Extended Car Warranties: Are They Worth It?

Extended Car Warranties: Are They Worth It?

When you buy a new or used car, the salesperson may offer you an extended warranty.

These policies are designed to cover the cost of certain repairs that occur after the manufacturer’s warranty — typically three years or 36,000 miles (whichever comes first) — comes to an end.

Extended warranties can offer peace of mind and, if you end up needing an expensive repair down the line, they can cover some, or all, of the cost.

However, extended warranties often come with a high price tag you may not have counted on when you were saving up for a car, and they generally don’t cover everything that could go wrong.

Read on to learn more about extended car warranties and their pros and cons to help you decide if it’s worth getting one for your car.

What is an Extended Car Warranty?

While all new cars (and some used cars) come with a manufacturer’s warranty, an extended warranty is an optional plan you can buy to help you pay for the cost of certain repairs your vehicle may need while you own it.

Extended car warranties, also called extended service contracts, typically cover the price of major repairs or replacements (with exclusions) for a certain number of years or number of miles.

The extended warranty usually begins when the manufacturer’s warranty expires, but sometimes the two overlap.

While these plans are often offered at the point of sale, you can typically purchase them any time until the original manufacturer’s warranty expires.

Extended warranties are also offered by third-party vendors. If you’re interested in getting an extended car warranty, it can be worth going online to compare policies from independent providers to see exactly what each one covers, what’s excluded, and how much it costs. This can help you decide which warranty would work best for you and whether it is worth getting.

What Does an Extended Car Warranty Cover?

Exactly what the policy covers will vary with every provider and the type of warranty you choose.

The only way to know for sure is to carefully read the extended warranty policy agreement, but here are some general rules of thumb.

What it Covers

Extended warranties typically cover the major mechanical parts of your car, such as the engine, transmission, steering, suspension, clutch, air-conditioning, and electricals, including in-car audio and navigation systems.

So if your engine blows or oil starts leaking, it will likely be covered. Coverage may not be 100 percent, however, and you may have to pay a deductible before coverage kicks in.

Some policies also offer add-ons like 24/7 roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement, trip interruption service, and tire protection.

What it Doesn’t Cover

Generally, extended warranties won’t cover routine maintenance or damage caused by normal wear and tear, such oil changes, replacing the timing belt (unless it fails before the recommended replacement time), new tires, new brakes, windshield wipers, and more.

If an item isn’t listed in the policy, you can assume it’s not covered.

How Much Does An Extended Car Warranty Cost?

Pricing will vary depending on the type of vehicle, what the plan covers, what the deductible is, and the length of the contract. The upfront cost of the warranty can range from $1,000 to $3,000 or more.

If you purchase a car warranty from a dealer and include it in your financing, you are likely also going to pay interest, which will increase the total cost of the warranty.

You might have to pay a deductible every time you submit a claim, plus kick in money for a portion of the bill.

Recommended: Smarter Ways to Get a Car Loan

Is an Extended Car Warranty Worth it?

Whether you should get an extended car warranty or not is a personal decision. It will depend on how reliable the car is and, if you’re buying a used car, how old the car is. It will also depend on how well you would be able to manage if your car encountered a problem that will be costly to fix.

Here are some pros and cons you may want to consider when making the decision.

Pros of an Extended Car Warranty

•   You may save money. If your car needs a very costly repair that’s covered under your extended warranty, you could save money. Instead of paying the entire bill out of pocket, you’d only be responsible for covering the deductible (if you have one) and then the warranty provider would pay for all or most of the rest.

•   It provides peace of mind. If you’re worried about how you’d cover a car repair bill, having an extended warranty can make you feel less stressed about something going wrong with your car. If your plan also incorporates roadside assistance, you won’t have to worry about breaking down on the road.

•   It can make your car more attractive to a future buyer. If you plan to sell your car down the road, a transferable warranty can make your car more appealing to prospective buyers.

Recommended: Is it Smart to Buy Your Leased Car?

Con of an Extended Car Warranty

•   You may never use it. Many people who purchase an extended car warranty don’t end up using it. And if they do, the cost of the repairs they need may be less than the cost of the warranty.

•   There may be overlap. If the coverage period of the extended warranty overlaps with the manufacturer’s warranty, you may end up paying for coverage you’re already getting at no cost.

•   Exclusions and limitations. Every contract comes with fine print that specifies how you can use the warranty. For example, the provider might deny coverage for a problem caused by normal wear and tear or reduce the payout based on your car’s depreciation. You may also be required to take the car to certain auto repair shops to be covered.

Recommended: Leasing vs. Buying a Car: What’s Right for You?

How to Choose an Extended Car Warranty

If you decide an extended warranty makes sense for you, it’s a good idea to look at the policy contract closely — this is where you’ll find the fine print that spells out all the rules and exceptions — and not just the glossy brochure or the online advertising.

If the seller won’t show you this info before you sign on the dotted line, it can be wise to take your business elsewhere.

Here are some things you may want to look for in a contract before you sign:

•   Is there a deductible for each visit? You might have to pay $100 or more out of pocket every time you get a repair.

•   Is the service contract transferable to another owner? This is a consideration if you are thinking of selling your car down in the future. Typically, these contracts aren’t transferable if you sell to a dealer.

•   Does the service contract pay the repair shop? In some cases, you may have to foot the bill and then file a claim to get reimbursed. With this scenario, it’s possible that after you pay for a repair, the claim can be rejected.

•   What are the exclusions and requirements? You will need to read the fine print to find out what repairs are and aren’t covered and other limitations or restrictions.

•   Where can you go for repairs? Manufacturer-backed contracts typically require that you go to a dealer. Third-party vendors may have restrictions on where you can take your vehicle, or let you choose the repair shop.

The Takeaway

An extended warranty could add thousands of dollars to the purchase of a new or used car and may or may not be worth the price tag.

If you would have trouble covering the cost of a major repair and/or worrying about car expenses keeps you up at night, the cost of one of these contracts might be worth the peace of mind it can bring.

If you’re buying a vehicle with a reliable track record, however, it might make sense to skip the warranty and, instead, set aside the money you’d spend on it, then use the funds for needed repairs.

If you don’t end up using all of it for your car, you can keep saving it or use it for something else.

With a SoFi Money® cash management account, you can actually create a separate savings “vault” for car repairs (or any other savings goal), then set up automatic transfers so you have a solid back-up when and if you need it.

Learn how SoFi Money can help you save for unexpected expenses.

Photo credit: iStock/Pekic


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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How to Cancel Subscriptions on an iPhone, iPad, or Mac

How to Cancel Subscriptions on an iPhone, iPad, or Mac

Maybe you signed up for an app planning to cancel it before the free or discounted trial ends. Then a month or more goes by and you completely forget about it. That is until you see a charge from Apple on your bank statement and find yourself paying for a monthly subscription you don’t want.

You may also be paying for subscription apps you rarely use anymore, like a streaming service you hardly ever watch or a digital magazine you haven’t read in months.

While each subscription fee may be relatively small, they can add up and make it harder to stay within your monthly spending budget.

The good news: It’s easy to cancel subscriptions you’ve set up through the App Store and are connected to your Apple ID account, whether they’re Apple’s own services, like Apple Music, or streaming service from another provider, such as Hulu or Spotify.

When you cancel a paid subscription, you can keep using the subscription until the next billing date. If you cancel an app subscription during a free trial period, you may lose access to the subscription immediately.

Here’s how to cancel app subscriptions on Apple devices.

Recommended: Budgeting for Basic Living Expenses

How to Cancel App Subscriptions on an iPhone or iPad

Here are the steps for cancelling a subscription on your mobile ios device.

Step 1. Open the Settings app.

Step 2. Tap your name at the top of the page.

Step 3. Tap Subscriptions.

Step 4: Tap the subscription that you want to cancel.

Step 5. Tap Cancel Subscription. If you don’t see Cancel as an option, the subscription has already been cancelled and won’t renew.

Another option:

Step 1. Go to the App Store.

Step 2. Tap your profile image.

Step 3. Scroll down to Subscriptions and tap. You will then see any active subscriptions.

Step 4. Tap the subscription you want to cancel.

Step 5. Confirm by tapping Cancel Subscription.

How to Cancel Subscriptions on a Mac

Follow these instructions to cancel app subscriptions on a Mac laptop or desktop computer.

Step 1. Open the App Store (you can locate this in Finder under Applications, or at the bottom of your home screen).

Step 2. Click the sign-in button or your name at the bottom of the sidebar.

Step 3. Click View Information at the top right of the window. You may be prompted to sign in.

Step 4. On the page that appears, scroll until you see Subscriptions, then click Manage.

Step 5. Click Cancel Subscription. If you don’t see Cancel Subscription, then the subscription is already cancelled and will not renew.

You can also cancel an app subscription on a Mac using iTunes. Here’s how:

Step 1. Open iTunes

Step 2. Click Account > View My Account

Step 3. Enter your Apple ID password to see your account information.

Step 4. Scroll to the bottom of your Account page and click Manage next to the setting for Subscriptions.

Step 5. Click Edit next to the subscription you want to cancel.

Step 6. Click Cancel Subscription. A message will pop up asking you to confirm that you want to cancel.

Step 7. Click Confirm and the App subscription will be cancelled.

Accidentally Cancelled a Subscription? Here’s How to Restart

If you got a little trigger happy and cancelled the wrong subscription, or you have a change of heart after cancelling an app and want to get it back, you can easily reactivate a subscription. It’s easiest to do this on your iPhone or iPad. Here’s how.

Step 1. Open the Settings app.

Step 2. Tap your name at the top of the page.

Step 3. Tap Subscriptions.

Step 4. Look for the list of expired subscriptions at the bottom of the screen. Tap the one you would like to reactivate.

Step 5. On the subscription page, tap the subscription option you want and then confirm your choice. You’ll now be resubscribed.

How-to Tip: Setting Reminders to Avoid Unwanted Subscriptions

The next time you sign up for a new app that has a trial period promotion going on, you may want to set a Reminder on your mobile device to cancel your app subscription. This will make you avoid unexpected monthly expenses.

You could use your phone to ask Siri to set a Reminder to cancel a subscription a few days before fees will kick in. Or, you could use the Reminders app on your phone or iPad.

Another option is to use Calendar to create a New Event for the date and time you want to cancel an app. To get a notification on that day, you’ll want to make sure the Alert section is set to “at time of event.”

Recommended: Are Monthly Subscriptions Ruining Your Budget?

The Takeaway

Most subscriptions automatically renew unless you cancel them. If you sign up for a free trial and don’t cancel in time, you will end up paying a monthly fee that you likely won’t be able to get refunded.

A good way to make sure you aren’t paying for subscriptions you don’t want is to track your monthly spending and then set up a basic budget. Having a budget can help ensure that your spending is in line with your priorities and short term financial goals.

With a SoFi Money® cash management account, it’s easy to track your monthly spending using the SoFi Relay app. The app allows you to connect all of your financial accounts in one dashboard, and keep an eye on charges and balances on the go.

Learn how SoFi Money can help you keep better track of your monthly spending.

Photo credit: iStock/Suwaree Tangbovornpichet


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.
SoFi’s Relay tool offers users the ability to connect both in-house accounts and external accounts using Plaid, Inc’s service. When you use the service to connect an account, you authorize SoFi to obtain account information from any external accounts as set forth in SoFi’s Terms of Use. SoFi assumes no responsibility for the timeliness, accuracy, deletion, non-delivery or failure to store any user data, loss of user data, communications, or personalization settings. You shall confirm the accuracy of Plaid data through sources independent of SoFi. The credit score provided to you is a Vantage Score® based on TransUnion™ (the “Processing Agent”) data.
Third Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
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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Partial Payments For Debts

Partial Payments for Debts

Whether you’re paying for college, buying a house, or starting a business, it’s common to take on debt at some point in your life. Repaying that debt typically involves making a fixed or minimum monthly payment by a certain day each month.

But what happens if money is tight and you don’t have enough to make that monthly payment?

It might seem like making a partial payment is better than paying nothing at all. However, that’s not necessarily the case. Depending on the lender or creditor, a partial payment may be looked at the exact same way as a late or missed payment.

Though partial payments might help lower your balance and reduce the interest that accrues on your debt, lenders and creditors generally don’t see them as on-time payments and may still consider your account as in default.

If you’re thinking about making partial payments, here’s what you can expect to happen — and what you can do instead.

Recommended: Prepayment Penalties: Why They Exist and How to Avoid Them

What is a Partial Payment?

A partial payment on a debt is any payment smaller than the minimum amount due, as specified by the creditor.

Credit cards have minimum payment amounts, which can vary depending on your balance and annual percentage rate (APR). Other types of debt, such as car loans and mortgages, typically have set monthly payments that don’t vary as much.

Partial payments typically do not typically satisfy a creditor’s payment requirements for loans, credit cards, and other debt. And, not paying the full amount could be treated the same as a missed payment.

Why Do Customers Make Partial Payments?

Generally, customers make partial payments if they’re dealing with financial hardship or other money issues that make them unable to cover all their monthly expenses.

Even a sound budget can go off the rails when emergency expenses, such as medical bills or car repairs, arise. When bills are due, paying for necessities, like food, housing, and utilities, are usually a higher priority than long-term debt.

People who are out of work due to the pandemic (or other reasons) and collecting unemployment benefits may also consider making partial payments on debt for a period of time.

Recommended: How to Start an Emergency Fund (and Why You Should)

Does a Partial Payment Affect Your Credit Score?

It could. If you pay less than the minimum amount due on a credit card or loan, it likely won’t satisfy your creditors and they will still consider it a missed payment. In addition to hitting you with a late fee, they may also report to the credit bureaus that your payment is late.

By law, creditors can’t notify credit bureaus of a late payment until it’s 30 days past the due date. Paying the remainder of what you owe for that month prior to the 30-day mark can keep a late payment from showing up on a credit score, though you could still be liable for fees and penalties set by the creditor for making a late payment.

Because your payment history makes up 35% of your FICO® Score, having a late payment on your record can cause your score to drop.

Lenders consider a borrower’s repayment track record as a primary indicator of their ability to pay back future debt, which is why payment history is the largest component of most credit scores.

The impact of late and partial payments on your credit score will vary based on your existing credit history and how far behind you are on payments. Accounts that go unpaid for several months will do more harm to a credit score than a single late payment.

Over time, the impact of a late payment on your score will diminish and, after seven years, it will be removed from your credit report.

Recommended: How to Build Credit Over Time

Other Downsides of Making a Partial Payment

Falling short of what you owe can create other issues besides putting a dent in your credit score. Creditors may impose fees and take additional measures to secure repayment.

Here’s a closer look at what could happen if you only make partial payments on these common types of debt.

Auto Loans

What happens to your auto loan will depend on your agreement and history with the lender. If you’ve never missed a payment before, they may be willing to accept a partial payment for now.

Depending on the state, defaulting on your car loan can mean vehicle repossession, which can involve selling the car at public auction or electronic disabling the car to prevent it from being used. It can be a good idea to check the contract terms to learn what the lender is authorized to do and when.

Credit Cards

Unless you’ve come to a prior agreement with the credit card company, partial payments likely won’t satisfy your account’s minimum payment requirements.

Even if you pay something towards the bill, your account will likely still become delinquent, and the credit card company may report the late payments to the credit bureaus.

Failing to pay the minimum amount on a credit card bill also typically comes with late fees. Delaying payment further can result with additional consequences, such as freezing your credit card and sending your debt to a collection agency.

Recommended: How Do Credit Card Payments Work?

Mortgages

Making partial payments on a mortgage can be considered defaulting on the loan and even trigger the foreclosure process.

Prior to foreclosure, borrowers will likely incur late fees and receive a notice of default when the mortgage payment is a few months past due.

In general, a foreclosure can’t begin until 120 days after the first missed mortgage payment. That means you have some time to pay the amount that’s past due before the lender starts the foreclosure process.

Student Loans

Partial payments on student loans could cause them to become delinquent one day after the payment due date unless alternative arrangements are made with lenders.

With federal student loans, your loans typically enter default when you miss or only make partial payments for 270 days. The lender can then report the default to the credit bureaus. In addition, the government can garnish your wages, and even keep your tax refund.

A possible exception: If you have an income-driven federal student loan repayment plan, your monthly payment could be as low as $0 if your income dips low enough.

With private student loans, the rules will depend on the lender. If you remain delinquent for 90 days or more, the delinquency may be reported to the credit bureaus. If the account continues to be delinquent, you could fall into default, at which point private lenders can take legal action.

Recommended: How to Get Out of Student Loan Debt: 6 Options

Alternatives to Making Partial Payments

Before making a partial payment, you may want to consider some alternatives:

Reaching Out to Your Creditor

It can be a good idea to contact the creditor or lender before the payment is due to explain your situation and what you can afford to pay that month.

You may also want to ask about a “hardship repayment plan.” This type of plan could potentially allow you the option of minimal or no payment, a temporary reduction or suspension in account interest, or interest-only payments. You may want to keep in mind, however, that interest-only payments won’t decrease your principle — or the size of your loan. Some programs last a month, and others up to six months or so.

Contacting a Nonprofit Credit Counseling Agency

These agencies can help by negotiating lower interest rates with your current creditors. This can often result in lower monthly payments. If you are able to work out a plan, the payment you make may no longer be considered a “partial payment,” but instead an agreed-upon amount.

Considering Debt Consolidation

If you have multiple credit cards with high-interest rates and you’re having trouble paying the minimum on each, you may want to look into whether a debt consolidation program might help. The process involves taking out a personal loan at a bank or other reputable lender and then using it to pay off your credit cards.

You then end up with one loan to pay back, ideally at a lower interest rate. Typically, a closed-end loan like a personal loan means higher monthly payments, since personal loans have fixed terms. This is great news for borrowers who want to pay down their debt sooner, but it might not be the right choice for everyone.

Recommended: 6 Strategies for Becoming Debt Free

The Takeaway

If cash flow is tight, you might consider making a partial payment on a debt, hoping that paying something will prevent a late fee or a late payment from showing up on your credit report.

However, borrowers don’t typically get any extra credit for making a partial effort. If the monthly minimum or fixed payment hasn’t been paid in full, the lender will likely mark the payment as missed.

While partial payments may help chip away at your account balance, you can still end up facing fees, a reduced credit score, and potentially loan default.

If you’re unable to make full payments on your debt, it can be a good idea to contact your creditor as soon as possible to let them know about your financial situation first. In some cases, they may be able to offer alternative payment plans, forbearance, or postponement.

Setting up — and sticking to — a monthly spending budget can help you avoid having to make partial payments.

Looking to keep better tabs on your money, so you always have enough to pay your bills? With a SoFi Money® cash management account, you can spend, save, and earn competitive interest all in one account. And, you can easily track your weekly spending (and make sure you’re not overdoing it) right in the dashboard of the SoFi app.

Learn how SoFi Money can help you stay on top of your personal finances.

Photo credit: iStock/mapodile


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.
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
.

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp. or an affiliate (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license # 6054612; NMLS # 1121636 . For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.

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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Easy Ways to Improve Your Gas Mileage

7 Easy Ways to Improve Your Gas Mileage

The average price of a gallon of regular gas in August 2021 was more than a dollar higher than a year ago. The average annual cost of fuel for new, fuel-efficient cars was $1,600 in 2020, but with that one-dollar increase in price, it’s not surprising if plenty of people look for ways to save money by improving gas mileage. Here’s help!

How to Improve Gas Mileage

Gas mileage is measured in miles per gallon (mpg). If a vehicle gets 25 mpg, this means that, on average, it can be driven for 25 miles for every gallon of gas pumped into it. Overall, miles per gallon is typically higher for a vehicle during highway driving than on city streets where speeds are slower and vehicles idle at stop signs and traffic lights. Vehicles can, in fact, typically get five more mpg with highway driving than with city driving.

Fortunately, there are ways to improve gas mileage no matter where you’re driving, many of them reasonably simple. To help, here are seven money-saving ideas for better gas mileage and two busted myths.

1. Reduce the Weight

Get rid of excess weight in the vehicle by removing unnecessary items in the trunk and backseat to lower fuel consumption. Every 100 pounds added to a car boosts fuel consumption by 1% to 2%. So, if someone lugs around a set of golf clubs in a bag, this could add up to 35 pounds, according to GolfCartReport.com . Think carefully about what to remove, though. Taking out a toolbox and tools might reduce the weight being carried, but those items might be sorely missed in an emergency.

2. Watch Your Speed

In general, the mileage a driver gets from a gallon of gas decreases pretty quickly when traveling more than 50 miles per hour, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Higher speeds decrease fuel economy because of two factors: air resistance and tire rolling resistance. Although drivers will usually need to drive more than 50 miles per hour on highways, using cruise control is a way to use less gas at higher speeds. This keeps the vehicle moving at a constant speed, which is beneficial because vehicles use the most fuel during acceleration.

3. Keep Tires at Optimal Pressure

Consumer Reports shares test-based tips to get better gas mileage, including the role played by tire pressure in connection with miles per gallon. When looking at mid-sized sedans and highway driving, a vehicle can lose 1.3 mpg when tires are underinflated (down by 10 pounds per square inch). The report notes, though, that this is a modest drop in miles per gallon for a sizable reduction in tire pressure, and suggests that keeping tires properly inflated may do more to keep drivers safe than help them to pay less at the pump.

4. Monitor Your Driving

Using a trip computer, drivers can receive immediate feedback about the impact that an action, such as the rapid acceleration of a vehicle, has on gas usage. These real-time, personalized insights into how to improve fuel economy, fuel consumption, maintenance reminders, and more.

5. Plan Your Gas Stops

Using a combination of strategies for how to improve gas mileage can help to reduce fuel costs. Having to fill up at a pricey pump, though, can negate all of that hard work. So, when out on the road, especially when away from home in unfamiliar territory, consider using apps like Gas Guru or GasBuddy. They can help you to find the most affordable gasoline in town, wherever you are when it’s time to fill up.

Recommended: 25 Ways to Cut Costs on a Road Trip

6. Road Trip Wisely

If you’re planning a trip and have a choice of cars to drive, some factors to consider are the car’s size (you want enough room to be comfortable as you travel as well as any luggage you bring) and its gas mileage. Using a trip calculator can estimate fuel consumption for each car so you can pick the one that will cost the least in gasoline.

7. Cold Weather Strategies

When thinking about how to get better gas mileage, take a look at the thermometer. FuelEconomy.gov states that the miles per gallon obtained is 15% lower, more or less, at 20°F than at 77°F. Since most of us can’t hibernate all winter long, money-saving suggestions include warming up your car for 30 seconds only and then driving gently to allow the vehicle to warm up in a more cost-efficient way. Also, combine trips whenever possible — especially in the winter.

Some strategies to improve gas mileage are tried and true, but there are still some myths that continue to be perpetuated. Here are a couple of common myths that don’t prove to be true.

1. Refueling When Cool

Some people buy gasoline in the morning when temperatures are cooler, believing that this will help them get better gas mileage. The theory behind this idea is that cooler gas is denser, so you’ll get more bang for your buck in the mornings. Consumer Reports says that this won’t make any practical difference though, especially since most gas stations store the gasoline underground where temperatures are pretty stable.

2. Changing the Air Filter

Traditional wisdom says that dirty air filters reduce fuel economy because of lowered air intake. Consumer Report also tested this notion and determined that, although the vehicle’s acceleration was lessened when an air filter change was overdue, changing it probably won’t boost fuel economy in a modern car. Wondering what changed? Today’s engine computer has the ability to compensate for the reduced airflow to maintain the right ratio between air and fuel.

Budgeting for Gasoline and More

How much can you afford to pay for gasoline each month? If you aren’t really clear about that, making a monthly budget can help. Basic steps of creating a budget include:

•   Gathering all of your financial documents together.

•   Figuring out your monthly take-home pay.

•   Adding up monthly expenses.

•   Using this information to create a workable budget.

While creating your budget, consider how much gas is used for needs (such as getting to work) and how much for wants (driving around town while trying to decide what restaurant to pick). One popular personal budgeting method involves dividing expenses into needs and wants and then also having a category for savings. Called the 50/30/20 rule, this method divides after-tax income in this way:

•   50% towards needs.

•   30% towards wants.

•   20% towards savings.

This isn’t the only way to create a personal budget, though. There are plenty of budgeting resources to help you find the method that works best to manage your money.

The Takeaway

Gas prices can take a chunk out of the budget with prices significantly higher now than just a year ago. Tips provided in this post can help improve gas mileage as well as guide people through creating a personal budget that works for them.

SoFi Relay allows you to track your money, all in one place, providing spending breakdowns and other financial insights — while SoFi Money® is a cash management account that you can use to save, spend, and work towards personal financial goals.

Learn how SoFi’s financial tools can help you build smart financial goals and work towards meeting them.

Photo credit: iStock/FG Trade


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.
As of 6/9/2020, accounts with recurring monthly deposits of $500 or more each month, will earn interest at 0.25%. All other accounts will earn interest at 0.01%. Interest rates are variable and subject to change at our discretion at any time. Accounts opened prior to June 8, 2020, will continue to earn interest at 0.25% irrespective of deposit activity. SoFi’s Securities reserves the right to change this policy at our discretion at any time. Accounts which are eligible to earn interest at 0.25% (including accounts opened prior to June 8, 2020) will also be eligible to participate in the SoFi Money Cashback Rewards Program.
SoFi’s Relay tool offers users the ability to connect both in-house accounts and external accounts using Plaid, Inc’s service. When you use the service to connect an account, you authorize SoFi to obtain account information from any external accounts as set forth in SoFi’s Terms of Use. SoFi assumes no responsibility for the timeliness, accuracy, deletion, non-delivery or failure to store any user data, loss of user data, communications, or personalization settings. You shall confirm the accuracy of Plaid data through sources independent of SoFi. The credit score provided to you is a Vantage Score® based on TransUnion™ (the “Processing Agent”) data.
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.
Third Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
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How to Deposit Cash at an ATM

How To Deposit Cash at an ATM

Can you deposit cash at an ATM? The answer depends on your bank, the ATM you’re using, and a variety of other factors — but generally speaking, yes, you can make cash or check deposits at many modern ATM terminals.

For most customers, though, depositing money at an ATM isn’t the only option — or even necessarily the most convenient. Still, it’s a good system to understand if you’re someone who regularly deals with cash payments and you’d like to use those monies to pay for things like utility bills, which can be inconvenient to pay in cash.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps of making an ATM cash deposit, as well as highlighting potential problems with doing so and alternatives that may work better for some customers.

How to Make ATM Deposits

In order to deposit cash via ATM, the first thing you need to do is ensure that the ATM you’re visiting is capable of taking cash deposits — and that your bank takes deposits through that particular type of ATM. For example, if you have an account with Bank of America, you’ll likely be able to make a cash deposit at an ATM located at or inside a physical Bank of America location — but you may not be able to make a cash deposit at the third-party ATM at your local grocery store or concert venue.

In order to avoid wasting time at an ATM that won’t do the trick, it’s a good idea to do some research ahead of time. Log onto your bank’s website and look for an ATM locator, which will show you all nearby locations and may also specifically mention which services those ATMs can perform (including whether or not they accept cash or check deposits).

When you arrive at the ATM, you’ll most likely need to use your bank card and personal identification number (PIN) to confirm your identity and pull up the ATM’s service options, though some banks may allow you to access an ATM using cardless technology through your phone. Either way, once you’ve got the ATM’s options screen pulled up, you’ll follow the instructions to make a cash deposit, and then select the account you want the deposit to go into (if you have multiple accounts, such as a checking and a savings account, for example).

Some ATMs may have limits as to how many paper bills they can take at once, and ATMs typically don’t take coin deposits. As with any situation where you’re feeding bills into a machine (like when you’re trying to get a vending machine snack in your office lobby), you may end up with one or more bills fed back to you if the machine reads them as damaged or potentially counterfeit.

In general, though, it’s as simple as that: just feed the money in, confirm the amount of the deposit, and be sure to verify that you’re signed out of the ATM before you get on your way!

Recommended: Don’t Let Your Bank Rob You: How To Avoid ATM Fees

When is the Money Available with ATM Deposits?

Once again, the answer to this common question is, “it depends.” At some ATMs, cash deposits are made available immediately, while with other ATMs you may experience some lag between the moment you feed the money into the machine and the moment the money shows up in your account balance.

The FDIC does have regulations that require banks to make cash deposits available within a certain amount of time — but in the case of a proprietary ATM, availability is not required until the second business day after the deposit. And at a third-party ATM, funds don’t have to be made available until the fifth business day, so be sure to plan ahead if possible!

Again, your bank may have more specific information available on their website as to their specific policies.

Recommended: Understanding Funds Availability Rules

Potential Problems with ATM Deposits

So, what can go wrong with ATM deposits?

Well, for starters, the length of time a deposit may be held can be problematic for some customers if they need access to the funds as soon as possible. And the automated reader on some ATMs may refuse to accept legitimate bills, at least on the first try, which can be frustrating.

For another thing, your bank or financial institution may simply not allow it. Certain online-only banking services, such as Chime and Axos Bank, don’t offer ATM cash deposit capabilities. Instead, you must deposit cash at local retail partners through an at-the-counter transaction.

The good news is, most ATMs have a phone number printed on the machine itself that you can call if you experience any technical errors or other problems. And, as always when interacting with ATMs, be sure to look out for your personal safety. Make the deposit during the day and ideally with the company of someone you trust. Never give out your PIN.

Are There Any Fees for Depositing Cash at an ATM?

Yet again, the answer to this question is, “it depends.” If you’re using an in-network ATM that’s directly linked to your bank, you’re unlikely to encounter any fees. But if you’re using an out-of-network ATM, there are a couple of fees you might need to be on the lookout for.

•   ATM fees are sometimes charged by the third-party owner of the ATM itself, and may be as little as $1.50 or as much as $10 per transaction.

•   Out-of-network ATM fees may also be charged by your bank, which could add an additional charge of $2 to $3.50 to the transaction.

•   Finally, keep in mind that foreign transaction fees can rack up quickly if you’re using an ATM overseas.

As always, we recommend checking with your bank ahead of time to get a better grasp of their specific policies and avoid these unnecessary fees if possible.

Why Make an ATM Cash Deposit?

You may be wondering why this topic even needs to be addressed. So many of us rarely use or even see cash these days, now that cards are nearly universally accepted. Digital money transfer apps like Venmo and CashApp make it easy to split the bill and pay back friends and family without touching paper money. Plus, the COVID-19 pandemic caused some businesses to at least temporarily suspend the use of cash altogether to avoid further potential routes for contamination.

But many workers still get paid at least partially in cash, particularly those whose income includes cash tips, such as waiters and baristas. And as digital-first, online-only checking accounts become more common, some people don’t have the option of walking into a brick-and-mortar bank to make their deposits.

Making ATM cash deposits is sometimes the best way to get that money into an account where it can be more readily used to pay bills — or transferred to a savings or investment account, where it may earn more interest.

The Takeaway

If you need to make your cash available for paying bills or other non-cash financial transactions, depositing it at an ATM is one way to do so — and it can be quite straightforward and cost-free, depending on your bank’s policies.

A SoFi Money® cash management account makes it possible to get a bird’s-eye view of your money while also earning interest on the cash you’ve got stashed in your checking account. While SoFi doesn’t offer ATM cash deposits at this time, cash deposits can be made to a SoFi Money account using Green Dot services at participating retailers.

Learn more about SoFi Money, an interest-earning spending account.

Photo credit: iStock/RgStudio


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.
The SoFi Money® Annual Percentage Yield as of 03/15/2020 is 0.20% (0.20% interest rate). Interest rates are variable subject to change at our discretion, at any time. No minimum balance required. SoFi doesn’t charge any ATM fees and will reimburse ATM fees charged by other institutions when a SoFi Money™ Mastercard® Debit Card is used at any ATM displaying the Mastercard®, Plus®, or NYCE® logo. SoFi reserves the right to limit or revoke ATM reimbursements at any time without notice.
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.
Third Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
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