Interest Rates

  • Mortgage closing costs: See how states rank - 2 hours 31 minutes ago

    Mortgage Closing Costs The table below lists states alphabetically with their average closing costs. See your state for a detailed summary of average fees. Your final charges probably will be higher than ...

  • 83 miles: That's a really long line at the ATM - 2 hours 31 minutes ago

    ATMs are something we take for granted in the U.S. With more than 400,000 machines operating nationwide, it's a safe bet that most Americans live within a few minutes' drive of an ATM. Let's do a thought experiment, using data from the International Monetary Fund. Say every man, woman and child in the U.S. needed cash at the same time and somehow got evenly distributed into lines at the nation's ATMs.

  • Must kids pay off my credit cards when I die? - 2 hours 31 minutes ago

    When we die, will our children be responsible for our credit card debt? Are the balances fairly high on your credit cards? Of course, credit card companies track balances and spending, and you'll see your interest rates jump to levels such as nearly 24% and even higher, making the balances and minimum payments snowball to the point where you can't handle paying your credit cards while you're both alive.

  • Wish you'd been warned about student loan debt? - 2 hours 31 minutes ago

    45% of Americans with student loans, and 56% of those between 18 and 29, have put off a major life event because of the burden of that debt. The decision to take on this debt is largely made based on the fact that this is the only way to pay," says Allan Katz, president of Comprehensive Wealth Management Group in Staten Island, New York. Americans struggling with student debt held off on buying a home more than any other life event, according to the Bankrate survey.

  • Your old smartphone could expose you to fraud - 2 hours 31 minutes ago

    Cybercrime experts often tell consumers to upgrade their technology to protect themselves from credit and debit card fraud, identity theft and other financial scams. Yes, says Shirley Inscoe, senior analyst at Aite Group, a research, consulting and analytics firm in Boston. "Consumers who use old devices may feel they are saving money, but at what cost?" Inscoe asks.

  • Tax breaks, tax aches of renting your 2nd home - 2 hours 31 minutes ago

    "If you have a vacation home, it can make a tax difference as to whether it was used as personal residence or not used at all by the owners," says Mark Luscombe, principal federal tax analyst at Wolters Kluwer, CCH in Riverwoods, Illinois, a provider of tax information and services. Any excess passive losses are carried forward to the next tax year.

  • Can Mom use bankruptcy to quit reverse mortgage? - 2 hours 31 minutes ago

    Dear Senior Living Adviser, Is it possible to get out of a reverse mortgage through bankruptcy? My mother has a reverse mortgage on her home. The home is worth about $575,000, and the loan balance is about ...

  • $A backs away from two-week high AAP - 4 hours ago

    The Australian dollar has eased after a rally fuelled by the Reserve Bank's latest comments that pushed it past 74 US cents. The RBA on Tuesday said the Aussie dollar is "adjusting to the significant declines in key commodity prices", a change from its previous comments that it needed to fall further. The currency market was "completely wrongfooted" by the RBA's change of tune, OANDA Australia and Asia Pacific senior trader Stephen Innes said.

  • RBA on hold but some rates on the rise AAP - 6 hours ago

    The Reserve Bank's cash rate is at a record low but interest rates for some borrowers have started to rise. RateCity financial analyst Peter Arnold said interest rates normally fluctuate from month to month, but for the first time in four and a half years these rates have started to move upwards on a more sustained basis. "The biggest movement this time was among the longer-term fixed home loan rates, with five-year fixed rates increasing by as much as 0.3 percentage points, and 0.02 percentage points on average, in July - a significant shift after a long period of downward pressure in recent years," he said.

  • Housing boom set to peak in the next year AAP - 9 hours ago

    Cracks are appearing in Australia's housing construction boom, with fears it will peak in the next 12 months. While many have touted the property sector as the nation's next big hope for the economy as mining investment fades, Nomura strategist Andrew Ticehurst says it may soon run out of steam. Mr Ticehurst said leading indicators like home loans and building approvals appear to be losing momentum.

  • Unemployment rises to 5.9 per cent AAP - 13 hours ago

    New Zealand's jobless rate has risen as the number of new jobs created fails to keep pace with an expanding working population driven by record migration. The unemployment rate rose to a seasonally-adjusted 5.9 per cent in the three months ended June 30, from 5.8 per cent in the March quarter, according to Statistics New Zealand's household labour force survey. The participation rate fell 0.2 of a percentage point to 69.3 per cent.

  • Get a tax credit for a solar PV plus a new roof? - Tue, Aug 4, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Uncle Sam encourages homeowners to make their homes energy-efficient by allowing a 30% residential energy-efficient property tax credit for the cost of "qualified solar electric property." This includes the cost of the equipment, installation and materials related to the functioning of the system. With regard to including the cost of the entire new roof: If a solar system is installed on a specialized, highly reflective roof that enables the generation of a significant amount of electricity, then that cost can be included also -- but only to the extent that the reflective roof exceeds the cost of a normal roof.

  • Reaffirm mortgage post-bankruptcy? - Tue, Aug 4, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Can the mortgage company take away our home if we are making the monthly payments? In some cases, lenders do not work with borrowers to reaffirm mortgage loans during the bankruptcy process. This causes difficulties for homeowners because the lender may also refuse to send monthly statements after the bankruptcy.

  • 3 ways to refinance a HELOC - Tue, Aug 4, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    If your home equity line of credit is approaching its 10th birthday and you owe money on it, you might soon see a spike in the minimum monthly payments. A home equity line of credit, or HELOC, has 2 stages. After the draw period ends, the second stage begins: The HELOC goes into the amortization period when you have to pay principal as well as interest.

  • The 5 keys to insuring your vacation home - Tue, Aug 4, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Designer Ralph Lauren has 1 in Jamaica, while Cindy Crawford and George Clooney are next-door neighbors at theirs, on Mexico's Baja Peninsula. A seasonal or second home often needs to be kept furnished to qualify for homeowners insurance by most carriers. "In general, you can remove some of your belongings and take them back to your primary home if you don't plan to be back for a few months," says Jim Gontjes, a product manager with Farmers Insurance.

  • RBA happier with dollar and the economy AAP - Tue, Aug 4, 2015 6:26 PM AEST
    RBA happier with dollar and the economy

    The Reserve Bank appears happier about the economy and the falling Australian dollar, making the chance of another interest rate cut less likely in the near future. The RBA board on Tuesday left the cash rate at a record low of two per cent for a third straight month after making quarter of a percentage point cuts in May and February. Governor Glenn Stevens gave an upbeat assessment of the Australian economy and refrained from repeating his recent concerns about the dollar being overvalued.

  • Aust bonds weaken after RBA meeting AAP - Tue, Aug 4, 2015 5:18 PM AEST

    Australian three-year bond futures prices are lower after the Reserve Bank gave an upbeat assessment of the economy and appeared less likely to cut the cash rate again. After its board meeting on Tuesday, the RBA kept the cash rate at a record low of two per cent and said employment growth was stronger and it stopped complaining about the overvalued Australian dollar. Bond futures weakened following the announcement but 10-year contracts are still elevated because of the overnight rally on the back of weaker-than-expected US data and falls in commodity prices.

  • RBA leaves rates unchanged AAP - Tue, Aug 4, 2015 3:33 PM AEST
    RBA leaves rates unchanged

    The Reserve Bank appears unlikely to cut rates any time soon after leaving the cash rate at a record low of two per cent for a third straight month. In a statement accompanying the decision, RBA governor Glenn Stevens appeared more upbeat about the Australian economy. "While the rate of growth has been somewhat below longer-term averages, it has been associated with somewhat stronger growth of employment and a steady rate of unemployment over the past year," he said.

  • Housing boom boosts June retail spending AAP - Tue, Aug 4, 2015 3:12 PM AEST
    Housing boom boosts June retail spending

    Australian retail spending rose 0.7 per cent in June, official figures show, which was better than economists' expectations of a 0.4 per cent rise. Retail spending for the June quarter also rose 0.8 per cent, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Tuesday. NAB senior economist David de Garis said the figures were surprisingly good and will help lift June quarter economic growth.

  • RBA leaves cash rate on hold AAP - Tue, Aug 4, 2015 2:31 PM AEST
    RBA leaves cash rate on hold

    The Reserve Bank has left the cash rate unchanged at a record low of two per cent. MORE TO COME

  • Do you get life insurance cash when you quit? - Mon, Aug 3, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    99% of the time, group life insurance is term insurance with no cash value. This is true whether the group insurance is purchased and paid for by the employer or the employee. Sometimes, however, an employer will make group permanent life insurance available for purchase by employees, who pay the premiums on a payroll deduction basis and at a discounted price.

  • State sales-tax holidays for back-to-school - Mon, Aug 3, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Some call state sales-tax holidays gimmicks that rely on bad tax policy and cost states much-needed money. Others say the tax-free shopping days boost local economies by getting more people into stores ...

  • As closing costs drop, you'd better shop around - Mon, Aug 3, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    The average total cost a borrower pays to close on a home loan has dropped slightly, an exclusive survey finds. Bankrate's 2015 survey of closing costs shows that closing costs fell 7.1 percent year over year -- to $1,847 in 2015 from $1,989 in 2014. Bankrate requested Good Faith Estimates from up to 10 lenders in a populous city in each state and Washington, D.C., for a $200,000 mortgage.

  • Can I retire mortgage-free in 5 years? - Mon, Aug 3, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    People say I'm crazy to pay this interest rate and should refinance, but I don't want to be saddled with another 15-year term. Is there a shorter term at a lower rate available that would meet my goal of no debt in retirement? As I write this, Bankrate's national average for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage is 3.27%.

  • Mortgage closing costs: State-by-state map - Mon, Aug 3, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Click a state for a fee-by-fee breakdown of the average closing costs for a mortgage. The states with the highest closing costs in 2015 were Hawaii, New Jersey and Connecticut. The states with the lowest closing costs were Ohio, Idaho and Wyoming.

  • Aust bonds firmer on weak US data AAP - Mon, Aug 3, 2015 4:50 PM AEST

    The Australian bond market is firmer after surprisingly weak American wage data weighed on expectations of a US interest rate hike. The US employment cost index for the second quarter grew at its slowest ...

  • Budget slow to lift business outlook AAP - Mon, Aug 3, 2015 3:45 PM AEST

    The May federal budget was billed as pro-business but nearly three months on, few firms are punching the air and most still view the economic outlook in a negative light. A new survey covering the three months to June found business owner predictions for the next 12 months cooling for the fifth consecutive quarter. Prime Minister Tony Abbott, however, remains one of the economic optimists.

  • Inflation stays below RBA's target AAP - Mon, Aug 3, 2015 11:07 AM AEST

    The annual rate of inflation is staying well below the Reserve Bank's two to three per cent target, weighed down by falls in utility prices. Consumer prices were up 0.2 per cent in July, following a 0.1 rise in June, according to the TD Securities/Melbourne Institute monthly inflation gauge. TD head of Asia Pacific research Annette Beacher said expects inflation to pick up a little pace in the coming months.

  • Bonds up amid soft US wages growth AAP - Mon, Aug 3, 2015 8:44 AM AEST

    The Australian bond market is higher, tracking US trends after feeble wage inflation data weighed on expectations of a Federal Reserve interest rate rise later this year. Westpac strategist Imre Speizer ...

  • RBA likely to keep rates on hold AAP - Mon, Aug 3, 2015 1:06 AM AEST

    In a busy week for economic figures and events one thing seems clear - the Reserve Bank won't moving interest rates. The central bank will hold its monthly board meeting on Tuesday amid a wealth of new data, including house prices, job advertisements, retail sales, international trade and the crucial monthly employment numbers. Australian National University's Timo Henckel said there has been little new domestic economic data in the past month to force a change by the RBA aside from official inflation figures that showed the annual rate at just 1.5 per cent, well below the two to three per cent target band.

  • Borrow from retirement accounts for house? - Fri, Jul 31, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Aloha! I was reading a QandA about taking out a loan from an individual retirement account and an article about taking out a loan from a 401(k) on Bankrate. Can I take out a loan from either an IRA or a 401(k)?

  • How much equity can you cash out of your home? - Fri, Jul 31, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Home equity loans are back. The opportunity to get a cash-out refinance, home equity loan or home equity line of credit is once again alive and well. Years ago, homeowners could borrow up to 100% of their equity, says Jay Voorhees, broker and owner of JVM Lending, a mortgage company in Walnut Creek, California.

  • What to know about personal lines of credit - Fri, Jul 31, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Personal lines of credit allow consumers like Poole to establish unsecured, ongoing borrowing relationships with financial institutions. Thanks to her credit line, Poole could pay for the wedding she wanted. Over the years, she's tapped into the line to pay off high-interest credit cards, cover unexpected car repairs and pay larger-than-expected tax bills.

  • Make sure a car dealer isn't a lemon - Fri, Jul 31, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Dear Driving for Dollars, I had a bad experience with a car dealer the last time I bought a car. That was many years ago, but the idea of shopping around at a bunch of dealerships for my next car still ...

  • Making a comeback: Home equity loans, HELOCs - Fri, Jul 31, 2015 8:00 PM AEST

    Home equity loans and lines of credit are making a comeback. Homeowners are tapping their equity with these loans as property values go up and mortgage rates rise. As mortgage interest rates increase, making refinancing less attractive, many are now considering getting a HELOC or a home equity loan.