Connect with us

Business

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

Published

on


laptop working studying

The author is not pictured.
JKstock/Shutterstock.com


  • 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.



Source link

Continue Reading

Business

Stock market news today: Dow, S&P rise on jobs report, reopening hopes

Published

on



The stock market’s June rally continued on Wednesday as growing hopes of a smooth economic recovery drowned out nationwide protests.

Major indexes gained through the morning after an ADP labor-market report said US private payrolls fell by 2.76 million in May, less than one-third of the decline expected by economists. The reading was a steep decline from April’s record slump of 19.6 million.

Economists expected a far worse drop of 9 million jobs, suggesting Friday’s jobs report could also defy estimates and further boost investor sentiment.

Here’s where US indexes stood soon at the 4 p.m. ET close on Wednesday:

Read more: A $40 billion wealth-management firm says the US economy is only 19% recovered from the pandemic — and lays out a winning investing strategy in the wake of a massive stock-market rally.

The Nasdaq 100 temporarily traded above its February 19 record close before ending the session just below the threshold. The S&P 500 reached three-month highs, led by a bank-stock rally.

A report from the Institute for Supply Management pointed to positive performance within the US service industry, easily the largest part of the nation’s economy. The organization’s non-manufacturing index jumped to 45.4 in May from 41.8, remaining in contraction territory but turning higher after plunging on coronavirus woes. 

“We may be past the bottom and non-manufacturing activity may start to slowly improve in June, but we are still a long way from returning to pre-virus conditions,” Gregory Daco, chief US economist at Oxford Economics, said. “Consumer and business confidence will play key roles in shaping the economic recovery.”

Read more: A proprietary Bank of America indicator points to 20%-plus gains in the stock market over the next year. Here’s what the firm recommends buying now ahead of the rally.

Airlines outperformed the market upswing after the White House banned Chinese airlines from operating passenger flights to the US starting mid-June. The move follows the Department of Transportation accusing China of blocking US passenger flights. Alaska Air led the group, gaining as much as 12% on the news.

Oil erased early gains and hovered around little changed amid doubts on when OPEC will next meet. The global coalition is set to extend record production cuts for at least another month. But leading members are have threatened to cancel a Thursday meeting unless the entire group agrees to a concerted extension, according to Bloomberg.

Stocks have edged higher in June’s early sessions despite new risks emerging from nationwide police-brutality protests and renewed US-China trade tensions.

Nicholas Colas, a cofounder of DataTrek Research, said in a Tuesday note that while such rallies “may seem counterintuitive, and perhaps not even ‘fair,'” history holds several examples of investors looking past near-term strife to bet on surging corporate profits.

Now read more markets coverage from Markets Insider and Business Insider:

GOLDMAN SACHS: Buy these 15 stocks for powerful profit growth after a historic rally leaves the market with little room for error

ZoomInfo is set to join the Nasdaq exchange, risking new confusion among investors trading other Zoom-named stocks

Investors have plowed $151 billion into coronavirus bonds in a rush to stem pandemic damage



Source link

Continue Reading

Business

US weekly jobless claims preview: Economists see 1.8 million claims

Published

on


  • The median economist estimate for jobless claims in the week ending May 30 is 1.8 million, according to Bloomberg data. The Labor Department will release the official report Thursday. 
  • While a decline from the previous week, the estimate is still nearly three times higher than the worst seven-day period during the Great Recession, when 665,000 people filed for unemployment. 
  • It’s still “indicative of a labor market that’s under quite a lot of stress,” Michelle Meyer of Bank of America told Business Insider. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Economists expect that initial claims data from the Labor Department will show another week in which millions of Americans filed for unemployment insurance benefits. 

The median economist estimate is for the Thursday report to show 1.8 million initial claims filed in the week ending May 30, according to Bloomberg data. 

That would be a decrease from the 2.1 million Americans who filed during the prior period, and mark the ninth weekly decline in a row. Still, 1.8 million jobless claims is a highly elevated number that’s nearly three times larger than the worst week of the great recession, when 665,000 filed for unemployment. 

It’s still “indicative of a labor market that’s under quite a lot of stress,” Michelle Meyer of Bank of America told Business Insider. 

claims projections 5 30 20



Andy Kiersz/ Business Insider


Read more: MORGAN STANLEY: The market’s hottest stocks are in danger of being disrupted to a degree not seen since the Great Recession. Here’s how to adjust your portfolio for the coming shift.

Economists will also be watching to see if continuing claims — which indicate people receiving unemployment benefits — fall for a second week in a row. In the previous report, continuing claims dipped for the first time since sweeping coronavirus-induced layoffs began when the US went into lockdown in mid-March. 

While declining initial claims show that fewer Americans are being laid off and seeking benefits, falling continuing claims indicate that at least some previously unemployed workers are returning to jobs. As all 50 states continue to slowly reopen their economies, that could be a sign that rehiring is taking place. 

Thursday’s report precedes the May jobs release on Friday, which economists expect will show the US lost roughly 8 million jobs and the unemployment rate surged to 19% during the month. In April, the US lost a record 20.5 million jobs and saw the unemployment rate spike to 14.7%, the highest since the 1940s. 

Still, there’s always the chance that the report comes in better than expectations — on Wednesday, ADP’s private payrolls report showed that 2.76 million jobs were cut in May, far fewer than the 9 million economists were expecting. 

Something is loading.



Source link

Continue Reading

Business

Amazon cuts workers’ $2 hazard pay as coronavirus continues spread

Published

on


  • This week Amazon warehouse workers lost a $2 pay bump brought in to reward them for coming in during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Amazon has now phased out two major policies brought in to protect workers, the other being that they could take unlimited amounts of unpaid time off without being penalized.
  • The apparent return to normalcy is at odds with the experiences of warehouse workers who told Business Insider they still feel in danger coming to work.
  • Amazon said its starting wage was higher than competitors in retail, and that it had paid out approximately $800 million extra to staff since the beginning of the pandemic.
  • CEO Jeff Bezos maintains his position as the world’s richest person, with his fortune nearing $150 billion.
  • Do you work at Amazon? Got a tip? Contact this reporter at ihamilton@businessinsider.com or iahamilton@protonmail.com.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The coronavirus pandemic is not over, but Amazon this week ended some of the emergency incentives it introduced to encourage its 250,000 warehouse staffers to come into work.

The retail giant initially struggled to cope with a sudden spike in online orders brought on by coronavirus lockdowns around the world, and during its first-quarter earnings call the company announced it had seen its highest sales growth in over three years. But three months into lockdown, Amazon seems to have got a handle on its operations. 

As its supply chain steadies, the company is reversing policies introduced earlier in 2020 to protect its workers from the coronavirus fallout. Even as these measures fall away, the virus continues to spread inside Amazon’s warehouses in Europe and in the US, staffers say.

On Monday, Amazon eliminated one of the policies brought in to reward frontline workers for continuing to come into work during the crisis — a $2-per-hour rise in pay. The wage rise was always temporary, and the company announced earlier in May that its $2 hazard pay would finish at the end of the month.

In April, it phased out a second policy of allowing workers to take unlimited time off (UPT) to allow them to stay home if they felt unsafe coming to work. This was an extraordinary move for the retail giant, since prior to the pandemic workers told Business Insider that using more than your allotted amount of UPT (80 hours per year) could result in immediate termination. 

The US remains one of the worst-hit countries globally by the pandemic, with more than 1.8 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and over 105,000 deaths. While the growth rate of the virus appears to have stabilized, experts warned outbreaks in individual states are possible.

As of mid-May eight Amazon workers are confirmed to have died, and over a hundred warehouses have confirmed cases according to news reports. The company has consistently refused to publish official figures on exactly how many of its employees are confirmed to have tested positive for the virus.

Business Insider spoke to six Amazon workers about the return to normal pay amid abnormal conditions. All requested anonymity for fear of retaliation from the company.

‘They should actually be increasing it’

Several Amazon warehouse workers who spoke to Business Insider said the pay cut won’t make much difference to their livelihoods. The $2 was only a small increase to begin with, they said, amounting to an extra $80 per week for someone working a 40-hour week.

Amazon’s starting pay for warehouse workers is $15 per hour, meaning since March when the wage hike was introduced that has gone up to $17 per hour.

“The two dollars an hour won’t have much effect on my life, I find [it] kind of laughable.  There are others though who can really use it and with the present circumstances they should actually be increasing it instead of taking it away,” said one New Jersey-based worker.

Even those for whom the loss of $80 a week isn’t make-or-break say the cut is disheartening.

“It just kills me that the company cares nothing about what a pay cut will do to morale,” said one South Carolina worker.

The same worker said if Amazon had shut down warehouses to shield its staff, employees would have been eligible to claim unemployment. They said this may have meant more income given the $600 federal boost to unemployment payments introduced in April.

That boost is due to come to an end in July, and at the moment it means roughly half of US workers can earn more in unemployment than from their regular salaries.

Amazon fulfillment center

Inside Amazon’s Thornton, Colorado warehouse (picture taken in March 2019).

Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images


“Almost everyone is very disappointed and angry,” said one Indiana worker whose warehouse now has over 30 confirmed cases. “We want the pay until the masks go away,” they added.

Amazon brought in a policy requiring employees to wear masks to work in April, though it warned its supplies were “limited.”

An Amazon spokeswoman said wearing masks is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control.

She added that Amazon’s $15 starting hourly pay for warehouse workers, introduced in 2018, is better than the retail competition.

Target’s minimum wage is currently $13 an hour, although it’s due to rise to $15 by the end of 2020.

“To thank employees and help meet increased demand, we’ve paid our team and partners nearly $800 million extra since COVID-19 started while continuing to offer full benefits from day one of employment,” she said. “With demand stabilized, we’ve returned to our industry-leading starting wage of $15 an hour. We’re proud that our minimum wage is more than what most others offer even after their temporary increases in recent months, and we hope they’ll do the right thing for the long term and bring their minimum pay closer to ours.”

But for some, the danger inside warehouses seems far from abating, and a lack of communication from management makes them fearful that the danger level could be higher than they know.

As coronavirus cases spread to the US, Amazon began to notify workers about cases in their warehouses via text, telling them when a worker who tested positive for COVID-19 was last on-site. At first, the company notified workers about each new case, but as it started to spread more voraciously at some sites it stopped giving specific numbers, as reported by the New York Times.

Workers told Business Insider communication can be sporadic.

One California worker told Business Insider they received a text on May 18 notifying them a confirmed case had been on-site on April 7. “Not only should we continuing receiving the hazard pay but we deserve more than $2,” the same worker added.

“They just notify us of a new case but don’t provide what shift or department involved,” said one Tennessee-based warehouse worker. “They say they reach out to people they can verify via camera who were close to the infected person.”

“[Their] policy is to wait and see who gets infected, report it via text or call and carry on with business as usual. It’s sad,” they added.

An Amazon spokeswoman, asked how the firm monitors the spread of the virus, said: “Our top concern is ensuring the health and safety of our employees, and we expect to invest approximately $4 billion from April to June on COVID-related initiatives to get products to customers and keep employees safe.”

She continued: “This includes spending more than $800 million in the first half of the year on COVID-19 safety measures, with investments in personal protective equipment, enhanced cleaning of our facilities, less efficient process paths that better allow for effective social distancing, higher wages for hourly teams, and developing our own COVID-19 testing capabilities, etc.”

Not always enough work to go around

In some warehouses, the company appears to have been able to manage demand sufficiently that it’s now asking workers to take time off.

The Indiana worker told Business Insider that in their warehouse managers are offering voluntary time off or “VTO.”

The way VTO works is workers get sent a text offering unpaid time off when the warehouse has an ebb in demand.

They then log in through the employee portal, an app called A to Z, to claim which days they want on a first-come first-served basis.

The worker told Business Insider the offer of VTO generally runs out within about 15 minutes of going out, with workers especially eager to snap up the time off now that their unlimited UPT has been cut.

Not all of Amazon’s warehouses are at overcapacity. To keep up with demand Amazon went on an initial 175,000 worker hiring spree, and in some locations this process seems to be continuing. One UK-based worker said their warehouse is still recruiting temporary contract workers on rolling contracts.

This week more news emerged that Amazon is trying to rejuvenate business for sellers damaged by the coronavirus. The company is reportedly planning a summer sale to “drive excitement and jump-start sales,” per a company notice seen by CNET.

Meanwhile Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ fortune continues to climb. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Bezos has added $32 billion to his wealth since January, and is now worth $149 billion.

Do you work at Amazon? Got a tip? Contact this reporter at ihamilton@businessinsider.com or iahamilton@protonmail.com.

Something is loading.



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending