M1 Finance Review: Free DIY Robo-Advisor ($50 Referral + Up to $4,000 Transfer Bonus)

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

Updated brokerage transfer bonus. I’m not a huge proponent of robo-advisors in general, as my experiences with them have generated a lot of unnecessary taxes every time they change their model portfolios to chase the latest and hottest trends. My favorite option is one where you control the model portfolio, but the robo does all the hard work: M1 Finance. Here’s a quick rundown of what makes them different:

  • Fully customizable. You pick your own target asset allocation “pie”. (You can add ETFs or individual stocks.) You can simply copy one of the many model portfolios out there, or customize it as you like. You have full control! M1 handles the tedious stuff, like rebalancing or dividing a $100 contribution across 8 different ETFs. Here is my pie which I named the My Money Blog Portfolio.
  • No commissions. Free stock/ETF trades with a low $100 minimum account size for taxable accounts and a $500 minimum for retirement accounts.
  • 0.00% management fee! Most robo-advisors charge an annual management fee of 0.25% to 0.50% of assets (or force you to own something bad, like artificially low-interest cash).
  • Free dynamic rebalancing. All new deposits (and withdrawals) will be invested (or sold) dynamically to bring your portfolio back toward your target asset allocation. M1 will also rebalance your portfolio back to the target allocation for you automatically (for free) whenever you chose, on demand. You don’t need to do any math or maintain any spreadsheets.
  • Fractional shares (dollar-based). For example, you can just set it to automatically invest $100 a month, and your full amount will be spread across multiple ETFs. Dollar-based transactions were one of the advantages of buying a mutual fund, but fractional shares solve this problem. ETFs are also usually more tax-efficient.
  • Real brokerage account that you can move out. Some robo-advisors hold special, proprietary funds that you have to sell if you ever leave, possibly creating a big tax bill. M1 is built on a regular brokerage account, so you can move your ETFs and stock shares out to another broker whenever you want.

M1 Finance investment minimums:

A minimum account balance of $100 is necessary to get started on M1. Once the $100 account minimum has been reached, deposits can be any amount above $10. Retirement accounts require an initial investment of $500.

M1 Finance checks off nearly all the boxes of my brokerage wish list. They do all the managing for me, but according to my rules. But since I can choose the exact ETFs that they purchase, if I decide to stop their service down the line, I just end up with a brokerage account filled with ETFs that I can easily move elsewhere. I suppose the only thing they could add would be to have the high availability of customer service of a huge company like Fidelity or Schwab. Otherwise, I really like their feature set and I have been putting my recent annual IRA contributions into M1.

How do they make money? They have a variety of income streams, most of which are optional:

1) Interest on idle cash (can be minimized as you can auto-invest all idle cash in the investment account)
2) M1 Borrow (you take out a loan, they charge interest)
3) M1 Spending (checking and debit card generates fees for them)
4) Payment for order flow (same as Robinhood and TD Ameritrade)
5) M1 Plus (premium $125 a year subscription that gets you higher interest rates and debit card cash back).

$50 referral bonus. There is currently a $50 referral bonus only available if you open with a M1 Finance referral link (that’s mine), make an initial deposit of $100 for taxable accounts and $500 for IRAs within 30 days of sign-up, and not withdraw the initial deposit within 30 days. This is a limited-time offer, the standard offer is only $10.

M1 transfer bonus. By transferring over your portfolio from another brokerage, you can earn additional money with their transfer bonus. Transfer an outside brokerage account or IRA to M1 and earn up to $4,000. After opening the appropriate M1 account (taxable, Roth IRA, etc), simply upload your outside brokerage statement and they will do the transfer work for you.

  • $40 bonus with $10,000 to $19,999 in new assets
  • $75 bonus with $20,000 to $49,999 in new assets
  • $150 bonus with $50,000 to $99,999 in new assets
  • $250 bonus with $150,000 to $249,999 in new assets
  • $500 bonus with $250,000 to $499,999 in new assets
  • $1,000 bonus with $500,000 to $999,999 in new assets
  • $2,500 bonus with $1,000,000 to $1,999,999 in new assets
  • $4,000 bonus with $2,000,000+ in new assets

Bottom line. M1 Finance is a brokerage account that acts like a free, customizable robo-advisor with automatic rebalancing into a target portfolio. You control the model portfolio, and they do the tedious work. I deposited part of my annual Roth IRA contribution with them.

Disclosure: I am now an affiliate of M1 Finance, and may be compensated if you click through my link and open a new account.

Also see: Big List of Free Stocks For New Commission-Free Brokerage Apps

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

SoFi Invest Transfer Bonus Promotion: Up to $5,000, Both New and Existing Accounts

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

If you are not an active trader, you may find that most brokerage firms are now very similar. They nearly all have free stock trades, mobile trading app, and a paid robo-advisor option. Just have a basket of ETFs and some individual stocks? If you aren’t in love with your current broker, you can often get a cash bonus for switching teams and/or moving in additional assets, based on the size of assets that you move over. Most brokers work within the Automated Customer Account Transfer Service (ACATS) to transfer of your securities, including tax cost basis history.

SoFi Invest is offering a limited-time brokerage transfer bonus of up to $5,000 for transferring in new assets.

$50 Referral bonus. As this promo includes existing accounts, you should consider grabbing this new account referral bonus first, worth $50 of stock with an initial deposit of $1,000+.

Get $50 worth of your favorite stock to start building your portfolio when you fund your SoFi Active Invest account** with at least $1,000*.

New SoFi Invest accounts (both new and existing accounts are eligible)

  • $50 bonus with $5,000 to $19,999 in new assets
  • $125 bonus with $20,000 to $99,999 in new assets
  • $250 bonus with $100,000 to $249,999 in new assets
  • $500 bonus with $250,000 to $499,999 in new assets
  • $1,000 bonus with $500,000 to $999,999 in new assets
  • $2,500 bonus with $1,000,000+ to $1,999,999 in new assets
  • $5,000 bonus with $2,000,000+ in new assets

Earn a bonus (as described below) when you transfer investments from another brokerage firm into a taxable SoFi Invest Active Brokerage or Active retirement account (Traditional, Roth, or SEP IRA). Bonus amounts are based on the one-time total dollar amount you transfer during the incentive period. This offer is good between now and 8/31/21.

Note that SoFi Invest does NOT accept mutual funds.

We do not accept mutual funds. These funds would need to be liquidated prior to initiating an ACAT with SoFi. Please contact your brokerage firm to complete this action, prior to submitting an ACAT.

In addition, SoFi will cover the outgoing transfer fee charged by your existing broker:

If you transfer a brokerage account with total asset value over $5,000 through the ACAT system, SoFi will reimburse up to $75 of ACAT Fees from your outgoing brokerage firm.

Transfer Tips

  • Before moving, I would download all your old statements and tax cost basis information to make sure it transfers over correctly.
  • An ACAT transfer can take a week or so to complete, so you won’t be able to make any sell transactions during that time.
  • Consider performing a “partial” ACAT transfer where you only move over specifically designated shares (ex. only all 455 shares of BRKB) if you wish to keep some of your original brokerage account open. I would personally transfer over all shares of any specific ticker, so that the tax cost basis carries over neatly.
  • Compare bonuses across different brokers. Look carefully at the tiers, there may be a sweet spot where the percentages are better.
My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

E-Trade Brokerage Transfer Bonus Promotion: Up to $4,000, Both New and Existing Customers

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

If you are not an active trader, you may find that most brokerage firms are now very similar. They nearly all have free stock trades, mobile trading app, and a paid robo-advisor option. Just have a basket of ETFs and some individual stocks? If you aren’t in love with your current broker, you can often get a cash bonus for switching teams and/or moving in additional assets, based on the size of assets that you move over. Most brokers work within the Automated Customer Account Transfer Service (ACATS) to transfer of your securities, including tax cost basis history.

E-Trade is offering an limited-time brokerage transfer bonus of up to $4,000 for transferring in new assets. Hat tip to Doctor of Credit. These are currently better than their refer-a-friend transfer bonuses. Note that they have a different chart for new and existing customers.

New E-Trade customers (taxable, IRAs, and Individual 401ks are eligible)

  • $100 bonus with $5,000 to $19,999 in new assets
  • $150 bonus with $20,000 to $24,999 in new assets
  • $200 bonus with $25,000 to $99,999 in new assets
  • $500 bonus with $100,000 to $199,999 in new assets
  • $1,000 bonus with $200,000 to $499,999 in new assets
  • $1,800 bonus with $500,000 to $999,999 in new assets
  • $3,500 bonus with $1,000,000+ in new assets

Existing E-Trade customers (taxable, IRAs, and Individual 401ks are eligible)

  • $75 bonus with $5,000 to $24,999 in new assets
  • $100 bonus with $25,000 to $99,999 in new assets
  • $300 bonus with $100,000 to $199,999 in new assets
  • $600 bonus with $200,000 to $499,999 in new assets
  • $1,200 bonus with $500,000 to $999,999 in new assets
  • $3,000 bonus with $1,000,000 to $1,999,999 in new assets
  • $4,000 bonus with $2,000,000+ in new assets

Transfer Tips

  • Many brokers will charge an “Outgoing ACAT fee” of $50 to $100 when you leave them. I recommend contacting your destination broker and asking them to reimburse you for this fee, on top of any bonuses. If you qualify for one of these bonuses, your account is probably big enough for them to consider it. The worst they can say is no. You may have to send them a statement showing the fee.
  • Before moving, I would download all your old statements and tax cost basis information to make sure it transfers over correctly.
  • An ACAT transfer can take a week or so to complete, so you won’t be able to make any sell transactions during that time.
  • Consider performing a “partial” ACAT transfer where you only move over specifically designated shares (ex. only all 455 shares of BRKB) if you wish to keep some of your original brokerage account open. I would personally transfer over all shares of any specific ticker, so that the tax cost basis carries over neatly.
  • Compare bonuses across different brokers. Look carefully at the tiers, there may be a sweet spot where the percentages are better.
My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Better Mortgage: $2,000/$6,000 Credit with American Express, $100 Best Rate Guarantee

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

Better is an online mortgage lender that promises a fast pre-approval process, no application fees, origination fees, and faster closing. Right now, American Express cardholders have a special offer with a $2,000 statement credit (conforming) or $6,000 (jumbo) when you use their link. Thanks for reader Brad for the tip.

Get an American Express Statement credit after you refinance or finance your home purchase with Better Mortgage. $2,000 for conforming or $6,000 for jumbo mortgages. Lock your rate by 9/13/22 and close by 12/17/22 to qualify for the statement credit — for eligible Card Members only

Better also has a $100 Better Price Guarantee (not restricted to AmEx cardholders):

We’ll match any valid competitor’s offer, and credit you an extra $100. If we can’t, the $100 is yours to keep.

If you think another lender has a more competitive price, just send us their loan estimate within one business day from the date it was issued. We’ll either do better by at least $100, or send that $100 to you; you win either way.

There are various mortgage “closing credit” offers out there, but keep in mind that the most important thing is your total cost, a combination of total closing costs and ongoing monthly payment. The easiest way to compare is to go far enough to receive a Loan Estimate from a variety of sources. (You’ll also need a loan estimate for the Better rate guarantee.) Beyond the major comparison websites, you may still benefit from a local human broker or directly checking with credit unions including Pentagon Federal and Navy Federal (if eligible).

If you can get Better to match or beat the best rate/cost combination, then this $2,000/$6,000 would be gravy on top!

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

PFS Buyers Club: New US Mint Coin Deal (Now $155+ Net Profit, August 2021)

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

(Updated: The commission has increased to $145.05, a $60 increase from the initial offer.)

Another new coin deal August 3rd, 2021. PFS Buyers Club has another coin deal on two limited edition Morgan Silver Dollars. See details below.

Background (skip if already familiar). The US Mint regularly releases limited-edition coins to collectors. The coin sets are often limited by household, but end up worth more than the initial cost. PFS Buyers Club is a website broker that recruits regular folks to buy their allotted coin set with a set markup amount, with the agreement that they will sell it directly to PFS Buyers Club. For example, you might pay $300 for a coin and they’ll agree to pay you $350 for it (including prepaid mailing label) – a fixed profit of $50.

I believe the closest analogy is to other collectibles like limited-edition Nike shoe drops. The US Mint benefits from the scarcity, and can continue to sell these collectibles at a profit far above the minting cost.

Deal details: On Tuesday, August 3rd at 12:00 pm Noon Eastern Time, there is a new fixed profit opportunity. Two limited edition Morgan Silver Dollars are being released, with each one having a purchase limit of three per household (2 coins x 3 sets of each = 6 coins max). The cost of each Silver Dollar is $85.00, times six coins plus $4.95 shipping charge, for a total of $514.95.

Total net profit opportunity of $155+. PFS will pay you a fixed commission of $85.05 now $145.05 for a full 6-coin order, on top of your cost for the set. ($660 total.) You’ll also earn credit card rewards on your ~$500 purchase (worth another ~$10 here at 2% cash back), or also possibly satisfying the requirements for some $500+ value credit card bonuses. This makes the net profit at least $155.

I have had reports of the Fidelity 2% back card not awarding points on US Mint purchases. I have used a BofA card (earning an effective 2.6% back with Preferred Rewards) without issue. AmEx says they don’t award points for bullion and precious metal, but in my experience US Mint purchases are not coded as bullion or precious metal. You may still choose to avoid them to be safe.

Note that the eventual value of the set may exceed that elsewhere – you may be able to get more on eBay, for example – but if you want to make that bet, don’t promise to sell to PFS Buyers Club. Just buy it on your own and try to sell it yourself. Keep in mind that eBay seller fees can be quite high, you run the risk of the buyer claiming you sent them a box of pennies, and you’ll be responsible for other costs like the proper shipping with adequate insurance. The PFS Buyers Club price includes a free prepaid mailing label (including insurance) and they will pay you via eCheck (no fees), paper check, or PayPal.

Here are the two coins: Morgan 2021 Silver Dollar w/ D Mark and Morgan 2021 Silver Dollar w/ S Mark. In May, they offered the Morgan coins with the O and CC Mint marks.

Note: This coin is not expected to ship until October, but they also won’t charge your card until October. But be around that you’ll need to be around to receive the package and then drop it off at FedEx.

My past experience. I used PFS back in March for the first time, and everything went smoothly and I was paid my money in full without issue. The amount of communication was great and better than expected; I was kept up-to-date every step of the way. The total time commitment was about 30 minutes for $400+ profit, including the stop at the Fedex store to drop off the box with prepaid label. The eCheck option worked great – I printed the check out at home and deposited immediately via mobile app. PFS has a very solid reputation online, and I referred several blog readers last time and did not receive a single complaint. The primary issue is that the coins usually sell out quick, so you have to be fast.

If you want to jump on this, you can sign up to join PFS Buyers Club here. Sometimes these deals fill up, so I would sign-up and opt-in sooner rather than later. You can still opt out of the deal until an hour prior to the coins going on sale. PFS will provide *very* detailed instructions. Read them ahead of time, and follow them carefully to help you buy the coin before it sells out. If you use that link as a first-time buyer, I will receive a referral fee the first time you successfully sell your coin for a profit. Thanks for those that use it, and for those that already used it in the past. I will be opting in myself as well.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

PFS Buyers Club: New US Mint Coin Arbitrage Opportunity ($300+ Net Profit, July 2021)

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

New deal July 29th, 2021. The US Mint regularly releases limited-edition coins to collectors. The coin sets are often limited to one per household, but end up worth more than the initial cost. PFS Buyers Club is a website broker that recruits regular folks to buy their allotted coin set with a set markup amount, with the agreement that they will sell only to PFS Buyers Club. For example, you might pay $300 for a coin and they’ll agree to pay you $350 for it – a fixed profit of $50.

On Thursday, July 29th at 12:00 pm Noon Eastern Time, there is a new guaranteed profit opportunity. A limited edition American Eagle Four-Coin Set will be released then, with a purchase limit of one per household. The cost of the Four-Coin Set should be either $4,962.50 or $5,055.00 (depends on the spot price of Gold on 7/28). Shipping will cost $4.95.

PFS will pay you a fixed commission of $200.05 for each Four-Coin Set, on top of your cost for the set.

You’ll also earn credit card rewards on your ~$5,000 purchase (worth another ~$100 here at 2% cash back), or also possibly satisfying the requirements for some $500+ value credit card bonuses. This makes the total net profit safely over $300.

Note that the eventual value of the set may exceed that elsewhere – you may be able to get more than $200 extra for each coin on eBay, for example – but if you want to make that bet, don’t promise to sell to PFS Buyers Club. Just buy it on your own and try to sell it yourself. Keep in mind that eBay seller fees can be quite high, and you’ll be responsible for other costs like the proper shipping with adequate insurance. PFS Buyers Club will send you a free prepaid mailing label (including insurance) and pay you via eCheck, paper check, or PayPal.

My past experience. I used PFS back in March for the first time, and everything went smoothly and I was paid my money in full without issue. The amount of communication was great and better than expected; I was kept up-to-date every step of the way. The total time commitment was about 30 minutes for $400+ profit, including the stop at the Fedex store to drop off the box with prepaid label. The eCheck option worked great – I printed the check out at home and deposited immediately via mobile app. PFS has a very solid reputation online, and I referred several blog readers last time and did not receive a single complaint. (Some folks were unable to buy the coins from the US Mint before it went out of stock.)

Here is the product page: American Eagle 2021 Gold Proof Four-Coin Set. Here is a direct quote of the deal text:

On July 29th – at 12:00PM ET, the US Mint will be releasing a limited edition American Eagle Four-Coin Set. The set has a purchase limit of one per household, so you’re able to buy one set.

The cost of the Four-Coin Set should be either $4,962.50 or $5,055.00. (The Mint will only be releasing the exact price for these products on Wednesday the 28th, and it will depend on the spot price of Gold over the day.)

Each purchase will also have a $4.95 shipping charge.

You will have each order shipped to your own house or office and then ship it to PFS Buyers Club with a prepaid shipping label that we will provide for you.

PFS will be offering a commission of $200.05 for each Four-Coin Set.

This is also a great opportunity to earn valuable points/miles on your credit cards, as well as meet any spending thresholds.

If you want to jump on this, you can sign up to join PFS Buyers Club here. Sometimes these deals fill up, so I would sign-up and opt-in sooner rather than later. You can still opt out of the deal until an hour prior to the coins going on sale. They will provide very detailed instructions. Follow them carefully, and it was pretty easy for me as a first-time buyer. If you use that link, I will receive a referral fee the first time you successfully sell your coin for a profit. Thanks for those that use it, and for those that already used it last time! I will be opting in myself as well.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Card Review: 1.5% Flat Cash Back (Up to 2.6% With Preferred Rewards)

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

The new Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Card is the most simple, straightforward, no-annual-fee credit card in the Bank of America line-up. If you are a Preferred Rewards client, you can increase the cash back earned by 25% to 75%. For such “relationship” customers, this boost can change this card from good to great. Here are the highlights:

  • New customers: $200 cash rewards bonus after $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases. Redeem as a statement credit, deposit to BofA bank account, or deposit to Merrill brokerage account (including 529).
  • 0% Introductory APR offer. See link for details.
  • 10% customer bonus when you have an active Bank of America checking or savings account.
  • If you’re a Preferred Rewards client, you can increase that bonus to 25% – 75%. See details below.
  • 3% foreign transaction fee.
  • No annual fee.

Preferred Rewards bonus. The Preferred Rewards program is designed to rewards clients with multiple account and higher assets located at Bank of America banking, Merrill Edge online brokerage, and Merrill Lynch investment accounts. Here is a partial table taken from their comparison chart (click to enlarge):

bofa_pref1

Let’s consider the options. Bank of America’s interest rates on cash accounts tend to be lower than highest-available outside banks (read: nearly zero), so moving cash over to qualify may result in earning less interest on your cash deposits. Merrill Lynch advisory accounts also usually come with management fees. The sweet spot is therefore the Merrill Edge self-directed brokerage, where you can move over your existing brokerage assets like stocks, mutual funds, and ETFs held elsewhere (Vanguard, Fidelity, Schwab, etc).

In the past, moving over to Merrill Edge at the Platinum and Platinum Plus levels also led to 30 to 100 free online stock trades every month. Fast forward to now, and nearly all major online brokers offer commission-free trades anyway.

Personally, I moved over $100k of brokerage assets from Vanguard to Merrill Edge to qualify for Platinum Honors. You should ask Merrill Edge if they will cover any ACAT transfer fees involved. I realize not everyone will have this level of assets to move around, but if you do then it is worth considering. Keep in mind that it will take a while for your “3-month average combined balance” to reach the $100k level and officially qualify for Platinum Honors. You might become Gold first, then Platinum, and so on. After that, the 25%-75% rewards bonus on credit card rewards kick in. Once you reach a certain tier, BofA guarantees that you will stay there for a year no matter what, even if your balance fluctuates.

Note that the terms state “The Preferred Rewards bonus will replace the customer bonus”, which means that you will lose the 10% customer bonus when you qualify for the 25% to 50% bonus.

Boosted cash back percentages with Preferred Rewards. The standard structure is a flat 1.5% cash back on all purchases. Here’s how the numbers work out after you reach each tier:

  • Platinum Honors: 2.625% cash back on all purchases (75% bonus).
  • Platinum: 2.25% cash back on all purchases (50% bonus).
  • Gold: 1.875% cash back on all purchases (25% bonus).
  • BofA checking or savings accountholder: 1.65% cash back on all purchases (10% bonus).

I consider the bar set at 2% cash back to be considered a “great” rewards card. The Platinum and Platinum Honors levels allow you to surpass that bar. Again, not everyone will have this level of assets to move around, and so this offer is not available to everyone. BofA is willing to pay such high cash back on the credit card because they hope to make it back through their other products (banking, brokerage, loans).

Their plan worked on me because Bank of America has managed to convince me to go from only having a checking account with them to now also having a Merrill Edge brokerage account and a Bank of America credit card.

Comparison against other BofA credit cards. Not all Bank of America consumer credit cards qualify for Preferred Rewards. Other cards of interest that do qualify are:

Honestly, these are all solid cards if you qualify for Preferred Rewards. I can see any one of them being a good choice for those that want relatively simple rewards after setting up a “relationship” with BofA.

My slight personal favorite is the Travel Rewards credit card. The rewards structure on the Travel Rewards is similar to the Unlimited Cash Rewards card including the 1.5% back (up to 2.62% with Preferred Rewards) earning rate and no annual fee, except that the rewards can only be used to offset past travel and dining purchases made on the card in the past 12 months. I have redeemed thousands of dollars in statement credits and never run out of travel/dining purchases to offset. Their redemption process is quick and easy. One difference is that the Travel Rewards has no foreign transaction fee, while this Unlimited Cash Rewards card has a 3% foreign transaction fee. Together, this makes the Travel Rewards card a great “catch-all” card that I always have in my wallet. You may prefer the Unlimited Cash Rewards card if you have very little travel/dining charges.

The Premium Rewards card may be better if you can reliably utilize the $100 annual Airline Incidentals credit (seat upgrades, baggage fees, lounge fees) to offset the $95 annual fee, as then the increased cash back on travel/dining is all net profit. The Customized Cash Rewards cards with its 3/2/1 structure is also tempting as a companion to the Travel/Unlimited Cash, but you may prefer other rewards card for specific categories.

Bottom line. The Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Credit Card is an “okay” cash back rewards card with a 1.5% cash back on everything structure, but turns into an “excellent” 2.62% cash back rewards card if you can take full advantage of their Preferred Rewards program. If you transfer $100,000 of existing brokerage assets (could be ETFs or mutual funds) over to Merrill Edge, you can qualify for the highest Platinum Honors tier. This won’t be a good option for everyone, but something to be aware of if you can swing it.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

USDC Stablecoin Reserves Breakdown July 2021

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

For those following stablecoin, Centre (founded by Circle) has released another breakdown of USDC reserves as of July 16, 2021. The accounting firm Grant Thornton attests that the total fair value of US dollar denominated assets held in segregated accounts are at least equal to the now $22.2 billion of USDC in circulation. Here is their breakdown of the reserves:

I honestly don’t see why they don’t just keep it all in cash. If they maintain the highest level of trust, they can make so much money elsewhere. Yet, while I am not a fan of seeing the 9% in commercial paper and 5% in corporate bonds, this breakdown is much better than Tether (USDT) reserves breakdown. Tether reported only 3% in cash and 65% in commercial paper, which would make it one of the the largest commercial paper holders in the world, yet nobody has any idea whose paper they own! I’m disappointed in USDC, but I would never actually own USDT.

Bloomberg’s Matt Levine has observed that “most of what actually happens with Bitcoin is about rediscovering financial history and re-creating the traditional financial system from scratch.” The same goes for stablecoin deposits, as we are seeing banking without FDIC insurance to even the playing field amongst big and small banks (and protect individual depositors). As in the past, since there is the chance of a “bank failure” and/or fraud, people demand higher interest for higher risk, while the safer places can get away with paying less interest. Consider the current interest rates on USDC deposits:

Although if we keep following that history model, then at some point there will be a stablecoin crisis where some portion of folks will lose money, leading to much tighter regulations about maintaining reserves, etc.

The poor transparency about stablecoin reserves and the lack of FDIC-insurance are why I don’t list these APYs in my monthly updates on the best rates on cash. You must perform your own due diligence on stablecoin risks.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

American Express Blue Business Cash Card: 2% Cash Back on First $50,000 in Purchases, No Annual Fee (+ New $250 Welcome Offer)

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

New welcome offer. The American Express Blue Business Cash Card is a small business rewards card that earns a solid cash back rate with no complicated categories. Here the highlights:

  • New welcome offer: $250 statement credit after you make $3,000 in purchases on your Card in your first 3 months.
  • 2% flat cash back on the first $50,000 in purchases each year. 1X Points on purchases thereafter.
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases for 12 months.
  • No annual fee. (See Rates and Fees)

This is a solid offer for small business owners who want a simple-yet-competitive rewards credit card. If your business purchases don’t exceed $50,000 within each calendar year, this card provides flat 2% cash back. In addition, your cash back is automatically credited to your statement as a statement credit, so you don’t have to remember to redeem anything.

My primary small business card for day-to-day spending is the sibling Blue Business Plus Card from American Express (my review), which offers 2X Membership Rewards points on the first $50,000 in purchases each year. I prefer earning the double Membership Rewards points per dollar over 2% cash back because I regularly redeem each MR point for more than 1 cent per point of value. I happen to enjoy the flexibility of having some Membership Rewards in my back pocket to convert to airlines miles and hotel points, and this card also helps keep them active.

If you don’t expect to get at least 1 cent per mile value by converting to airline miles or hotel points, then this card is better. Many people will prefer the simplicity of cash.

Business credit card eligibility. Many people aren’t aware that they can apply for business credit cards, even if they are not a corporation or LLC. Any individual can be a small business. Perhaps you sell items on eBay, Craiglist, or Etsy. Maybe you do some graphic design, web design, freelancing and/or consulting. If you received a 1099-MISC tax form and filled out a Schedule C, that means you have business income, you pay self-employment taxes, and you’re a sole proprietorship. 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 card will require you to personally guarantee that you’ll pay them back what you charge on the card, which means they’ll check your personal credit score like any other consumer card. However, as the card is a business card, American Express won’t have it show up on your personal credit report, so it won’t change things like your credit limits, average account age, or credit utilization ratio.

Bottom line. The American Express Blue Business Cash Card is a small business rewards card that earns a flat 2% cash back on ALL purchases up to $50,000 per calendar year with no annual fee. This is a high cash back percentage, and your rewards are automatically credited on the next monthly statement, so you don’t have to remember to redeem anything. (See Rates and Fees)

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Summer of Dashpass 2021 Deals + New Chase Co-Branded $10 Doordash Credit

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

Doordash is running their Summer of Dashpass promotion again this year, with weekly deals from 7/20 through 9/6. First, Dashpass members will get an extra $10 in savings each week during this period. There will be a themed promotion each week:

  • July 20–26: Free cheese or pepperoni ExtraMostBestest® pizza with a Little Caesars order $20+ with code CAESARS.
  • July 27 — August 2: $10 off any Pickup order of $20+ with code HUNGRY.
  • August 3–9: $10 off a gift order of $20+ using code FRIENDLY.
  • August 10–16: Eligible DashPass members (21 yrs+) can get $10 off an alcohol order of $40+ with code THIRSTY (where available).
  • August 17–23: $10 off an order of $20+ on any Convenience or DashMart order using the code SNACKY.
  • August 24–30: $10 off any pet supply order of $20 or more using the code FLUFFY.
  • August 31 — September 6: $10 off grocery orders of $25+ using the code EASY.

DashPass is a subscription service that offers a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees when ordering $12 or more from any DashPass-eligible restaurant (look for the checkmark), as well as 5% back on Pickup orders. The regular price is $9.99/month.

Up to 12 months of free Dashpass membership is included with many Chase credit cards, including co-branded cards, and they are throwing in an additional $10 Doordash credit to those co-branded cards on your next purchase by 9/30 if you register/add your card here. Note that after those free 12 months, you’ll automatically be charged $9.99/month for continued membership unless you cancel DashPass. Eligible co-branded cards include:

If you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve or Sapphire Preferred credit card, you can also get free DashPass benefits on eligible orders for at least 12 months (and a maximum of 24 months) after activation. Sapphire Reserve cardholders also get $60 in statement credits towards DoorDash in 2021.

If you have a Chase Freedom or Slate credit card, you can free DashPass benefits on eligible orders for 3 months after activation. After the first 3 months, the user will be auto-enrolled for the next 9 months in DashPass with a 50% discount applied to the then current membership rate. You can cancel at any time.

If you are new customer to DoorDash and sign up via my DoorDash referral link, you will get $10 off your first 3 DoorDash orders over $15 ($30 total savings). I will get food credits as well. Thanks if you use it!

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Kabbage Business Checking Review: 1.10% APY + Targeted $300 Bonus

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

Kabbage offers financial solutions for small businesses, and was acquired by American Express in late 2020. On top of the very competitive interest rate of 1.10% APY, there is currently a targeted $300 bonus for their business checking account. If you have an American Express business credit card, check for an email with the subject “Meet Kabbage Checking from American Express” with the link. Thanks to Oregon Fan for the heads up. Here are the highlights:

  • 1.10% APY on balances up to $100,000
  • No monthly maintenance fees.
  • No minimum balance requirements.
  • Free ATM access. Check app for a map to the nearest in-network ATM.
  • Deposit checks for free via mobile app.
  • Deposit cash at one 90,000 participating retailers nationwide (including Walgreens, CVS, Walmart) for a variable fee up to $4.95. Check app for a map to the nearest location.
  • Need paper checks? $20 fee for one pack of 100 personal-sized checks.

Looks like if you like doing all your business banking via a mobile app, this would be a good fit. If you deal with a lot of physical cash or write a lot of checks… not so much, since you would have to pay a fee for each cash deposit and a $20 fee for every 100 checks. However, at 1.10% APY and no minimum balance requirement, you could just use this as a business savings account.

Other Kabbage products include a business line of credit and a service to send invoices and accept payments. (They also helped dole out a lot of PPP loans.)

Kabbage Checking is provided by Green Dot Bank, member FDIC. The routing number may show up as “GoBank, A Division of Green Dot Bank.”

$300 bonus details. Here is a screenshot from the e-mail that I received:

Update: A rep from American Express reached out to me and stated that this offer is targeted only to those that received the e-mail.

I do have an American Express business credit card, so if you have one as well, please go check your linked e-mail address to look for this offer. The fine print:

To be eligible to earn the $300 cash deposit, you must 1) Apply and be approved for a Kabbage Checking™ account by 9/8/2021 at 11:59 p.m. ET and 2) Successfully complete 5 debit card purchases within 60 days of account opening. Any transactions that have not cleared within 60 days of account opening do not qualify. Your Kabbage Checking account must be open at the time of fulfillment of this cash deposit. Once you have completed all the above requirements, the $300 cash deposit will be deposited into your Kabbage Checking account within 8-12 weeks from the date your account was opened. Limit one offer per new Kabbage Checking account.

Bottom line. Kabbage offers a digital-first business checking account that would work well for small businesses that don’t deal with a lot of physical cash deposits or paper checks (due to the fees involved). I get the feeling that it is only a matter of time before this becomes the “American Express business checking account”. Hopefully the interest rate stays high for a while.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Sam’s Club New Membership Deal for $20 With $20 in Gift Cards

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

sams200bGroupon has two new Sam’s Club membership deals, which come around a few times per year. There are two options. The $20 option (up to $75 value) includes:

  • One-year Sam’s Club membership
  • Household member card
  • $9.96 in free stuff:
    • Complimentary Rotisserie Chicken
    • Complimentary Member’s Mark 12- or 20-count croissants or 24-count yeast rolls
  • $20 Gift card delivered by email after first completed use of Scan & Go feature of the SamsClub.com app in the first 30 days of membership

The $30 option (Up to $99 value) includes all of the above plus:

  • Complimentary Veggie Tray
  • $8 off Member’s Mark 18-count cookies
  • $8.00 off Member’s Mark ULTRA paper plates

This deal is for new memberships only, as defined as follows:

Offer valid for new Sam’s Club Members only. Not valid for membership renewals, for those with a current membership, or those who were Sam’s Club members less than 6 months prior to June 1, 2021.

Some folks like to rotate a year with Sam’s Club and a year with Costco, as both usually offer new member deals regularly.

Save even more on your Groupon with a cashback shopping portal. Many offer new customers bonuses if you make a qualifying purchase, including MyPoints ($10 bonus), Rakuten (formerly eBates) ($30 bonus currently, varies), TopCashBack ($15 bonus currently, varies), and BeFrugal ($10 bonus). So you could sign-up and stack this Groupon to trigger the bonus. I have cashed out of all of these in the last 12 months.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.