Payday Loans

October 2005 Monthly Archive


I first heard about Zopa.com earlier this year. I thought it was a wacky idea, but it looks like its getting more and more popular. (Zopa’s current only for UK residents).

Zopa is basically an online market place, modeled somewhat after eBay, where people can borrow or lend money to other people online. They minimize risk by numerous ways, one of which is to spread the borrowed money amongst 50+ lenders who are lending money at similar rates. (How Zopa works).

.. Of course this would all be very complicated and risky if everyone traded one-on-one with each other, so Zopa glues the whole thing together with its offer matching system. This divides the lenders’ offers up into small chunks and distributes them around potential borrowers – at least 50 in fact. Each loan a borrower gets is made up of lots of bits of lenders’ offers. No one gets to borrow from the same person twice.

It’s all very neat I guess, and I have no idea how they’re regulated.. but apparently there are plans to try to take it to the US, which I think is a very, very bad idea. Stuff like this is just asking for abuse.

I’m not sure if this is how UK companies market their service, but the site seems to be littered with cliche words, sorta trying to push some kind of “empowerment” onto the consumer, as if bypassing the banks and lending/borrowing directly to each other is such a safe and reliable thing.



During the previously mentioned check card fraud fiasco, I went into a process of unlinking the compromised checking account to online bill pays. Unfortunately I missed changing one of the bill pay, or rather I thought I changed it but didn’t. So when you try to pay a $1,500 credit card bill with an empty checking account, you get a big fat red number:

I really, really didn’t feel like paying for a $19 insufficient fund fee, even though its my fault. So I decided to email Bank of America and ask them to waive the fee. I kept the email as short as possible. I asked if they could waive the fee, that I believe it was my first instance of insufficient fund, explained to them the fraudulent charge issue, and asked politely again if they could waive the fee. Five points for Bank of America’s customer service with the fast reply (within 6 hours):

The $19 credit posted the next day without issue. Thanks Craig!

As mentioned before by Ramit Sethi from IWillTeachYouToBeRich.com, customer acquisition cost is pricey. This fact is even more evident today, as banks are now constantly offering account sign-up bonuses. So if something doesn’t go the way you want, just ask them to fix it! Most banks would rather keep you as a customer than squabble over a fee or two.

Welcome to the age of relationship marketing — where even though the customer isn’t always right, most companies will still try their best (pretending you’re right) to retain you as their customer.

A few years ago I would have just ignored the fee. Thanks to the many PF blogs out there that changed my mindset!



Finally. After 8 days someone from Emigrant-Direct got my email and fixed my account. The whole process took about a month or so, although it probably would have been much faster if I just try calling them instead of emailing, but I didn’t mind waiting. The funny part is I finally got the actual sign-up letter in the mail. All you really need is your account number, if you want to get things setup ASAP, just give them a call!

I also got my $5,300 balance transfer check from Citi in the mail. It’s going to sit in the ED account for awhlie.

And to end the mail fun, I got a $3 coupon for complaining about my TV dinner to Swanson. I was hoping for a lot more, but I think I’m being silly (and greedy).



So my subscription for the Wall Stree Journal ended today. I received the subscription for “free” from American Express’s Membership Rewards program. It only cost 1,200 points!

I subscribed to it on June 28, received it on July 28, and three months later I got my last issue on Oct 28. *sniff*

Unfortunately for me, American Express no longer offers the subscription as a rewards option! Maybe they found out the points didn’t fit with the value of the reward. *shrug* Regular subscription cost $215 a year, ouch!

But wait! WSJ offers amazing prices to students!! At $32.00 for 15 weeks (price includes online edition too), it’s a steal! Hey, I’m a student!

Here’s something interesting, after dropping the WSJ from the rewards offering, American Express added WSJ’s semi-rival, the Financial Times from ’em UK peeps. Get this, a one year 308 issue subscription only cost 1,000 points! (One year subscription cost $99).

Pretty good points to value ratio, in my opinion. Seeing as how I still have about 8,000 points left, I think I’ll claim the reward before AmEx removes the offer.

As for the WSJ, even though the student pricing is a great deal, I’m not sure if I should spend the money on renewing. I’m really tempted because I really did enjoy reading the paper, but perhaps I’ll wait till I generate more income.

*sigh* I didn’t even get to try the smaller version that JLP from All Things Financial mentioned. Come to think of it, I prefer it large — otherwise I might as well be reading a magazine.



Jim over at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity was ranting about how annoying ING Direct’s PIN security measure were, and I agree with him. What better way to show my agreement than to clutter the Web with another blog post about the same exact thing?

ING’s recent PIN security:


Good question, what is this!?
 

The sucky part is, HSBC has the same deal. You’re require to enter another set of security key whenever you want to transfer funds in and out of your accounts. You’ll have to use the on screen keyboard.

HSBC’s security key:

 

The reason for these extra measures are of course many: using a public computer; spyware/malware; trojans/key loggers; blah blah, etc. It’s overall a good thing I guess, but for some of us it’s quite a hassle.

The reason why I point this out again is because other financial institutions will most likely adopt similar practices. It’s just unfortunate that the web is littered with so many junk now a days that we require numerous steps just to do some basic functions. I really miss the days where all you have to worry about are the average virus and trojans.

I just hope we don’t have some wacky 5+ step security requirements in the future, just to check your account balance.



See ya later 1and1.com!

p.s. I hate you!

Well I finally transferred the domain from 1and1 to Namecheap, which includes much more functionality for a cheaper price. In fact they included a one year free of “whois” privacy protection, when you register or transfer a domain!

Now I can finally hide my personal information, which has been plaster across the web already anyway. Still, I plan to eventually post up net worth info and etc., so it’s probably not a good idea to have my home address tie to the domain. Not that it’s so difficult to find out who I am anyway.




Ah I guess it’s time to replace the GE SmartWater MWF filter in my fridge. The water’s starting to taste a bit funky.

You’re suppose to replace these every 6 months, but I can’t recall when was the last time I replaced the water filter for the refrigerator. Woops.

The GE SmartWater filter runs about $35-$45 depending where you’re buying them from. The cheapest I can find is on eBay for $35.60 shipped, which is a pretty decent price. Still, the cost can add up, especially if I replace two every year.

So I’ve been thinking about other alternatives to these water filters. I certainly won’t start buying bottle water, that’s true rip off right there. There are so many options out there though, so it’s a tough call. A lot of people seem to have those water filter system at the kitchen sink, and prices seem to vary greatly on those setups.

If anyone cares to drop a comment on their water source and their opinion on how well they work, I’ll greatly appreciate it!



To go along with the current theme of peer pressure (read entry below), you should considering signing up to be a member at Pinecone Research. (link dead)

Thanks to MyMoneyBlog for posting about it, I would have totally missed this opening on sign-ups.

When I was searching for online surveys to take, I constantly came across raving reviews about Pinecone Research, but unfortunately they seem to take their work seriously, so you can’t just simply sign-up outta thin air. Occasionally they open up their sign-up forms and thats when you gotta take advantage of it before its too late!



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