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       *** TRAVEL NEWS ***
               

If you are in the United States you should be aware of certain Travel Advisories which are given to citizens who choose to travel abroad. These advisories can affect you and may even change your travel plans. So before you go to the airport you should always check to see if your destination country is on the List of the United States Government Travel Advisories.

For more information: Check out the link below which will send you to the US Governments official website for the
latest information which includes the COVID-19 Virus travel restrictions.


https://travel.state.gov


HOW TO PAY LESS FOR FLIGHTS


1. Buy your tickets online
Buying your tickets online will actually help you save more money than buying at the airport or at an agent. Services like Google Flights or others which can be found by a simple online search.

2. Join Frequent flyers
Frequent flyer programs have a lot of benefits and some can offer discounts on future tickets after building up miles, and others may even offer free flights!

3. Not All Sales are Lowest prices
Sometimes a flight ticket may be on sale, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it is a bargain for you. Always keep this in mind because that sale could end up costing you more than other deals!

4. Check For Hidden Fees
Always check other fees for tickets that may not be listed at first sight of the price. Make sure to be aware of the price of the ticket at all times and this can be avoided. Many hidden fees are luggage or even meals.

5. Compare Ticket Prices
If you are shopping online, there are various sites you can use to compare prices for different venders of tickets.

6. Choose The Right airline
Make sure when traveling on a budget to go with the airline that is the most comfortable to your budget. Even though it may not be as popular as others, they all get you to your destination!

7. Select an  Off-Hours flight
When shopping for tickets, try to buy tickets that have flights early in the morning or late at night if you can. Sometimes these tickets can save you a bundle!

8. Buy tickets months In Advance
Try to plan your trips, if possible, months in advance to save a lot more in the long run. Sometimes, depending on where you travel, this little tip can end up saving you hundreds on your tickets.

9. Find Vacation Packages
When planning your vacations, try to purchase trip packages as they can end up saving you a ton of money in the long run. If you have the time, compare a package with the costs of buying everything separate.

10. Different Types Of Flights Help You Save
Sometimes it would be wiser if possible to purchase a flight that maybe has one stop before it reaches its final destination, instead of doing a non-stop flight. This can end up helping you save and you can even enjoy the different merchandise at the airport you stop at before your flight continues.





              WHISTLER SKI RESORT 
     AMERICA'S BEST SKI DESTINATIONS


Located in the town of Whistler in British Columbia, Canada - Whistler's Ski resort  has almost 10,000 acres of ski terrain and is one of North America's most popular ski destinations....read more


  REFINANCING YOUR MORTGAGE
         CAN SAVE YOU MONEY


Interested in refinancing home mortgage loans but not sure it makes financial sense? Learn how to crunch the numbers and make an informed financial decision rather than playing an expensive guessing game with these simple steps.

A lower interest rate can save you money each month on your mortgage and can save you thousands over the life of the loan. Is it possible to lower your debt and reduce monthly payments by taking out a new loan? Surprisingly the answer is often "yes". Learn how to get a lower interest rate by refinancing without breaking the bank.

How Refinancing Works
Refinancing basically involves taking out a new loan which is used to pay off the prior mortgage. To put it another way, the new mortgage replaces the old one. This is especially helpful when interest rates have dropped since it allows homeowners to pay off older mortgages with a high interest rate in exchange for a new mortgage with a lower interest rate.

Getting a Lower Interest
To demonstrate how effective it is to lower your interest rate by refinancing, consider an example of a buyer who purchased a home for $210,000 in 2001. The original mortgage was $200,000 for a 30 year term with a fixed interest rate of 7 percent and monthly mortgage payment of $1330. Since the original down payment was only 5 percent or $10,000 plus closing costs, they also had to pay PMI or Private Mortgage Insurance of $125 per month.

Now that mortgage rates have dropped to 5 percent or even less, the homeowner is contemplating a refinance. The current balance on the home is $180,000 and the value of the home is appraised at $260,000. Since the home has 20 percent equity and the homeowner does not intend to take cash out at closing, they will automatically save $125 per month in PMI. By refinancing at a lower interest rate of 5 percent fixed for 30 years the new mortgage payment will be approximately $965 per month ...a savings of nearly $400 plus the PMI of $125 for a total monthly savings of over $500 per month. 

               
READ MORE





          WHAT TO KNOW
  BEFORE YOU BUY A HOUSE



Most buyers conduct a lot of research online before ever stepping foot in a home. Buyers spend an average of 6 to 8 weeks, according to the National Association of REALTORS, trying to figure out where they want to live. But once the neighborhood is selected, most buyers end up buying a home after 2 or 3 home tours.

Figure out what you can afford before you look. Get pre-approved for a home loan before your home search so that you don’t waste time on those that you can’t afford. Scour your credit history and resolve any black marks before applying for a home loan.

Homes typically should cost about two and a half times your salary as a rule of thumb, although you also must consider your monthly expenses and what you want to save. Because you will be responsible for unforeseen repairs and property taxes, a healthy amount of savings can come in handy.

Beware of mortgage brokers who are a little too fast and loose with approving you. If you qualify, you may be able to make a down payment as low as 3 percent interest. Paying down “points” is good for those living in a home for three to five years, as it takes a dent out of the interest rate as you pay a portion of the interest at closing.


              
READ MORE





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HOW TO PAY USING YOUR iPHONE OR ANDROID PHONE


With the ever increasing different ways in which you can make payments you can become confused as to what to use. Since most people carry their cell-phones smartphones everywhere (even more than their wallets!) they should be able to use them as a financial tool as well. And so that is why Levelup has become so popular.

LevelUp is an iPhone and Android app that lets you make purchases using your credit card via QR codes that the app displays. Participating merchants simply scan the QR code on your screen, which initiates a credit card transaction, and you're on your way.

LevelUp does not require any special hardware. All you need is an Android smartphone or iPhone/iPod touch. Google Wallet uses a near-field communication (NFC) chip to communicate with PayPass readers, installed at credit card swipe machines at checkouts, but the chip is only on a select few  Android phones.

After you make a purchase, you can see that it went through in your Transaction History, which shows the transaction amount and date, tip and discount applied if applicable, and total charged to your credit card.

Currently, LevelUp is not intended as a replacement for a traditional merchant account. Instead, the service is more of a marketing supplement that also serves as an electronic payment acceptance method. Merchants that wish to join LevelUp’s program simply download an app for their iPhone or Android device and complete a short setup process.

Don’t have an iPhone or Android? Email support@thelevelup.com and we'll send you a LevelUp Card. Paying with LevelUp is just like swiping your card...but faster and more secure. When you try a new place, you'll instantly get a few bucks to spend there. You'll unlock more savings as you go back to your favorite places.

LevelUp is definitely a new way to pay, but it isn't actually a new payment method. It's just linked to your credit or debit card. So at the most basic level, you get all the security of your card PLUS all the security of LevelUp.

They do not store your credit/debit card information on LevelUp's servers. LevelUp has partnered with Braintree, a globally respected payment gateway, to leverage their secure vault solutions for all credit/debit card storage. All data sent to LevelUp's servers is encrypted and our servers are protected by industry standard measures. By leveraging Braintree for storage, we are able to add another powerful layer of security to LevelUp.

With LevelUp, your phone (the payment instrument) never leaves your hand. This is not the case with other payment instruments, such as a credit or debit card, where at a restaurant the waiter/waitress will normally remove your payment instrument from the table, disappear for 5-10 minutes and then return. With LevelUp, the waiter/waitress will bring the LevelUp terminal to your table and complete the transaction in front of you. This process-level security improvement eliminates the window of opportunity responsible for the plurality of identity thefts in the United States.

LevelUp offers a zero cost setup and a month-to-month service agreement with no cancellation fee (likely subject to the return of equipment upon cancellation). Additionally, the company charges no transaction fees (aka: swipe fees) for funds exchanged through its system.  This means that when a merchant accepts a LevelUp payment of $10 from a customer using a LevelUp app, the merchant will get the full $10 without any fees deducted. 

The only fees that LevelUp charges are related to its loyalty and rewards program of which the company charges 40 cents for every dollar of credit used by customers via a promotional campaign. Essentially, this is done in two ways: First, if a merchant wishes to attract new customers by giving them $2 off a $10 purchase using LevelUp, LevelUp will collect a fee against the $2 credit - or $0.80. Second, if a merchant wishes to encourage customer loyalty by giving them a $10 when they spend $100 through the LevelUp app, LevelUp will collect a $4 fee against the $10 credit.  The company states that merchant only pay fees when LevelUp brings tangible value to the merchant of which can be seen using it’s reports and analytics system.


In conclusion, the Levelup payment system is an alternative to keeping your wallet with you. more on levelup





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