Hi everyone, thanks for taking the time to check in with us here at AmericaPrivateBanking. I have been doing some reading the past couple of days, and thought I would share some interesting finds I came across about banking in the U.S. and what is available to all of us, now… that we once only dreamed of for the future.
- Global Electronic Currency
This sounds like something almost too good to be real, a currency in use all over the world, that is unregulated as of yet, and available for us all to use. With an electric currency, there is no fumbling through your purse or wallet to find the right change, no going to the coin machine to cash in all your loose change. This currency is an attainable alternative to the normal routine of banking we can use online every day. This idea came from an anonymous digital programmer and hit the marketplace in 2009. You may remember hearing more stories pick up about its uses and possibilities. It has also come to be known as digital currency. It exists as a way of exchanging money from person to person and has similar characteristics to actual currency, without the physical form. What is particularly wonderful about this new trend is how a person can make a transaction immediately, without having to wait for the normal routines to take place. This means that ownership of property can exchange hands with no borders to be taken into consideration. Two subcategories that fall under digital currency are virtual currency and cryptocurrencies. The money is real, and can be used to purchase actual items for use in daily life, but one striking difference is that it can also be used alone in specific networks of people and websites for specific purposes, like social networking and gaming online. Another subcategory has come to be known as bitcoin, and has no centralized point of control for the flow of money. Get it? No big boss in the sky deciding how much of this there is available to the public.
In 1996, E-gold became popular and was actually backed by gold. Later, in 2006, Liberty Reserve became available. This was a way for users to transfer their money from one currency to another for a 1% fee on the transaction. Eventually, these services were put to a halt by the U.S. government, as they were privately centralized and had been linked to many money-laundering schemes. Since then, and recently, bitcoin has made a splash and is now the leading digital currency avaialable.
- Small Online Loans
One great advantage that the Internet has brought to our everyday life is an alternative to payday loans to cover those unexpected expenses. One of these opportunities is called BillFloat. This is a company started to offer loans to individuals who have bills they cannot pay. The money that people are offered for their bills is not handed to them directly, but instead goes straight to the agency or company who is asking for the payment. Therefore, there is less risk involved, as the money is definitely used for the intended purpose. As opposed to payday loans, your first payment doesn’t have to come out of your very next paycheck, with this service you have an extra 30 days to make a payment and avoid a $10 late fee. It cannot, however, be renewed like a payday loan or rolled over. If the high interest rates of payday loans are a concern for you, BillFloat my be an ideal choice as they are on the lower end when compared to the brick and mortar company down the street. With many payday loan’s APR going as high as 300% or even 700% of the actual amount, a loan through BillFloat will never go over 36%. Using BillFloat is as easy as can be, and more hands on than going to a payday loan. On the website you will enter basic information about the bill you want to pay, which can include insurance bills, auto loans, HOA fees, sanitation, electric, cable, gas, and satellite services. You know, those bills that keep your live going every day. To gain this loan, of course you will have to divulge some personal information like your name and social security number as well as banking information. This is used to make sure you qualify for the service; however, one great feature is that there is no credit check to use BillFloat. A payment summary and repayment summary are generated once you are approved for the loan and you are able to review it and make sure it is something you are comfortable with. If this is a service you enjoy using and BillFloat sees that you are a dependable customer, they will extend the amount of credit they are able to “float” you!
- Local Currency
One currency trend that is new to America and many people have never heard of is the practice of small towns and communities around the country creating and legally printing their own money as a new option for the residents of these towns. This idea originated from the Great Depression era in America as a way for business to flourish throughout the country. While there are many advantages for the towns that have these currencies, the main reason customers love this option is that they can save money on the dollar. Banks will often trade American money for local currency by shearing off an average of 5 cents per dollar. Your 95 cents will now be worth about $1.00 in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, using “BerkShares.” The idea behind the local currency is to put the control back in the hands of the individual communities. The only drawback is that the currency is only traded through cash, so you can’t use them with your credit or bankcard. Some examples of this popular method are the “Hours” currency from New York and the “Plenty” currency from Pittsboro, North Carolina.
- State-owned Banks
This is a trend that is gaining traction, with one state in America, North Dakota already owning its own institution, the Bank of North Dakota in Bismarck. When you go to most any bank in America, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation backs the money you deposit. The difference with State-owned banks is that the individual state is responsible for backing the money that is used in the facility. While there are close to twenty other states looking at this as a model for their own finances, few of them have surpluses in their budgets like North Dakota, which made it possible to move forward with this idea and gain approval from the Federal Government of America. Because state-owned banks are not private institutions, the real advantage to choosing a state owned bank is that they will be far less likely to take serious risks with the money in their care. The Bank of North Dakota was founded in 1919, and when thousands of banks were collapsing around the country during financial crises throughout the years, this institution stood strong and lasted unbelievably well because they had less risk leveraged in remaining open. Doesn’t the idea of having your money in a safer place sound like a great alternative? Something that will get many people’s attention about state owned banks is that they are able to offer a wider range of loan flexibility with more competitive rates as well. This feature would apply to mortgages, student loans, and even loans made to small businesses.
- Company Credit Unions
One of the biggest disadvantages to contemporary banking is the slew of banking fees laid on the client. One way many people avoid this is by turning to a credit union. If you work for a really large company, it will most likely have a credit union to offer its employees, like American Airlines and IBM. The normal services people look for in banks, such as checking accounts, savings accounts, and small to medium size loans are all available with this option. Although these banks do not usually have the flexibility with hours of operation, they come with many noticeable benefits to offer their members. Imagine if you were able to have money automatically deducted from your company check each month as a way of paying off loans or adding to your savings account. This is available with company credit unions, ending the hassle of making these choices over and over again each month, and helping to keep consistency in your retirement savings routine. In some places you can find credit unions that work with hundreds of different companies, improving the flexibility in the amount of services they are able to offer.
I mentioned the pool service that built my pool in my last blog post and would like to continue with that trend and give another local business some publicity. The owner is a close friend of mine whose business is actually part of the Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union. As a small business owner the credit union provides him with more features and at a lower fee schedule than a big bank would. He learned about the advantages of using their service from me of course! Their business is a 24-hour emergency towing, roadside assistance, and repossession service based in Chattanooga, TN. Click here to visit their website if you ever need roadside help in or around the greater Chattanooga area. This is my way of giving back to the world and maybe helping some local business owners grow as well.
As I always say if you have any questions or need help with anything banking related you’re more than welcome to reach out to me via e-mail or our comment section below. I love talking to people and educating them on how to better manage their money and stretch it the farthest!