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I used a 0% APR credit card to borrow money, and I’d recommend it

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  • I’ve never taken out a personal loan because I don’t like paying interest. But, there have been a few times when I’ve had to take on some debt — namely when I started my business.
  • I turned to 0% APR credit cards, which offer an introductory APR of 0% for a limited time, allowing you to use the money as an interest-free loan as long as you pay it back within that introductory period.
  • I’m a big fan of 0% APR credit card offers like those on the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card and the Chase Freedom Unlimited, because if you have a plan, you can borrow the money you need without having to pay interest.
  • Read more personal finance coverage.

Since you need a solid credit history to take out a hefty loan, you might want to start building your credit by taking out user-friendly credit cards with no annual fees and an introductory APR of 0%.

In fact, this makes sense even if you have been building your credit for a while; these low-risk liabilities are ideal for quick lines of credit when you need them, and you’re not going to be slammed with enormous interest fees if you’re able to pay them off quickly. An introductory 0% APR means the card won’t charge you interest on the balance for a set period of time, established upfront. That means you can carry a balance month to month without incurring the notoriously high credit card interest rates, essentially using that money as an interest-free loan.

Even though 0% APR periods are great, you have to be very careful to go into it with a plan. If you don’t pay off your balance in full by the end of the 0% APR period, many credit cards will actually back-charge you all of the interest you accrued during the 0% APR period. That’s not a mistake you want to make! 

I’ve made use of 0% APR offers from credit cards to help fund my business start-up fees, and I’ve saved thousands of dollars by not having to pay credit card interest or even interest on a personal loan! I may have gotten this idea from my parents, who financed our pool on a 0% APR credit card back in the early 2000s.

If this sounds useful to you (and let’s be honest — who couldn’t use a low-risk line of credit every so often?) then it’s definitely worth it to check out some great credit card options. The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is currently offering a 0% APR on purchases for six months (then a variable APR of 17.49% to 26.49%) and the Chase Freedom Unlimited offers an introductory 0% APR on purchases for 15 months (then a variable APR of 16.99% to 25.74%).

I’ve personally used both the Chase Slate Card and the American Express EveryDay to get an interest-free loan. 

Chase Slate

If you’re leaning towards Chase Bank for your lender, then I can recommend snagging a quick line of credit with the Chase Slate. This is a great option because it comes with a suite of features that you can use to your benefit especially well if you’re planning on paying off the credit quickly. This card comes with no annual fee as well as a 60-day period during which you won’t pay any fees for balance transfers. This is a great benefit if you’ve already been paying interest on a credit card.

The most important feature of this card, in terms of quick and cheap loans, is its introductory APR of 0%. Not only does this card come with a 0% introductory APR, but that rate applies to the first 15 months after your account opens. With many cards, introductory APRs only count for the first year, so 15 months means an extra quarter of “free” loans. After that, the APR will vary between 14.74% to 25.74%, but that won’t matter if you’ve already paid the loan back during the first 15 months. 

American Express Cash Magnet® Card

Interestingly, American Express comes with a few cards that could easily grant you a quick line of credit without any penalty. One of them, the American Express CashMagnet, even lets you earn some cash back during your use of the card. This card has no annual fee and, like the Chase Slate, comes with an introductory 0% APR for the first 15 months of your account opening. After that, the APR will vary between 14.74% to 25.74%. 

This gives you plenty of time to pay off your balance before interest kicks in, but depending on how you use the card, you may want to keep this one around. With the American Express CashMagnet card, you’ll earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all of your purchases. As a welcome bonus, you’ll earn $175 cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first three months.

You can redeem your additional cash back rewards for statement credit, or repurpose those dollars towards gift cards or merchandise. This card is great for low-risk loans with a decent earning potential, depending on how much you spend.

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

Alternatively, you may consider the Amex EveryDay Credit Card if it’s Membership Rewards Points that you’re after. This card comes with a similar set of standard benefits as the American Express CashMagnet and the Chase Slate credit cards, including a $0 annual fee, fee-free balance transfers for the first 60 days of the account, and 0% APR for the first 15 months of the account with a variable APR between 14.74% and 25.74% after that. But, unlike the other two cards, the American Express EveryDay comes with a different set of rewards and earning potential. 

Instead of cash back, you can earn Membership Rewards Points on qualifying purchases, which can then be redeemed (or transferred) for travel benefits, gift cards, merchandise, or entertainment. Plus, you’ll get a welcome bonus of 15,000 points after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first three months. With this card, you can earn 2X Membership Rewards points at US supermarkets (up to $6,000 spent annually, then 1X) and 1X Membership Rewards points on all other purchases. On top of that, if you use your card at least 20 times within one billing period, you’ll earn 20% more Membership Rewards Points than the standard baseline. 

This is a good option if you need a quick, cheap line of credit but you’d also like to start stockpiling rewards points and earn some benefits with your credit.



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Apple fires man accused of sending self intimate photo while fixing iPhone

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  • Apple fired a employee at a California store over accusations he sent himself an “extremely personal” photo from a customer’s phone.
  • Gloria Fuentes took her phone to the Apple store in Valley Plaza, Bakersfield, to get it fixed on November 5. After a lengthy check, she said she was told it was beyond repair.
  • When Fuentes got home, she said she saw a photo she “took for my boyfriend” had been sent to an unknown number. She confronted the Apple staffer later that day.
  • Apple said: “The employee acted far outside the strict privacy guidelines to which we hold all Apple employees. He is no longer associated with our company.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories. 

Apple fired a employee from a store in California after a customer accused him of sending himself an “extremely personal” photo from her iPhone while he tried to repair it.

Gloria Fuentes wrote on Facebook on November 5 that she went to the Apple store in Valley Plaza, Bakersfield, the previous day to get her screen fixed.

Fuentes said the employee took her phone away and asked for her password several times. He later told her he couldn’t fix it, and that she needed to go through her network provider.

When Fuentes checked her messages after she got home, she said she noticed a photo had been sent to an unknown number.

“I open it and instantly wanted to cry!!! This guy went through my gallery and sent himself one of my EXTREMELY PERSONAL pictures that I took for my boyfriend,” she wrote

“THIS PICTURE WAS FROM ALMOST A YEAR AGO SO HE HAD TO HAVE SCROLLED UP FOR A WHILE TO GET TO THAT PICTURE being that I have over 5,000 pics in my phone!”

Apple Store

Apple staffers stand in an Apple store.
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“I could not express how disgusted I felt and how long I cried after I saw this!!,” she said.

Fuentes went back to the store to confront the employee later that day, who she says admitted it was “his number” but claimed he “doesn’t know how that pic got sent.”

In a statement to The Washington Post, the company said it had fired the man in question.

“Apple immediately launched an internal investigation and determined that the employee acted far outside the strict privacy guidelines to which we hold all Apple employees,” it said.

“He is no longer associated with our company.”

Fuentes said she would be “pressing legal charges against him.” Fuentes did not respond to a message from Business Insider asking for more information.



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George Conway was on MSNBC, criticizing GOP during impeachment hearing

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  • George Conway, the husband of White House adviser Kellyanne Conway and an open critic of President Donald Trump, appeared on MSNBC Wednesday to support the public impeachment hearings.
  • His appearance on MSNBC is one of his first televised interviews to speak out against the president, according to The New York Times.
  • Conway is one of the few conservatives in the public sphere who has openly denounced Trump’s conduct during his presidency, as support for the president has largely followed party lines.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

George Conway, the husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway and an open critic of President Donald Trump, appeared on MSNBC Wednesday as a surprise guest to discuss the public impeachment hearings.

Conway joined a panel of guests, his chyron simply reading, “conservative attorney.” His appearance on MSNBC is one of his first televised interviews to speak out against the president, according to The New York Times.

“I don’t, frankly, want to be on television,” he said on MSNBC, adding that he felt compelled to appear to raise more concern for Trump’s conduct throughout the impeachment probe. “I just don’t get why people can’t see this, and why people are refusing to see this. It’s appalling to me.”

Conway is one of the few conservatives in the public arena who has denounced Trump’s conduct during his presidency, as support for the president has largely followed party lines.

“I’m horrified. I’m appalled,” he said. “If you had told me three years ago it would come to this, I wouldn’t have believed this. I don’t think I could have imagined a president, any president, engaging in this sort of conduct.”

“This is about putting the country, the law, truth, above partisanship,” Conway said.

During the segment, he responded to the first televised impeachment hearings and lashed out at fellow Republicans for “shooting away their credibility” in their defenses for the president.

“Sometimes when you’re defending people, you have to admit there was something that’s not quite right, and that preserves some credibility,” Conway said on the segment. “Republicans are just shooting away their credibility; they have none.”

He went on to applaud Bill Taylor, who served as the top American diplomat in Ukraine, and George Kent, a senior State Department official, for testifying in the impeachment probe on Wednesday.

“These men are talking about duty and honor and country and freedom,” Conway said. “Those words mean nothing to Donald Trump. Because all Donald Trump cares about, again, is himself.”

Conway has openly criticized the president despite his wife serving the Trump administration. He wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post calling Trump a “racist president,” and often expresses his concern surrounding the Trump presidency via Twitter.

The president has taken shots at the conservative attorney as well, calling him a “loser” and a “husband from hell.”



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How much do you have to make to file taxes? Here’s who pays income tax

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  • The Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center estimates that nearly 76 million Americans won’t owe federal income tax on tax day 2020.
  • Some Americans don’t owe taxes on their income because it is too low; the deductions and credits available to them wipe out their tax liability.
  • If you’re under age 65 and earn less than the standard deduction — $12,200 for singles, $18,350 for single parents, and $24,400 for joint filers — you likely won’t have to file a federal tax return for 2019, unless you want to claim refundable credits.
  • If you made more than the standard deduction for your age and filing status, claimed unemployment income, or are self-employed and earned at least $400 during the year, you must file a tax return with the IRS.
  • Many people who don’t pay federal income tax do work and owe payroll taxes, which support Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment insurance.
  • Read more personal finance coverage.

It was Benjamin Franklin who famously wrote in 1789, “In this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes.”

While the first part remains true today (we have yet to crack the code on eternal life), taxes on income are not certain for every American.

According to the nonpartisan Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, nearly 76 million Americans, or about 44% of total tax units (one unit is equal to either a single filer or one married couple filing jointly) are expected to have a zero or negative income tax bill for the 2019 tax year. That’s over 3 million more tax units than two years ago, an increase attributable to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

“The large percentage of people who don’t owe federal income tax is a feature, not a bug, of the revenue code,” write the Tax Policy Center’s Philip Stallworth and Daniel Berger. “By design, the federal income tax always has excluded a significant fraction of households through a combination of personal exemptions, the standard deduction, zero bracket amounts, and more recently, tax credits.”

About 97.3 million Americans are expected to file a federal tax return for 2019, according to the Tax Policy Center. The deadline to file your taxes in 2020 is Wednesday, April 15.

How much do you have to make to file taxes?

Not “losing” a portion of your paycheck to taxes may sound nice to some, but it’s not a luxury. Millions of Americans don’t owe taxes on their income because they don’t earn enough money.

As a benchmark, if you’re under age 65 and earned less than the standard deduction — $12,200 for singles, $18,350 for single parents, and $24,400 for joint filers in 2019 — you won’t have to file a federal tax return. These deductions are taken before taxable income is calculated and can wipe out your total tax liability if you didn’t earn enough.

If you’re over age 65 and filing single or head of household, the standard deductions increase to $13,850 and $20,000, respectively. If you or your spouse is over age 65 and you file jointly, the standard deduction is $25,700.

Those with a zero or negative tax bill aren’t required to file, unless they want to claim refundable credits, such as the earned income tax credit (EITC) or the child tax credit (CTC), or had tax withheld by their employer throughout the year and want to get a refund.

If you made more than the standard deduction for your age and filing status, claimed unemployment income, or were self-employed and earned at least $400 during the year, you must file a tax return with the IRS.

How a negative tax bill could turn into a refund

Consider this example of a woman who doesn’t owe federal income tax and will likely end up with a refund:

Amy is a single mother who, by the end of 2019, will have earned $20,000. The standard deduction of $18,350 for single parents reduces her taxable income to $1,650, which places her in the 10% tax bracket ($0 to $9,525). Her tax bill comes out to $165.

If she qualifies for the earned income tax credit (EITC), a subsidy for low-income working families, she can reduce her tax bill by up to $3,526, the maximum for a family with one child in the 2019 tax year. She may also claim the child tax credit (CTC), which allows her to apply a credit of up to $2,000 to her tax bill.

Amy will end up with a negative final tax bill, and since EITC and CTC are refundable, she’ll receive the credits as cash.

But while Americans who earn too little don’t pay income taxes, those who hold a job are still subject to payroll taxes, which support Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment insurance. According to Tax Policy Center data, 26.7 million Americans owed neither income nor payroll taxes for the 2018 tax year. However, some taxes are certain for everyone, regardless of income, including sales taxes, excise taxes, and property taxes.



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