As if the pandemic didn’t take enough from us, there are companies you are using right now that are totally taking advantage of you. Some in a really big way, and most you had absolutely no idea were pulling the wool over your eyes.
But you’re no sucker! Now that you know, you’re ready to fight back. Here are the worst companies that are practically stealing your money — and what you can do to save it.
1. Your Credit Card Company: Ask This Website to Help Pay Your Credit Card Bill This Month
No, like… the whole bill. All of it.
While you’re stressing out over your debt, your credit card company is getting rich off those insane interest rates. But a website called Fiona could help you pay off that bill as soon as tomorrow.
Here’s how it works: Fiona can match you with a low-interest loan you can use to pay off every credit card balance you have. The benefit? You’re left with just one bill to pay every month, and because the interest rate is so much lower, you can get out of debt so much faster. Plus, no credit card payment this month.
If your credit score is at least 620, Fiona can help you borrow up to $250,000 (no collateral needed) with fixed rates starting at 2.49% and terms from 6 to 144 months.
Fiona won’t make you stand in line or call a bank. And if you’re worried you won’t qualify, it’s free to check online. It takes just two minutes, and it could save you thousands of dollars. Totally worth it.
All that credit card debt — and the anxiety that comes with it — could be gone by tomorrow.
2. Funeral Homes: Get Covered with Life Insurance
You love your family. The last thing you’d want to do is leave them to foot a huge expensive bill after you die. Did you know it can cost $7,000 to $15,000 just to cover funeral costs? And that doesn’t include other final expenses, such as leftover credit card debt or medical bills. Yikes. Your loved ones shouldn’t be stuck paying thousands out of their own pockets to cover outstanding credit card debt, medical bills and memorial services.
Having life insurance can cover those costs. You’re probably thinking: I don’t have the time or money for that. But this takes just minutes — and you could leave your family up to $1 million with a company called Bestow.
We hear people are paying as little as $16 a month. (But every year you wait, this gets more expensive.)
It takes just minutes to get a free quote and see how much life insurance you can leave your loved ones — even if you don’t have seven figures in your bank account.
3. Your Credit-Monitoring Service
Are you paying a company to watch your credit report? You might be, because you know how important a good credit score is to buy a car, take out a mortgage or even open up a business.
But if you’re looking to get your credit score back on track — or even if it is on track and you want to bump it up — stop paying anyone to monitor it for you. You can get the same help from a free website, like Credit Sesame.
Within 90 seconds, you’ll get access to your credit score, any debt-carrying accounts and a handful of personalized tips to improve your score. You’ll even be able to spot any errors holding you back (one in five reports have one).
James Cooper, of Atlanta, used Credit Sesame to raise his credit score nearly 300 points in six months.*** “They showed me the ins and outs — how to dot the I’s and cross the T’s,” he said.
Getting your free credit score takes only 90 seconds.
4. Your Investments: Get up Free Stock
If you have investments, you likely have a broker — someone who manages your investments and offers advice. If you’ve worked with them for years, you might not even notice that you’re losing a little cut of your investments with each trade. These fees can be a percentage of each transaction or a flat fee. Either way, it’s a rip-off.
And if you feel like you don’t have enough money to start investing, and definitely couldn’t afford the fees, you’re not alone. But guess what? You really don’t need that much — and you can even get free stocks if you know where to look.
Whether you’ve got $5, $100 or $800 to spare, you can start investing with Robinhood.
Yeah, you’ve probably heard of Robinhood. Both investing beginners and pros love it because it doesn’t charge commission fees, and you can buy and sell stocks for free — no limits. Plus, it’s super easy to use.
What’s best? When you download the app and fund your account (it takes no more than a few minutes), Robinhood drops a share of free stock into your account. It’s random, though, so the value of that stock could vary — still, it’s a nice way to help you build your investments.
Kari Faber is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.
***Like Cooper, 60% of Credit Sesame members see an increase in their credit score; 50% see at least a 10-point increase, and 20% see at least a 50-point increase after 180 days.
Credit Sesame does not guarantee any of these results, and some may even see a decrease in their credit score. Any score improvement is the result of many factors, including paying bills on time, keeping credit balances low, avoiding unnecessary inquiries, appropriate financial planning and developing better credit habits.