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Got no credit? Technology offers alternatives

Got no credit? Technology offers alternatives

Published 9/14/11  (Modified 10/26/11)

Got no credit? Technology offers alternatives By Rich Mintzer

Nicki, a college student, decides it's time for a new laptop. She finds exactly what she wants online, but can't buy it because she does not have a credit card. Her close friend offers to put it on her card, but she's already over her card limit. These are not uncommon situations; in fact, a quarter of U.S. citizens do not have credit cards while so many more are in credit card debt. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, cardholders topped $886 billion in credit card debt in 2010, and that number is expected to top $1.1 trillion this year.

The alternate route

With those sobering statistics in mind, entrepreneur Danny Shader thought it was time to revitalize the basic concept of paying by cash for those without plastic, those who abuse it and those who don't want to write checks on their savings accounts to make loan payments. "We have built a transaction network, as opposed to just a payment network, which lets people make full transactions with cash," explains Shader, CEO of PayNearMe, the cash payment service that launched in the fall of 2010.

The PayNearMe cash payment process is relatively simple. Consumers purchase products online and choose PayNearMe at checkout as a means of payment. They then print a sales slip and take it to the nearest 7-Eleven where they pay in cash. The cashier simply swipes the slip, which completes the transaction. The purchase is shipped to the customer's home, not unlike paying online with a credit card.

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6 banking innovations to look for in 2011

Published 1/6/11  (Modified 3/9/11)

6 banking innovations to look for in 2011 By Clark Schultz

I have always thought of banks as the bad guys. They charge too much on my credit card balances. They pay too little interest on my savings. And they charge me fees for every little thing. In the last couple of years we even had to endure our tax dollars going to bail out banks that went a little crazy with their lending.

Lately, though, I have started to look at banks differently. In the last year, banks have become more responsible with their lending and have implemented features and services that are useful to me. And it looks like that is just the tip of the iceberg. I think 2011 is the year that banks become the good guys again.

Here are six banking innovations to look for in the coming year that can help make life easier:

  • Social savings accounts

    I realize now that reaching a savings goal when interest rates are low can be tricky. You lose the power of compounding interest and inflation can actually decrease the worth of your money. To help you save in spite of these problems, a new form of savings, called a social savings account gaining steam. The account helps you increase your savings by publicizing your savings target with a widget or personal message on a social network, blog or website. This allows friends and family to hear your story and contribute to your goal.

    Savings is now a higher priority for Americans. The question

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    Is it safe to bank with an iPhone?

    Published 1/5/11  (Modified 3/9/11)

    Is it safe to bank with an iPhone? By Clark Schultz

    The Apple iPhone is the one of the world's biggest technology phenomena. Behind the popularity is a wide selection of unique mobile applications that can be easily downloaded. This includes banking applications that are about to take mobile banking to the next level.

    Setting up mobile banking

    Mobile banking has been around for close to 10 years. Up until this year, the most popular way to access banking information with a phone has been through using SMS text messages or mobile Internet browsers. Both methods have limitations and can be frustrating for users.

    All of that looks set to change with the explosion of applications being developed for the iPhone by some of the best online banks. Banking applications allow a faster and more secure connection to a bank's server than if you use a mobile browser or SMS. Developers are continually adding more mobile banking features and security enhancements to banking apps.

    If you have an iPhone, you can check the iTunes store or your bank's website for the most current mobile banking applications. Wells Fargo Bank, U.S. Bank, PNC Bank and USAA Federal Savings Bank are just a few of the financial institutions that have applications that can be downloaded for free. After your application is up and running, you can check balances, pay bills, transfer money, set up banking reminders and find the closest ATMs.

    Securing your financial data


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    3 ways remote check deposits level the financial playing field

    Published 12/7/10  (Modified 3/9/11)

    By Kelly Richardson

    Please don't get me wrong. I do actually enjoy going to my neighborhood bank on occasion. The tellers are friendly; the atmosphere comfortable; the coffee fresh and caffeinated. But, admittedly, I try to avoid the trip whenever I can.

    I use the virtual banking services whenever possible to avoid navigating traffic and standing in line at my local branch. So you can imagine my excitement when I discovered that the best online banks are now moving in the direction of remote check deposits.

    If you haven't heard, this phenomenon allows you to make check deposits across the internet using a connected deposit device or even just your own mobile phone. You heard me right--there are wikis and widgets that allow you to make deposits directly into your high interest savings accounts from the comfort of your own home.

    How does remote check deposit work? There's an app for that!

    Making a remote deposit is surprisingly easy--even those with technophobia will find it an intuitive process. Simply log into your checking account online and use a bank-provided scanner to "read" the check.

    The bank's program captures the dollar amount of the check through a complex hand-writing analysis program that compares the number to the amount that's spelled out. Once the transaction is complete, simply verify the amount and the transaction is placed on the deposit schedule. Simple, right? But wait--it gets better.

    If you don't want to

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    Best Free Anti Virus Software and Anti Spyware Program

    Published 9/25/09  (Modified 3/9/11)

    By MoneyBlueBook

    For the last week or so, I've been battling a particularly feisty spyware/virus infection on my home personal computer. I was using my desktop computer to browse the Internet like any other day when my PC's performance suddenly started acting strange. One minute I was browsing the web, and the next minute my web browser was redirecting my Google search engine queries to a series of shady looking websites. Even my attempts to visit well known sites such as CNN.com or NYTimes.com by typing in the URL addresses directly into the web browser were mysteriously being redirected to adult themed websites or other advertisement filled home pages. Very soon after, a cleverly designed but obviously fake Windows Firewall alert message started popping up to warn that my computer had been infected by a Trojan virus - advising me to click on the provided link to access a supposed anti virus/anti spyware program that could get rid of it. Unfortunately, it wasn't until days after it all started that I finally realized that my computer had been maliciously hijacked and infected with either a worm or malware virus of some sort.

    Dismay and concern immediately set in as I bemoaned the shear number of times I had used the compromised computer during the span of the last few days to check my Yahoo, Gmail, and business email accounts, and used the workstation to log into my confidential online bank and brokerage accounts. Who knows the number of confidential user login names and passwords I had unwittingly submitted

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    How To Request USPS Hold Mail Service Online

    Published 9/7/09  (Modified 3/9/11)

    By MoneyBlueBook

    Although we are now living in the computer (Internet) age and everything seems to be going paperless, certain people still insist on doing things the old fashioned way. But if you want to do a better job of saving precious time and money, you might want to start taking better advantage of the more efficient online services out there, if you aren't already doing so. Services like postal delivery and mail forwarding can nowadays be effectively managed online without the necessity of having to perform an errand run to the post office.

    Some of you may live within a short drive or even within walking distance of your neighborhood post office. But unfortunately in my case, my local post office is a bit of a distance away situated within the city center, and getting there frequently requires that I fight through road rage inducing traffic jams and suffer through depressingly long lines once I've arrived. While I'm sure the folks at the U.S. postal service (USPS) do the best they can under the circumstances, I pretty much avoid visiting the post office as best as I can - turning to the free USPS website to manage the bulk of my postal decisions whenever possible.

    Put Your Mail On Hold For Free By Requesting USPS Hold Mail Service Online

    Unless you have someone at home to receive your mail for you, those of you planning to be away for an extended period of time (3 days or more) on vacation or for a business trip may want to

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