What Is a Streamline Refinance?

Mortgage Q&A: “What is a streamline refinance?” While qualifying for a mortgage refinance is generally a lot harder than it has been in the past (now that lenders actually care how your home loan performs), there are less cumbersome options available. In fact, many lenders offer “streamlined” alternatives to existing homeowners to lower costs and [&hellip

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Don’t Freak Out About the Recent Mortgage Rate ‘Spike’

Queue the panic. Mortgage rates have officially spiked and the media is all over it. Yep, the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage increased from 2.65% to 2.79% this week, per Freddie Mac’s weekly survey. Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sam Khater noted in the weekly news release that mortgage rates have been under pressure [&hellip

The post Don’t Freak Out About the Recent Mortgage Rate ‘Spike’ first appeared on The Truth About Mortgage.

Source: thetruthaboutmortgage.com

Is Refinancing Worth It?

With mortgage rates at or near record lows, a lot of existing homeowners are probably asking themselves, “Is refinancing worth it?” The problem is there’s no absolute right or wrong answer to this question, though with interest rates a lot lower than they were a year or two ago, the answer to this question will [&hellip

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Source: thetruthaboutmortgage.com

Stacking up deals to max out cash back, points on holiday shopping

It’s shopping season, and millions of us who aren’t out shopping in stores right now are sitting in front of our computers buying out the internet. It doesn’t matter if you’re shopping for groceries or gifts – if shopping is on your to-do list this month, you’re in luck.

With retail stores scrambling for shoppers, the cash-back craze gone wild and banks offering up to 10 points per dollar on some purchases to entice consumers to use their credit cards, the opportunities for stacking deals upon deals has reached fever pitch.

Right now, there are more stackable offers for online shopping than I’ve ever seen in all my years of points wrangling. There are so many offers, in fact, that some days I find myself in shopping paralysis trying to decide which credit card to pair with which offer and accompanying points or cash back portal to get the best return. These are the good kinds of 2020 problems that put money back into your pocket.

See related: Not traveling anytime soon? Here’s what do to with your points and miles

Getting started with deal-stacking

If you’ve never heard of deal stacking, it’s just a fancy term for using multiple coupons or deals to maximize your savings or earnings on one purchase. In the travel-rewards world, we also like to call it the double or triple dip.

Getting started with deal stacking is as easy as considering each and every one of these three steps or ‘stacks’ anytime you make a credit card purchase.

Stack 1: Check for credit card offers and register if needed

Always choose the card that will earn the most points per dollar spent in your purchase category. And don’t forget to register for any special offers from your credit card to earn bonus points or discounts. These offers are usually easy to find by logging into your credit card account.

Stack 2: Shop using cash back- or points-earning portals

Before you buy online, always access the online store via a shopping portal like Ibotta or Rakutan rewards if you’re looking for cash back. If you’re collecting points, try the portal of your favorite airline, hotel group or bank program.

A tool like Cash Back Monitor can help you decide which portal will offer you the best return for each purchase you’re planning to make.

Stack 3: Scan your receipts for more rewards

After you make your purchase, scan your receipt into an app like Fetch Rewards or CoinOut to accrue points that can be turned into gift cards for more shopping – and even more savings.

Deal-stacking in practice

My friend Angel Trinh over at Pennywise Traveler is a rock star on deal-stacking and loves to share tutorials on her stacking successes. Because points-stacking is best explained through example, here’s how she’s stacking up deals for her Amazon purchases this month using her American Express® Gold Card.

Putting into practice the first stacking principle, when Trinh checked her American Express Gold Card account this month, she saw that she was targeted with an offer to earn 8 Membership Rewards points per dollar on Amazon purchases (up to 3,000 points). She registered her card for the offer, then set out to spend $375 – the amount it would take to max out the bonus to earn the full 3,000 points.

“For American Express, the best way to maximize deal stacking and to save money is to add AmEx offers to your account,” Trinh explains. “You can add a maximum of 100 offers to your account for discounts.”

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