A Bank Account With No Overdraft Fees – Consumer Reports #overdrafts, #prepaid #cards, #chase, #bank #of #america, #wells #fargo, #citi, #overdraft #penalty, #penalty, #direct #deposit, #mobile #check #deposit, #cashless #society, #person-to-person #payments, #p2p


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A Bank Account With No Overdraft Fees

If you’re bedeviled by overdraft fees that can cost $25 to $35 a pop, try this: Get a bank or credit union account that is designed to prevent overdrafts. If your balance does go into the red, the financial institution won’t charge you a penalty.

The nation’s five largest banks—Bank of America, Chase, Citi, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo—now offer these so-called lower-risk accounts, which offer just about all the same services a regular checking account provides but do not charge overdraft fees.

Citi’s Access account, for example, provides a debit card for retail store and online purchases, free cash withdrawals at thousands of Citi ATMs, direct paycheck deposit and mobile check deposit. and online and mobile banking and bill-payment.

The monthly fee for this account at Citi is $10, but it’s easily waived if you have one direct deposit per month of your paycheck, pension, or Social Security or other government benefit, or make one online bill payment per month. At the other banks the monthly fee is around $5.

The main difference between these bank accounts and regular checking: You can’t write paper checks. That’s how the bank prevents overdraft fees; all of your banking is done electronically via the debit card, which allows the bank to disburse funds only up to the amount you have on deposit.

Not offering paper checks is less of a problem than it may seem, because America is well on its way to becoming a cashless society. With online bill-pay, for instance, you make payments electronically, and if the biller hasn’t yet gone digital, your bank or credit union will print and mail a paper check for you free—no checks, envelopes, or postage stamps to buy. With person-to-person (P2P) payments. you can send money digitally to virtually anyone.

How much did you spend last year on overdraft fees?

Tell us in the comments section below.

Hidden Advantage

If these lower-risk accounts sound a lot like prepaid cards, you’re right. They are prepaid cards. That’s exactly what Chase calls its Liquid card and what Wells Fargo calls its EasyPay card. The other three use names that don’t quite sound like either checking or prepaid: Citi Access. Bank of America SafeBalance Banking. and U.S. Bank Safe Debit Account .

In recent years, prepaid cards issued by American Express, Walmart, Green Dot, and other brands that you might not think of as banks have evolved to become more like checking accounts. With the exception of Chase, whose Liquid card ranked highly in our ratings of prepaid cards. these major banks are playing catch-up.

“Those leading the prepaid card bandwagon are credit unions, Walmart, Amex, and Chase,” says Mike Moebs, economist and CEO of Moebs Services, a Chicago-based consulting firm that tracks bank and credit union pricing and products. About 30 percent of credit unions offer prepaid cards vs. 18 percent of banks, according to Moebs’ latest survey of 3,800 financial institutions.

Banks offer one big advantage that makes their prepaid cards even more like checking: They maintain networks of branches and ATMs, where cash deposits can be made. Non-bank prepaid cards usually have no branches, so their cardholders have a harder time depositing cash to their accounts. Non-bank prepaid cards do have ATM networks, but cardholders usually cannot make cash deposits via those ATMs. Instead, they must rely on participating retailers, where they can load cash onto the cards.

Benefits for Low-Income Consumers

Lower-risk accounts might be a little hard to find because banks don’t always prominently promote them.

Banks offer these accounts to help low-income consumers, who often get snagged by overdraft fees that they can’t afford. That can push them away from traditional banks and into the arms of overpriced alternative financial service providers, such as check-cashing storefronts and car title lenders .

The lower-risk accounts can help re-open the doors to essential banking services for these underserved consumers. Last February, Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, urged the nation’s top 25 retail banks to offer and promote lower-risk accounts by featuring them prominently on their online checking account web pages and in their other marketing efforts.

The lack of marketing for these products has lessened their visibility, Cordray said, and the concern is that the consumers who need these accounts most don’t know they exist.

But when we looked at the five biggest banks’ checking account web pages in late September, using a California ZIP code to let the bank know our location, their lower-risk accounts were still hard to find. On Wells Fargo’s checking account web page, for example, the bank’s regular, interest, and rewards checking accounts were easy to find on the first page of the site. But we had to scroll down to the bottom of the page to find a link to EasyPay.

It was a similar situation when looking for Bank of America SafeBalance Banking and the U.S. BankSafe Debit Account. Chase Liquid was not even on the checking account menu. Citi, however, had the most prominent positioning. Its Access account was included in a comparison of all Citi checking accounts.

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Dental Insurance #citi #life #insurance


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Dental Insurance

What is the MetLife Preferred Dentist Program?

The MetLife Preferred Dentist program is a Dental Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plan that is designed to save you money on dental services. 1 You can choose from thousands of participating general dentists and specialists nationwide. Plus, with this plan you will enjoy lower out-of-pocket costs for in-network services, freedom to use any dentist and less paperwork.

What is a participating dentist?

A participating dentist is a general dentist or specialist who has agreed to accept negotiated fees as payment in full for covered services provided to plan members. Negotiated fees typically range from 15% – 45% less than the average charges in a dentist’s community for similar services.*

*Based on internal analysis by MetLife. Negotiated fees refers to the fees that in-network dentists have agreed to accept as payment in full for covered services, subject to any copayments, deductibles, cost sharing and benefit maximums. Negotiated fees are subject to change.

How do I find a participating dentist?

You can find the names, addresses, specialties, languages spoken and telephone numbers of participating dentists in a given area by searching our online directory – Find a Dentist .

Can I buy coverage for myself and my family if I don’t have dental insurance at work?

Yes. MetLife TakeAlong Dental SM offers continuous coverage that you can buy on your own and take from one job to the next.

What if I need emergency care?

All dental offices that participate in the network provide emergency access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you cannot reach your selected participating dentist, you may receive emergency care from any licensed dental care professional. The definition of what is considered “emergency care” and other specifics can be found in the Evidence of Coverage located in your enrollment booklet.

What if I have an HMO plan and I need to see a specialist?

If your selected participating dentist determines that you need specialty care, you have access to a network of specialty care providers. Most plans are Direct Referral plans, which means your selected participating dentist will provide you with the name of a network specialist. No pre-authorization is required, you can call the specialist directly to schedule your visit. 2

Any copayment amount for specialty services is listed in your Schedule of Benefits.

Does the HMO plan cover second opinions?

Yes. Contact Customer Service to let us know that you would like another clinical opinion, and we will provide the name of a dentist for you to see.

1 Savings from enrolling in a dental benefits plan will depend on various factors, including the cost of the plan, how often participants visit the dentist and the cost of services rendered.

2 In California, orthodontic and pedodontic specialty services require pre-approval. Your selected participating dentist will contact SafeGuard (a MetLife company) for pre-approval. Once approved, your dentist will contact you with the name of a participating specialist.

Group dental insurance policies featuring the MetLife Preferred Dentist Program are underwritten by Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, New York, NY.

Dental Managed Care Plan benefits are provided by Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, a New York corporation in NY. Dental HMO plan benefits are provided by: SafeGuard Health Plans, Inc. a California corporation in CA; SafeGuard Health Plans, Inc. a Florida corporation in FL; SafeGuard Health Plans, Inc. a Texas corporation in TX; and MetLife Health Plans, Inc. a Delaware corporation and Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, a New York corporation in NJ. The Dental HMO/Managed Care companies are part of the MetLife family of companies.

“DHMO” is used to refer to product designs that may differ by state of residence of the enrollee, including but not limited to: “Specialized Health Care Service Plans” in California; “Prepaid Limited Health Service Organizations” as described in Chapter 636 of the Florida statutes in Florida; “Single Service Health Maintenance Organizations” in Texas; and “Dental Plan Organizations” as described in the Dental Plan Organization Act in New Jersey.

Like most group benefit programs, benefit programs offered by MetLife and its affiliates contain certain exclusions, exceptions, waiting periods, reductions, limitations and terms for keeping them in force. Please contact MetLife or your plan administrator for complete details.

About MetLife