Thursday, July 22, 2010

Just in time for a new semester

Amazon is offering current students 1 year of amazon prime for free! What is amazon prime? Amazon prime is usually $79 a year to purchase and allows prime eligible items free 2 day shipping and upgrades to 1 day shipping for only $3.99. This is a great deal for college students who may not know what books they need for classes until the last minute. Now students can receive their books quicker and cheaper than amazon's regular free super saver shipping. The nice thing about prime also is that you do not need to meet any minimum requirement like the $25 requirement for free super saver shipping. In addition amazon student members get exclusive discounts on a variety of products and categories. Discounts and promotions will be e-mailed to your e-mail account or made available on the Amazon Student membership page at Eligibility is only to students currently enrolled in a college or university who have a valid .edu e-mail address, which you will need to confirm in order to participate in Amazon Student. To sign up just follow the link here: Sign up for Amazon Student If you have a current amazon account all you need to do is provide your school and major and have a .edu email address. Amazon will send an email to your .edu address within a few minutes and in no time you'll be saving on shipping charges.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Earn more than just points at Mypoints

Everyone loves free stuff, so this post is dedicated to a website I’ve been actively using for over 4 years now. is a rewards site where, once signed up, you can receive points for purchases over the internet similar to the bing cash back program. These points can be redeemed for gift cards at popular retailers. Online purchase deals range from receiving 1 point per dollar up to around 5 points per dollar, although they have special offers that may be worth more points. Sometimes you can receive a bulk of points from a first purchase - such as 500 points for signing up for so-so’s service. Don’t want to buy online? Don’t worry. You can still earn points for signing up for different interests and receiving emails for those interests. Once you receive the email just click the link and voila – you’ve received 5 points. Also available on their website are coupons powered by The nice thing about these coupons is not only are you saving money through the coupons, you also earn points for each coupon that is redeemed. Personally my big point earner through my years at Mypoints has been the frequent customer survey’s that you receive through email. The surveys can range from 10-15 points if you do not qualify for the complete survey and 25-100 points if you do. A full survey can range from 15 to 45 minutes, and can be almost any topic. This is a great opportunity to be part of market research as you can give your opinion on products and ads way before they hit mainstream. Once you’ve racked up some points you can redeem them for gift cards. Many mainstream websites (Amazon, iTunes, FTD) and brick and mortar store (Wal-Mart, target, GameStop, best buy, home depot) gift cards are available as well an array of restaurants (Applebee’s, McDonalds, red lobster) and gas stations (BP, Shell).

It takes about 1600 points for a $10 gift card and 3600 points for a $25 gift card.
So what are you waiting for? Sign up now and start saving today!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010

Basics of Financial Reform – How will the bill affect you?

On July 14, 2010 the bill popularly known as Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, passed congress and was sent to President Obama to be put into law. What’s in this bill? says that “the bill would impose tighter regulations on financial firms and reduce their profits. It would boost consumer protections, force banks to reduce risky trading and investing activities and set up a new government process for liquidating troubled financial firms.” I wanted to find out more about this bill since has changed and added many new regulations into the industry that I one day hope to become part of. This is what I’ve found across several different sites. References are listed at the end.

Mortgages: Liar loans are over. Lenders will be required to collect documents of borrower's income before providing a mortgage loan. They will also be required to determine that the borrower can repay the loan. High fees and bad loans terms have been hacked away at and prepayment penalties for most mortgage loans will no longer be allowed, the downside for consumers is that these regulations will make mortgage loans less profitable for banks, meaning for borrowers - it will be harder to get a loan and interest rates may rise or new fees may pop up/ incentives in other areas will be terminated to make up for the loss of income. It’s also foreseen that down payments for mortgages will increase.

Debit Card Interchange Fees: This part of the bill is aimed at helping businesses who have to pay a small fee to card carriers such as Visa and MasterCard every time a debit card is swiped. The fee for debit cards currently averages 1.6% -- credit cards' swipe fees average more than 2%. The bill is looking at capping the debit card fees to a "reasonable and proportional to the actual cost incurred." According to Yahoo Finance “It will take months for the Federal Reserve to decide what's reasonable, but in Europe, Visa and MasterCard interchange fees are as low as 0.2% -- in Australia they're capped at 0.5%. Odds are that caps here will be higher than those charged on other continents, but lower than they are today. In lobbying for this change, retailers virtually assured Congress that they would pass along their savings to consumers. Many consumer advocates, however -- including this one -- are skeptical.”

Consumer Watchdog Group: One of the most controversial parts of the bill deals with the establishment of a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau within the Federal Reserve. Yahoo finance said that “This new agency will have sweeping powers to regulate virtually every kind of lending activity and lender, from the largest banks to the smallest pawn shops.”

Bank Bailouts: The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) will borrow from the Treasury to pay for the cost of liquidation, and then get its money back by selling off the institution's assets. If asset sales aren't enough to repay the Treasury, the FDIC could charge a fee to other banks. If a bank fails, the FDIC will have the ability to take back compensation paid to its current or former senior executives for the two years preceding its failure. In addition, the government can ban senior executives found responsible for a bank's failure from future work in the financial services industry.

Say on Pay: Shareholders must be provided with the right to cast a non-binding vote approving the domestic companies’ executive compensation. The decision is non-binding. Shareholders also get to determine how often and when additional or recurring say on pay votes will be held.

Free credit scores: Consumers can already get a free look at their credit reports once every year from the big three credit bureaus -- Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Only consumers who are denied a loan or suffer some other sort of "adverse action" to get a free look at their credit score. Adverse actions include an increase in the cost of insurance, being charged more for or being denied a car lease, or if the interest rate offered on a credit card or loan is higher than one being offered to those with excellent credit.

Yahoo Finance
MSN Money