Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Comparing Brokerages

I haven't written about online brokerages in a while now. The landscape for online brokers is constantly changing. Nevertheless, I wanted to present to my readers a comparison of some of the major online brokers out there.

Since I am mostly interested in stock trades (as opposed to options, mutual funds, or bonds), I have compiled a list of brokers sorted by the commission that they charge for stock trades. Using this handy table, readers can see the comparison, as well as any bonus offers that are currently being offered for new accounts:

BrokerageStock Trade CommissionSpecial Offers and Bonuses
Options House$3.95Free Dell Monitor, Free Morningstar Investing Newsletters, free one-year subscription to FT.com
Options Xpress$8.95get $100 when you open an optionsXpress account
TD Ameritrade$9.99

I have confirmed the commissions with each brokerage (as of 4/23/12). Personally, I have accounts with TD Ameritrade, E*TRADE, and OptionsHouse. A while back, I got a free Dell Monitor by opening an OptionsHouse account. The OptionsHouse Free Kindle Fire offer also looks good to me, but is no longer available.

I also requested information from Scottrade, but never opened an account at Scottrade.com. If anybody has their opinions on these brokers, please share them here.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Allurez Jewelry Review

How familiar are you with the idea of online jewelry shopping? Comparison shopping and bargain price blowouts are only some of the perks associated with shopping online for jewelry. Let's not forget that when you buy online, you never have to deal with pushy salesmen. You can even design your own fine jewelry items from the comfort of your own home. But there are a few things that you must consider before shopping online for things like diamond jewelry.

The most important thing to consider is the reputation of the company. A company that has created a good name for itself will usually have people who have good things to say about it. This is why it's important to check out online forums and see what people are saying about the online jewelry stores at which you want to shop. In regards to this, I was always surprised to find that Allurez Jewelers had such great reviews. Whenever I search through Allurez jewelry reviews that I find online, people always report that the customer service was friendly and the entire process of buying a fine jewelry item is smooth. Allurez even has reps that will help you place an order online.

But here are some more reasons why buying jewelry online can be a very rewarding experience. Allurez has a jewelry education section. This is very important. I find that I need to be as informed as I can about anything that I purchase. This is especially true when it comes to buying diamond jewelry or precious metal items. Any reputable online jeweler must offer a jewelry education section. In one way, it suggests that you are getting quality items, since you are already informed about the item you want to purchase.

Gemstone Jewelry -ring

Some sites offer free shipping, easy returns, and secure online shopping. This is something that Allurez offers as well. Free shipping is altogether convenient, but the easy returns and secure online shopping are a must. This is because you need to be able to return an item if you order the wrong size. I've done this a few times, hassle free. Also, secure online shopping ensures that your credit card number and other personal information are safely processed.

There's one more thing I like about Allurez jewelers. They offer conflict-free diamonds. This is important to me. I don't want to wear a diamond around my finger knowing that it was obtained by harming someone.

Overall, Allurez is a great place to shop online. Their website is easy to navigate. Plus, their diamonds are of exceptional quality and come at unbelievable prices. So with a wide selection of items to choose from, high customer satisfaction and BBB accreditation, don’t wait another moment. Go to Allurez.com today.

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This is a sponsored post. The sponsor, Allurez, is solely responsible for its content.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Money Market Rates 4/12

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:

0.84% Ally Bank Online Savings
0.80% Discover Bank Online Savings
0.80% ING Direct Orange Savings
0.80% HSBC Advance Online Savings
0.75% American Express High Yield Savings
0.70% Urban Partnership Bank Online Savings
0.65% FNBO Direct Online Savings
0.35% Western FCU Money Market
0.15% Chase Plus Savings
0.10% Citibank Savings Plus
0.10% Travis CU Flexible Money Market
0.06% Patelco CU Money Market Account
0.05% E*TRADE Complete 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 4/10/12. 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 a few credit unions in the list so that readers have a comparison point with banks.

A one-time favorite, Ally Bank Online Savings, has regained its position at the top of the list. This is mainly because banks like Discover Bank and American Express have lowered their interest rates, while Ally has remained the same since my last update. Rounding out the bottom of this list are two credit unions, Travis CU, and Patelco CU. I've questioned the motives of those who have encouraged others to transfer their money from banks to credit unions during Bank Transfer Day. The credit unions on my list are on par with Citibank, which is really the bottom of the heap, as far as banks are concerned. But at least Citibank will offer you up to a $400 bonus for opening a Citi Checking account.

It seems that interest rates are still continuing to trend downward. While the majority of these interest rates have stayed the same since last month, none of them has increased. I think that it is a good time for people to consider moving their money around if they are not happy with their current banking institution. But, based on this analysis, I won't be transferring my funds to a credit union.

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