Archive | July, 2011

30 year fixed rates goes up to 4.6%

Freddie Mac says 30 year fixed loan rates have increased to 4.6% from 4.51%.

Average 15 year are up to 3.75% ( the lowest point of the year so far was 2 weeks ago, at 3.67).

5 year adjustables are at 3.30, while 1 year adjustables are at 3.01.

These don’t include points.

(as of 7/7/11)

Prepaid debit cards

Prepaid debit cards with no fees are growing in popularity. I used to think that prepaid debit cards were just the same as my own bank debit card, but they are two different animals. My bank debit card is tied to the balance in my bank account, where as you have to “load” up the prepaid debit cards with a specific amount of money. When that amount is spent, you can’t use it again until you “re-charge”.

This is a great idea and I think many people can use it to help keep their spending more under control. Or at least I think it would help me. With my bank debit card, although I don’t have access to credit, I still have the ability to drain my bank balance at a moments notice if the spending urge takes control.

But I would think that by keeping only prepaid debit cards on hand with, say 1 or 2 hundred bucks loaded, one might be better able to budget. In reality I realize it isn’t any different than keeping 200 bucks in your wallet or purse, but I just think that psychologically it might be a little easier to budget and avoid overspending.

I think especially with young people, like college or even high school students, it could be a very useful tool. With actual cash in your wallet or purse it’s very easy and tempting to make smaller purchases which may not be necessary or prudent. If one has to pull out the debit card in order to buy that big Slurpy or other less expensive items, they might be less likely to do so. Maybe I’m wrong on that assumption, but it seems feasible to me.

I’ll have to get one and give it a try. I’ll report back and give you my thoughts after.

Now I just have to research which is the best one to get for my needs. Ideally I’d want prepaid debit cards with no fees, but I don’t even know if they exist. I’m sure like any financial product these days, the important details (ie costs) will be buried in the fine print. Although it sounds like a great idea, my cynical self suspects no financial institution will want any part of these unless they can squeeze out the same high profits they are used to getting from there other products.

Anyone with any personal recommendations on the best prepaid debit cards, please share. Especially prepaid debit cards with no fees.

Update: Several readers have pointed me here for one of the best prepaid debit cards.

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