Do you quote mortgage rates on loans greater than $250,000?
We now survey jumbo 30-year fixed mortgage rates. Start at our mortgage
home page. Choose a state. On the next page select "Jumbo"
from the product menu to find the rates in your area.
Where can I find the current prime
The Wall Street Journal prime rate is quoted on Bankrate.com's
The prime rate is always the first rate listed.
Do your rate tables apply to refinancing an existing mortgage?
A recent Bankrate.com survey of some of the largest national lenders
found that, in general, the rates were the same for new purchase
of a completed home and a refinance.
On the mortgage rate tables, two banks listed the same rate, and the one with lower points reported a higher
annual percentage rate (APR). Why?
The APR is based on points plus fees. The bank with the
lower points and higher APR may charge fees that boost that APR.
At the present time Bankrate.com does not list closing costs, but
plans are under way to include that information.
How can I become a homeowner if I
have bad credit?
All lenders make a judgment about character (your willingness to
repay), capacity (your ability to pay) and collateral (the value
of what you are buying) when deciding to grant you a loan. There
are several tools that aid lenders in making this judgment, including
automated credit or risk scores. As a result, separate lenders can
look at the same loan and view the same credit risk differently.
For more information, go to credit lenders.
What's an FHA mortgage?
Federal Housing Administration mortgages let you borrow up to 95
percent of the cost of a house if the price plus closing costs are
within their guidelines. Your income is not a factor, but in many
parts of the country few houses qualify because of the high cost
of houses. You can get information from lenders or directly from
What is a home equity line of credit (HELOC)?
A home equity line of credit (HELOC) is a cross between a second
mortgage and a credit card. You borrow against the accumulated value
in your home -- above what you owe on your first mortgage. That
represents your equity in the home. You withdraw the money and repay
it in the same fashion you carry a credit card balance. See Bankrate.com's
for more information.
How do I find a credit card with which I can consolidate $20,000 worth of credit card debt?
You can find a list of companies that will allow you to transfer
balances by using Bankrate.com's credit card search
engine. Choose "National" for cards available nationally,
or pick a state. On the next page, under option 2, select "balance
transfer" from the menu.
How do I find a credit card that offers rebates and special incentives?
There are many cards that offer what seem to be great deals, but
make sure to read the fine print to understand the exclusions, limitations
and bonuses. In selecting the card most suitable for you, consider
the value of the rebate for you personally. Check out credit card
deals and cards offering frequent
What is a finance charge on a credit card bill?
The most common type of finance charge is assessed against the average
daily balance. In a given month, all daily balances are added together,
then divided by the number of days in the month. Some issuers include
new purchases in their calculations; others do not. Still, others
calculate the average daily balance for two billing cycles -- the
current and the previous -- while some calculate the balance based
on the current period only. Tip: Get a credit card that
calculates charges based on the most recent cycle and that excludes
What's the difference between a regular credit card and a gold card?
A gold credit card offers a larger line of credit -- generally $5,000
and up -- than a standard credit card. Income requirements are higher,
too, generally $35,000 at minimum. In addition, issuers provide
extra perks or incentives to card holders. Contact card issuers
The interest rate on my credit card
just went up without warning. Is that legal?
First, read the fine print in your credit card contract to find
out if there is a cap on the percentage rate. If there is, has the
rate risen beyond that? Check the disclosure statement to see if
the issuer is allowed to raise the rate at will. Then try calling
your credit card company and asking for a lower rate. But
first read Consumers
can renegotiate credit card rates and fees -- but it's not easy.
I have been overcharged on my credit card statement. Should I call customer service?
You can call if you like, but you must notify the lender
in writing within 60 days. The card company then
has 30 days to respond and 90 days to resolve the problem. They
can't stop you from using your card while they are investigating
the problem, and they can't release a bad credit report on you.
If they don't respond, they can't collect the disputed amount or
When is the best time to buy a car?
"The best day of the year to shop for a car is New Year's Eve,"
said W. James Bragg, author of Car Buye's and Leaser's Negotiating
Bible. "Walk into a dealer with a cashier's check in your
hand." Although there is not much rebate activity in the month
of December, car lots are usually empty and salesmen are more than
willing to offer a good deal. For those that don't want to wait
until the end of the year, generally toward the end of every month
is a good time to shop. Salesmen need to meet a quota. Catch them
a few hours before closing, keep them there late, they'll be antsy
to close the deal.
Do you have any recommendations on
which financial institutions to use to refinance a home?
We do not provide referrals. However, any of the lenders on the
Bankrate.com pages would be happy to discuss the alternatives that
they can provide you.
What is the difference between
chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcy?
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is also known as liquidation because the debtor's
unprotected assets are liquidated or converted to cash by a court
appointee who disburses the funds to the debtor's creditors to repay
part of the debt owed. Chapter 13 affords debtors the opportunity
to repay all or part of their debts over an extended time
period. It requires that debtors have a consistent income to make
future payments. It's designed for consumers who need relief from
their creditors and collections to reorganize their debts. The debtor
is allowed to keep basically all assets.
My bank recently merged with another bank and has a new name. Should I be worried about my loan?
Car, mortgage and other loans will not be renegotiated. The terms
are bound by contract and will be honored by the acquiring institution.
I'm switching banks, how do I transfer my direct deposit?
Get the necessary paperwork from the Human Resources department
at your workplace to change the route of the direct deposit. Never
switch banks without first opening your new account at the new bank.
Then, wait until you have received your first payment at the new
bank before closing the old account.
How do I find a bank that doesn't
charge high fees
accounts, as many banks call them, often boast low or no monthly
fees and minimum balances, and other perks such as unlimited check
writing. To search for the lowest fees in your area try our Checking
It took me a few days to notice that my debit card was missing, now the bank says they won't pay me $300
that is missing. Do I have any recourse?
If you discover your ATM card is lost or stolen, report it immediately.
You have two business days to report an unauthorized withdrawal
listed on your monthly statement. If you do that you can limit your
potential liability to the first $50 withdrawn. Waiting three to
60 days to report the problem extends your liability to $500. Waiting
more than 60 days can cost you everything in your account.
How do I get around paying high ATM
Use your ATM card at the grocery store! When you pay with the debit
feature of the ATM card at many supermarkets, gas stations and stores
such as Walgreen's and Wal-Mart, all offer cash back at the register.
Here are some tips.
Where can I find a bank with low ATM fees?
Use our ATM
rate finder, which surveys ATM rates nationwide.
What's a smart card?
Smart cards use a microprocessor or memory chip to store information.
They can be loaded with a specified amount of cash that is then
drawn off with every purchase. Credit cards and ATM cards store
information on magnetic strips.
I'm currently investing in a 401(k)
plan through my employer. I need to withdraw all of the money for
emergency use. Can I do this?
Most 401(k) plans allow withdrawal after the first five years but
usually with stiff financial penalties. You will be taxed on all
of your investment and earnings, and may pay a percentage of your
savings as part of the penalty.
Who can I talk to about re-establishing credit?
You could call the Consumer
Credit Counseling Service, a nonprofit organization that helps
people in debt re-establish credit. Their toll-free number is 1-800-388-2227.
What do all the abbreviations above
the rate tables stand for?
For concise descriptions of the column headers, click
What criteria do you use in the rates?
For descriptions of the criteria used, click
How do you decide which banks to include in your high-yield rate listings?
We do not cover every financial institution in the United States.
Nor do we cover all high rates. The following criteria must be met
to be listed on our highest-yield
rate tables. Institutions must: 1) be FDIC
insured 2) have a branch people can walk into 3) accept funds by
mail from all 50 states 4) have a staff large enough to cover the