Citi Simplicity Card Review: 0% for 21 Months, No Late Fees, No Penalty Rates

citisimplicity175New 21 month offer (1.75 years). I usually focus on rewards-earning credit cards, but I know many folks are still carrying some balances and thus more concerned about their whopping 15% interest rate rather than a relatively puny 2% back on purchases. Our partner Citi has launched the Citi Simplicity® Card, which is uniquely suited for those that want to transfer higher rate balances to a long 0% intro period while also offering some “accident forgiveness insurance”. The highlights:

  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months. Balance transfers must be completed within 4 months of account opening. Balance transfer fee is 3% of balance transfer amount, $5 minimum. This is one of the longest offers out there for balance transfers.
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases for 21 months. This means you can keep charging your new purchases on this card as well and also enjoy no interest for 21 months. Also one of the longest 0% offers available for purchases.
  • No late fees. If you’re late on a payment, you won’t be dinged with a ~$40 late fee as with many other cards.
  • No penalty APR. Even worse than a late fee, a missed payment can lead to a rate hike into a “penalty” APR rate as high as 25% or more. The Simplicity does not have penalty APRs.
  • No annual fee.
  • Direct to human help. If you call in and say “representative”, you’ll be transferred directly to a human, 24 hours a day.

The Citi Simplicity card does not earn any cash back, points, miles, or free toasters; I’d open a separate card for rewards. It does include additional purchase benefits such as Citi Price Protection (price drop protection on brick and mortar purchases) and free Extended Warranty (extends manufacturer’s warranty for up to 12 months).

Alternatively, the Chase Slate® Card offers 0% APR on balance transfers for 15 months with no balance transfer fee, but does not include some of the more consumer-friendly features of this card that ensure your low rates don’t get hiked.

To summarize, the Citi Simplicity®Card is a solid card with one of the longest 0% introductory periods currently available on both purchases and balance transfers. If you are serious about paying off some credit card debt, this offer will get you no interest for 1.75 years with minimal gotchas.

Slate from Chase: 0% APR For 15 Months + NO Balance Transfer Fee for 60 Days + Free FICO Score

Chase Slate Box Banner

Updated with free FICO score information. Looking to pay down debt in 2015? Transfer your balances to the Chase Slate® Card and get 0% APR For 15 Months and pay NO BALANCE TRANSFER FEE if done within 60 days of account opening. You won’t pay any more interest until 2016, and all your money will go towards paying down the balance principal. You can literally borrow money for free and pay it back in 15 months with no interest (keeping in mind you’ll still need to satisfy the minimum payment each month until then). $0 annual fee.

It is very rare these days to find a no balance transfer fee 0% APR offer that is available to all (as opposed to being targeted only to specific customers). You can verify in the Pricing & Terms section of the application, down in the Fees box:

None on transfers made within 60 days of account opening. All other transfers: Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

Make sure you initiate that balance transfer within the first 60 days.

Free Monthly FICO Score
As of March 2015, the Chase Slate card now offers an EMV security chip and a free FICO score every month. The FICO score will be based on your Experian credit bureau report, and they’ll also have a “Credit Dashboard” that tells you reasons behind your score and a summary of your Credit Report information. Here’s a screenshot:

slatefico

According to the WSJ, so far this is only available on the Slate and not other Chase-issued credit cards. This is because the Slate is by far Chase’s most popular card for those transferring existing balances and that means many of those 10 million cardholders care about their interest rates and credit scores.

Lower your interest on balances!
This is a great opportunity for those people with good to excellent credit but are still working hard to lower their debt payments, as now you can have all your money applied directly into cutting down your principal instead of having it go towards interest and/or fees. The 0% APR applies to new purchases as well, so your balance owed will go down that much faster and you won’t have to worry about interest until well into 2016.

Chase Blueprint is a free feature on select cards that lets you break down your balances into things that you want to pay in full each month and bigger purchases that you wish to pay off over time. A gadgety feature, but if at all possible I say nuke those balances completely!

If you wish to get cash from this balance transfer offer without it being classified as a “cash advance”, one option that has worked for me is to ask for the balance transfer as a check or electronically transferred to your bank account. Just call the number on the back of your card after you get it and tell them you’re trying to pay down debt that’s not on another card.

“Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer. This site may be compensated through the issuer’s Affiliate Program.  “The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.”

Blue Cash Preferred from American Express Review: 6% Back on Groceries + New Bonus

amexbcpUpdate: There is a new link for this card which is offering a $50 statement credit after first purchase within 3 months of card membership, plus another $150 statement credit after $1,000 in purchases within 3 months of card membership. The sign-up bonus is not available to applicants who have or have had this product before.

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers:

  • 6% Cash Back at US stand-alone supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases
  • 3% Cash Back on gasoline at at US stand-alone gas stations
  • 3% Cash Back at select major US department stores
  • and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Supermarkets details. “US stand-alone supermarkets” means that superstores, convenience stores and warehouse clubs are NOT considered supermarkets. This means no Super Wal-Mart, no Super Target, no Costco. Examples of merchants that count (and this is not a complete list!!) are Meijer, Vons, Whole Food, Winn-Dixie, and online supermarkets such as FreshDirect.

Gasoline details. “US stand-alone gas stations” means that superstores, supermarkets, and warehouse clubs that sell gasoline are NOT considered gas stations. This means no Target, no Costco, no Sam’s Club. Examples of merchants that count (and this is not a complete list!!) are Exxon, Mobil, Hess, Shell, Gulf, Murphy USA, Murphy Express.

Major US Department stores details. These are the only stores that qualify:

• Bealls
• Belk
• Bloomingdale’s
• Bon Ton Stores
• Boscov’s
• Century 21 Department Stores
• Dillard’s
• J.C. Penney (JCP)
• Kohl’s
• Lord & Taylor
• Macy’s
• Neiman Marcus
• Nordstrom
• Saks Fifth Avenue
• Sears
• Stein Mart

The card has a $75 annual fee, but keep in mind that spending $25 per week at supermarkets, that 6% back can earn over $75 Reward Dollars per year ($78) to pay for the annual fee by itself.

If you spend the max cap of $500 a month at supermarkets, that would net you $360 cash back in a year vs. $60 at 1% cash back or $120 at 2% cash back. You should remember that you can find gift cards to many popular retailers at your local supermarket these days. I would put my non-bonus-category charges on a card earning more than 1%.

The Blue Cash Preferred also has 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. After that, your APR will be a variable rate, currently 12.99% – 21.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors. Balance transfer fee is either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

“Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer. This site may be compensated through the issuer’s Affiliate Program.”

5% Cash Back Credit Cards: Rotating Categories Update 2015

2nd quarter activation for 2015 now open! The credit cards below offer a hefty 5% cash back on certain categories that rotate each quarter. It takes a little extra attention, but I also rack up over a hundred dollars in additional rewards per year without changing my spending habits. None of these have an annual fee, so it costs me nothing to keep them all around. New cardmembers often also get an initial sign-on bonus.

Chase Freedom® – $100 Bonus
Chase Freedom ImageFrom January 1st through March 31st, 2015 you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent in the following categories:

  • Grocery Stores
  • Movie Theaters
  • Starbucks

From April 1st through June 30th, 2015 you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent in the following categories:

  • Restaurants
  • Bed Bath & Beyond
  • H&M
  • Overstock.com

Enroll each quarter at ChaseBonus.com, it’s quick and as long as you activate by the end of the quarter the rewards are retroactive. All other purchases earn 1% back, with no tiers or expiration of rewards. Currently, the Chase Freedom® card is offering $100 bonus cash back if you sign up and make just $500 in purchases in your first three months and a $25 Bonus after you add your first authorized user and make a purchase within this same 3-month period. No annual fee.

Citi Dividend Platinum Select Visa CardCiti® Dividend Platinum Select® Visa® Card
From January 1st through March 31st, 2015 you can earn 5% cash back from Citi on eligible purchases at:

  • Macys
  • Home Furnishing stores

From April 1st through June 30th, 2015 you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent in the following categories:

  • Home Depot
  • Home & Garden Stores

Log into your online account or call 1-800-231-0891 to activate the rewards each quarter (starts upon activation, not retroactive). The total cash back earned with the card is $300 per calendar year.  See Citi Dividend Card Reward Program Information for details. Full 1% cash back on all other purchases and eligible cash advances and rewards do not expire as long as you have activity once every 12 months.

Discover it® CardDiscover it 14 Month BT (RED)
From January 1st through March 31st, 2015 you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent in the following categories:

  • Gasoline
  • Ground Transportation

From April 1st through June 30th, 2015 you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent in the following categories:

  • Restaurants (including full-service restaurants, cafes, cafeterias and fast food locations)
  • Movies (including movie theaters, video rental stores, and online movie ticket services)

Login into your online account to activate the rewards each quarter (starts upon activation, not retroactive). The new Discover it® card now has a flat 1% cash back (no more tiers), free FICO score every month, late-payment forgiveness, and direct-to-human, 100% US-based customer service reps. No annual fee. (If you have an old Discover More card, you should call in and convert it to a Discover It card for free and get the new perks.)

Finally, don’t settle for the “1% on everything else” that these cards offer, get 2% back on everything else with either the Citi Double Cash or Fidelity American Express credit cards:

“Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer. This site may be compensated through the issuer’s Affiliate Program.  “The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.”

1,000 Free Hilton Honors Points For Updating Password

Hilton is offering people 1,000 Hilton HHonors points for creating a “real” password to replace their previous 4-digit PIN. Took me less than a minute. You must do this between March 12th and March 25th, 2015, and points will be posted in 6-8 weeks. From the e-mail I received:

As of April 1, 2015, we will no longer be accepting PINs. All members will instead be required to create a secure password. [...] As a thank you, if you proactively update your password before March 25, 2015, you’ll receive 1,000 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points. [...] Create your password now by following the steps below:

• Visit the Personal Information section in your account profile by logging in with your current credentials, and then select “Create Username and Password”.
• Your new password must be at least 8 characters, contain at least 1 upper case letter, contain at least 1 number or 1 special character.

If you are not a current Hilton Honors member that joined before 3/12/15, you are not eligible. However, you can sign-up for a new account using this separate 1,000 point bonus.

Participating in this promotion will also extend the expiration date of your points to 12 months out from the date of posting. Per the Hilton website:

Hilton HHonors points do not expire as long as members remain active in the program. To keep an account active, members can stay at one of Hilton Worldwide’s hotels, or earn or redeem HHonors points within 12 months.

Fidelity IRA Match: Switch and They’ll Match Your Contributions Up to 10%

Fidelity has released an infographic [pdf] about the power of saving 1% more of your income:

fido1more

To coincide with this, Fidelity started a related promotion to entice folks to move over their IRA assets to them. The Fidelity IRA Match is designed to mimic the 401(k) contribution matching that many employers offer, where Fidelity will match between 1% and 10% of your future contribution for 3 years if you roll over $10,000+ to them. Valid for both new and existing Fidelity customers, but only for IRAs and not other account types. Here’s the breakdown:

Qualifying transfer* Match rate Estimated max benefit* (age 50+)
$10,000 1% $165 ($195)
$50,000 1.5% $247.50 ($292.50)
$100,000 2.5% $412.50 ($487.50)
$250,000 5% $825 ($975)
$500,000 10% $1,650 ($1,950)

 

* Qualifying transfers must be rollovers or transfers from non-Fidelity IRAs (Traditional or Roth). Rollovers from workplace savings plans are not eligible for this offer. Estimated max benefit is based on $5,500 annual contribution for three years ($6,500 for age 50+). Max benefit is set at $1,950.

It’s an interesting proposal. Keep in mind that many IRA custodians will ding you with an outgoing transfer fee if you move your money out. Also, Fidelity has other deposit promotions going on that offer a little less than the max payout here, but they are more straightforward bonuses.

To participate, you must register at www.fidelity.com/IRAmatch. If you do participate, I would like to point out the availability of their Fidelity Spartan Index funds, their Fidelity Freedom Index 20XX target-date funds which you can now purchase in an IRA, and their commission-free iShares ETFs. Fido has some good, low-cost products on their menu, but you may have to look for them.

Selected fine print:

[Read more...]

The Best Credit Cards For Millionaires Who Count Their Miles… and The Rest of Us

millThe sales pitch for American Express has always been that their cardholders are wealthy and thus big spenders, which in turn justifies their above-average transaction fees charged to merchants. The theory is a merchant won’t mind paying more in fees if it is offset by higher average receipts (and thus profits). This is why Tiffany & Co takes AmEx and my favorite Indian food truck does not.

However, this recent Bloomberg article suggests that American Express is losing their millionaires because they are actually doing the math on their credit card rewards and finding the perks are better elsewhere. The title in the Businessweek magazine version is “Even Millionaires Count Their Miles“. To which I say, of course they do!

As less-affluent consumers cut spending during the recession and a 2009 law known as the CARD Act limited lenders’ ability to raise interest rates and charge late fees, banks revved up their pursuit of customers with top credit scores who pay their bills on time.

The article quotes hedge fund manager Whitney Tilson, who switched from using American Express for 30 years over to the new Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard (my review). He states:

The difference between getting 1 percent and 2 percent cash back is thousands of dollars and for that amount of money, Barclaycard has a better offer [...]

(I should mention that Tilson is well-known as a disciple of the Graham-Dodd-Buffett-Munger school of value investing. You would think value investors would know a good deal. :) Of course, you could also flip that as the largest shareholder of American Express is… Berkshire Hathaway.)

The problem is that the American Express Platinum used to be “the” card for affluent travelers because it got you into any of the airport lounges from all major carriers. But now if you want access to all American lounges, you need the premium Citi co-branded credit card. To get access to United lounges, you need the premium co-branded Chase card. And so on. AmEx even started building their own airport lounges, but so far there are only four of them. Nowadays, unless you redeem Membership Rewards for frequent flier miles and use them wisely, it is hard to get even 1 cent of cash for 1 MR point these days. Even a plain-vanilla rewards card will pay you 1% cash back and more importantly their direct competitor Chase Ultimate Rewards will get you 1 cent back or 1.25 cents towards travel.

Here’s the Bloomberg graphic of credit cards that cater to “affluent consumers”:

amexmil_small

I want to point out that the graphic is misleading because the AmEx gives a $200 travel credit every year while the Barclaycard $400 statement credit is one-time only. I do agree the Barclaycard at 2.2% back towards travel is good if you have travel charges that you redeem against, and the $400 upfront bonus counters the $89 annual fee.

Not mentioned in the article are two cards that I think are solid no-brainer cards for anyone. Both earn double the cash back from ordinary 1% cards and have no annual fee. Unless you are redeeming frequent flier miles for business class tickets or hotel points for luxury stays (which I try to do with part of my credit card rewards), it is unlikely you are getting more than 2 cents a point.

If you charged $100,000 a year, getting 2% instead of 1% would be an extra $1,000 a year back. Even if you charged $10,000 a year, that is an extra 100 bucks. You don’t need to be wealthy to appreciate simple cold, hard cash. Because there is no annual fee, I think everyone, including millionaires, should have one of these in their wallet.

Sling TV Quick Review and Promo: Prepay 3 Months, Get Free Fire TV Stick, Free Roku Stick, or $50 off Amazon Fire TV

slingfireSling TV is now live and indeed allows you to stream a package of major cable networks live over the internet. I previously wrote about Sling TV from Dish Network when it was announced in January at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show. Here is the base package that runs $20 a month:

  • ESPN (live sports!)
  • ESPN2
  • CNN
  • Food Network
  • Travel Channel
  • HGTV
  • Cartoon Network
  • TNT
  • TBS
  • Cartoon Network
  • Disney Channel
  • ABC Family

Sling TV and Amazon are running a limited-time promotion where if you commit to 3 month of Sling TV ($60 total), you can get either a Free Fire TV Stick (reg. $39) or $50 off a Amazon Fire TV ($99 regularly but $85 currently). You must redeem the promotional code June 5, 2015.

Alternatively, you can get a free Roku streaming stick (reg $49.99) or 50% off a Roku 3 box (reg $99.99) via this offer page.

If you sign up at Sling TV directly first, you can get a free 7-day trial to see how it works for you. If are then ready to commit, then I would sign up for this Amazon promo using a different e-mail address as it says “new customers only”.

First-take review on Sling.

  • Quality isn’t bad; my internet is only 15 Mbps on a good day but we usually don’t have more than one thing streaming at any given time.
  • I’ve had a couple of crashes while channel surfing. This is on the Mac OS X desktop app.
  • You can’t choose to record every show for later viewing. It doesn’t work like a DVR. However, on select channels you can get limited replay of past episodes. From their site:

    Sling TV includes a 3-day replay feature that allows you to watch shows that have aired in the past three days on the following channels: HGTV, DIY, Travel Channel, Cooking Channel, Food Network, Galavision, El Rey, Univision Deportes, Universal Sports, and beIN Sports and we expect this list to grow. Sling International customers can enjoy exclusive 8-day replay on all international channels.

  • On the non-replay channels (including ESPN, ESPN2, ABC Family, TNT, TBS, Disney Channel), you can’t even pause a show for a few minutes and pass the commercials later, or have it blip back 10 seconds if you missed something. On the other channels listed above (Food Network, Travel Channel, etc), you can. I’ve had this feature for 10 years now since TiVo came out, which means I really haven’t really watched any commercials for a decade. Oh, the humanity!
  • There are no contracts and you can cancel Sling TV online under your account details. It looks pretty easy to do, which means no Comcast cancellation nightmares, yay! Note there are no refunds on the Amazon offer above.

Chase Ink Plus Business Card Review: 50,000 Rewards Points Bonus

Chase Ink Plus Card Art

Chase’s newest small biz credit card is called the Ink Plus® Business Card. It turns out to be very similar to the Chase Ink Bold Business card, but with the important difference that the Ink Plus is a credit card where you can carry a balance and the Bold is a charge card that you must pay in full each month. The current APR for both purchases and balance transfers is 15.24%.

This means that the Ink Plus is a separate card with its own sign-up bonus, currently a limited-offer of 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after your after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months your account is open. You can read about my Ink Bold bonus experience here.

Ultimate Rewards points are very flexible:

  • Cash. 1 point = 1 cent in cash, so 50,000 points = $500 cash.
  • Travel. 1 point = 1.25 cents towards travel, so 50,000 points = $625 towards travel at the same prices at Expedia or Travelocity (no % markups), split up however you like into multiple tickets, down to the penny. Good for people who don’t like to bother with miles.
  • Frequent flier miles and hotel rewards points. Transfers directly to United miles, British Airways miles, Hyatt hotel points, and Marriott hotel points. Best for folks that are willing to research and maximize their miles. Top up your account to reach an award, an transfer over only what you need.

Here are the important features of this card:

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • Earn 5X points per $1 on the first $50,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 2X points per $1 on the first $50,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and hotel accommodations when purchased directly with the hotel each account anniversary year.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Chip-enabled for enhanced security at home and abroad.
  • Free Employee Cards
  • $0 Intro Annual Fee for the first year, then $95

You can buy Amazon.com gift cards at Staples and OfficeMax and get the 5x points, effectively discounting them 5% in cash (6.25% in travel), which may also help you with the spending requirement. Based on past experiences, you should be able to get this card and bonus in addition to the Ink Bold card as they are different cards. I already have the Chase Sapphire Preferred personal card and the Ink Bold card, so I’ll probably wait for a bit and then try out this new card as well for my business. Gift cards purchases are also useful for satisfying the spending requirement for the bonus.

Many people aren’t aware of the fact that they can apply for business credit cards, even if they are not a corporation or LLC. The business type is called a sole proprietorship, and these days many people are full-time or part-time consultants, freelancers, or other one-person business. This is the simplest business entity, but it is fully legit and recognized by the IRS. On a business credit card application, you should use your own legal name as the business name, and your Social Security Number as the Tax ID. This is how I got all my cards before incorporating, and how my wife gets her business cards for her small side business.

“Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer. This site may be compensated through the issuer’s Affiliate Program.  “The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.”

Verizon Wireless Drops Most Data Plan Prices by $10, But Existing Customers Must Opt-In

vzwnewprice2Verizon Wireless positions itself as a premium service. They have the biggest 4G LTE footprint, but they also seem to cost more across the board. For people that depend on reliable phone and data service for their work, the extra price is often worth it. However, Verizon just announced a price drop for many of their data plans.

From their press release, Verizon puts it this way:

Beginning Thursday [2/5/15], Verizon’s MORE Everything plans with data allowances of 1GB to 3GB (or from $40 to $60 per month) will include 1GB of additional data for the same price. A new $70 plan with 6GB will be available. [...] Verizon is also adding new 12GB, 14GB, and 16GB options to its MORE Everything plans for customers with greater appetites for data and all that it enables, like streaming video or sharing large files.

But really, this is a $10 price drop if you are happy with your current data limits. This graphic from Recode summarizes it best:

vzwnewprice

However, the real reason I am mentioning all this is that existing Verizon customers must opt in to this “new” plan to get the savings. This a potential $120 a year savings without changing your behavior, but you won’t get it automatically!

To save $10 every month (or get an increased data allowance at your current price), either call customer service or log into your Verizon Wireless account online and pick the option to change your plan. You will be told that your existing plan is “no longer available” and that you must choose a new plan. Verify that your new monthly bill is $10 less than before (excluding taxes and fees).

Side note: If you just want to take advantage of Verizon’s good voice coverage, you can use the Page Plus Prepaid MVNO which uses Verizon towers but may not have the same roaming agreements in certain areas. You can get a Pay-as-you-go plan for as little as $10 every 120 days. They offer 4G LTE now as well, it ends up being big savings for single plans but less so for family plans with multiple lines. If you’re ending a Verizon contract and are still happy with your “old” phone, this may be something worth considering.

Side note 2: Oh, and don’t forget to check if you can get an employee or student discount with just your e-mail address.

DietBet and HealthyWage: Can I Get Paid to Lose Weight?

weightbetA few well-publicized academic studies have shown that financial incentives can be very effective in helping people lose weight. In order to combine the carrot and the stick, there are two websites now where you can bet on your weight loss. If you lose enough, you get paid. If you don’t meet your weight loss goal, you’ll lose the money you committed.

HealthyWage

  • You can place a bet as an individual, or join a team challenge.
  • With the individual bet (Healthy Wager), you tell them your body details, how much you want to bet, how much you want to lose, and they’ll calculate what prize to offer you. For me, if I bet $100 a month and lose 10% of my body weight within 9 months, I would get $1,000 ($100 prize plus my $900 back). 11% potential return combined with the risk of losing it all, I’m not sure what I think about that.
  • The $10,000 Team Challenge is a competition between teams of 5 people during preset 12-week intervals, with the top prize being $10,000. The entry fee is $25/month per person for three months ($75 total).
  • The new Jackpot Team Challenge is a competition between teams of 5-9 people to lose 6% of their body weight. Each participant contributes $33 per month for 3 months ($99 total) into the “pot”. Teams that collectively average a 6% weight loss in a given contest will split the total Jackpot with any other winning teams. Healthywage does take a 25% cut of the pot first.
  • No smartphone apps available.

DietBet

  • Everyone has to join a group. Start your own or join a friend’s or stranger’s group.
  • Everyone puts money into the pot for that group. Your goal is either to lose 4% of your body weight in 4 weeks, or 10% in 6 months. All the winners in that group split the jackpot (basically your money back plus splitting the losers’ bets).
  • The average “win” is 50% to 100% of your contribution (i.e. put in $30, win $45 to $60 back). Dietbet does take a cut of the pot before distribution, between 10% to 25%. If everyone “wins”, their cut will be reduced so that nobody will lose money on the bet.
  • Available as both an Android and iOS app.

With both sites, you can verify your weight at home using a scale and a smartphone camera. With HealthyWage, you can also go to visit a fitness or medical professional (health club worker, doctor’s office).

I have signed up for the DietBet group “The Transformer” which runs from February 5th to August 4th, during which I’ll have to lose 10% of my current weight. It is only a $25 bet per month for 6 months (one month free if you pay all the month ahead of time at $125). I’m also thinking about a HealthyWage bet. We’ll see how it goes!

Jet Shopping Club Promo: Free 6 Month Membership ($25 Value)

jetOnline shopping club Jet.com has been hyped as “part Costco, part mall, and all anti-Amazon” by Businessweek. It’s not even live yet, but it will be like Costco in that Jet plans to make their profit only from membership fees and make no money on actually selling the merchandise to you.

The idea sounds hard to implement online, but the founder is the guy that sold Diapers.com to Amazon for oh, just half a billion dollars.

All this supposedly means that Jet prices will be 10% to 15% lower than anywhere else, including Amazon! Given that a membership will be $50 a year, I was interested to learn that Jet is giving out a free 6-month membership to anyone who signed up via a Jet Insider referral link. The more you refer others, the more perks you can get. Given that I only found out about this today, I’m currently ranked #303,977, and there is only 3 days left in this promotion, it is unlikely that I’ll get the coveted free shares of Jet stock given to the top 10. Ah well. Maybe just let me in on the IPO? :)

The Jet Insider program will end on February 6th, 2015, at 11:59 am ET.