Personal Finance: Organize, Manage, Research, and Invest Online
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Sometimes life costs more than you have in the bank. When the time comes to buy a house or car or pay for college, taking out a loan might be a necessary step. Before you apply for a loan, you will want to research all your options and understand the responsibilities and benefits involved. Not only can the Web supply useful information and help you compare statistics, but you can also apply for a loan online.
- Many Web sites help you find loans and rates. These sites can be useful, but unless you actually plan to apply for a loan, be sure not to enter any confidential information such as credit card details or your social security number.
- As with online banks accounts, online loans are often available at better rates than you'd find at bricks-and-mortar banks thanks to the very low overhead of such institutions.
- Most of the sites for home loans also provide information and rates on car loans and other types of loans.
- Disclosed fee mortgage brokers are an alternative to the standard mortgage broker that's worth considering. A typical mortgage broker has a financial incentive to squeeze as much money out of a client as possible, by tacking on fees and inflating others where possible. Using a disclosed-fee mortgage broker means you pay one fixed sum, so you can proceed with the peace of mind that comes from knowing you aren't being scammed. For more information about mortgages, see our findingDulcinea Mortgages Web Guide.
- Even if you don't intend to get your car loan online, you can use the Web to research the current rates before you negotiate with a dealer. Armed with a good idea of what a fair rate is, you'll be able to negotiate more effectively.
- If you need a student loan, you have a right to the best deal you can find, and it pays to shop around. In early 2007, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo alleged that at universities across the country, lenders are in cahoots with schools and financial aid officials. Investigations revealed that lenders were bribing officials to encourage their students to borrow from the lender in question. Bribes included kickbacks "based on a percentage of the loans directed to the lenders," paid trips to exclusive resorts, and more. These practices prevent students from getting the most competitive interest rates on their loans. MSNBC has an overview of the allegations.
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