There is nothing else you need to do to be eligible. If you signed up for this last year, you still need to re-register again for this year.

Best Interest Rates on Cash – September 2018

“The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone.”

This is my monthly roundup of the best interest rates on cash, roughly sorted from shortest to longest maturities. Check out my Ultimate Rate-Chaser Calculator to get an idea of how much additional interest you’d earn if you are moving money between accounts. Rates listed are available to everyone nationwide. Rates checked as of 9/4/18.

High-yield savings accounts
While the huge megabanks like to get away with 0.01% APY, getting higher rates is as easy as transferring some money electronically from your checking account to an online savings account. Keep in mind that the interest rates on savings accounts can drop at any time, so consider prioritizing banks with a history of competitive rates.

  • CIT Bank Money Market offers 1.85% APY with no minimum balance ($100 to open), no max balance cap. Redneck Bank offers 2.00% APY on a maximum balance of $50k. Several other established high-yield savings accounts are in this close range.
  • In terms of newcomers, Customers Bank offers 2.25% APY guaranteed until 6/30/19, but with a minimum balance of $25k+. Northfield Bank has a Platinum Savings Online (not their regular Platinum Savings) at 2.25% APY up to $100k, but there is an $8 monthly fee if under $2,500.
  • My “hub” bank account is the Ally Bank Savings + Checking combo due to their history of competitive rates, 1-day external bank transfers, and overall ease of use. The free overdraft transfers from savings allows to me to keep my checking balance at a minimum. Ally Savings is currently at 1.85% APY. From here, I open “spoke” accounts and CDs to lock in higher rates.

Money market mutual funds + Ultra-short bond ETFs
If you like to keep cash in a brokerage account, you should know that money market and short-term Treasury rates have been rising. The following money market and ultra-short bond funds are not FDIC-insured, but may be a good option if you have idle cash and cheap/free commissions.

  • Vanguard Prime Money Market Fund currently pays an 2.08% SEC yield. The default sweep option is the Vanguard Federal Money Market Fund, which has an SEC yield of 1.93%. You can manually move the money over to Prime if you meet the $3,000 minimum investment.
  • Vanguard Ultra-Short-Term Bond Fund currently pays 2.42% SEC Yield ($3,000 min) and 2.52% SEC Yield ($50,000 min). The average duration is ~1 year.
  • The PIMCO Enhanced Short Maturity Active Bond ETF (MINT) has a 2.42% SEC yield and the iShares Short Maturity Bond ETF (NEAR) has a 2.54% SEC yield while holding a portfolio of investment-grade bonds with an average duration of ~6 months.

Short-term guaranteed rates (1 year and under)
I am often asked what to do with a big wad of cash that you’re waiting to deploy shortly (just sold your house, just sold your business, legal settlement, inheritance). My usual advice is to keep things simple. If not a savings account, then put it in a flexible short-term CD under the FDIC limits until you have a plan.

  • USALLIANCE Financial Credit Union has a 1-year CD at 2.75% APY ($500 minimum new money) with an early withdrawal penalty of 6 months interest. You must join the credit union first, but anyone can join via American Consumer Council (ACC). CIT Bank 1-year CD is at 2.50% APY ($1,000 minimum) with an early withdrawal penalty of 3 months interest.
  • For more flexibility, the Ally Bank 11-month No Penalty CD is at 2.00% APY ($25k minimum) and the CIT Bank 11-Month No-Penalty CD is at 1.85% APY with a lower $1,000 minimum. The lack of early withdrawal penalty means that your interest rate can never go down for 11 months, but you keep full liquidity. You can open multiple CDs in smaller $1,000 increments to get even more flexibility.

US Savings Bonds
Series I Savings Bonds offer rates that are linked to inflation and backed by the US government. You must hold them for at least a year. There are annual purchase limits. If you redeem them within 5 years there is a penalty of the last 3 months of interest.

  • “I Bonds” bought between May 2018 and October 2018 will earn a 2.52% rate for the first six months. The rate of the subsequent 6-month period will be based on inflation again. More info here.
  • In mid-October 2018, the CPI will be announced and you will have a short period where you will have a very close estimate of the rate for the next 12 months. I will have another post up at that time.

Prepaid Cards with Attached Savings Accounts
A small subset of prepaid debit cards have an “attached” FDIC-insured savings account with exceptionally high interest rates. The negatives are that balances are capped, and there are many fees that you must be careful to avoid (lest they eat up your interest). Some folks don’t mind the extra work and attention required, while others do. There is a long list of previous offers that have already disappeared with little notice.

  • The only notable card left in this category is Mango Money at 6% APY on up to $5,000, but there are many hoops to jump through. There is a $3 monthly fee and you need to maintain a minimum $800 net direct deposit each month. This means you can’t direct deposit $800 and also take out $800 via online transfer. Checks and ATM withdrawals have additional fees. The only thing left is to spend the money via the Visa debit feature (and miss out on flat 2% cash back on all purchases).

Rewards checking accounts
These unique checking accounts pay above-average interest rates, but with unique risks. You have to jump through certain hoops, and if you make a mistake you won’t earn any interest for that month. Some folks don’t mind the extra work and attention required, while others do. Rates can also drop to near-zero quickly, leaving a “bait-and-switch” feeling. That’s just how it goes with these types of accounts.

  • Consumers Credit Union recently announced changes starting 10/1/18, including lower balance limits ($10k down from $20k) and more restrictive requirements, but also higher interest rates in some tiers. Free Rewards Checking now offers 3.09% to 5.09% APY on up to a $10k balance depending on your qualifying activity. The highest tier requires their credit card in addition to their debit card (other credit cards offer $500+ in sign-up bonuses). Keep your 12 debit purchases just above the $100 requirement, as for every $500 in monthly purchases you may be losing out on 2% cash back elsewhere (or $10 a month after-tax). Thanks to reader Jonathan for the heads up. Find a local rewards checking account at DepositAccounts.

Certificates of deposit (greater than 1 year)
You might have larger balances, either because you are using CDs instead of bonds or you simply want a large cash reserves. By finding a bank CD with a reasonable early withdrawal penalty, you can enjoy higher rates but maintain access in a true emergency. Alternatively, consider building a CD ladder of different maturity lengths such that you have access to part of the ladder each year, but your blended interest rate is higher than a savings account.

  • Synchrony Bank has a special 13-month CD at 2.65% APY ($2,000 min). Note that the early withdrawal penalty is relatively big at 6 months of interest. NASA Federal Credit Union has a special 15-month Share Certificate at 3.25% APY ($5,000 min, EWP 6 months). Anyone can join this credit union by joining the National Space Society (free). However, NASA FCU will perform a hard credit check as part of new member application.
  • Ally Bank has a 5-year CD at 3.00% APY ($25k minimum) with a relatively short 150-day early withdrawal penalty. For example, if you closed this CD after 2 years you’d still get a 2.39% effective APY even after accounting for the penalty. (2.61% at 3 years.)
  • United States Senate Federal Credit Union has a 5-year Share Certificate at 3.53% APY ($60k min), 3.47% APY ($20k min), or 3.41% APY ($1k min). Note that the early withdrawal penalty is a full year of interest. Anyone can join this credit union via American Consumer Council.
  • You can buy certificates of deposit via the bond desks of Vanguard and Fidelity. These “brokered CDs” offer FDIC insurance, but they don’t come with predictable fixed early withdrawal penalties. As of this writing, Vanguard is showing a 3-year non-callable CD at 3.00% APY and a 5-year non-callable CD at 3.35% APY. Watch out for higher rates from callable CDs listed by Fidelity.

Longer-term Instruments
I’d use these with caution due to increased interest rate risk, but I still track them to see the rest of the current yield curve.

  • Willing to lock up your money for 10+ years? You can buy long-term certificates of deposit via the bond desks of Vanguard and Fidelity. These “brokered CDs” offer FDIC insurance, but they don’t come with predictable fixed early withdrawal penalties. As of this writing, Vanguard is showing a 10-year non-callable CD at 3.45% APY. Watch out for higher rates from callable CDs from Fidelity. Matching the overall yield curve, current CD rates do not rise much higher as you extend beyond a 5-year maturity.
  • How about two decades? Series EE Savings Bonds are not indexed to inflation, but they have a guarantee that the value will double in value in 20 years, which equals a guaranteed return of 3.5% a year. However, if you don’t hold for that long, you’ll be stuck with the normal rate which is quite low (currently a sad 0.10% rate). I view this as a huge early withdrawal penalty. You could also view it as long-term bond and thus a hedge against deflation, but only if you can hold on for 20 years.

All rates were checked as of 9/4/18.

Lesser-Known Cheap Unlimited Cell Phone Plans Data on Every Network (2 GB from $15/Month, 5 GB from $20/Month)

“The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone.”

phones7Updated September 2018. Cell phone bills are getting cheaper than ever. Have you checked prices recently? All of the major networks sell wholesale minutes to MVNOs (Mobile Network Virtual Operators), which they in turn sell at a significant discount to individuals. If you choose to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), every MVNO will have a form where you can check compatibility via identification number (IMEI or MEID).

This list includes unlimited talk and text plans with at least 2 GB and 5 GB of 4G LTE data. The average data user used 3 GB of data per month in 2017. If you don’t need data, here are the lesser-known cheapest talk and text only cell plans. Many of these advertise “unlimited data”, which means they throttle speeds down the 128 kbps (2G) after your LTE allotment runs out. After looking through what must have been over 100 MVNOs, here are the cheapest options by network below (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint).

T-Mobile NetworkT-Mobile Network Color: Hot Pink

  • Unlimited Talk & Text + 2 GB LTE Data. Mint Mobile has an unlimited talk, text, and 2 GB LTE data plan from $15 per month. Their intro offer is 3 months at $15 per month. After that, you’ll have to buy 12 months of airtime upfront to get the $15 per month price. After your LTE data runs out, you still get data included at slower 2G data speeds until your month resets. They offer a 7-Day Money Back Guarantee (starts upon SIM activation) so you can test them out before making any commitment.
  • Unlimited Talk & Text + 5 GB LTE Data. Mint Mobile also has a $20 a month plan with unlimited talk, text, and 5 GB of LTE data. Their intro offer is 3 months at $20 per month. After that, you’ll have to buy 12 months of airtime upfront to get the $20 per month price. After your LTE data runs out, you still get data included at slower 2G data speeds until your month resets. They offer a 7-Day Money Back Guarantee (starts upon SIM activation) so you can test them out before making any commitment.

Note: I recently switch to Mint Mobile in my own phone. Please see my Mint Mobile SIM Activation and Number Port Transfer Review for tips based on my experiences.

Sprint NetworkSprint Network Color: Yellow

  • Unlimited Talk & Text + 2 GB LTE Data. Tello Mobile has an unlimited talk, text, and 2 GB data plan for $19 a month. You don’t need to buy a year upfront. You need to choose a custom plan to find this option. Their 1 GB plan is only $14 per month. After your LTE data runs out, you still get data included at slower 2G data speeds until your month resets.
  • Unlimited Talk & Text + 5 GB LTE Data. Red Pocket Mobile via eBay offers unlimited talk, text, and 5 GB data for $20 a month when you pay for 12 months upfront ($240 for one year) with a free SIM included in the kit. After your LTE data runs out, you still get data included at slower 2G data speeds until your month resets. You can choose the Sprint network when you sign up.

Note: If you switch in from AT&T, Verizon, or T-Mobile, Sprint itself is offering one year of unlimited talk, text, and unlimited data for $0/month + some taxes for a year via this unadvertised Sprint Free Year offer. (You can’t be an existing Sprint customer.) There are some restrictions. You’ll need to bring over own phone, port-in a phone number, and undergo a credit check.

AT&T NetworkAT&T Network Color: Blue

  • Unlimited Talk & Text + 2 GB LTE Data. The cheapest price across all plans with 2GB of data is actually the same as the one below with 5 GB of data.
  • Unlimited Talk & Text + 5 GB LTE Data. Red Pocket Mobile via eBay offers unlimited talk, text, and 5 GB data for $20 a month when you pay for 12 months upfront ($240 for one year) with a free SIM included in the kit. After your LTE data runs out, you still get data included at slower 2G data speeds until your month resets. You can choose the AT&T network when you sign up.

Verizon NetworkVerizon Network Color: Red

  • Unlimited Talk & Text + 2 GB LTE Data. Red Pocket Mobile via Amazon offers unlimited talk, text, and 3 GB data for $21.25 a month when you pay for 12 months upfront ($260 for one year) with a free SIM included in the kit. You can choose the Verizon network when you sign up.
  • Unlimited Talk & Text + 5 GB LTE Data. Total Wireless has an unlimited talk and text plan with 5 GB data for $33.20 per month with auto-refill (every 30 days). $35 per 30 days without auto-refill.

If you don’t need data, here are the lesser-known cheapest talk and text only cell plans.

Lesser-Known Cheap Talk & Text Only Cell Phone Plans on Every Network – From $1 a Month

“The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone.”

phones7Updated September 2018. Cell phone bills are getting cheaper than ever. Have you checked prices recently? All of the major networks sell wholesale minutes to MVNOs (Mobile Network Virtual Operators), which they in turn sell at a significant discount to individuals. If you choose to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), every MVNO will have a form where you can check compatibility via identification number (IMEI or MEID).

This post includes light and unlimited talk & text only plans – no data (although some plans include some anyway). Here are the cheapest plans with unlimited talk & text and 2+ GB LTE data. A minimalist plan is good for people who only want to make short calls, while unlimited talk and text plans allow you drop that landline completely for under $18 a month. After looking through what must have been over 100 MVNOs, here are the cheapest options by network below (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint).

T-Mobile NetworkT-Mobile Network Color: Hot Pink

  • Light Barebones Usage. Lycamobile has a barebones Pay As You Go plan where you just buy a SIM and there is a minimum top-up of $10. The rate is a flat 5 cents a minute for talk, and 12 cents per text. You must have some sort of activity every 90 days to maintain your service (make a phone call, send a text). If you only used 200 minutes a year, that would be under $1 per month ($10 a year).
  • Unlimited Talk & Text. Mint Mobile has a $15 a month plan with unlimited talk, text, and 2 GB of LTE data. You even get slower 2G data speeds if you exceed your LTE allotment. Their intro offer is 3 months at $15 per month. After that, you’ll have to buy 12 months of airtime upfront to get the $15 per month price. They offer a 7-Day Money Back Guarantee (starts upon SIM activation) so you can test them out before making the multi-month commitment. If you don’t want that 2 GB of data, you can go with Republic Wireless and get unlimited talk and text with zero data for $15 a month with no bulk requirement.

I recently switched to Mint Mobile myself – see my Mint Mobile SIM Activation and Number Port Transfer Review for tips based on my experiences.

Sprint NetworkSprint Network Color: Yellow

  • Light Barebones Usage. Tello Mobile has a Pay As You Go plan where there is a minimum top-up of $10. The rate is a flat 3 cents a minute for talk, and 1 cent per text. You must have some sort of activity every 90 days to maintain your service (make a phone call, send a text). If you used 400 minutes a year, that would be $1 per month ($12 a year).
  • Unlimited Talk & Text. Tello Mobile also has an unlimited talk, text, and no data for $11 a month. You need to choose a custom plan to find this option. You can get the same plan with 1 GB of data for $14 per month. I will also mention that Republic Wireless has $15 a month plan for unlimited talk and text on the Sprint Network, but you can’t bring any used Sprint device over – you must buy a specially-modified phone.

AT&T NetworkAT&T Network Color: Blue

  • Light Barebones Usage. H2O Wireless has a Pay As You Go plan where you can buy a $10 card that lasts 90 days. The rate is a flat 5 cents a minute for talk, and 5 cents per text. You must buy another card after it expires in 90 days. This means you could use 800 minutes a year for $3.33 per month ($40 per year).
  • Unlimited Talk & Text. Red Pocket Mobile via eBay offers unlimited talk, text, and 1 GB data for $17.08 a month when you pay for 12 months upfront ($205 for one year) with a free SIM included in the kit. You can choose the AT&T network when you sign up.

Verizon NetworkVerizon Network Color: Red

  • Light Barebones Usage. PagePlus Cellular has a Pay As You Go plan where you can buy a $10 card that lasts 120 days. The rate is a flat 6 cents a minute for talk, and 5 cents per text. You must buy another card after it expires in 120 days. This means you could use 500 minutes a year for $2.50 per month ($30 per year). PagePlus now accepts 4G smartphones.
  • Unlimited Talk & Text. Red Pocket Mobile via eBay offers unlimited talk, text, and 1 GB data for $17.08 a month when you pay for 12 months upfront ($205 for one year) with a free SIM included in the kit. You can choose the Verizon network when you sign up.

Here are the cheapest plans with unlimited talk & text and 2+ GB LTE data.

AmEx Special Offers: 10% Off Back on Supermarkets, Cable/Internet Bills, Insurance Bills, and Department Stores

“The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone.”

amexoffers

Updated. If you have any American Express card, here’s a quick heads up that they have been loading up a variety of new “Amex Offers” on broad categories. These are an easy way to earn some extra cash without buying any extra stuff you don’t need. Login into your account, scroll down down down, and look for 10% back in one of these categories:

  • Cable/Internet bills
  • Supermarkets
  • Insurance bills
  • Cellular phone bills
  • Select Department Stores
  • Office Supplies
  • Lowe’s
  • Staples

For example, I saw the following for supermarkets:

Get 10% back as a statement credit each time you use your enrolled Card in-store or online at a US-based Supermarket by 9/30/2018. Limit $20 in total credits.

You should check all your cards, but note that these are now limited to one per credit card member. So if you sign up for it on one card, you won’t be able to use the same offer on another AmEx card. Be sure to add it to the card you want.

There are many different flavors of American Express, but here are the consumer and business cards you’ll find in my wallet: