Lock in Today's Gas Prices for Tomorrow.

by Admin 25. July 2008

As the owner of an Explorer with a 45 minute commute to work I can empathize with others on the continuously rising cost of gas. Just yesterday I spent almost $70 filling up my tank. What’s worse is that it looks as though there is no relief in sight and prices could continue to rise.

So, like many of you, I have spent a lot of time trying to find a solution that would ease my gas expense a little, and yesterday, I possibly found said solution. A new service from MyGallons.com allows individuals to pre-purchase gas and lock in today’s gas prices for the future.

How it works:

To sign up for a MyGallons Card, you have to pay an annual membership fee of $29.95. Up to three cards can be linked to one account, and the membership fee has a money-back guarantee if you don’t save money on at least one redemption during the year.

You can monitor your current MyGallons price – a fluctuating quote that’s good for purchase of unleaded gas at a particular point in time, including estimated local taxes – and prepurchase gas when you see the price you like.

Purchasing gas is just a matter of visiting a gas station where the MyGallons Card is accepted. The amount that you pump is automatically deducted from your MyGallons account balance, with adjustments automatically made for more expensive grades or types of fuel.

Bonus:

If you pump fuel from a filling station for less than the lower end of the MyGallons range on that day, you will receive a credit, in gallons, or to your account.

Now, for those of you who are wondering how MyGallons can afford to have such a business model...

More than 80% of the prepurchase money spent through MyGallons is placed in an escrow account and invested in Money Markets and Government-backed notes while the remainder is used for financial transactions to accommodate gasoline price changes.

The service is not up and running just yet, due to a last-minute issue with US Bank, the company is currently in the process of negotiation with other payment networks to allow the MyGallons Card to be accepted at most stations in the US that already accept credit cards.

Supporting online customers

by Kevin Lynch 22. July 2008

Click to chat

We recently converted to a new bill pay service in online banking. In the past, this would have generated a large number of calls to our Call Center. However, one of the customer service features available now is online chat. This has proven to be a real benefit for customers who can get answers to "how do I...?" questions in real time as they are paying their bills. Now that the conversion is complete, we expect this will also benefit our new customers as they begin to use the service for the first time. Online customer service has certainly come a long way in just a few short years.

Home Equity Loan or Home Equity Line of Credit?

by Wade Barnes 21. July 2008

Home Equity Loan or Line of Credit

The time has come and you have decided to tap the equity in your home. In shopping products you study some differences betwwen Home Equity Loans and Lines of Credit but may still have some questions as to which product best fits your needs.

Every situation is different and it is hard to say that one product has more benefits than another in any given circumstance, but there are some questions you can ask yourself that may help guide you to your best fit.

Q: Does a variable rate bother me?
Most Home Equity Lines of Credit have a variable rate based on the Prime Rate Index, as posted in the Wall Street Journal, whereas most Home Equity Loans have a fixed rate throughout the term of the loan. If you pick a Home Equity Line of Credit, the rate from month to month may fluctuate. Most Home Equity Lines of Credit are also interest only, meaning it only bills for the interest owed during the draw term. In effect, if the Prime Rate goes from 4% to 8%, this means as the rate doubled, so did the monthly payment. Over a 10-year window, the prime rate tends to carry a lower rate than a fixed rate, but you must be wiling and able to withstand the peaks and valleys.

Q: Do I need the loan proceeds in one lump sum or over several installments?
If you need the funds in one lump sum, you can accomplish this with either product as the Home Equity Loan gives you all funds at once and the Home Equity Line of Credit allows you to draw as needed. If you need the proceeds over several installments (as common with home improvement projects, tuition expenses, etc...), it may be best to go with the Home Equity Line of Credit. With a Home Equity Line of Credit you only pay interest on money that you have already borrowed. If you don’t use it there are typically no interest charges. With a Home Equity Loan, typically finance charges begin to accrue the day the loan is established.

Q: Would a Home Equity Line of Credit tempt me to use the money more carelessly?
If you are taking out a Home Equity Loan or Line of Credit to payoff credit card debt, you may want to consider if lines of credit tempt you to spend carelessly. If so, you may want to go with a Home Equity Loan with an appropriate loan amount where payments are structured and there isn’t the ability to keep drawing. Keep in mind, you home is on the line and you don’t want to spend carelessly and risk not being able to make payments.

Q: How much can I afford?
Home Equity Loans typically bill both interest and principal every month whereas Home Equity Lines of Credit typically only bill interest during the draw period. This means by borrowing the same amounts with either product, a Home Equity Line of Credit monthly payment will be lower during the draw period. Keep in mind, the principal will be due at some point and provisions should be made to repay the loan. However, interest only payments may help accomplish a short-term goal.

In general, Home Equity Loans tend to be stable. The interest rate and monthly payment is stable making this an easy loan to plan for and budget. Overall, the Home Equity Line of Credit tends to be more flexible with a flexible interest rate, payment method, and ability to draw up to the credit limit when needed.

When shopping for Home Equity Loans or Lines of Credit, there is a lot to consider. The above questions are only a few basic points to consider. Again, every situation is different and lends itself to a whole new set of circumstances. 



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