Clickcomerce

Money

8 Best American Express Platinum Card Alternatives

When it comes to premium travel credit cards, the Platinum Card by American Express is one of the most well known and one of the best.

But if the idea of a $695 annual fee makes you pause just a little bit, perhaps you are searching for an alternative to the Platinum Card by American Express.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s a great card but if you aren’t up for that annual fee, or perhaps you aren’t using all of the benefits and want to know what else is available – I’m here to help.

There are plenty of alternatives that provide similar perks for a smaller annual fee.

We’re sharing potential alternatives to Amex Platinum, the details on each card and what they might have to offer you, and why you might want to stick with the Platinum card depending on your usage. 

Table of Contents
  1. American Express Platinum at a Glance
  2. Best Alternatives to American Express Platinum
    1. 1. Chase Sapphire Reserve
    2. 2. Mastercard Black Card
    3. 3. Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card
    4. 4. U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card
    5. 5. American Express Gold Card
    6. 6. Citi Premier Card
    7. 7. Capital One Venture Rewards Card
    8. 8. Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard
  3. Summary

American Express Platinum at a Glance

American Express Platinum CardLet’s start by recapping what benefits the Platinum Card by American Express has to offer as well as what it will cost you. (our full review of the Platinum Card by American Express goes into great detail on this too)

As mentioned, the annual fee for the Amex Platinum card is $695. And with the current welcome bonus, you’ll get 100,000 Membership Rewards after you spend $6,000 in purchases within your first six months. Terms Apply.

Flights booked directly with the airlines and flights and hotel stays booked directly with Amex Travel earn 5x points. Other purchases earn 1x points.

Among other benefits, this card comes with $200 in travel credits each year for incidentals such as baggage fees. These fees do have to be charged to your Platinum card, and the credits only apply to your pre-selected airline. 

The Global Lounge Collection membership gives you access to over 1,300 lounges in over 500 airports, and 140 countries around the world.  

In addition, you’ll get $179 in Clear Credit when you pay for your Clear membership with your card. 

A Clear membership gets you through select airport and stadium security checkpoints faster with its biometric touchless ID feature. 

You’ll get the following additional benefits with your Amex Platinum card as well.

  • Up to $100 Global Entry credit every four years and/or $85 TSA Precheck entry credit every 4.5 years
  • 10x points on eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S. on up to $25,000 in combined purchases in the first six months
  • $300 Equinox credit ($25 per month) when you enroll in select Equinox memberships
  • Up to $200 in Uber Cash: $15 per month on rides or UberEats, and a $20 bonus in December (U.S. rides only)
  • Up to $100 in annual statement credits for purchases Saks Fifth Avenue or saks.com when you use your Amex Platinum card 
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit ($20 per month) when you pay for select digital memberships

As you can see, the high fee is quickly offset by a host of benefits. However, would an American Express Platinum Alternative be better for you? 

Card Name Annual Fee Welcome Bonus Rewards Structure
The Platinum Card from American Express $695 100,000 Membership Rewards after you spend $6,000 in purchases within your first six months 5X points flights booked directly with the airlines and hotels booked with Amex Travel, 1X on everything else
Chase Sapphire Reserve $550 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first three months 10X on hotels and rental cards booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards and 5X points on flights booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3X on travel and dining, 1X on everything else.
Mastercard Black Card $495 None 1X points on spending – redeemed at 1.5% of spending if taken as cash back or 2% of spending if redeemed for flights
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card $450 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy points spend $3,000 in purchases in the first three months; plus earn up to $300 in Statement Credits for eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy(TM) program 6x points on hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program, 3x points on dining at U.S. restaurant and flights booked directly with the airline, 2x points on each dollar spent on other eligible purchases
U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card $400 50,000 point welcome bonus when you spend $4,500 in the first 90 days 5x points on prepaid hotels and car rentals booked directly through the Altitude Rewards Center, 3x points on all other travel purchases
American Express Gold Card 60,000 Membership Rewards Points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months 4x on dining at restaurants, US grocery stores (up to $25,000 in purchases annually), 3X on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex travel, and 1x points on other eligible purchases
Citi Premier Card $95 60,000 points if you make $4,000 in purchases during the first three months 3x points at restaurants, gas stations, air travel and hotels, and supermarkets, 1x points on all other purchases
Capital One Venture Rewards Card $95 60,000 miles when you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening the account, equal to $600 in travel unlimited 2x miles on every purchase, every day
Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard $99 annual fee, waived for the first 12 months 50,000 American Airlines points if you spend $2,500 in the first three months 2X AAdvantage miles on purchases at gas stations, restaurants, and eligible American Airlines purchase, 1X on all other purchases

Best Alternatives to American Express Platinum

There are a few cards that can be counted as competitors to the Platinum card. Check out the list of features for each one in order to determine which would be best for your needs. 

1. Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve has an annual fee of $550 and is probably the Platinum card’s closest competitor. 

There is currently a welcome bonus of 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first three months.

As far as points go, you’ll get 5x points on flights when you purchase through Chase Ultimate Rewards. And you’ll earn 10x points on hotels and car rentals purchased through the program.

You get 3X points on travel worldwide and dining worldwide, 1X everywhere else. Other bonus point options may apply when purchasing through Chase Ultimate Rewards as well. 

And you’ll get 50% more value when you redeem your rewards through the Ultimate Rewards program. That means your 60,000 points could be worth $900 instead of $600.

You’ll also get a $300 annual travel credit and $120 in partner benefits, which rotate often and include Peloton as of this writing.

The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection benefit provides for additional benefits at select hotels and resorts, such as early check-in and late check-out. 

Other benefits include Global Entry or TSA Precheck credit of up to $100 every four years.

And you’ll have complimentary access to over 1,000 VIP airport lounges in over 500 cities thanks to Priority Pass Select.  

How does this compare to the American Express Platinum card? Amex Platinum’s fee is higher, but you also get 40,000 more points with 2,000 more in purchases.

Chase pays more for restaurants (after your six month 10x rewards with Amex expires). Amex pays 1x on restaurants where Chase pays 3x.

While these cards are quite comparable, you’ll want to get the Platinum card with its 5x rewards if you travel heavily.

Learn more about this card

2. Mastercard Black Card

The Mastercard Black card has an annual fee of $495. There’s no traditional welcome bonus offered with this card. 

As far as rewards go, you’ll earn 1x points for every dollar spent in most categories. You’ll get 2% value when you redeem for airfare, and 1.5% value for cash back redemptions.

When you pay for your Global Entry fee with your Black Card, you’ll get a $100 statement credit. 

Priority Pass Select is included, which means you’ll have access to over 1,300 lounges in over 500 cities worldwide. 

You’ll also receive a $100 annual statement credit toward qualifying airline purchases.  Card members also receive luxury gifts from iconic name brands, although Mastercard doesn’t specify what those gifts might be. 

Other benefits include access to charter services, room upgrades, premium car rentals, and 24/7 access to Luxury Card Concierge, a concierge service dedicated to taking your travel experience to the next level.

Extras you might get through the concierge service could include everything from research on the best schools to getting your personal message on the New York City JumboTron. 

How does this compare to the American Express Platinum card? The Mastercard Black Card disappoints in that it doesn’t offer any welcome bonuses. 

The 2% redemption value on airfare with the Black Card is nice, but the Platinum card 5x points on airfare purchases edges the Black Card out.

The one area where the Black Card wins is in luxury “extras” such as the concierge service it offers. If you’re big into luxury extras, go for the Black Card. 

Learn more about the Mastercard Black Card.

3. Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card offers 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy points spend $3,000 in purchases in the first three months; plus earn up to $300 in Statement Credits for eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy(TM) program. Terms Apply.

You’ll also get a $300 statement credit for eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program. 

The annual fee is $450 per year. Rewards points are distributed as follows:

  • 6x points on hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 3x points on dining at U.S. restaurants, including takeout and delivery
  • 3x points on flights booked directly with the airline
  • 2x points on each dollar spent on other eligible purchases

You’ll also get the option to enroll in Priority Pass Select, which gives you access to over 1200 airport lounges in over 130 countries. 

There are a host of other benefits as well, including travel insurance and the 24/7 Premium Global Assist Hotline access to help you deal with emergencies while traveling. 

How does this compare to the American Express Platinum card? The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Express card is a great choice for frequent/luxury travelers that prefer to stay at Marriott-owner properties when they travel.

There are a host of benefits geared toward taking your stay at Marriott properties to the next level.  

However, if you’d rather have more flexibility in where you stay, or if you don’t use hotels often, you’re likely better off with a general rewards card like the Amex Platinum. 

Learn more about this card

4. U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card

The U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Card offers several great travel benefits and a lower annual fee. The annual fee is $400 per year and includes some attractive benefits that are fairly competitive.

There’s a 50,000 point welcome bonus (worth $750 on travel) when you spend $4,500 in the first 90 days of account opening. 

You’ll earn 5x points on prepaid hotels and car rentals booked directly through the Altitude Rewards Center. And 3x points on all other travel purchases. 

You can redeem any earned rewards instantly using your mobile device. 

In addition, there’s a (up to) $325 reimbursement per year on eligible travel purchases and takeout food, dining food, and food delivery. 

You’ll also get a complimentary 12-month Priority Pass Select membership that gives you access to over 1,300 VIP lounges. 

And the card gives you reimbursement of up to $100 every four years for your TSA precheck or Global Entry fees. 

The Altitude Reserve card also offers cardmembers 24/7 service to the Visa Infinite Concierge, and you won’t pay any foreign transaction fees when you use your card abroad.

How does this compare to the American Express Platinum card? The U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve card is somewhat competitive with the Platinum card in terms of points rewards. 

The Platinum card gets you double the welcome points for less than twice the annual fee, however. 

If you travel somewhat frequently this could be a good card for you. Heavy travelers, however, will likely prefer the Platinum card.  

Learn more about this card

5. American Express Gold Card

The American Express Gold Card has an annual fee of . The current welcome bonus consists of 60,000 Membership Rewards Points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months. Terms Apply.

Purchase points are rewarded as follows:

  • 4x points on dining at restaurants, including takeout and delivery
  • 4x points at grocery stores in the U.S., for up to $25,000 in purchases each year
  • 3x points on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex travel
  • 1x points on other eligible purchases

You’ll also get a $10 per month Uber credit when you add your Amex Gold card to your Uber account. The credit applies to both Uber rides and UberEats purchases. 

As of this writing, there’s also a $10 per month in credits at participating restaurants when you pay with the Gold Card. See the Amex website for details.

Other benefits include 24/7 Global Assist Hotline access and no foreign transaction fees when traveling abroad. 

Members are also eligible for preferred seating for select cultural and sporting events when paying with the Amex Gold card.

Other rotating benefits, including additional bonus points, may apply. 

How does this compare to the American Express Platinum card? If you’re a heavy traveler, you’ll want the Platinum card.

However, the American Express Gold Card is a great card for lighter travelers who want attractive rewards points benefits on everyday purchases. 

The Gold Card is especially beneficial if you dine at restaurants or order takeout meals frequently. 

Learn more about this card

6. Citi Premier Card

Now that the Citi Prestige card program is no longer accepting new applicants, you’ll have to look to other options if you like using Citi cards.

The Citi Premier Card is one option, and it comes with a $95 annual fee.  It has a welcome bonus of 60,000 points when you make $4,000 in purchases during the first three months. 

Rewards points earnings are as follows:

  • 3x points at restaurants
  • 3x points at gas stations
  • 3x points on air travel and hotels
  • 3x points at supermarkets
  • 1x points on all other purchases

You’ll get a $100 annual credit on any single hotel stay costing $500 or more when paid for with your Citi Premier card. 

In addition, the card offers special access to tickets (including presale tickets) for thousands of events including sporting events, concerts, dining experiences, and more. 

There are no foreign transaction fees with the Citi Premier card, but other than that you won’t find much in the way of additional travel benefits such as Global Entry or TSA Precheck credits or access to airport lounges.

How does this compare to the American Express Platinum card? The Citi Premier card is a nice card for infrequent or domestic travelers not interested in luxury benefits. 

And with the 3x points on restaurants, gas stations, and supermarkets it’s a nice everyday use card as well. Most users would earn back the $95 annual fee with gained points quite quickly. 

If you travel often, like luxury travel benefits such as concierge services, and would benefit from the bonus points for travel, get the Platinum card.

However, if you’re an infrequent traveler or if you mostly travel domestically, you’ll probably do just fine with the Citi Premier card.  

Learn more about this card

7. Capital One Venture Rewards Card

The Capital One Venture Rewards Card offers several great travel benefits with only an annual fee of $95. 

The first is a Welcome Bonus of 60,000 miles when you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening the account, equal to $600 in travel.

And you’ll earn unlimited 2x miles per dollar on every purchase, every day.  You can redeem your rewards for any purchase when you use PayPal to check out. 

You’ll also get up to $100 reimbursement on your Global Entry or TSA Precheck purchase when you use your Capital One Venture Rewards card.

You won’t pay any foreign transaction fees when you make a purchase outside of the U.S., and you can use your Venture rewards miles on hotels, flights, and more. 

And you can transfer the miles to one of 15+ Capital One partner travel loyalty programs. 

Travel accident insurance and 24/7 travel assistance services are included as well. 

How does this compare to the American Express Platinum card? The Capital One Venture Rewards card doesn’t have the high-end benefits that the Platinum card does.

There’s no lounge access, credits for designated retail purchases, or access to features like early check-in at higher end hotels. 

However, if you’re looking for a solid rewards card for middle class travel and not high-end travel, the Venture Rewards card might be a good choice for you.  

The much-lower annual fee will likely make up for what you’re not getting in higher-end travel benefits that you might not care about anyway.  

Learn more about this card

8. Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard

The Citi AAdvantage card is another option for travelers. It has a $99 annual fee, but the fee is waived for the first 12 months. 

This card is geared for clients who like to fly American Airlines. The welcome bonus consists of 50,000 American Airlines points when you spend $2,500 in the first three months. 

You’ll earn 2x AAdvantage miles for every $1 spent at gas stations and restaurants. And you’ll earn 2x AAdvantage miles for every eligible American Airlines purchase. 

All other purchases will get 1x AAdvantage miles for every $1 spent. And there’s no cap to the number of AAdvantage miles you can earn. 

When you spend more than $20,000 in purchases during the year and then renew your card, you’ll get a $125 American Airlines discount. 

You’ll also get your first bag checked for free (for yourself and up to four companions) when traveling domestically with American Airlines on the same reservation. And you’ll enjoy preferred boarding status.  

Your status as a cardmember gets you a 25% discount on inflight food and drinks as well. 

How does this compare to the American Express Platinum card? Obviously, the Citi AAdvantage card is best for those who prefer to travel with American Airlines. 

Points earnings as a whole are better with the Platinum card. The fee with the Platinum card is much higher, of course, but if you travel frequently you’ll make your money back quickly. 

If I were a frequent traveler that preferred using American Airlines, I’d probably carry both cards in my wallet.

Summary

The American Express Platinum card has several attractive alternatives. However, despite the sizable annual fee, it is one of the best cards out there for heavy travelers.

This is especially true if you like to travel frequently and enjoy the finer things in terms of dining, accommodations, and other travel expenses. 

The Chase Sapphire Reserve might be a better choice if you want to save upwards of $150 on the annual fee but still enjoy a lot of the same benefits. 

On the other hand, if you’re okay with semi-frequent travel and more mainstream dining and other purchases, you’ll do just fine with one of the other alternative cards mentioned here. 

To see the rates and fees for the American Express cards featured, please visit the following links: Platinum Card from American Express: See Rates and Fees. Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card: See Rates and Fees. American Express Gold Card: See Rates and Fees.

The post 8 Best American Express Platinum Card Alternatives appeared first on Best Wallet Hacks.

8 Best Bank Accounts for Freelancers and Side Hustlers

Business checking accounts can be expensive. However, the best bank accounts for freelancers and side hustlers people will fit both your business needs and your budget.

Banking companies have finally learned that catering to freelancers and entrepreneurs is big business. With over 57 million freelance workers in the U.S., the world of side hustles can no longer be called obscure. 

What that means for you as a freelancer is that affordable business bank accounts are aplenty. Here are some of our favorite bank accounts for freelancers and side hustlers.

Table of Contents
  1. Top Bank Accounts for Freelancers and Side Hustlers
    1. 1. Novo Best Business Checking
    2. 2. NorthOne
    3. 3. BlueVine
    4. 4. Nbkc Business Checking
    5. 5. Axos Bank Basic Business Checking
    6. 6. Lili
    7. 7. Chase Business Complete Banking
    8. 8. LendingClub Bank Tailored Checking for Business
  2. How to Choose the Best Bank Account for Your Business
    1. Type of Business
    2. Costs and Features
    3. Growth Potential
  3. Summary

Top Bank Accounts for Freelancers and Side Hustlers

Freelancing has become a bona fide career option in the last several years. In fact, it’s not uncommon to make big money as a freelancer.

The best bank accounts for freelancers have several features in common. First, they offer affordable fees. Second, they make it easy to conduct business online. 

And lastly, they offer other features that help freelancers run an organized business more efficiently. Check out these small business bank accounts and see which one is right for you.

1. Novo Best Business Checking

Novo is a fintech company that is geared toward freelancers and small business owners. The company’s Best Business Checking has several features that might be good for your business checking needs.

  • $0 minimum balance requirement
  • $50 minimum opening deposit
  • Refunds all ATM fees
  • Free incoming wire transfers
  • Invoicing 
  • Business Mastercard debit card
  • Some limits on certain transactions, but largely unlimited transactions

One great thing about Novo is that they have features that allow you to create and send invoices. You can even accept payment on those invoices through ACH transfer and Stripe. 

Other integrations include Zoho, FreshBooks, Quickbooks, Zelle, and more. 

Other Features

Novo deposit accounts are FDIC insured through Middlesex Federal Savings. You can deposit checks via mail or mobile deposit. 

And you can fund your account using an ACH transfer, Direct Deposit, PayPal, Venmo, and other avenues.

Novo does offer joint accounts and you can use your business name to open the account as well. 

Novo will write and mail checks on your behalf (for free) if you request that service. Or you can order your own checks and checkbook through a third-party check printing service. 

Novo Best Business Checking Pros

  • No minimum balance requirement 
  • No monthly service fees
  • Generous ATM and deposit limits
  • Check writing privileges
  • Ample integrations
  • ATM fees refunded

Novo Best Business Checking Cons

  • Non interest-bearing 
  • No savings accounts
  • No in-network ATMs

Best for: Business owners and freelancers who don’t need a savings account

Learn more about Novo

2. NorthOne

NorthOne helps you open a business deposit account in under three minutes. Although NorthOne isn’t technically a bank, it is backed and FDIC insured by Bancorp Bank. 

NorthOne doesn’t offer branch locations, but it is accessible via your computer or mobile device.

Here are some of the features NorthOne offers business owners.

  • $10 monthly fee
  • $0 minimum balance requirement
  • $50 opening balance requirement
  • Unlimited sub-account envelopes for taxes, payroll, and more
  • Deposit checks with the mobile app (some limitations)
  • Deposit cash at designated Green Dot locations
  • Unlimited app integrations
  • Unlimited transactions (some exclusions apply)

Wire transfer fees are low at $15 each. You can pay invoices directly from your NorthOne account. 

Other Features

You’ll get a free Mastercard debit card with your account as well. NorthOne has 7-day-a-week customer service by phone as well. 

NorthOne does not allow check writing with this account. 

NorthOne Pros

  • Unlimited sub-account envelopes
  • Unlimited integrations
  • Expansive fee-free ATM network
  • Convenient mobile banking tools

NorthOne Cons

  • $10 monthly fee
  • Limited external transfers
  • No check writing

Best for: Businesses with simple banking needs, a need for sub-accounts, and no need for check writing

Here’s our full review of NorthOne.

Learn more about NorthOne

3. BlueVine

BlueVine’s biggest attraction is that it doesn’t charge any fees – including NSF fees. And if that doesn’t grab you, how about earning 1% interest on your balance? 

You won’t get charged for incoming wire transfers either. Here are some other BlueVine business account features.

  • $0 minimum balance requirement
  • $0 opening balance requirement
  • No monthly fees
  • Unlimited fee-free transactions
  • Fee-free in-network ATMs
  • Check writing privileges
  • Mobile app
  • Mobile check deposit

Other Features

BlueVine is a simple account that doesn’t offer much in the way of integrations. However, it does offer a line of credit to qualified business customers. 

And you can’t beat the 1% interest earnings on balances up to $100,000. You can deposit cash at Green Dot locations or use the mobile app to deposit checks. However, Green Dot will charge you fees. 

Weekday phone customer service representatives are available for any questions you have that can’t be answered in the FAQ section. 

BlueVine Pros

  • No monthly fees
  • Interest bearing
  • Check writing privileges
  • Line of credit availability

BlueVine Cons

  • No sub-accounts or envelopes 
  • Fees for depositing cash

Best for: Those who want to earn interest on balances and/or those who want a line of credit

Here’s our full review of BlueVine.

Learn more about BlueVine

4. Nbkc Business Checking

Nbkc’s Business checking account is a free account that operates primarily online. If you live in Missouri or Kansas you can visit in-person bank branches. 

Basic features of this account include:

  • $0 minimum balance requirement
  • $0 opening deposit requirement 
  • No monthly fees
  • Unlimited free transactions
  • Free business Mastercard debit card
  •  No NSF fees

Other Features

Nbkc bank also offers free incoming domestic wire transfers. You’ll pay just $5 for outgoing domestic wire transfers; international wires cost $45. 

You can get a free business savings account when you open your nbkc business checking account. One thing to note with this bank is that the approval process takes a few days. 

You can expect a 5-7 day wait after you complete your account application. Also, there are no integration tools with this account. 

Nbkc Pros

  • No monthly fees
  • No minimum balance
  • Unlimited transactions
  • Out-of-network ATM fees reimbursed up to $12 per month

Nbkc Cons

  • No integrations available
  • Limited in-person branches

Best for: Business owners looking for a free account and not in need of integrations

Here’s our full review of nbkc.

Learn more about nbkc

5. Axos Bank Basic Business Checking

The Axos Bank Basic Business Checking is a great account for freelancers and solopreneurs. However, if you’re operating a growing business you might like Axos as well. 

This is because Axos offers commercial business accounts too. That means that if and when you move up from “small business” to “bigger business” you won’t have to change banks if you don’t want to.

Some of the features of the Axos Basic Business Checking account include:

  • $0 monthly fees
  • $0 minimum balance requirements
  • $1,000 minimum opening deposit  
  • 200 free transactions each month, $0.30 per item after that
  • First set of 50 checks for free
  • Unlimited ATM fee reimbursements

Other Features

Axos Basic Business Checking is QuickBooks compatible and offers free Bill Pay. Customer service is available by phone Monday through Friday. 

You get a free Visa debit card with your account. ACH payments are also accepted. Axos has a comprehensive mobile app you can use to make deposits, check balances, and more. 

Axos Basic Business Checking Pros

  • No minimum balance requirements
  • No monthly fees
  • Easy transition to commercial accounts if your business grows

Axos Basic Business Checking Cons

  • Limited fee-free transactions
  • Limited integrations

Best for: Growing businesses that have aspirations to transition out of freelance status

Learn more about Axos

6. Lili

Lili offers mobile-only deposit accounts specifically for freelancers. They have two accounts: Lili Free and Lili Pro. 

Lili has a few features that freelancers might find helpful. For example, you can categorize your expenses when you purchase something using your Lili card. 

In addition, Lili accounts offer a “tax bucket” that helps you automatically put aside money for taxes. 

Here are the details on each of the Lili accounts.

Lili Free

  • No monthly fee
  • $0 opening deposit requirement
  • $0 minimum balance requirement
  • Free Visa business debit card
  • Built-in expense tracking
  • Fee-free in-network ATMs
  • Tax “bucket” to set aside money for taxes
  • Largely unlimited transactions, with some limits on certain transactions

Lili Pro

  • $4.99 per month
  • $0 minimum balance requirement
  • $0 opening deposit requirement
  • Free premium Visa business debit card with rewards
  • Advanced expensive tracking features
  • Unlimited invoice sending
  • Savings account with 1% interest earned
  • Tax “bucket” to set aside money for taxes
  • Overdraft protection of up to $200
  • Largely unlimited transactions, with some limits on certain transactions

The Lili Pro account also has higher limits for ATM usage including purchases and deposits as well. 

Lili’s main transaction limit “con” is that you can only deposit a maximum of $6,000 in checks per month and you can transfer a maximum of $1,000 per month to external accounts. These limits make it best for part-time side hustlers.

Other Features

Lili isn’t a bank, but all Lili accounts are FDIC insured through Choice Financial Group. Note that Lili doesn’t offer joint accounts as of this writing. 

And you can only add your business name to your Lili account if you’re operating as a DBA or a single-person LLC using your Social Security number as a tax identifier. 

Lili does have an extensive list of FAQs on the website, as well as a customer service center that is available Monday through Friday. 

You can deposit money to your Lili account via PayPal, Venmo, Direct Deposit, ACH transfer, or mobile check deposit. 

But note that you have to have a minimum $200 monthly Direct Deposit into your account if you want to use the mobile check deposit feature. You can make cash deposits using a Lili cash deposit partner such as Walmart. 

See the Lili website for additional information regarding features and limitations on ATM usage, deposits, and external bank transfer transactions.

Lili Pros

  • No monthly fees
  • No overdraft or returned check fees
  • No minimum balance
  • Tax “bucket” to help you set aside money for taxes
  • Expense categorization

Lili Cons

  • No joint accounts
  • Mobile only, no online banking
  • No check writing
  • $200 monthly Direct Deposit minimum if you want to use mobile deposit
  • Limited external bank transfer limits

Best for: Freelancers with limited banking needs

Here’s our full review of Lili.

Learn more about Lili

7. Chase Business Complete Banking

The Chase Business Complete Banking account can be a great option if you’re looking for in-person banking capabilities. 

This account comes with a mobile app too, giving you plenty of flexibility for your business banking needs. 

Here are the basics:

  • $0 minimum balance requirements
  • $0 opening deposit requirements
  • $15 monthly fee (waived if you meet certain criteria)
  • 16,000+ fee free ATMs
  • Signing bonus may be available
  • First 100 transactions are free, $0.30 per transaction after that

Other Features

You can get the $15 per month fee waived if you meet one of the following qualifications:

  • $2,000 minimum daily balance
  • $2,000 in monthly Chase Ink Business Card purchases
  • $2,000 in monthly eligible deposits
  • You link to a Chase Private Client account

Bonus: Chase will waive the fee requirements on this account entirely if you’re a military member.

You get check writing privileges with this account as well as access to over 5,000 branch locations. Online bill pay is available with this account as well. 

Chase Business Complete Banking Pros

  • Convenient online banking app
  • In-person banking available
  • Check writing privileges
  • Large number of branches and ATMs

Chase Business Complete Banking Cons

  • $15 monthly fee if you can’t meet the waive requirements
  • Limited fee-free transactions

Best for: Those who want in-person banking capabilities

Learn more about Chase Business Complete Banking.

8. LendingClub Bank Tailored Checking for Business

LendingClub Bank’s Tailored Checking for Business will pay you an unlimited 1% cash back on all business debit card purchases if you meet the minimum balance amount of $5,000. 

And you’ll earn interest when you keep at least $5,000 in your account. Other features of the Tailored Checking account include:

  • $0 monthly minimum balance requirement
  • $100 opening deposit requirement
  • $10 monthly service fee (free when you have a minimum $5,000 balance)
  • Unlimited free-free transactions
  • Unlimited fee-free ATMs
  • Reimbursement for other vendors’ ATM charges

Other Features

The Tailored Checking account will also allow you to generate reports and create digital invoices. 

You can get business checks and you can also use Bill Pay to pay your bills. The LendingClub mobile app has a host of features including debit card lockdown (in the event your card is lost or stolen). 

Your account is FDIC insured and you can reach customer service specialists seven days a week. LendingClub Bank has business savings accounts available as well.

Note that you must have a website or social media account for your business in order to be approved for this account. 

LendingClub Tailored Checking Pros

  • Unlimited ATM fee reimbursement
  • Interest earned on balances over $5,000
  • Cash back rewards available

LendingClub Tailored Checking Cons

  • Monthly fees/loss of other benefits for accounts with balances below $5,000
  • Online presence required

Best for: Those who can keep a minimum balance of $5,000 in their account in order to take advantage of cash rewards and earned interest. 

Learn more about LendingClub Tailored Checking.

How to Choose the Best Bank Account for Your Business

When deciding on the best bank account for your business there are a few factors you can take into account. 

The bank account you choose should be able to accommodate your business financial needs in the following manners.  

Type of Business

The type of business you’re running is an important factor to take into consideration as you choose a bank account.

If you’re running a solopreneurship with only yourself to be accountable for, you may be able to choose the simplest of bank accounts with a minimum of features. 

For instance, you won’t need payroll services, but it would be nice to be able to have a sub-account for taxes. 

Choose a bank account that is geared toward your type of business. 

Costs and Features

Also, do the costs and features of the account meet your business ownership needs? It’s important to be sure you’re not paying for a long list of features you don’t need in a business bank account.

That being said, you don’t want to miss out on features that could make running your business easier and more efficient. 

As an example, if your business deals in a lot of cash you’ll want a bank account that makes it easy for you to deposit cash without high fees. 

Integrations are important too. So, if you’re running all of your records on QuickBooks, a business bank that integrates with QuickBooks will save you time when doing your books. 

Take all of the features and costs of each checking account option you have into account, and choose the account that best fits your needs. 

Growth Potential

Lastly, take the growth potential of your business into account as you choose a bank and/or business checking account. 

As an example, you may be a solo virtual assistant right now. However, do you plan on adding staff in the near future and having other virtual assistants work under you?

If that’s the case you may want to choose a business bank account that can accommodate payroll services so that you don’t need to switch banks in the near future. 

Summary

As a freelancer or side hustler, you’ve got plenty of choices for great bank accounts. And you no longer have to pay high fees to get a great business checking account.

Peruse your options and take advantage of the best bank account for your business. 

If you’re a freelancer or side hustler, what is your favorite business bank? 

The post 8 Best Bank Accounts for Freelancers and Side Hustlers appeared first on Best Wallet Hacks.

How to Get Free Money on the Cash App

Cash App mobile wallet is growing in popularity because there are several legit ways to get free money on the Cash App.

In addition to getting free money from daily activities, the app offers several exciting banking, investing, and debit card perks. Here’s a closer look at how Cash App can help you out.

Table of Contents
  1. How Cash App Works
  2. How to Get Free Money with Cash App
  3. Get $5 for Signing Up
    1. Cash Card Boosts
    2. Refer Friends
    3. Social Media Contests
    4. Buy Bitcoin
  4. Online Banking
    1. Free ATM Reimbursements
  5. Invest in Stocks
    1. Investment Options
  6. Cash App Scams
    1. Fake Cash App Customer Service
    2. Fake Giveaways
    3. Gift Card Scams
    4. Fake Referral Bonuses
    5. Lottery Game Scams
  7. Cash App FAQs
    1. What are the Cash App fees?
    2. How do I get a Cash App Account and a Free $5?
    3. Is Cash App Safe?
    4. Cash App vs CashApp: What’s the Difference?
  8. Cash App Alternatives
    1. Venmo
    2. PayPal
    3. Zelle
  9. Cash App Pros and Cons
    1. Pros
    2. Cons
  10. Summary

How Cash App Works

Cash App is a digital wallet similar to Venmo but with several additional features. It’s owned by Square, the payment platform that many small businesses use to complete debit card and credit card payments.

As a bit of random trivia, the app was known as Square Cash before rebranding as Cash App.

You can use Cash App for these functions:

  • Paying for purchases
  • Sending money to friends
  • Receiving money from friends
  • Enrolling in direct deposit
  • Digital banking
  • Investing

The app is free to use but you can expect a small fee for miscellaneous services like instant deposits or funding money transfers with a credit card.

You can also use a complimentary debit card to pay for in-person purchases or scan a QR code to facilitate contactless payments – if the vendor has that option available.

How to Get Free Money with Cash App

Here are several ways you can earn money on Cash App. Some activities may require a purchase to earn rewards.

Get $5 for Signing Up

Do you want to make some easy bonus cash? Use Wallet Hacks’s referral code ZBJVLJJ to earn $5 bonus cash by joining Cash App and completing a minimum $5 transaction in the first 14 days.

Paying for a purchase or sending money to another Cash App user lets you earn the bonus.

Here is the step-by-step process to enter the referral code:

  1. Install the Cash App to your Android or iOS device
  2. Tap the “Personal Settings” icon
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the menu and press “Enter Referral Code”
  4. Enter code ZBJVLJJ
  5. Make a minimum $5 money transfer to a friend

If you want to send money to a friend, you will need their $cashtag username. It’s also possible to look them up by email or phone number.

You can hit “Send Money” to transfer money to a friend. Another option is by having your friend request money and you fund the exchange with your Cash Card debit card.

Cash Card Boosts

One of the most consistent ways to earn cash rewards is by getting the free Cash App Visa debit card and activating spending boosts for one-time discounts at participating merchants.

This debit card is your lifeline to finding free money on the Cash App. Without the Cash Card, it’s challenging to get cash rewards with the app.

You can use your card for online purchases immediately but it can take up to two weeks to receive your physical card for in-store shopping.

After receiving your Cash Card, you can pay for online and in-store purchases such as:

  • Domino’s
  • DoorDash
  • Playstation Store
  • Starbucks
  • Taco Bell

The app offers Boost instant discounts at popular local and online retailers. Most discounts are between 5% and 15%.

These time-sensitive offers can be an excellent way to save money on purchases you plan on making soon.

The Cash Card debit purchases don’t earn automatic cash back like cash back credit cards, instead, it allows you to qualify for discounts. But debit rewards cards are a growing trend and you can consider using your Cash Card when you find a relevant Boost.

Refer Friends

Referring friends is another easy way to get free money as new users join Cash App. It’s possible to earn $15 per friend.

After creating your account, you can start referring friends. You will see an “Invite Friends” button on the personal account tab.

There are three ways to invite friends:

Have Cash App invite your friends: The app can scan your phone contact list to find friends who currently don’t use the app.

Enter a phone number: You can manually enter a phone number and Cash App sends a text message invite link

Enter an email address: You can also submit your friend’s email address and Cash App sends an invite email with step-by-step instructions.

Your friends will need to enter your referral code before they and you earn bonus cash.

Admittedly, entering the referral code isn’t as streamlined as other apps since your friends won’t receive a prompt to enter the code as they create an account.

They will first need to make an account and find the referral code button inside the app.

Need a referral code? If you’re a new Cash App user, install Cash and enter code ZBJVLJJ before making a qualifying minimum $5 transaction.

Social Media Contests

Many companies post special rewards and discounts on their social media channels. You can find recurring Cash App contests on Instagram and Twitter.

You can enter the giveaways to win free cash by entering your $cashtag and necessary hashtags on your social media posts.

A popular giveaway is on Fridays to potentially win cash with hashtag #CashAppFriday.

Winning isn’t guaranteed but it’s free to try and you can have some fun in the process.

Buy Bitcoin

You can also get exposure to Bitcoin in the app. The purchase minimum is $1 per purchase and small trading fees may apply. You will see any applicable fees during the trade preview.

In addition to buying Bitcoin, you can transfer up to $10,000 of an existing Bitcoin balance in a 7-day period.

Other Cash App users can send you Bitcoin positions when you provide your $cashtag.

The app only supports Bitcoin (BTC). You won’t be able to trade or transfer other Bitcoin variants like Bitcoin Cash (BCH) or Ether (ETH).

Bitcoin Boost

It’s possible to earn free Bitcoin by making qualifying purchases with the Cash App debit card. However, instead of earning cash rewards on the shopping offers, you get Bitcoin rewards.

This feature can be an easy way to increase your exposure to this alternative investment. You might consider it if you like the potential investment upside if the market value of Bitcoin increases.

However, cash rewards can be the better option if you prefer the stability of fiat currency or need cold, hard cash for life’s expenses.

Online Banking

The app also offers several online banking features.

You receive a routing number and an account number that you can give to employers to accept payments via direct deposit. You can also provide these banking details to government agencies to get benefits like the expanded Child Tax Credit, unemployment benefits, or stimulus payments.

Some of the online banking features include:

  • Free Cash Card debit card with a customizable design
  • Receive direct deposits up to two days early
  • Receive tax refunds for federal or state tax returns
  • Recurring deposits from linked debit cards and bank accounts
  • Mobile check deposit

It’s free to send and receive money with a personal Cash App account for most reasons. If you upgrade to a business account, you pay 2.75% to receive money but sending money is free when using your debit card.

The platform doesn’t offer online bill pay but you can enter your debit card or banking details on the merchant website to enroll in automatic payments.

Also, your Cash App banking account doesn’t earn interest. Instead, you should transfer your excess cash to a high-yield savings account.

Free ATM Reimbursements

While you won’t automatically get free money by using the online banking feature, there is a way to get free ATM withdrawals.

Receiving at least $300 in monthly direct deposits means Cash App reimburses your first three ATM withdrawal fees per 31-day period. The reimbursement limit is $7 per withdrawal (up to $21 per month).

Without the ATM fee reimbursement benefit, the app charges $2 per withdrawal plus the network provider fees.

Unfortunately, Cash App doesn’t provide a fee-free ATM network like most online banks.

Invest in Stocks

You can invest as little as $1 in individual stocks and ETFs commission-free.

It’s possible to make recurring income if you hold dividend stocks or can trade stocks for a profit if you “buy low and sell higher.”

The app currently isn’t offering investing rewards if you schedule recurring buys or initially fund your account. But that doesn’t mean limited-time promotions won’t appear every so often.

Your Cash App investing account is a taxable brokerage account and it can be good for investing small amounts of money.

Other investing apps can be better if you want the tax benefits of an individual retirement account (traditional IRA or Roth IRA).

Investment Options

The investment options include:

  • Individual stocks: There are many stocks from various sectors, including banks and tech trading in the S&P 500 and smaller indexes.
  • ETFs: There are many index and sector ETFs available. These funds have low fund expenses and can help you quickly diversify.

Whether you invest in stocks, ETFs, or dabble in both, there is a “Dividend Yielding” filter. This feature lists companies and funds that have paid a dividend in the last 180 days.

A stock screener can also help you find quality stocks that fit your investment strategy.

Cash App Scams

Most people love the concept of getting free money but think it’s too good to be true. In some cases, it is.

Here are some common Cash App scams to watch out for so you don’t give a fraudster some of your hard-earned dollars.

Fake Cash App Customer Service

Crooks will impersonate Cash App customer service members. For example, they might send you direct messages via social media, text, or email. When in doubt, look for correspondence in the app to verify offers are legit.

The Cash App social media channels and in-app help section detail common scams too.

Fake Giveaways

Impersonators may launch fake giveaways or respond to your social media entries saying you’ve won a reward. Take the time to make sure the posts come from the verified Cash App accounts only.

Also, the official Cash App social media sweepstakes won’t require making a purchase.

Gift Card Scams

Some scams encourage the victim to make a purchase with the promise of getting a larger reward. A common tactic is having the victim buy a digital gift card and send the card number to the scammer for “verification.”

Instead, the fraudster takes the money and runs.

Some scams have you send money directly to another Cash App account but you never get money back.

Fake Referral Bonuses

Fraudsters may also have you sign up for different apps and earn a referral bonus. Simple scams have you do all the work but the referral bonus deposits into another $cashtag.

Lottery Game Scams

Some websites may have you play an instant win lottery game and win as much as $500. First, you enter your $cashtag and then spin the wheel until you “win.”

Once you get a winning spin, you have to complete several offers from an offer wall. For example, you may have to download a free app and use it for at least 30 seconds.

While you can make money testing apps with get-paid-to sites, you only earn a few dollars for similar effort – not hundreds of dollars.

Cash App FAQs

The Cash App has many features and as more people adopt the app as a payment method, these questions may arise.

What are the Cash App fees?

The Cash App is less likely to charge fees than a traditional checking account and debit card but you may encounter several expenses.

Here is the current list of common platform fees:

  • Monthly service fee: $0
  • Debit card order fee: $0
  • ATM withdrawals: $2 plus network fees
  • Cash-to-Cash transfers: $0
  • Standard cash withdrawals to a linked bank account: $0
  • Instant deposits to a linked debit card: 1.5% of transaction amount ($0.25 minimum)
  • Send money from a credit card: 3%
  • Stock and ETF transactions: $0 to buy and $0 to sell
  • Bitcoin transactions: Variable transaction fees to buy or sell

Business accounts will pay a 2.75% transaction fee to receive payments but no fees to send money.

How do I get a Cash App Account and a Free $5?

First, you download the Cash mobile app to your Android or iOS device. Next, you enter your name and link a phone number or email.

After the initial account setup, you can connect Cash App to an existing bank account or debit. There is also the option to order a free debit card necessary to earn free money, including the new customer referral bonus.

You can enter referral code ZBJVLJJ in the account settings menu to earn $5 bonus cash with a minimum $5 transaction.

Is Cash App Safe?

The Cash App is safe to use for making purchases and transferring funds to people you know and trust. This digital wallet app is several years old and a subsidiary of the Square payment software many small businesses use.

As always, you should be cautious and screen for Cash App scams. Fraudsters may impersonate Cash App customer service agents or their social media channels. Unfortunately, this trend is common with other apps too.

Cash App vs CashApp: What’s the Difference?

When you’re looking to download the Cash App, there’s a chance you might download the wrong app by accident in App Store or Google Play Store.

You see, there’s Cash App (the one you want – with a space between the words) and CashApp (all one word).

You want to install Cash App with Square Inc. as the developer.

The other CashApp also lets you earn free money completing online tasks – like Swagbucks. However, it has no relation to Square Inc. Cash App we’re covering in this article.

This is the icon to look for in the Google Play Store:

Below is the icon to look for in the App Store:

Choose one of these links to download Cash App to your phone:

Cash App Alternatives

The Cash App is a legit way to get free money, pay for purchases, and transfer money between friends. You might find yourself using these money-sending apps more frequently.

Venmo

Venmo is a subsidiary of PayPal and has a debit card-focused platform similar to Cash App. This app makes it easier to send money with a credit card, but the sender pays a 3% transaction fee.

You won’t pay any transaction fees when you send money with a debit card.

Some of the other reasons to consider Venmo include:

  • More fee-free ATMs: No withdrawal fees for MoneyPass network ATMs
  • Several cryptocurrency investment options: Bitcoin, Ethereum, LiteCoin, and Bitcoin Cash
  • Rewards credit card: 3% cash back on purchases and no annual fee

You won’t be able to trade stocks on Venmo. Also, the cryptocurrency transaction fees can be potentially higher than with Cash App.

Is Cash App or Venmo Better?

Cash App and Venmo have many similar banking features with minimal fees.

The better payment app might be the one the majority of your friends use. For example, you can’t transfer funds between Venmo and Cash App.

Both apps let you perform these functions:

  • Send money to friends for free
  • Receive money from friends for free
  • Split purchases between friends
  • Receive direct deposits with a routing number and account number
  • Free debit card
  • Earn cash rewards at select merchants (Cash Boosts and Venmo Offers)
  • Ability to make fee-free ATM withdrawals
  • Buy or sell cryptocurrency

Cash App can make it easier to avoid fees when sending money as you will need to link a debit card or bank account. It’s more challenging to link a credit card than with Venmo.

Cash App can be better than Venmo for these reasons:

  • New members can receive a referral code to get bonus cash
  • Can trade stocks and ETFs
  • Fund transfers may be quicker

Venmo can be better than Cash App for these reasons:

  • No withdrawal fees at domestic MoneyPass ATMs
  • More cryptocurrency trading options
  • More funding options for money transfers (extra fees may apply)
  • A Venmo Credit Card is available and can earn cash back

You may prefer Venmo if you can easily access the approximate 24,000 surcharge-free MoneyPass ATMs. Unfortunately, Cash App doesn’t offer a fee-free network and charges a $2 withdrawal fee on top of any network fees. Receiving at least $300 in direct deposits waives the first three charges (up to $7 per month) but not having instant access to free ATMs can be frustrating.

PayPal

While more people and businesses are adopting Cash App and Venmo, legacy apps like PayPal continue to have a giant portion of the market share. 

This app makes it easy to pay for purchases and send money to friends with a credit card or debit card. 

Its cryptocurrency investment options and trading fees are similar to Venmo. Plus, they offer “Buy Now, Pay Later” extended payment options qualifying purchases.

Here’s how to send money via PayPal.

Zelle

Zelle can be an excellent option if you and your friends only need to transfer money with each other. Many banks integrate with Zelle and let you complete transfers instantly.

Friends that don’t have the Zelle feature in the bank app can also receive money by downloading the Zelle mobile app.

You won’t get a separate debit card or an investment account like Cash App offers. However, you also have one less banking account you need to monitor for potential fraud.

Cash App Pros and Cons

We have covered a lot of ground. Here is a brief recap of the positives and negatives of the platform.

Pros

  • Can earn cash back on participating debit card purchases
  • No fees to send or receive money between friends and family
  • Offers banking and investing services
  • No monthly service fees

Cons

  • Must have qualifying direct deposits to waive ATM fees
  • Banking account lacks features of most free checking accounts
  • Won’t earn interest on savings or every debit card purchase
  • Cannot send money to non-Cash App payment apps

Summary

There are a few legit ways to get free money on the Cash App. In fact, you can earn $5 by signing up with our new user referral code, ZBJVLJJ, and sending at least $5 to a friend. You can also earn debit card shopping boosts and enter social media giveaways. Linking your account to other rewards apps can also let you easily receive payment when it’s time to cash out.

The post How to Get Free Money on the Cash App appeared first on Best Wallet Hacks.

How to buy bitcoin: everything you wanted to know | eToro

 

Welcome to the wonderful world of Bitcoin. By now, you have probably heard about the world’s largest cryptocurrency on the news or through a friend. Supporters talk about it becoming the global currency of the future. So, you might be saying to yourself: I want to be a part of this financial revolution. How do you buy Bitcoin?

Well, there’s a long answer and a short answer. Let’s start with the short answer…

Table of Contents

Three quick steps to buying Bitcoin

Why buy Bitcoin on eToro?

Bitcoin for beginners

Ask yourself the right questions

Break through the myths

Education

How to buy Bitcoin

How to keep your crypto secure

Demystifying Bitcoin

Three quick steps to buying Bitcoin

STEP 1: Find a crypto exchange or trading platform that offers Bitcoin

There are a number of exchanges that will let you trade your funds for Bitcoin. One of them is the eToro trading platform.

STEP 2: Sign up

If you’d like to buy Bitcoin through eToro, all you need to do is sign up, verify your account and make a deposit. From there, you’ll be able to buy and sell Bitcoin easily.

Buy bitcoin step 2

STEP 3: Buy Bitcoin

Bitcoin can be purchased fractionally, so you don’t need to buy a full Bitcoin to own some. For example, if Bitcoin’s price is $10,000, you can purchase 0.1 Bitcoin for $1,000.

buy bitcoin step 3

Why buy Bitcoin on eToro?

  • We’re cheaper than other exchanges.

We take zero commissions and charge zero hidden fees.

  • You can try before you buy.

We provide a virtual portfolio function, where you can play around in the market with a $100k demo account. This simulates trades and uses real market data.

  • You can learn from other traders.

Our social feed is a great way to ask questions and learn about how other traders are approaching the crypto market as a whole.

  • It’s a great platform for beginners.

Our simple interface makes buying and selling Bitcoin easy and quick.

Ok, now for the long answer. Here we’ll discuss topics like educating yourself before buying, dispelling myths about cryptocurrency, and understanding just how ownership works with Bitcoin. Let’s dive into everything you need to know to purchase Bitcoin.

Bitcoin for beginners

It can be intimidating to get into cryptocurrency, especially for the first time. But buying Bitcoin doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, you can learn how to purchase Bitcoin with confidence and ease as long as you follow these steps:

  • Learn about Bitcoin – You wouldn’t purchase a stock before understanding how the stock market works, would you?
  • Buy Bitcoin – Make your initial Bitcoin purchase somewhere you trust.
  • Store Bitcoin – Make sure your Bitcoin is secure and accessible for future use.

Excited about learning how to buy BTC for the first time? It’s certainly an exciting time to get started! Read on to best learn about Bitcoin and all it has to offer.

Bitcoin for beginners

Ask yourself the right questions

Think about all of the things you don’t yet understand about Bitcoin, or how to trade cryptocurrency in general. Maybe you already have some knowledge on the subject that you learned from a friend, or maybe you are coming into Bitcoin with a clean slate and fresh eyes. Whatever the case may be, before you can ask “How do you buy Bitcoin?” you can begin by asking what areas you would like to learn more about before diving headfirst into the Bitcoin waters.

ask yourself the right questions

You can compile a list of your own questions, or, use the questions below as a jumping-off point:

  • What is cryptocurrency?
  • What is Bitcoin?
  • How do I learn more about Bitcoin?
  • How do I buy Bitcoins?
  • How can I keep my Bitcoin secure?

You should wait to buy Bitcoin before you can answer these questions with some level of mastery. You don’t have to be a Bitcoin expert, but you do need to better understand how Bitcoin works before you move forward with preparing to purchase the cryptocurrency.

Break through the myths

Perhaps, you’ve heard someone unfamiliar with Bitcoin ask these kinds of questions: Isn’t Bitcoin just a tool for criminals? Why should I learn how to buy Bitcoin if it’s just a scam? Don’t let these myths perpetuated by fake news and pop culture get in your way. You have to bust through the most prominent Bitcoin myths in order to see the truth of the world’s largest and most influential cryptocurrency.

Break through the myths

Among the biggest Bitcoin myths are:

    • Bitcoin is only used for illegal activities
    • Bitcoin is inefficient and unsustainable
    • The price of Bitcoin fluctuates is too volatile to ever be used
    • Governments will eventually shut down Bitcoin

All of these myths are so pervasive in popular culture that you may have heard someone say one of these exact sentences at your last cocktail party or heard it on television just the other day. In order to better understand why these ideas are nothing more than folklore, you have to understand Bitcoin itself.

Education

How can you bust through Bitcoin myths with ease? Education, of course. Learning more about Bitcoin, its history, and its future will give you more confidence when it comes time for your first Bitcoin purchase. There are valuable resources out there that will provide a foundation of knowledge for you to build upon before purchasing Bitcoin.

Books

There’s nothing like a good Bitcoin book to snuggle up with before bed. There are a variety of books covering all aspects of Bitcoin, from understanding the blockchain to valuing cryptocurrencies as a new asset class. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Bitcoin Money will explain Bitcoin to you like you’re a child… because it’s literally a children’s book. And even though you may feel silly reading a book made for kids, this is one of the best resources for those who have never heard of Bitcoin and don’t understand its purpose. 
  • Mastering Bitcoin introduces more of the technical aspects of Bitcoin, but is a great way to frame any Bitcoin purchase so you understand what is actually happening behind the scenes.
  • Digital Gold highlights the stories of those involved with Bitcoin through the eyes of New York Times reporter Nathanial Popper. The stories will provide insight on how Bitcoin got to where it is today.
  • The Bitcoin Standard is an unapologetic look at why Bitcoin is, and always will be, the most important cryptocurrency on the market.

books online

Meetups/Conferences

These are where Bitcoin advocates share their knowledge on how to purchase Bitcoin and other bits of advice with the world, and everyone is welcome. These social gatherings are great ways to learn all about Bitcoin, including how the Bitcoin blockchain works, how to buy a Bitcoin, and everything in between. You can find a list of upcoming Bitcoin conferences and events at the Bitcoin core website. Coindesk also has a list of Bitcoin events around the world, most of which are available to the general public.

Experts

There is no better way to learn than from the best. Experts in the field of Bitcoin range from economists to software developers, so their knowledge can be a bit technical. Still, if you ever get a chance, go see one of these speakers:

  • Andreas Antonopoulos – The entrepreneur and author has been involved with Bitcoin since 2012, before it became the public darling it is today. Antonopoulos hosts a podcast, Let’s Talk Bitcoin, with several other industry experts, and he travels around the globe speaking on the topic to anyone and everyone he can find.
  • Jimmy Song – Song looks to impart his wisdom onto the public via Twitter, his book, and online courses where you can learn more about the technical side of Bitcoin.
  • Jameson Lopp – You might come out of a Jameson Lopp presentation with more than your fair share of technical knowledge, but the developer will wow you with insight you won’t get anywhere else.
  • Nick Szabo – While he denies it to this day, some claim Szabo himself is the original creator of Bitcoin. Regardless of this legend, the computer scientist and cryptographer was creating cryptocurrencies before Bitcoin even existed, and he’s even credited with creating smart contracts, the logic used to enforce a contract digitally.
  • Jack Dorsey – Does the name ring a bell? Dorsey is the co-founder and CEO of Twitter along with the payments company Square. But these days, you can find Dorsey more interested in advocating on behalf of Bitcoin and the decentralized economy. While he still believes Bitcoin is a ways off from mass adoption, you can find many videos online of Dorsey speaking on the merits of the cryptocurrency.

Expert speakers

Can’t make it to see a Bitcoin expert in the flesh? Each of these experts has a large Twitter following where they disseminate their opinions on the most recent cryptocurrency news. You can also search their names on YouTube to find a variety of talks and interviews to learn more.

Online resources

The internet is filled with Bitcoin resources that explain everything from how to buy Bitcoin online to more advanced topics like running a full Bitcoin node. However, it’s important to know where to look for Bitcoin information, as there are just as many resources that disseminate false or misleading information.

The following resources will give you the baseline knowledge you need to understand Bitcoin:

  • Bitcoin whitepaper – Why get your information anywhere else but the source? The Bitcoin whitepaper, written by the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto, is the end-all-be-all document when it comes to the inner-workings of Bitcoin.
  • Bitcoin wiki – This resource has endless information about Bitcoin from every angle. If you are overwhelmed by the amount of information, head straight to the FAQ section for answers to commonly asked questions.
  • Bitcoin vocabulary – Bone up on your terminology with these vocabulary terms most commonly used in the Bitcoin lexicon. These will make great conversation starters at your next party!

Online resources

eToro social feed

Another way you can educate yourself on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is by utilizing the social feed on eToro. Users can browse the social feed to ask questions, give answers, and understand the general sentiment of popular cryptocurrencies.

How to buy Bitcoin

Now that you’ve got a slew of resources to help you increase your Bitcoin knowledge, it’s time to purchase Bitcoin for yourself.

Let’s take a step back and think: if you were to purchase a stock, where would you go? An online trading platform, of course! So, if you want to buy Bitcoin, you can also use such a platform. Cryptocurrency exchanges like eToro provide the best way to buy Bitcoin with the least amount of hassle. You can buy Bitcoin with a bank account, right on the platform. There are other ways to buy Bitcoin online, and even in-person, that provide their own benefits and drawbacks.

If you really want to get into the crypto game, you need to find a good platform.

Exchanges

When it comes to buying Bitcoin, exchanges or trading platforms are by far the easiest solution around. Think of them as Bitcoin brokers. These sites match buyers and sellers in an efficient manner and allow you to get the best price for your Bitcoin purchase. Trading platforms like eToro make it easy to buy Bitcoin in an instant and place an order much like you would on an online brokerage. eToro allows you to buy Bitcoin online by depositing funds into your account and using the fiat to purchase Bitcoin.

Afraid you don’t know enough to buy Bitcoin online yourself? Use eToro’s CopyTrader™ feature, and let a top-trader on eToro trade on your behalf. With one click you can copy the best performing traders on the platform without paying any management or hidden fees.

Peer-to-Peer

Back when Bitcoin was an unknown entity, the original advocates of the cryptocurrency would transact in a truly peer-to-peer nature, whether it be through in-person meetups or online message boards and forums. Today, you can buy Bitcoin from online peer-to-peer marketplaces. Sites like LocalBitcoins match cryptocurrency holders (i.e. cryptocurrency owners) with those looking to buy Bitcoin and facilitate a transaction. The buyer and seller agree to a price and transact using the site’s escrow service.

While the p2p nature of LocalBitcoins makes it ideal for purists who avoid centralized entities at all costs, don’t expect to get the best price for your Bitcoin purchase, as such marketplaces are much less efficient than a traditional exchange. Additionally, while using an escrow service does offer some form of protection, it is not the most secure way to purchase Bitcoin, and scammers have been known to flock to unsuspecting users of p2p sites.

Peer to peer

How to keep your crypto secure

Now that you have determined how to buy a Bitcoin online, it’s best to find a secure method of storing your new cryptocurrency. While this might sound simple, it’s not such an easy feat. Cryptocurrency storage and security is of the utmost importance, as those without proper storage often find themselves having their Bitcoin stolen or lost forever.

In finance, the term for storage of assets is known as “custody.” After you make a Bitcoin purchase, you then must decide on a custody solution for your new cryptocurrency. For cryptocurrencies, much like other financial assets, you can choose to have total control over your own cryptocurrencies, or, hand over the reins to a trusted financial institution to provide custody for you.

eToro Wallet

Because Bitcoin is a digital currency, you can’t really hold physical Bitcoin in your hands. The only way to truly “own” your Bitcoin is by allowing an institution to secure custody of your Bitcoin or keeping it in a digital wallet.

Imagine you have just made your first Bitcoin purchase through eToro and want to safely store your new asset. The eToro wallet (a crypto wallet) is a great way to secure your Bitcoin while making it easy to access at any time in the future. The eToro wallet allows you to send and receive cryptocurrency from other wallets, while maintaining security in a multi-signature solution.

Self-Custody

If you want to manage the security of Bitcoin yourself, you could opt for self-custody. The safest form of self-custody is via a hardware wallet. That’s because your cryptocurrency on a hardware wallet is in “cold storage,” meaning it’s offline and not prone to malicious attacks. Yet, while safety is paramount for hardware wallet storage, your Bitcoin won’t be very accessible. In order to use your cryptocurrency, you will have to connect your hardware wallet to the internet and transfer funds to another wallet address. One last thing: if you use a hardware wallet, don’t forget to copy your recovery seed. Without the recovery seed you could lose access to your entire wallet if it is lost or stolen.

Demystifying Bitcoin

Hopefully, you now can see that buying Bitcoin doesn’t have to be a confusing process. You can buy Bitcoin with confidence, knowing that your purchase is safe and secure. Bitcoin has the potential to be the next iteration of digital currency. Ask the right questions and do your due diligence to become a more informed Bitcoin buyer.

Demystifying bitcoin

Not everyone is well informed and can understand how to buy Bitcoin with their own money, so share this article with anyone who is looking to know how to get started.

Get started on eToro to learn more about bitcoin.


This information is for educational purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice, personal recommendation, or an offer of, or solicitation to, buy or sell any financial instruments. This material has been prepared without regard to any particular investment objectives or financial situation and has not been prepared in accordance with the legal and regulatory requirements to promote independent research. Any references to past performance of a financial instrument, index or a packaged investment product are not, and should not be taken as a reliable indicator of future results. eToro makes no representation and assumes no liability as to the accuracy or completeness of the content of this guide. Make sure you understand the risks involved in trading before committing any capital. Never risk more than you are prepared to lose.

 

 

 

return of the bulls

Learn to Trade Before Committing YOUR Money

Buy-and-hold investing is recommended for most investors, especially beginners. But what if you’ve already built a firm foundation of passive index fund investments and you want to try your hand at active trading? Or what if you are already an active trader who is looking to up your game?

One thing is for certain, you can lose a lot of money actively trading if you don’t know what you’re doing. But one sure-fire way to remove the risk from the learning curve that comes with trading is to work with a paper trading account.

Table of Contents
  1. What is Paper Trading?
  2. How Long Should I Paper Trade?
  3. The Pros and Cons of Paper Trading
    1. Pros:
    2. Cons:
  4. Best Paper Trading Apps
    1. TD Ameritrade
    2. E*TRADE
    3. TradeStation
    4. Webull
    5. Fidelity 
    6. Interactive Brokers
    7. MarketWatch
    8. Investopedia 
  5. Bottom Line

What is Paper Trading?

Paper trading is an account that provides for simulated trades using virtual money. A broker will give you access to their trading platform where you can trade using a set amount of virtual currency. That can be anywhere from $100,000 up to $1 million. That will give you plenty of room to make multiple trades until you feel comfortable enough to go live with real money.

Paper trading accounts are typically free to open, though you may be required to open a brokerage account to participate. And if the broker has a minimum initial investment requirement, you may need to front that money before you begin paper trading. Of course, you won’t commit any of your actual money to your paper trading activities.

Much like test driving a new car you are interested in buying, paper trading gives you an opportunity to try your hand at investing before committing to the real thing.

How Long Should I Paper Trade?

The answer to this question will be different for everyone since everyone learns at a different pace. But as a general rule, you should continue to paper trade until you feel comfortable enough with investing to begin trading with real money – or until your virtual currency runs out. But even if it does, you can continue paper trading by opening an account with a different broker that offers such accounts.

One issue you should resolve in your own mind before you begin paper trading is the type of securities you plan to trade. The common choices are stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and options, but some platforms offer other choices as well.

It’s an important decision because you will need to become comfortable trading one class of securities before moving on to another. For example, you may want to begin by trading ETFs before moving on to individual stocks. And you may want to master trading individual stocks before moving on to options.

You may also want to find resources that will help you choose investments. Here are our best stock-picking newsletters and here’s our list of free stock analysis software to get you started.

The Pros and Cons of Paper Trading

The advantages of paper trading should be obvious (though we are going to spell them out anyway), but you should be aware of the disadvantages as well. There are a few.

Pros:

  • Learn to trade without risking any of your own money.
  • Paper trading provides an opportunity to learn not only trading, but also to familiarize yourself with the trading platform where you will eventually be trading live.
  • Paper trading offers you an opportunity to learn trading while you are building up your account balance for live trading.
  • Generous virtual currency allowances – of up to $1 million – will give you plenty of room to experiment with different strategies and even security types.
  • Paper trading may stimulate you to seek outside resources that can also benefit your trading activities.
  • On some platforms, you can connect with other virtual traders, enabling you to swap investment strategies, information, and concerns.
  • If you discover trading isn’t the right activity for you, you can close your paper trading account without any cost or loss of investment funds.

Cons:

  • Any gains you earn during your paper trading activity won’t be real. That may hurt a bit, especially if you’re successful early on.
  • While paper trading will help you learn the mechanics of trading, it’s not quite the same thing as trading with real money. Real money means the stakes are higher, because potential losses are real. That can affect your willingness to take risks, an important emotional component of trading that you may not develop through paper trading activities.
  • Paper trading success may cause you to be bolder with live trading than you need to be.

Now that you’re familiar with the benefits and disadvantages of paper trading, let’s move on to the places where you can play the game.

Best Paper Trading Apps

If the idea of paper trading before committing real money appeals to you, there are plenty of choices. Some are offered by some of the biggest names in the investment brokerage industry. Others are offered by providers that aren’t even brokers. You can choose which will work best for you.

TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim Trading comes in three versions, Web, Desktop, and Mobile. Each allows you to participate in their paperMoney virtual trading platform. When you sign up for the paperMoney practice account, you’ll be able to trade risk-free with $100,000 in virtual money. It will enable you to trade any investment product available on the live trading application. The paperMoney feature is considered especially valuable in prepping for options trading.

That will provide you with plenty of funds to test-run various investment strategies and help you to hone your investing skills.

TD Ameritrade requires no minimum initial investment or minimum balance and offers commission-free trading of stocks, options, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). You can trade 24 hours a day, five days per week, and the platform features excellent customer service.

E*TRADE

E*TRADE offers their Paper Trading service where you can upgrade your trading skills and test trading strategies. It can help whether you are a first-time trader needing to learn the ropes, or an experienced trader looking to improve your results. The feature can be used to practice trading stocks, options, and other equities.

E*TRADE has become one of the more popular trading platforms in recent years. This is because they offer no minimum account requirements, either to open an account or to maintain one, and no trading commissions for stocks, options, and ETFs. And they also offer more than 4,000 no-transaction-fee mutual funds, as well as the ability to trade just about any type of security.

Their Power E*TRADE trading platform is widely regarded as one of the best in the industry. E*TRADE also offers 24/7 customer support by phone, email, and live chat.

TradeStation

TradeStation offers their Simulated Trading tool to help you gain trading experience without risking any of your own money. And along with the virtual trading account, you also have access to a large inventory of historical databases that can help you to back test various trading strategies. The tool can accommodate trading of stocks, options, and futures.

Unlike some of the other brokers on this list, TradeStation does require a minimum initial investment, though it’s only $500. But it offers one of the widest ranges of investment choices in the industry, extending to penny stocks and even cryptocurrencies. And once you move on to live trading, they offer one of the best suites of trading tools and resources in the industry.

As is the case with other brokers, stocks, options, and ETFs can be trading commission free. But in a feature offered by only a select few brokers, TradeStation offers participation in their investment community. That will give you an opportunity to find out what other investors are doing, and even to swap investment strategies.

Webull

Webull’s Paper Trading is a surprisingly good virtual trading tool, given that Webull is only a limited trading platform. But that’s because you can do just about anything with Paper Trading that you can do with the regular trading platform. And it has what is probably the highest virtual portfolio balance, at $1 million.

Webull may be a limited trading platform, but what it does, it does extremely well. They offer only U.S. stocks, options, and ETFs, but you can also trade cryptocurrencies. It’s especially strong for options, because not only are there no commissions on options (or stocks and ETFs for that matter), but Webull also charges no per-contract fee, which is a common fee that’s charged by most brokers.

Webull requires no minimum initial investment and has no ongoing minimum account balance requirement.

Fidelity

Fidelity does offer a virtual trading account with their Active Trader Pro platform. But it’s not as robust as those offered by some of the other platforms on this list. That’s surprising, given that Fidelity is one of the largest and best investment brokerage firms in the world.

But the limited, virtual paper trading account aside, Fidelity does offer one of the best service packages for investors. No minimum initial investment is required, nor is there a minimum account balance requirement. You can open just about any type of account, and trade in nearly any security available in the industry.

Not only do they offer commission-free trades on stocks, options, and ETFs, but they also offer more than 3,000 no-transaction-fee mutual funds. And their customer service is among the best in the industry, with 24/7 phone support, and about 140 brick-and-mortar locations in major metropolitan areas across the country.

Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers offers a paper trading account, but a regular trading account must be approved and funded before you will be eligible. Your account will start with $1 million in virtual currency, which will enable you to trade equities. But you’ll also be able to take advantage of all the trading facilities offered by Interactive Brokers, making you well prepared for trading with real money.

Interactive Brokers has no minimum initial investment requirement for most accounts, though there is a $2,000 minimum for margin accounts. Virtually any type of account can be opened, and all major asset classes traded. There are no commissions for trading of stocks, options, or ETFs, and they also offer more than 8,000 no-transaction-fee mutual funds. Customer service is available 24 hours a day, six days per week.

But one of the biggest advantages of Interactive Brokers is that they are available to investors and traders both in the U.S. and internationally. That includes countries in Europe and Asia.

MarketWatch

MarketWatch offers their Virtual Stock Exchange, with the motto “Trade Stocks. Make Money. Earn Bragging Rights.” No, you won’t earn real money, because it’s just a game. But it’s a fully responsive system, offering advanced trading, and even the ability to create custom watch lists.

MarketWatch isn’t an investment broker, so you won’t need to fund an active investment account. Instead, it’s one of the most prominent financial websites on the Internet, providing real-time investment feeds and news.

You will need to register and open an account to participate, which takes only a few minutes. They provide an instructor guide and sample course materials to help you get started. You’ll be able to trade stocks in real time, discuss strategies with other participants in the game, and even compete against your friends to see who is the most successful investor on the program leaderboards.

Investopedia

Much like MarketWatch, Investopedia is not an investment broker. Instead, it functions as an encyclopedia for financial and investment information. But they do make paper trading available through their Stock Simulator. It comes complete with $100,000 in virtual cash and enables you to connect with more than 700,000 participants worldwide. You can not only share investment strategies with other participants but also compete to see who has the best investment results.

You’ll need to register for the service, but there’s no cost to participate, and no brokerage account that needs to be opened. One factor to be aware of, however, is that there’s a 15-minute lag in trade execution, which means you’ll be trading in something less than real-time. And since they don’t offer a brokerage option, it may not be the best choice if part of the reason for using a virtual trading platform is to familiarize yourself with a live platform.

Bottom Line

Active trading of investment securities has become more popular in recent years, from a combination of online trading accounts, commission-free trades, and a stock market that has gone nearly straight up for more than a decade. But active trading isn’t a risk-free proposition, and not everyone has the emotional makeup – or the bankroll – to make a success of it.

Before you begin actively trading investments, start by using a paper trading account. It’ll give you an opportunity to test your current knowledge, gain experience, and learn how specific trading platforms work. All of that will make you better prepared to begin trading with real money, and minimize the risk when you do.

The post Paper Trading – Learn to Trade Before Committing YOUR Money appeared first on Best Wallet Hacks.

crypto 2

How to Read Stock Charts

There are many data points to analyze before trading stocks and ETFs. In addition to poring over earnings reports, analyst reports, and news headlines, knowing how to read stock charts can be a big help.

Reading charts can help short-term traders and long-term investors spot trends and find stocks to buy, sell or avoid.

You don’t have to know what a “head and shoulders pattern” or a “cup and handle pattern” is to start using charts – but you can learn how to spot these trends as you gain experience. There are several indicators you can use to screen stocks and rebalance your portfolio.

Here are some of the primary indicators that can improve the research process for new and experienced investors.

Table of Contents
  1. Stock Price Trendline
    1. Pay Attention to the Time Interval
  2. Line Chart Vs Candlestick Price Charts
    1. Line Chart
    2. Candlestick Chart
  3. Trading Volume
    1. Upper Indicator vs. Lower Indicator
  4. Moving Average
    1. 50 and 200-Day Moving Average
  5. RSI
  6. MACD
  7. Dividend and Stock Splits
  8. Fundamental Stock Metrics
  9. Do I Need Special Stock Charting Software?
  10. Best Stock Analysis Tools
    1. E*TRADE
    2. Ally Invest
    3. Webull
    4. Stock Rover
    5. TD Ameritrade thinkorswim
    6. Fidelity
  11. Summary

Stock Price Trendline

The stock price trendline indicator looks at the stock price history. You can determine if the share price is in an uptrend, downtrend, or relatively flat for a specific timeframe.

You shouldn’t rely only on the stock’s current price to make an investment decision. However, the price history can provide clues about where to spend your research time.

For example, a larger-than-usual price drop can be a red flag that the stock has more downside risk ahead. You will need to see if the price drop is from a temporary setback from a one-off event and it makes sense to “buy the dip.” Or, there’s a structural weakness that can take years to correct, and buying now means you’re “catching a falling knife” as the price will continue to drop or likely won’t recover soon.

Any online broker shows the current and historical share price. You can also access free price charts on the Google and Yahoo search engines.

Pay Attention to the Time Interval

It’s also essential to choose an appropriate time interval. The interval can be as short as the current trading day, up to ten years ago, or somewhere in-between.

If you choose a daily, weekly, or monthly timeframe, you can break down the chart into a shorter sub-interval for the opening and closing prices.

Some of your interval options can include:

  • Daily: 5 minutes, 10 minutes, or hourly sub-intervals
  • Weekly: Daily or hourly sub-intervals
  • Monthly: Daily or weekly sub-intervals

If you use a candlestick-type chart, you will see the opening and closing price for the sub-interval. For example, if you choose a one-month chart with a daily sub-interval, the chart can display the opening and closing price for each of the past 30 days.

You will need to pick the best interval for your investment strategy.

Line Chart Vs Candlestick Price Charts

You will quickly notice that the best stock screeners give you many interactive tools. However, the options can be overwhelming until you try a few and find out what works for you.

One option you will need to choose is having a line chart or a candlestick display.

Here is an example of what a line chart and a candlestick chart can look like.

Line Chart

The line chart provides a cleaner glimpse at price history. However, you won’t see the intraday price action that can be vital to effective technical analysis.

Candlestick Chart

The candlestick chart provides an in-depth look at the share price movements. For instance, you can spot a full candle close above or below the previous trading session. Depending on your strategy, this data shows when you might enter or exit a trade.

The above screenshot is for a “filled candlestick” chart. There are a couple of varieties of this chart that indicate the opening and closing price differently.

Here are some of the details a candlestick shows:

  • Solid green bar: Stock price closes higher than the opening price. The bottom of the bar is the opening price and the top bar is the closing price.
  • Solid red bar: Stock price closes lower than the opening price. The bottom bar is the closing price and the top bar is the opening price.
  • Bar tails: Each bar has a skinny “tail” above and below the bar. This tail indicates the highest and lowest share price for the time interval.

Trading Volume

The trading volume metric lets you see how many shares are swapping hands on a time interval can help you spot bullish or bearish sentiment.

High trading volumes can indicate that “smart money” like hedge funds and institutions buy or sell shares. Conversely, low volume can suggest that individual investors are pushing the share price.

Upper Indicator vs. Lower Indicator

Charting tools will display a measure as either being an upper indicator or a lower indicator. Upper indicators show with the price history. Lower indicators show below the price history chart to prevent confusion.

In most cases, volume is a “lower indicator” and the metric displays underneath the price history chart.

However, the Volume by Price is an upper indicator and shows the trading activity by share price instead of by trading day. Below is an example of the trading volume upper indicator.

Moving Average

The daily moving average is an upper indicator and indicates if the share price is trading above or below its average price for a specific time period.

There are two different versions of the moving average:

  • Simple moving average (SMA): The average of the closing prices for a specific time interval (i.e., 9 days, 50 days, 200 days)
  • Exponential moving average (EMA): Average of the closing price but emphasizes recent prices. The SMA uses a non-weighted average.

The SMA indicator tends to be more widely used but either metric can help you spot bullish or bearish patterns. In many cases, both indicators produce similar reports.

For shorter time intervals, the EMA can be more effective as it has less lag.

50 and 200-Day Moving Average

Many technical traders use the 50-day and 200-day moving average as a baseline. For instance, swing traders might only buy a stock trading above the 200-day average. Price action is usually bearish as long the share price remains below the 200-day.

These two intervals can indicate a “golden cross” or a “death cross” when the lines intersect.

Here is a quick definition of a golden cross and death cross:

  • Golden cross: The 50-day moving average goes above the 200-day average. This action indicates the short-term share price is likely to increase. As a result, traders are usually bullish and are more likely to buy shares.
  • Death cross: The 50-day moving average crosses below the 200-day. This action indicates share prices will drop in the near term. Short-term traders usually close a position when a death cross appears until the downtrend reverses into an uptrend.

Neither cross guarantees a stock price will increase (golden cross) or go into a downtrend (death cross) but the probability is higher than usual. Of course, predicting the timing of the price move can be more challenging and you should only buy or sell positions that fit your investment strategy.

Here is a guide from Investopedia about moving averages.

RSI

The Relative Strength Index (RSI) is a lower indicator with a 100-point scoring range that can help investors determine if a stock is overbought or undersold.

Two extremes can suggest a share price reversal:

  • Overbought: An RSI between 70 and 100 indicates shares might be overbought or overvalued and the price may dip.
  • Oversold: An RSI between 0 and 30 suggesting shares are oversold and will increase in price soon.

Typically, short-term traders like to buy stocks when the RSI is above 50 and in an uptrend. You might also consider scooping up shares when the RSI is an “oversold” territory.

MACD

The Moving Average Convergence/Divergence (MACD) indicator can help short-term traders find bullish and bearish trends. This indicator doesn’t necessarily estimate if a stock is overbought or oversold like the RSI but if the price action is bullish or bearish.

This indicator typically uses the 9-,12, and 26-day Exponential Moving Average to

Investors can compare the MACD (pronounced Mack-Dee) to the share price to look for possible divergences. For instance, a declining share price but a positive MACD may indicate an imminent reversal and the opportunity to make a short-term trade once share prices increase.

There are three different puzzles pieces for the MACD indicator:

  • MACD histogram: A bar chart showing the divergences between the MACD indicator and the share price trend
  • Signal line: The MACD measurement reflecting the share price history
  • Divergence: A positive divergence line is above the signal line and indicates positive sentiment. A negative divergence happens when the divergence line goes below the signal line and suggests short-term prices will go lower.

Traders might use the moving average, RSI, and the MACD in their trading system to find buy and sell signals.

Dividend and Stock Splits

Many brokers and screeners display the dividend and stock split events in the price history chart. Seeing these events on the chart can help you determine how the share price responded.

Your charting tool might also show the earnings report dates too.

Fundamental Stock Metrics

Stock charts and fundamental analysis may seem to be contradictory.

Fundamental investors can benefit from knowing how to read stock charts too.

Some of the lower indicators include:

  • Dividend yield
  • P/E ratio (price-to-earnings)
  • Revenue
  • Rolling EPS (earnings per share)

Your research tool may also let you add secondary indicators like the moving average.

In addition to the price charts that have a customizable time period, you can also compare investing ratios to other watchlist stocks or a benchmark index.

Some of the fundamental metrics you might look at include:

  • Market cap
  • Current dividend yield
  • 52-week high and low
  • Put/Call ratio

These ratios won’t help you make a momentum trade. But if you want a long-term investment, you can find profitable companies or those currently trading at relatively low valuations.

Do I Need Special Stock Charting Software?

If you’re just starting to figure out how to read charts, you can use your broker’s charting tools. Admittedly, some micro-investing apps like Robinhood and M1 Finance only show the price charts.

But if you have an online broker like Fidelity, Schwab, and Ally Invest offer many fundamental and technical indicators that are sufficient for casual investors.

Best Stock Analysis Tools

There are several free stock analysis tools you can use as well. These platforms can offer more features than most brokerage chart tools.

Here are some of the charting platforms you can use to use your favorite indicators.

E*TRADE

E*TRADE is one of the oldest online brokers and they offer robust charting tools and many investment options.

Technical traders may love the Power E*TRADE platform that automatically draws to find the support and resistance levels. The platform offers more technical studies than many brokers.

The standard E*TRADE platform is also feature-packed and sufficient for most investors who want to read stock charts to supplement their current research process.

There are zero trade commissions to buy or sell stocks and ETFs.

This online broker lets new members earn bonus cash by making a qualifying opening deposit.

Learn more about eTrade

Ally Invest

Ally Invest offers commission-free trading for stocks and many ETFs. The platform also has extensive charting tools with many technical studies and fundamental metric snapshots.

Options traders can also use a profit/loss calculator and probability calculator to estimate the odds of investment success before placing an order.

Here’s our full Ally Invest review to learn more.

Learn more about Ally Invest

Webull

Webull doesn’t offer the most advanced technical indicators (50 vs. 100+ for the full-service platforms). However, you can paper trade stocks for free to test your new technical analysis strategy.

Stock and ETF trades are commission-free. You can also get three months of Nasdaq Level 2 Advance data to see the real-time buy and sell asking prices for tickers on your watchlist.

Here’s our full Webull review to learn more.

Learn more about Webull

Stock Rover

Stock Rover is a third-party stock research software and is one of the best options for fundamental investors but the technical analysis tools are good too. The platform has in-depth charting tools and an interactive stock screener to comb through stocks and funds that fit your metrics.

You can also find investing ideas using premade filters that copy the investment strategies of famous investors and hedge fund managers. This service requires a paid subscription to get the best research tools.

Here’s our full Stock Rover review to learn more.

Learn more about StockRover

TD Ameritrade thinkorswim

Online broker TD Ameritrade is well-known for its powerful thinkorswim platform. There is a desktop, web, and mobile version and each has its own strengths and limitations.

Any version is free and offers some of the most advanced research tools for charts and stock market news.

Beginner investors may find thinkorswim challenging to use until their experience level increases. On the bright side, the standard TD Ameritrade platform also offers plenty of charting tools, research reports, and market insights that barebones investing apps (i.e., Robinhood) don’t offer.

Check out the latest TD Ameritrade brokerage account offers.

Fidelity

Fidelity is another popular online broker with extensive fundamental and technical research tools with the web or mobile dashboard. Consider the free Fidelity Active Trader Pro desktop platform for advanced charting tools.

The Fidelity mobile app can help you research basic charts on the go. Another advantage of the mobile app is buying $1 fractional shares instead of whole shares like other brokers require.

See if a Fidelity brokerage account promotion can help you earn bonus cash.

Summary

Stock charting may seem unnecessary or time-consuming for non-professional investors. However, basic chart reading skills can help any investor wanting to buy individual stocks or ETFs.

Charting can also be an excellent way to determine if stock tips from newsletters are worth buying – or if the suggestion is mostly hype. The best course of action is to try these initial indicators, find out which ones work best for you, and then consider adding advanced charting tests if you rely extensively on technical analysis.

The post How to Read Stock Charts appeared first on Best Wallet Hacks.

about etoro

eToro

About eToro


eToro was founded in 2007 with the vision of opening up the global markets so that anyone can trade and invest in a simple and transparent way. The eToro Group consists of the eToro platform, our multi-asset trading and investment venue, our crypto wallet and on-chain crypto exchange.

eToro is a global community of more than 20 million registered users who share their investment strategies. The platform enables users to easily buy, hold and sell assets, monitor their portfolio in real time, and transact whenever they want.

We provide our users a choice of assets to invest in – from fractional shares, through to commodities, FX, ETFs and crypto – as well as a choice of how to invest. They can trade directly themselves, copy the investment strategy of another more experienced investor, or invest in one of our portfolios.

eToro acts as a bridge between the old world of investing and the new, helping investors navigate and benefit from the transition of assets to the blockchain. eToro is the only place where investors can hold traditional assets such as stocks or commodities alongside ‘new’ assets such as Bitcoin. We believe that in the future all assets will be tokenised, and that crypto is just the first step on this journey.

As technology has evolved, so has our business. In 2018, we created the infrastructure, in the form of a crypto wallet and on-chain crypto exchange, that supports our commitment to facilitating the evolution of tokenised assets. We believe that leveraging blockchain technology will enable us to become the first truly global service provider, allowing everyone to trade, invest and save.

eToro is regulated in Europe by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission, in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority, and in Australia by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

 

 

 

ethereum

Ethereum alone not enough to disrupt Big Tech: Jack Dorsey

Self-professed Bitcoin (BTC) maximalist Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, is not giving Ethereum (ETH) fans an inch. In his latest offhand remark about the market’s second-largest cryptocurrency, Dorsey downplayed the platform’s potential to shake up the status quo in Big Tech single-handedly:

Dorsey’s comment followed an online discussion of the usefulness of a full-blown integration of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) into Twitter, which @seyitaylor argued would be more to the benefit of Ethereum than to the social media site.

Dorsey agreed that such a move would be more consequential for the Ethereum ecosystem than for his own platform but added: “Every account on Twitter being able to link to a Lightning wallet however…”

Despite Twitter’s previous dabbles in the world of NFTs – and Dorsey’s own use of the technology to raise money for charity – Dorsey has remained a staunch Bitcoin advocate, much to the frustration of both Ethereum diehards and less sectarian crypto fans.

When one Twitterer responded to Dorsey’s comments, pushing him to explain, “Why the ETH hate then if there’s room for more than one piece to the puzzle?” Dorsey’s rejoinder was that “focus on one thing isn’t hate of the others. I’ve made my concerns known about others in comparison to Bitcoin. Key ones are founding principles, security, and centralization.”

Related: No, Jack Dorsey isn’t trolling ETH by making its logo the Ethiopian flag

On another Twitter thread, @garrytan probed the “mystery” of Dorsey’s single-minded preoccupation with Bitcoin, which @timothy_skim proposed was the veteran crypto’s promise to serve as “sound money,” which he claimed was “critical,” “especially for the globally underprivileged.” Dorsey joined the discussion to agree, asserting that he’s in Bitcoin “to help fix the money,” adding he was “not trolling.”

In yet another of the multiple threads circling the same theme, Dorsey rebuffed claims he was intentionally throwing shade on Ethereum and clarified that for him, “decentralization isn’t an end goal […] it’s just one method of fixing the money.” Elsewhere on Twitter, Dorsey said that while he agrees with the spirit NFTs, his advocacy of Lightning in this context had been nothing to do with them but rather with “enabl[ing] a currency for the internet.”

This has been a long-time motto of Dorsey’s, who has repeatedly argued that Bitcoin will be the sole currency of the internet since at least 2018. Unlike other Bitcoin fans, who concede there could one day be a “flippening” of the two top coins’ fortunes, he has remained, as far as is publicly known, reluctant to invest in the altcoin to this day.

Coinbase Smashes Revenue Record, Brings In $2,000,000,000 in Second Quarter

Coinbase generated a record net revenue of $2 billion from transactions, subscriptions, and services in the second quarter of 2021 as the platform’s monthly transacting users (MTUs) increased by 8.8 million – up 44% from Q1.

In its August 10th shareholder letter, the largest crypto exchange in the US says its retail users are “deepening their engagement” with the platform in terms of the digital assets they invest in or trade and the products they use.

“Approximately 27% of our Q2 retail MTUs, or 2.4 million individuals, both invested and engaged with at least one other non-investing product. This is up from 25% of our Q1 retail MTUs, or 1.5 million individuals.”

Coinbase currently supports 83 crypto assets for trading and 142 for custody. The exchange says that it plans to add more assets as the market continues to evolve beyond the initial use case of trading Bitcoin (BTC).

“Bringing more assets to Coinbase, faster, safer and ultimately listing all legal assets is one way we will tackle this opportunity… The addition of more assets is helping to drive diversification in the assets our customers are transacting in.”

Coinbase says new use cases such as decentralized finance (DeFi), non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) represent the future of the crypto economy despite still being in the early stages of development.

“Similar to how Coinbase helped people access Bitcoin for the first time in a safe, trusted, and easy to use way, we need to do the same for the decentralized economy.”

Coinbase says it plans to list crypto assets faster, make more products available for the international market, and integrate with third-party interfaces and self-custody to make decentralized applications more accessible to its users.