Monday, April 3, 2017

Citi Dividend Card Q2 2017 Categories

I had written before that I have a Citibank Dividend MasterCard. One of the benefits of this card is that it offers 5% cash back on rotating categories of merchants. The main problem I have with this arrangement is that I always forget which categories are currently offering 5% cash back when I am at the store. As a result, I often miss out on the bonus dividend dollars. In order to help me remember, I have decided to post the categories which change every three months here.

Q2 2017: Drugstores, Fitness Clubs

Note that "Q2 2017" means from April 1 - June 30, 2017. Also note that even if you have a Citi Dividend Card, the enrollment is not automatic. You have to login and sign up for this offer at the Citibank website.

See also Discover Card Q2 2017 Cashback Bonus Categories

PF Stock

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Brokerage Price War

This past week, I was informed that three of my brokerages have reduced their commissions. TD Ameritrade reduced their trade commissions from $9.99 to $6.95 per trade. E*TRADE also reduced their rate from $9.99 to $6.95 per trade. And, I found that Fidelity lowered their price from $7.95 to $4.95 per trade. This is an all out price war among online brokers!

In an October 2006 post, I mentioned that I stopped paying much attention to commissions when they dropped below $20 per trade, saying that "The difference of few dollars is not a big deal." But, it is interesting to note that stock commissions are still going down -- a true race to the bottom.

And yes, PFStock has been around since 2006. As the tagline goes:

PFStock: Providing Food for Thought and helping you to reach the Pinnacle of your Finances since 2006.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Money Market Rates February 2017

Here are the latest money market interest rates of the banks that I've been tracking on my blog. Note that these rates are sorted by APY, and represent institutions that I have accounts at, or have otherwise mentioned in my blog:

1.15% Popular Direct Savings*
1.05% GS (Goldman Sachs) Bank Online Savings
1.00% Ally Bank Online Savings
0.95% Discover Bank Online Savings
0.95% FNBO Direct Online Savings
0.90% American Express High Yield Savings
0.75% Capital One 360 Savings
0.20% Unify (Western) FCU Money Market
0.03% Citibank Savings Plus
0.03% Chase Plus Savings

In some cases, MMA interest rates are tiered. If this is the case, I usually report the interest rate at the $10,000 tier in these updates. Rates are believed to be accurate as of 2/24/17. I did not include banks that had special, or introductory rates in the list because they are not ongoing interest rates. I am also not including non-liquid accounts such as CD's in the list. I have included one credit union in the list so that readers have a comparison point with banks.

*I recently added Popular Direct which is from Banco Popular North America. I don't know much about this bank, but will note that they have a $5000 minimum to open an account, and will charge $4 each month if the account balance is less than $500. If anybody has experience with this bank, I would like to hear from you.

Western Federal Credit Union has announced that they have changed their name to Unify Financial Credit Union. They said that all accounts and services are intended to remain the same after the name change. However, I did notice that they reduced their interest rate after the name change.

The frequent changes show how variable the money market is. Because this is a constantly moving target, it has been very hard to keep track of the rates that I've been getting in my various money market accounts, and this is the main reason I've decided to compile a list of these annual percentage yields.

So, that is the latest list of money market rates. Please let me know if you know of any higher interest rates.


Friday, January 27, 2017

Waiting for 1099s to Come In

Like many people, I am waiting for the last of my 1099 forms from banks and brokerages for tax year 2016. Together with these 1099s and my W-2 form, I have should all the data that I need to start on my tax returns.

Historically, these 1099 forms were sent out by January 31st. For investors, however, there are certain items that will delay your forms to at least February 15th. The usual suspects are mutual funds (especially foreign funds), Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), tax-free bonds, and dividend paying stocks. For mutual funds, there are four categories of distributions: long-term capital gains, short-term capital gains, dividends, and non-qualified dividends. ETFs will sometimes declare a distribution in December, but not pay you until January. Unfortunately, you need to pay taxes on these funds in your prior year's taxes. Sometimes, foreign mutual funds need to calculate the foreign taxes paid by the fund. This calculation often takes a while for the fund to figure out. Foreign taxes paid can be taken as a credit on your U.S. taxes.

These are just a few of the reasons why you may still be waiting for your 1099 forms well into February.

Disclaimer: PF Stock does not provide tax advice. I encourages readers to consult with a tax adviser if they have specific questions about 1099 forms or filing their taxes.