Personal finance
GE Capital Purchasing MetLife Bank

Washington DC Might Divest from Bank of America, Wells Fargo

Miles By Discover Offers Relief to Noncommittal Travelers

Collection Agencies Resurrecting Old Debts Through Credit Card Offers

Treasury Doubles Purchase Limits on Electronic Savings Bonds

Cordray’s First Move as CFPB Head: Regulate Nonbanks

Weekly Wrap: Bank of America’s Worst Week Ever?

Dear U.S. Banks, Your Business Model Stinks

Shadow Banking Due for Some Time in the Spotlight

Weekly Wrap: Banking Slowly Dissolves?

Under the Roofs of Coffee Shops You’ll Find Your Online Bank

Brokerage Checking Still a Competitive Choice

Beware the Mirthful FOMC Meeting

Did ING Direct Customers Overreact to the Capital One Purchase?

No Balance Transfer Fee Offers Reappear But Hard to Exploit

Russell Simmons’ RushCard Lowers Fees, Is Still Bad

The Reason Why Freddie Mac Doesn’t Want to You to Refinance

New Bank Perks Cater to Tech-Savvy Customers

St. Louis Fed President: Raise Interest Rates

Whitney Warns: Banks to Banish Middle Class

Dime Savings Cites Regulations in Switch to State Charter

FDIC to Banks: Start Lending Again!

Weekly Wrap: Grey Days and a Sideshow

Weekly Wrap: Banking’s Spring Is Still Far, Far Away

American Express and Gen Y: BFF?

SmarterBank’s Checking Account Helps Pay Off Student Loans
A new checking account is on a mission to chip away at the mountain of debt that burdens millions of college graduates — young or old — through a debit rewards program with the sole purpose of paying off student loans.

Called SmarterBank, the checking account is the latest offering by SimpleTuition, a Boston, Ma.-based company that offers online tools and information to assist students and parents with decision on student loans and educational financing. Some 20% of students and their parents have used SimpleTuition to make student-loan decisions.

“When we started SimpleTuition, the big “problem” we were trying to solve was that there was too many student loan choices on the market,” said Kevin Walker, president and CEO of SimpleTuition, during a phone interview.

The SmarterBank checking account came into existence to address the mountain of student debt that burdened college graduates.

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the total outstanding student loan debt, including private and federal student loans, exceeded the $1 trillion mark several months ago.

“It occurred to us that, over the last year or so, if we could come up with some way of helping graduates manage the debt that they have, there had to be an opportunity there. And what we come up with was SmarterBank, together with the SmarterBucks rewards program,” Walker said.
Rewards marked for debt

The SmarterBank checking account is ideal for recent graduates. The account charges no monthly maintenance fee and offers free access at more than 40,000 ATM on the STAR® network.

The main attraction is the SmarterBucks rewards program, which automatically directs the rewards toward student loan debt.

Accountholders earn SmarterBucks when they make debit card purchases at the rate of 0.5 percent on the first $100 spent on a purchase and 1 percent on everything over $100.

For example, on a $600 purchase, 50 cents will be earned on the first $100 and $5 will be earned on the remaining $500 — for a total of $5.50 in SmarterBucks, equivalent to a $5.50 toward a student loan.

By May, the SmarterBank checking account will offer 5 percent rewards through a merchant-funded rewards program powered by RewardsNOW, a provider of loyalty programs.

It’s not just recent graduates who can benefit from a SmarterBank checking account. Current and prospective students can use it to get a head start on their debt repayment. Family members can also open an account to contribute to a student’s debt.

“If Grandma wants to give Junior $5 or $10 toward paying down his student debt, she could set that up and do it through SmarterBucks,” said Walker. The funds would go directly to the loan servicer.

On a 10-year loan of $8,500 at a 6.8% interest rate, an extra $10 per month repaid would eliminate the balance 16 months faster and result in $1,500 in savings, noted the SmarterBank website.

“It’s striking when you see that what amounts to a small amount of money on a monthly basis actually can have a very meaningful impact on getting that person out of debt faster and at a lesser cost,” added Walker.
On a larger mission

SmarterBank won’t stop at just student loans since there are other forms of debt on the shoulders of graduates.

“We’re not ready to support it yet, I think — in the next couple of years — we will make the platform available to pay down other kinds of debt.”

By the end of the year, SmarterBank aims to have checking, savings and prepaid products that have the same mission of tackling existing student loan debt.

Äë˙ ďĺ÷ŕňč

Weekly Wrap: Astrology is Bunk

Refinancing Your Mortgage Lines the Pockets of the Biggest Banks

Experian Unveils New Credit Score for the Underbanked

New Upromise Credit Card Gives 10% Cash Back at Major Online Retailers

The Best Experiences Your Credit Card Can Buy This Summer

Citi Offers New Way to Spend Rewards

Fed Study: CD Rates Are Less Attractive

Wells Fargo Raised Checking-Account Fee, Slashed Bill-Pay Fee

Weekly Wrap: Get Bullied, Get Rich

Taibbi: No Difference Between Banks and the Mafia

Why You Should Probably Raise Your Credit Limit, Especially When You Don’t Want the Money

Accounts Push Relationship Banking

Weekly Wrap: LIBOR Aside, You’re Still in Control

buy cc fullz

Fed Report Shows Mobile Banking Empowers the Underbanked

Top Gas Credit Cards to ‘Refill’ Your Wallet

Prepaid Cards for Payroll Purposes: Fair to Workers?

Weekly Wrap: Mobile Banking’s Onward March

Banks Close Revenue Gap from Overdraft Fee Losses

Banks Lack Social Media Efforts… Oh Really?

SpringCoin: Out to Automate Credit Counseling

Could Student Loan Forgiveness Help the Economy?

Chase United MileagePlus Club Card Takes Flight

Caviar and Champagne With Your Checking Account?

Weekly Wrap: Cash Rules Everything Around You? Not For Long

SmarterBank’s Checking Account Helps Pay Off Student Loans

Chinese Furious Over Banking Fees

Banks Should Use Prepaid Cards to Hook ‘Em While They’re Young

Prepaid Travel Debit Card Provider Eyes U.S.

Sallie Mae Credit Card Helps Pay Back Student Loans

Post-CARD Act, Banks Shift to Prepaid on Campus

Weekly Wrap: Things Are Not as They Seem

Gen Y Eyes Retirement with Rose Tinted Glasses

Low Interest Rates: A Ticking Time Bomb?

Are Discover Partner Gift Cards Worth the Rewards Points?

Kony Solutions’ Branding Problem: Bank Software Firm Has Killer’s Name

Weekly Wrap: Fancy Gadgetry, No Money

Weekly Wrap: Millenials’ Big Day at the Races

UFB Direct Adds Money Market Account With 1.15% APY