What You Need To Know About ATM Withdrawal Limits_780x440

ATM Withdrawal Limits – What You Need To Know

Even though most money transactions are digital these days, there are times when you still need cash.

ATMs make getting cash quick and easy. But banks typically impose a limit on how much money you can withdraw in one day. Some banks also charge fees in exchange for the convenience of getting money at the nearest ATM.

Read on to learn how much you can typically withdraw from an ATM, how you can get around these limits if needed, as well as how to sidestep fees.

Why Do Banks Have ATM Withdrawal Limits?

While ATM withdrawal limits can be frustrating, they exist for two main reasons:

Cash Availability

ATMs can only hold so much cash. In addition, banks only have so much cash on hand at any one given time.

Capping the amount of money that can be withdrawn at an ATM helps ensure that customers can’t clean out ATMs or drain the bank’s cash reserves.

Security

ATM withdrawal limits also protect consumers. If someone were to get hold of your debit card and PIN number, the ATM withdrawal max would prevent that person from immediately draining your entire checking or savings account.

Withdraw limits help reduce the speed with which a criminal could steal from your account.

How Much Can I Withdraw From an ATM?

The answer depends on a specific bank’s rules around withdrawals, with some capping at $300 and others going as high as $5,000 a day. A limit of somewhere between $500 and $1,000 is common.

In some cases, a withdrawal limit depends on a specific customer’s banking history or account type. A new customer with a basic checking account may have a lower withdrawal limit than an established customer with a premium checking account.

The type of account you are withdrawing from can also make a difference. Savings accounts often have a higher cap on how much you can withdraw at any one time, but you may be limited to how many withdrawal transactions you can make per month.

It can also be helpful to keep in mind that ATM cash withdrawal limits are typically separate from daily purchase limits.

You may, for instance, be able to make $4,000 in debit card purchases in one day, but be limited to taking out $500 at the ATM.

Some banks may set a third limit–the total amount of money you can take out of your account via withdrawals and debit card purchases each day.

How To Work Around ATM Withdrawal Limits

If you need more cash than an ATM will allow you to withdraw, there are a few workarounds that can come to the rescue.

Asking For Cash Back While Shopping

In some stores (like grocery stores), it’s possible to ask for cash back at checkout when making a purchase. While cash back may count towards a daily purchase limit, it typically doesn’t count towards a daily ATM withdrawal limit.

The store will likely have a cash back limit as well that applies on a per purchase basis. That could mean you’ll need to make multiple purchases to withdraw the full amount of cash needed.

Withdrawing from Savings

It is possible to withdraw money from a savings account when using an ATM, which can help avoid the daily checking account withdrawal limit. There may, however, still be some limitations on ATM savings withdrawals.

Withdrawing at the Window

If the bank is open and you need more money than you are able to withdraw at the ATM, you can withdraw the amount you need by going up to the teller.

Fees to Look Out For When Withdrawing Money from the ATM

Many banking institutions have free ATM networks, but you may incur ATM fees if you use a machine outside of your bank’s network. This may include a fee from the bank, as well as a fee from the ATM provider.

And, these fees can add up quickly. If you were to use an out-of-network ATM your bank might charge you as much as $2.50, while the ATM provider might charge you $3. In total, you could pay $5.50 for withdrawing your money.

To avoid ATM fees every time you get cash, you may want to look for a bank that doesn’t charge out-of-network ATM fees and/or refunds fees charged by the machine provider. Some banks reimburse fees charged by an out-of-network provider up to a certain amount each month.

Another option is to choose a bank with in-network ATMs that are convenient to where you live and work. You can also reduce fees by withdrawing more money at one time and making less frequent trips to the ATM.

The Takeaway

ATM withdrawal limits are there for your protection as well as the bank’s, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t inconvenient at times.

If you regularly need cash, you may want to find out your bank’s daily ATM withdrawal limits and plan ahead.

You can also work around your bank’s limitations by getting cash back when you make purchases, withdrawing from savings, or going up to the teller during business hours to withdraw cash from your account.

When using an ATM, you may also want to keep in mind that many banks charge fees for getting cash from an ATM out of your bank’s network.

Love the convenience of the ATM, but not a fan of fees? You might want to consider signing up for SoFi Money®.

SoFi Money is a cash management account that allows you to earn, save, and spend all in one account. And, members can use more than 55,000+ ATMs worldwide without paying any fees.

Check out everything a SoFi Money cash management has to offer today.



SoFi Money®
SoFi Money is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA / SIPC .
Neither SoFi nor its affiliates is a bank. SoFi Money Debit Card issued by The Bancorp Bank. SoFi has partnered with Allpoint to provide consumers with ATM access at any of the 55,000+ ATMs within the Allpoint network. Consumers will not be charged a fee when using an in-network ATM, however, third party fees incurred when using out-of-network ATMs are not subject to reimbursement. SoFi’s ATM policies are subject to change at our discretion at any time.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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What Are Round-Up Savings?

Round-ups are a feature offered by some financial services companies in which each time a customer makes a transaction, that amount is rounded up to the nearest dollar, and the change is deposited into a savings or investment account.

Once upon a time, people saved up their spare change in jars, cashing their coins in for a tidy sum once the jar was full.

And while the notion of that old coin jar may seem quaint now, there’s a new cashless version of that old tradition. It’s called round-ups.

The theory behind coin jars is as simple as can be.

Back when cash and coins were the most standard form of payment, savers would accumulate change throughout the day—paying for their morning coffee, buying lunch, or making other small routine purchases.

At the end of the day, they’d empty their pockets of coins and deposit all that loose change into a jar, where it would accumulate over time into a more sizable sum.

Once the jar was full, that money would be deposited into a savings account.

How Does Round-Up Savings Work?

Much like the cash jars of yore, round-up savings are also based on the principle that small amounts of money can add up to big savings over time.

For example, let’s say a round-up user makes a purchase for $28.15. If they were paying with cash, they’d have 85 cents remaining in change. With round-ups, the financial institution rounds up the value of the transaction and transfers those 85 cents into a savings account.

With some providers, these small amounts of change accrue and then are deposited into the user’s account in a lump sum.

With others, the funds may be deposited as soon as the transaction settles.

Who Offers Round-Up Savings?

Some bank accounts and debit card products offer round-ups for transactions. Not all financial institutions offer round-ups, so if the notion sounds like the right tactic to help an individual save, consider investigating whether the feature is offered before deciding where to open an account.

There are also standalone round-up apps, which users can connect to a credit card or bank account.

The app then monitors transactions and either transfers the proceeds of round-ups in batches or allows users to transfer money on demand.

Some standalone round-up apps also charge a monthly user fee.

In such cases, consider the monthly volume of transactions to make sure the cost doesn’t exceed the amount of money round-ups will help to accrue for savings.

Recommended: 5 Types of Savings You Should Consider Having

Round-Up Savings Can Add Up

While saving 85 cents may not sound like much, any jar saver who ever went to the bank with $100 in change will attest that putting away small amounts can add up fast.

For example, saving just five extra dollars a week in round-ups adds up to $260 over the course of the year. This may not sound like a lot of money to save in total, but it can provide a nice boost to augment a more intentional savings strategy.

And that’s not the full amount someone could gain from participating in a round-up program.

Just like other savings or investments, round-ups deposited into a savings or an investment account have the potential to earn interest.

If the proceeds of round-up purchases are deposited to a savings account on a regular basis, that spare change would grow—and could continue growing—each time interest compounds.

For round-up investing, those small savings can, over time, help in the purchase of additional shares which may also grow in value.

Reasons For Considering Round-up Savings

Many Americans have trouble saving money.

For example, more than a third of U.S. adults would not have the extra funds to cover an unexpected $400 expense , and a quarter of Americans don’t have any retirement savings.

There are lots of reasons people have trouble saving—and for some, setting up round-ups can help them consistently set money away without having to think about it.

This can help to eliminate some of the pain and effort of saving.

Round-ups Make Everyday Transactions More Rewarding

One reason round-ups can be a useful tool to help someone stick save is that round-ups help someone pay themselves with each transaction.

Kind of like tipping oneself, round-ups pay the saver a little something extra on their transactions, making everyday spending a little more rewarding.

Round-ups are Automatic

Part of why saving can feel painful is that it requires the saver to make difficult decisions on a regular basis.

Each time money is put into a savings or investment account, the individual must consciously choose to save over other possible expenditures, decide how much to put away, and actually remember to perform the funds transfer.

But once they’re set up, round-ups happen automatically—without requiring conscious sacrifice.

Automating personal finances can be a helpful tactic to keep everyday funds flowing, avoid late fees and other stresses, and encourage healthy habits.

When it comes to automating savings, round-ups are yet another tool that can assist consumers in putting away small amounts of money.

Round-ups Take Some of the Pain Out of Saving

Saving money can be hard emotionally. In addition to the reasons mentioned above, each time an individual makes the decision to save they’re putting their future goals ahead of immediate pleasure.

That may be rewarding in the long run, but saving also typically requires an individual to make some sacrifices now. But because round-ups transfer such small amounts to savings on each transaction, people may not even feel a pinch.

For those who are already putting money into savings on a regular basis, taking advantage of round-up features can help to grow that money more rapidly, putting the ability to achieve your savings goals within even closer reach.

Round-ups May Help Counter Savings Procrastination

While some people save early and often, others may put it off. There are lots of reasons for procrastinating on starting a savings plan.

For those in their 20s, for example, retirement or even things like starting a family and buying a house can seem a long way off. Meanwhile, there can be lots of temptation to spend now, especially for those earning entry-level salaries.

Round-ups can help motivate savings procrastinators by demonstrating the effects of putting money away on a regular basis.

For a new saver, watching their balance increase could be a strong motivator.

For those already saving, the excitement of watching their money grow could be an added incentive to earmark more funds for savings over time.

When to Have Caution

While benefits like automation and ease can make round-ups work for some people, there are some downsides to consider as well.

When opting into a round-up service, review the fees. Saving $5 a week seems grand, but if fees are going to chew out $2, is that worth it?

People who have a low balance in their checking account and may overdraft due to the automatic round-ups may also want to consider opting out of this feature.

Consider taking stock of your personal situation and reviewing program requirements before opting into anything.

Pay Yourself—Every Time

We know saving money can be hard work—but using round-ups can automate savings and eliminate some of the pain of growing your finances.

With SoFi Money®, account holders can enroll in the Round-up program, so long as they have at least one Vault set up. Vaults allow users to save for different goals within the same account. With the round-up program, transactions will be rounded up to the nearest dollar and deposited into the Vault selected by the account holder. There are also no fees and it’s possible to earn cashback when you spend.

Learn more about how SoFi Money can help you achieve your savings goals.


SoFi Invest®
The information provided is not meant to provide investment or financial advice. Investment decisions should be based on an individual’s specific financial needs, goals and risk profile. SoFi can’t guarantee future financial performance. Advisory services offered through SoFi Wealth, LLC. SoFi Securities, LLC, member FINRA / SIPC . The umbrella term “SoFi Invest” refers to the three investment and trading platforms operated by Social Finance, Inc. and its affiliates (described below). Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of the platforms below.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
SoFi Money®
SoFi Money is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA / SIPC .
Neither SoFi nor its affiliates is a bank. SoFi Money Debit Card issued by The Bancorp Bank. SoFi has partnered with Allpoint to provide consumers with ATM access at any of the 55,000+ ATMs within the Allpoint network. Consumers will not be charged a fee when using an in-network ATM, however, third party fees incurred when using out-of-network ATMs are not subject to reimbursement. SoFi’s ATM policies are subject to change at our discretion at any time.
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26 Tax Deductions for College Students and Other Young Adults_780x440

26 Tax Deductions for College Students and Other Young Adults

Being a young adult can be stressful. If they’re still in school, they may be working hard to graduate with top honors. If they’ve already graduated, they’re just starting out in their careers and learning the ropes of the real world. They’re out on their own—possibly for the first time in their lives—and now have to navigate being an adult.

One of the adult experiences they may dread is filing their taxes. However, it doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. Here’s some good news: There are plenty of deductions that could help students lower their tax bill whether they’re in school or just graduated.

Here are some of the tax credits and tax deductions that they may be eligible to claim on their tax return this year. Note that some of these tax credits require taxpayers to itemize their deductions. Taxes can get complicated. If you have any outstanding questions or concerns about your specific situation, consider consulting with a tax professional.

Smart Tax Deductions for Young Adults

1. American Opportunity Tax Credit

If someone is still in school, they might qualify for The American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC). The AOTC allows people to take a student tax credit of up to $2,500 for tuition, fees, and course materials they paid for during the taxable year for an undergraduate education.

In addition, 40% of the credit, or up to $1,000, is refundable, which means that someone can receive it even if they happen not to owe any taxes for the year. To qualify, the taxpayer or their dependent needs to be pursuing a degree and enrolled half-time at the very least. A taxpayer can only take advantage of this for four years, no matter how long it takes the student to finish the degree.

2. Lifetime Learning Credit

Unlike the AOTC, the Lifetime Learning Credit is available to vocational, graduate, and non-degree or vocational students, too. A taxpayer can claim 20% of the first $10,000 in tuition and fees they paid for the year 2020. There is a maximum of $2,000 allowed.

3. Student Loan Interest

Students and parents of students paying for a child’s education through student loans can use the student loan interest tax benefit for education. With this deduction, they can deduct up to $2,500 in interest they paid for the year.

4. Tuition

Students who laid out money for tuition for themselves, their spouse, or their dependent could take advantage of a tuition deduction on their tax return. The maximum deduction is $4,000 if a single filer makes less than $65,000 per year, and $2,000 if they make up to $80,000 per year.

5. Supplies

School supplies are qualified education expenses for taxes. The $2,000 or $4,000 deduction applies to supplies a student needed to purchase for themselves, a spouse, or a dependent in order to fulfill their education requirements. Supplies could include a computer, notebooks, furniture, pencils, pens, and more.

6. Books

The average cost of books is $1,240 per year. Taxpayers may be able to deduct this cost from their return if they covered books for themselves, their spouse, or their dependent. Again, they could use the $2,000 or $4,000 deductible.

7. Moving Expenses

Perhaps instead of going to college, a young adult enrolled in the military instead. If they are a Member of Active Forces on active duty and had to move due to a military order, then they could take a deduction for themselves, their spouse, and their dependents. On Form 3903 , active members of the military can claim expenses related to a military move like transportation and storage of household goods and personal effects and travel (including lodging) from the old home to the new home. They cannot include the cost of meals.

The IRS has an interactive tool to help taxpayers determine whether or not their moving expenses may qualify for a moving deduction.

8. Self-Employment Tax

If a young adult chose to go into business for themselves after graduating, then they can deduct one-half of their self-employment tax, which is 12.4% for Social Security and 2.9% for Medicare. They can do this when figuring their adjusted gross income on Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR.

9. Home Office

Someone who works at home, whether they’re working at their job remotely or after hours, or they are self-employed, can take a deduction for their home office. Someone can deduct expenses that keep their home office running such as utilities, insurance, and general repairs, but they cannot deduct unrelated expenses like a gardening bill or the paint they used for a room that is not their office. There is a simplified method for this deduction as well as a regular one. With the simple one, taxpayers can deduct $5 per square foot of the home used for business, with a 300-square-foot maximum (see both methods on the IRS’ website ).

10. Standard Mileage Rate

If a young adult is using their car for business purposes, then they may be able to deduct their standard mileage rate, which is 57.5 cents (0.575) per mile for 2020. They need to keep in mind, however, that if they use the standard mileage rate, they cannot use the car expenses deduction as well. They cannot deduct lease payments, gasoline, car depreciation, vehicle registration fees, oil, or insurance.

11. Car Expenses

When a young adult does not use the standard mileage rate, then they can deduct car expenses from their taxes. If they use the vehicle for personal and business expenses, then they need to split the deductions.

12. Meals While Traveling

When traveling for business, young adults who are entrepreneurs or self-employed can take a 50% deduction for their unreimbursed business meals. They can either take a standard meal allowance through the IRS or keep records of their actual costs for their meals and take those deductions.

13. Other Travel Expenses

The IRS also allows taxpayers to deduct some travel expenses. If young adults own their own business or are otherwise traveling for professional purposes, they could deduct things like travel by airplane, car, or train, fares for taxis to and from the airport to the hotel, the shipping of baggage, dry cleaning and laundry, and business calls made on the trip.

14. Business Interest

If a young entrepreneur took out a business loan to get their startup running, then they can deduct the interest they paid. If they utilized the loan proceeds for more than one type of expense, then they need to allocate the interest based on how they used the loan’s proceeds.

15. 401(k)Deduction for Employed People

If a young adult has a job that’s providing them with an 401(k), then they can take a certain amount of deductions from their tax return.

Individuals may also qualify for a deduction for their IRA contributions as well. If they file as single or head of household, for instance, and their modified adjusted gross income is $66,000 or less, then they can take the full deduction up to the amount of their contribution limit.

16. IRA Deduction for Self-Employed People

If someone does not have a job that provides an 401(k), they may be eligible to deduct their contributions to a traditional IRA. If they are single or head of their household, they can take a full deduction up to the amount of their contribution limit no matter what their modified AGI is for 2020.

17. Employee Pay

A young entrepreneur who has hired employees may be able to deduct their income from the tax return. The pay could be in cash, services, or property and include wages, salaries, commissions, bonuses, and other forms of compensation like vacation time as well as fringe benefits.

18. Educator Expenses

A young graduate who is working as a teacher is able to deduct up to $250 of their expenses they put towards things they used in the classroom, such as books, courses, and computer equipment. If they teach a course in physical education or health, then athletic supplies would count towards the deduction as well.

19. Health Savings Account

If a taxpayer chose to use a tax-deductible Health Savings Account (HSA) for their healthcare expenses in 2020, then they can contribute up to $3,550 for self-only coverage. An HSA can earn interest or other earnings, and they won’t be taxed.

20. 401(k) Contributions

The IRS will not tax the money that goes from a paycheck into a 401(k). However, there is a limit of $19,500 in 2020, subject to cost-of-living adjustments. This is for traditional and safe harbor plans.

21. SIMPLE 401(k) Contributions

If a young adult has a SIMPLE 401(k) , then they can contribute up to $13,500 from their paychecks in 2020 and still reap the tax benefits.

22. Home Mortgage Interest

During coronavirus, there has been a housing boom across the United States. Some young adults may have capitalized on it and purchased their first home. If so, they may qualify for the home mortgage interest deduction, which allows them to deduct home mortgage interest on the first $750,000 of their debt.

23. State and Local Tax Deduction

Under federal rules, taxpayers can deduct up to $10,000 for state and local taxes if they are single or married filing jointly.

24. Charitable Contributions

If young adults donated to a charity in 2020, then they can take a deduction on their return. Just remember that federal law limits cash contributions to just 60% of the federal AGI for the year. It’s always best to keep receipts and records of charitable contributions in order to take the deduction.

Generally, only taxpayers who itemize their deductions qualify to deduct charitable donations. However, for tax year 2020 , individuals who do not itemize may deduct up to $300 in charitable contributions.

25. Medical Expenses

Healthcare is very expensive, but the IRS allows taxpayers to deduct the amount of total medical expenses that exceed 7.5% of the AGI. Medical expenses include payments for diagnosing, preventing, and mitigating disease.

26. Residential Energy Credit

If a young adult was lucky enough to purchase a home and they invested in solar panels or other forms of renewable energy, then they can claim a credit for 10% of the costs.

The Takeaway

Making smart use of tax deductions can help maximize a tax refund or minimize tax liability, depending on your personal circumstances. Knowing how to navigate your taxes can be tricky, and if there’s any doubt or confusion, it can be helpful to consult with a professional.

Another way to maximize your adulting is to make sure you’re getting the most out of your financial accounts. Consider SoFi Money, where there are no account fees and users have access to 55,000 ATMs completely fee-free. Plus, SoFi Money allows account holders to save, spend, and earn rewards all in one place—so things like budgeting and managing your expenses are seamless.

Learn more about saving and spending with SoFi Money.



SoFi Money®
SoFi Money is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA / SIPC .
Neither SoFi nor its affiliates is a bank. SoFi Money Debit Card issued by The Bancorp Bank. SoFi has partnered with Allpoint to provide consumers with ATM access at any of the 55,000+ ATMs within the Allpoint network. Consumers will not be charged a fee when using an in-network ATM, however, third party fees incurred when using out-of-network ATMs are not subject to reimbursement. SoFi’s ATM policies are subject to change at our discretion at any time.
Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.
External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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Tips for Finding a Lost Bank Account

Losing track of money might seem hard to imagine, but it’s actually not uncommon to forget about an old bank account or other source of money that is rightfully yours.

It could be an account you opened a long time ago that, after one or two moves, became both out of sight and out of mind. Or, it might be lost paycheck, an old 401(k), or an unclaimed pension.

In fact, roughly 1 in 10 people have unclaimed assets waiting for them, according to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) . They report that billions of dollars in unclaimed property are currently being held by state governments and treasuries within the U.S.

If you’ve lost track of money that belongs to you, however, there’s no reason to panic, or consider the money gone for good.

There are a number of ways to locate lost assets from a bank or other type of financial account, and most of them are completely free.

It might take a bit of (virtual) leg work, but finding the unclaimed money due to you can be worth the effort.

How to Find an Old Bank Account

If you’ve accessed the account within the past year, you might be able to recover the account directly from the bank.

Exactly how to recover a lost bank account will likely vary based on the financial institution. Your account information can be found on checks and often on old account statements.

If it’s been longer than a year, you might have to dig a little deeper to recover a lost bank account.

When a bank or other business loses contact with an account holder, they are legally required to turn any assets over to the state, typically after two to three years of inactivity or returned mail.

That’s why a good place to start a quest for older unclaimed property is often through your state’s unclaimed property office. The unclaimed funds held by the state are typically from bank accounts, insurance policies, or your state government.

When you click on a state, you will be directed to its official website. To search for your unclaimed money, you may want to use both your current and maiden name (if you legally changed your last name).

Another good resource for tracking down unclaimed money is MissingMoney.com. This is a multi-state directory operated by the NAUPA that allows you to search by name for missing or unclaimed money.

If you belonged to a credit union in the past, it may be worth checking the unclaimed deposits listing run by the National Credit Union Administration.

Other Sources of Unclaimed Money

Unclaimed money isn’t limited to forgotten bank accounts.

There are a variety of reasons you could be missing money due to you—perhaps you switched jobs and lost track of a pension plan or 401(k). Or, maybe you forgot to update your address and missed a payment or tax refund.

If you previously worked for a company that offered a pension plan, you can search the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation’s unclaimed pension database.

For lost or missing retirement plan funds, you could check the National Registry of Unclaimed Retirement Benefits, which is operated by PenChecks Trust, one of the largest providers of retirement plan distribution services.

USA.gov helps you search for assets due from employers, insurance companies, and the government (including tax refunds).

Recommended: Finding Unclaimed Money from the Government

How to Claim Lost Money

If you find unclaimed assets in your name, the next step is to fill out a form or make an online request to make your claim.

Each state will typically have its own rules and regulations for how individuals should go about proving ownership of the unclaimed money held by the government. Generally, states will require substantial evidence that the money rightfully belongs to you.

Claims typically require showing proof of identity (such as information from a driver’s license or passport), any former residential addresses, and documentation showing your right to ownership of the assets.

If the owner is deceased and you inherited the assets, additional documents are typically required. This may include a death certificate, as well as a probate court order.

Are Companies that Help You Reclaim Assets Legit?

As you’re searching for lost bank accounts, you may find businesses that offer to find unclaimed money, generally for a fee.

Sometimes known as “finders,” these are companies that are looking to earn money by reunited people with their lost assets.

While it’s fine to pay someone to help you get lost money returned to you, you may want to keep in mind that you can complete a search and submit a claim for free by yourself.

It’s also a good idea to keep your eyes open to potential fraud. Unsolicited emails or letters offering to return unclaimed property to you for a fee, for example, are often scams.

You may also want to be wary of an organization or individual who claims to be a part of the government and offers to send you unclaimed money for a fee, as these are likely to be scams. Government agencies will not contact individuals about unclaimed money, nor will they charge a fee.

If somebody contacts you regarding missing money, it’s a smart idea to do some research on the business before handing over any personal information, and also to avoid paying any money up front.

The Takeaway

Many people have unclaimed money floating around somewhere.

Often this money comes from funds found in banks, financial institutions, or companies that haven’t been in contact with the owner for over a year and, as a result, the funds have been turned over to the state.

A good place to start looking for unclaimed assets is NAUPA’s database of records from all 50 states. From there, you can find links to each state’s official unclaimed property program.

What to do if you come into some unexpected money? Whether your windfall is large or small, you may want to consider putting it into a cash management account like SoFi Money®.

SoFi Money allows you to earn competitive interest, spend, and save–all in one account. And, SoFi Money doesn’t have any account fees, monthly fees, or many other common fees.

Make the most of the money you have–and any new money you find–with SoFi Money.



SoFi Money®
SoFi Money is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA / SIPC .
Neither SoFi nor its affiliates is a bank. SoFi Money Debit Card issued by The Bancorp Bank. SoFi has partnered with Allpoint to provide consumers with ATM access at any of the 55,000+ ATMs within the Allpoint network. Consumers will not be charged a fee when using an in-network ATM, however, third party fees incurred when using out-of-network ATMs are not subject to reimbursement. SoFi’s ATM policies are subject to change at our discretion at any time.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.

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What is Debt Consolidation and How Does it Work_780x440

What is Debt Consolidation and How Does it Work?

If you’re repaying a variety of different debts to different lenders, keeping track of them and making payments on-time each month can be a hassle. It isn’t just tough to keep track of these various debts, it’s also difficult to know which debts to prioritize in order to fast track your debt repayment. After all, each of your cards or loans have different interest rates, minimum payments, payment due dates, and loan terms.

Rather than trying to master all those numbers in your head or creating an epic spreadsheet, you might just want to consolidate your various lines of credit. Debt consolidation is when you combine existing debts into a new, single loan. If you’re able to secure a lower interest rate it can help reduce the cost of debt over the life of the loan, can simplify your monthly payments, or potentially help you get out of debt more quickly.

What Is Debt Consolidation?

Debt consolidation is actually pretty easy to understand. It’s when you take out one loan or line of credit and use it to pay off your various debts—whether that’s student loans, car loans, or credit card debt.

Recommended: How Much Credit Card Debt is Too Much?

It consolidates all of those existing loans into one loan, which means you go from having several monthly payments and various interest rates to just one. This is not the same as debt or credit relief, where a credit counselor helps you reduce interest rates or eliminate debt altogether. Credit relief programs can help you consolidate your debt, but they aren’t getting you a new loan—it’s only consolidation.

While you are able to consolidate many different types of loans, the process for consolidating student loans is different. Keep reading to understand how they are different.

Applying For a Debt Consolidation Loan

When choosing a debt consolidation loan, look for one that has an interest rate and terms that fit into your overall financial picture. The overall goal when consolidating debt is to save you money, either on interest in the long term, or on monthly payments in the short term (which may end up making it more costly over the life of the loan).

Once you apply and are approved for a debt consolidation loan, it may take anywhere from a few days to a week to get your money. Sometimes the lenders will pay your debts off directly, other times they will send you the loan money, and you’ll pay the debts off yourself.

The Benefits Of Debt Consolidation

The most significant benefit of consolidating debt is that it is possible to qualify for a more competitive interest rate, which could help save money over the life of the loan. Debt consolidation loans tend to come with lower interest rates than credit cards.

A debt consolidation loan may be an option to consider if your monthly payments are feeling way too high. When you take out a new loan, you can extend the term length to reduce how much you pay every month.

It’s important to note that the longer the term length of your loan, the more you’re likely to pay in interest over the life of your loan. Still, if you’re struggling with your monthly payments, it might be worth it to consolidate your debt and extend your repayment timeline. This way, you won’t be struggling to stay afloat every month, and you’re less likely to miss payments.

Alternately, you could shorten your term length if you’re trying to aggressively pay off your debt and get rid of it more quickly. This could help reduce the cost of interest over the life of the loan.

Consolidating could potentially help improve your credit score. That’s because if you carry debt on credit cards or lines of credit, your score might suffer if you’re using more than 20% to 30% of your available credit. By taking out a consolidation loan and depending on how much you qualify for, you could be creating more available credit, instead of racking up a credit card tab.

Finally, if some of your current debts are secured loans, debt consolidation might be worth considering because they are typically unsecured loans. With secured loans, you use an asset like a home or car to guarantee the loan. If something happens and you cannot repay the loan, then the bank can seize the asset that is acting as collateral. An unsecured debt consolidation loan can help you avoid putting other assets on the line.

Recommended: Secured vs. Unsecured Loans 101

Consolidating Credit Card Debt

Tired of dealing with mounting credit card debt? Consolidating credit card debt is the most obvious form of debt consolidation. This is because people can save a considerable amount by consolidating their high interest credit card debt with a new lower-interest loan.

The first step is generally applying for a credit card consolidation loan. There are many banks, credit unions, and online lenders who offer loans for consolidating debt. In some cases, the application process can be completed online.

Generally, people seeking debt consolidation loans have multiple sources of debt and want to accomplish two things: First, lower their interest rate—and thereby pay less each month—and reduce the amount they have to pay over the life of their loan. Second, they are trying to merge multiple loans into one, making it easier to keep track of monthly payments.

With a lower rate of interest, it’s possible to lower the monthly payment, shoring up money for other expenses or financial goals. Another option is to opt for a shorter repayment term, which shortens the payback period and to help get the borrower out of debt faster.

Recommended: See how much you will pay in interest alone with our Credit Card Interest Calculator.

For example, say a borrower has $10,000 on a credit card, paying 20% in interest, and the minimum payment is 4%. If they pay the minimum statement balance each month, it would take 171 months, or 14 years and three months, to pay it back. It would cost a total of $6,989.36 in interest.

But if you consolidate that debt with a new loan that has an 8% interest rate and a 10-year term, you will pay $4,559.31 in interest. Not only would you save money in interest by consolidating your credit card debt, but you could potentially improve your credit score by paying back your consolidated loan on time.

Who is Eligible for a Personal Loan for Debt Consolidation?

Borrowers who have one or more sources of debt where the interest rate is higher than 10%, it may be worth exploring a personal loan. While there’s no guarantee that you’ll find a lower interest rate, you can’t know unless you get quotes from a few lenders. (And these days, it’s a pretty painless process because lenders often offer quotes online. If it proves difficult, find yourself a different lender.)

Those with the best credit scores will typically qualify for the best rates on their new personal loans, but don’t let an average or even low score keep you from requesting quotes. This is especially true if you have more than $10,000 in credit card debt and those cards charge exorbitant interest rates.

Also know that credit score isn’t the only data point that’ll be considered in determining whether someone qualifies for a loan and at what rate. Potential lenders typically also consider employment history and salary, and other financial information they deem important in determining loan-worthiness.

A personal loan isn’t for everyone. If you’re doing it only for convenience and there isn’t a legitimate financial motive, it’s probably not worth it. Instead, focus that energy on paying back the money you owe as efficiently as possible.

While personal loans can be a great tool to reduce interest payments, it doesn’t reduce the actual debt you owe. If you’re looking to get out of debt so you can focus on other financial goals, but the interest rates on your debt are making it nearly impossible, a personal loan could be helpful.

When Consolidating Debt Makes Sense

Which types of debt make the most sense to consolidate? Any debt that has high interest rates or unappealing terms. If the loan term is longer than you want it to be, if the interest rate is variable and you’d prefer fixed, if your loan is secured and you’d rather it not be attached to collateral—these are all reasons that might merit debt consolidation.

There are many loans to consolidate debt, but some may have their drawbacks. Make sure you shop around when looking for consolidation lenders, and only choose a reputable lender that you know you can trust.

Some people considering a personal loan feel overwhelmed by having multiple debt payments every month. A personal loan could lighten this load for two reasons. For one, it may be possible to lower the interest paid on the debt, which means it’s potentially possible to save money in interest over time.

Secondly, it can also make it possible to opt for a shorter term, which could mean paying off credit card debt years ahead of schedule. If it’s possible to get lower interest than you have on your current debt, or a shorter term on your debt to pay it off faster, a personal loan could be worth looking into.

On the other hand, you’ll also want to be careful about fees that might come with your new loan, separate from the interest rate you’ll pay. For example, some online lenders charge a fee just to take out a personal loan, and some don’t, so you’ll want to do your research.

Debt Consolidation for Student Loans

It’s possible to consolidate student loans like other forms of debt. Consolidating student loans with a private lender is often referred to as “refinancing.”

If you have only federal student loans, you can consolidate them with a Direct Consolidation Loan. This program allows borrowers to combine all their federal loan into a single, consolidated loan. The new interest rate is the weighted average of the existing loans, so it won’t result in a decreased interest rate. Direct Consolidation loans still qualify for many federal loan protections and programs.

Borrowers with both private and federal loans are able to roll them all into one refinanced loan with a private lender. Student loan refinancing could potentially allow you to qualify for a lower interest rate than the federal loan consolidation program.

The major drawback is that refinancing your federal loans with a private lender means you give up your federal student loan protections, including access to the income-driven repayment programs, deferment, and forbearance.

The Takeaway

Debt consolidation allows borrowers to combine a variety of debts, like credit cards, into a new loan. Ideally, this new loan has a lower interest rate or more preferable terms to help streamline the repayment process.

In the long term, debt consolidation could potentially help people spend less money over the life of the loan, if they are able to secure a lower interest rate on the consolidation loan.

One type of debt consolidation is student loan refinancing. This could help borrowers streamline their student loan repayment by consolidating debt into one loan. Depending on the terms and interest rates, borrowers could also spend less money in interest long-term.

Thinking about consolidating your debt or refinancing your student loans? SoFi loans can help you get there—and may save you money along the way.



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IF YOU ARE LOOKING TO REFINANCE FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS PLEASE BE AWARE OF RECENT LEGISLATIVE CHANGES THAT HAVE SUSPENDED ALL FEDERAL STUDENT LOAN PAYMENTS AND WAIVED INTEREST CHARGES ON FEDERALLY HELD LOANS UNTIL THE END OF JANUARY 2022 DUE TO COVID-19. PLEASE CAREFULLY CONSIDER THESE CHANGES BEFORE REFINANCING FEDERALLY HELD LOANS WITH SOFI, SINCE IN DOING SO YOU WILL NO LONGER QUALIFY FOR THE FEDERAL LOAN PAYMENT SUSPENSION, INTEREST WAIVER, OR ANY OTHER CURRENT OR FUTURE BENEFITS APPLICABLE TO FEDERAL LOANS. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website on credit.
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