10 Things Everyday People Need to Know When Buying Bitcoin

Tempted to invest in Bitcoin? Here’s ten things to keep in mind as a beginner:

  1. It’s a risky investment. Bitcoin prices are extremely volatile. The cryptocurrency has rocketed up from $959.36 on January 1 of this year to $7,752.75 on November 19, but it’s been a wild ride in between, with massive single day crashes such as the drop of 7.7% on September 8.
  2. What’s a Bitcoin wallet? Bitcoin wallets are programs to send, receive, and store your balance of Bitcoin, like an online bank account, and the private key to the account is a long string of numbers that serves as the account’s password.
  3. Cold storage or hot storage? There are many different Bitcoin wallets, but they break down into two main categories: hot wallets, or wallets connected to the internet, and cold wallets, which are not connected and therefore invulnerable to hackers. Hot wallets are less secure and best used for spending cash, whereas cold wallets are best for investment.
  4. What’s a Bitcoin exchange? A Bitcoin exchange is where you will buy Bitcoin, and where you can exchange it for regular cash. Typically, it’s best to choose an exchange in your home country to more easily move between Bitcoin and your own currency.
  5. What’s the exchange rate? Some exchanges have low fees but then they give you a terrible exchange rate.
  6. Payment methods. Exchanges that allow methods via which a buyer can ask for their money to be returned, such as PayPal or credit cards, charge higher fees than those that are irreversible, such as wire transfers.
  7. Fees. Bitcoin exchanges charge deposit fees, transaction fees, and withdrawal fees. You’ll want to compare fees when choosing your exchange.
  8. Play it safe to avoid fraud. Fake exchanges, fake wallets, phishing scams, Ponzi schemes – just like the rest of the financial world, fraud abounds in the Bitcoin space. Consult this guide put out by Bitcoin itself to avoid the pitfalls, and avoid buying from individuals.
  9. Trading platforms or brokers: You can also buy via trading platforms that connect buyers/sellers directly, or through brokers, who charge more but make for an easier process.
  10. Ownership: Like on any exchange, it’s not really yours until you get it into your wallet, so remove from the exchange and into your storage.

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A Detailed Review Of Retail Store Credit Cards

  • Walmart Credit Card – The Walmart credit card is a MasterCard product issued by Synchrony Bank that can be used anywhere MasterCard is accepted. The card is especially beneficial to those who shop often at Walmart.com as those purchases are eligible for 3% cash back. Gas purchases at the Murphy USA stations receive 2% cash back and all other purchases (including instore at Walmart) qualify for 1% cash back. In addition, newly opened accounts qualify for a one-time 10% off reward.
  • Best Buy Credit Card – Best Buy offers both a My Best Buy Credit Card and a My Best Buy Visa card. Both Best Buy cards offer 5% in rewards on Best Buy purchases. The Visa offers rewards on other purchases ranging from 1 – 3% via a point program. Both cards are serviced online or by phone and card members are eligible for Best Buy Pay, an easy-to-use online payment system.
  • Lowes Credit Card – The Lowes consumer credit card is a store only card but offers benefits to those who shop open in the store. Purchases are eligible for 5% cash back in the form of a statement credit or select promotional financing opportunities. You can apply for and manage your Lowe’s card online or by phone.
  • JC Penney Credit Card – The JC Penney credit card is issued by Synchrony Bank. It is a store only card, available in a basic, gold and platinum version—the versions differ based on your credit limit. When you sign up you will receive a 15% coupon and cardholders are eligible for special promotions through the JC Penney Rewards program. These come by mail or email.
  • Kohl’s Credit Card – The Kohl’s card is called “My Kohl’s Charge.” It is a basic, store only credit card that offers a 25% off discount pass when you sign up. Holding the card also makes holder’s eligible for monthly savings which are sent through the mail. When a user spends more than $600 on the card, they become eligible for additional discounts. Payments can be made online, by phone, in the store or by mail.
  • Sears Credit Card – Sears offers both a store card (that works at both Sears and Kmart) and a Sears Mastercard. Credita is offered through Citibank in conjunction with Sears. The Sears “Shop Your Way” MasterCard is accepted anywhere MasterCard is, and offers a point program with up to 5% cash back available on certain purchases. Both cards have no annual fee and make users eligible for special in-store and online promotions.
  • Amazon Credit Card – Amazon offers both a store card (issued by Synchrony) and an Amazon Rewards Mastercard which is issued by Chase. Interest rate of both vary depending on credit worthiness. The Rewards Mastercard offers 3% back at Amazon and 1 or 2% back on other purchases. The store card comes in two formats—the standard and Prime card. With the Prime card, users can earn up to 5% back on Amazon Purchases.
  • Old Navy Credit Card – The Old Navy store credit card rewards users for signing up with a 15% off purchase coupon. However, the card also issues rewards for making a purchase from Old Navy and other stores under the Gap Brands umbrella. The company also offers a Visa card which makes users eligible for points when purchasing at other locations too. The exclusive card available for the most loyal users is the Navyist card—the biggest benefit for many users is that they get free shipping on online purchases and alterations on Banana Republic purchases.
  • Home Depot Credit Card – Home Depot offers numerous credit card options for both consumer and commercial customers. The basic Home Depot card makes you eligible for 1-year hassle free returns. The “Project Loan” card has some of the lowest interest rates in the business. On the commercial side is a revolving charge and commercial account. The commercial cards make users eligible for fuel discounts in addition to other perks.
  • Victoria Secret Credit Card –   Comenity Bank issues the Victoria’s Secret Angel Credit Card which is valid for use in Victoria’s Secret stores and on the company’s website. Since the card is only valid at VS, it is the best choice for those who shop with the company regularly. Holders of the card are eligible free shipping, a birthday gift and other rewards. Plus, card holders may be invited to exclusive events throughout the year.
  • Macy’s Credit Card – Macy’s offers two different credit card options. The Macy’s store card is eligible for use in stores as well as on the Macy’s website. Macy’s also offers an American Express card that can be used anywhere American Express is accepted. Both cards have three levels and the higher levels will receive more star passes and surprise savings. The higher card levels earn further benefits making it an even better value.
  • Banana Republic Credit Card – The Banana Republic credit card is a store only card, but it is available for use at Banana Republic and other Gap-owned stores. Users will be eligible for 20% off on their first purchase and can earn rewards for every point spent. For every 500 points earned, the user will earn a $5.00 reward.
  • GameStop Credit Card – The GameStop PowerUp Rewards Credit Card is managed by Comenity Bank. This no annual fee credit card is eligible for use at GameStop’s retail stores and online via the gamestop.com website. Users get PowerUp points just for signing up and also get access to exclusive cardholder offers throughout the year.
  • Sam’s Club Credit Card – Sam’s Club offers both a store card and a MasterCard that can be used anywhere that accepts that type of card. When a consumer opens a Sam’s Club Credit account they are eligible to receive a $45 statement credit after spending $100. In addition, cash back is received for using the card in the store as well as a lower percent in other locations (for the MasterCard version). An added benefit is that the credit card can be used as the membership card at Sam’s.
  • TJ Maxx Credit Card – The TJX Rewards credit card is available in both a store card and as a full MasterCard. For every $200 spent on TJ Maxx (and other stores owned by the company), cardholders earn $10 in reward certificates. The MasterCard allows users to earn reward points anywhere that MasterCard is accepted too.

The Main Benefits Of The Platinum Card from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express has been one of the main cards for high-end cardholders for decades. When American Express introduced the card in 1984, it was seeking to attract consumers who had money to spend, and would be happy to pay the high membership fee to use the card.

While the company has recently attempted to reinvigorate its marketing efforts to bring in new users, the spot occupied by the card remains the same – the Platinum Card® from American Express is still best for premium consumers who can take full advantage of its perks while being comfortable with its $550 annual fee.

1. 5 points for every $1 spent on airfare and hotels

As long as you purchase airfare from American Express Travel or from the airliner, and you book your hotels through American Express Travel, you can expect to get 5 points for every $1 you spend.

2. $200 credit for airline fees

Each year you get a $200 credit to cover the costs of fees charged by your preferred airline, like baggage fees or purchases on the plane. You have to choose one airline to use the credit on each year.

3. Get 60,000 points for spending $5,000

If you spend $5,000 within the first three months of having your card, you will get 60,000 reward points.

4. $200 in Uber credits

Each month you get $15 in credit for using Uber, with a $35 credit in December. You must use the credits each month, because they do not roll over to the next month.

5. Your card is made of stainless steel

Your Platinum Card® from American Express will be made of stainless steel.

6. Access to over 1,000 airport lounges

The Platinum Card® from American Express offers the most premium lounge experience of any card, giving you access to lounges run by American Express and Delta.

7. Major hotel perks when booking at an American Express Hotel Collection property

In addition to getting Gold status at Hilton and Starwood, you also get a range of bonuses, like room upgrades, when you book at hotels included in the American Express Hotel Collection.

A Card For Premium Users

The Platinum Card® from American Express has one of the highest annual fees of any credit card, but it offers a wide range of benefits in exchange. If you are a high-end user that will take advantage of the many bonuses and perks, the card may be just right for you.

The Main Benefits Of The Amex EveryDay Credit Card

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card is one of two cards American Express has recently released to simplify the choices it offers consumers. With so many different cards floating around – all of them offer different rewards, reward categories and bonuses – it is nice to see American Express attempt to minimize the confusion and offer consumers a few quality choices.

1. 20% for 20 purchases

Getting a 20% point bonus for using the card 20 times is the big draw to the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card. If you tend to use your card a lot, you could get the 20% bonus every month – which can add up quickly.

2. No annual fee

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card carries no annual fee. Unlike some other cards, like the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card, you will not have to worry about paying a fee for the privilege of using the card.

3. Extra rewards for grocery purchases

With this card you will get 2 points for every dollar you spend at the supermarket (up to $6,000). If you buy a lot of groceries, the double point rewards will accumulate rapidly. Of course, if you are not a big grocery shopper, there may be other cards that suite your lifestyle better.

4. Get 10,000 points when you spend $1,000 in the first three months

Like many cards, the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card offers an introductory bonus to users who are willing to make a minimum purchase within a specific time frame. If you know that you will spend $1,000 within a three month period, you can expect a 10,000 point bonus from your card.

5. A high-quality membership rewards program

Some credit card rewards programs are fairly complex, requiring you to choose from a rotating list of options to try and get the most out of your points. With American Express, the rewards program is much simpler. You can use your Membership Rewards Points easily to shop on Amazon, buy merchandise and book travel. You can also transfer your points to other programs, such as your favorite frequent flyer program.

6. Extended warranties

American Express has you covered if you buy a product – extending the manufacturer’s warranty buy a year for eligible purchases.

A Great Card For Frequent Shoppers

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card is great for people who plan on using it frequently, offering 20% more points when you use the card 20 times or more in a month. With no annual fee, the card certainly offers benefits for regular shoppers.

The Benefits Of Having Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express

The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express offers more bonuses and rewards than you can count. It is, simply put, one of the very best cards out there for frequent travelers.

Who’s it for?

If you spend a lot of time in hotels, in airplanes, in taxi cabs and in restaurants, this is the card for you. If you’re just looking to establish your credit by using your card to cover a few utility bills, then there’s not much point in applying for a Starwood Preferred Guest credit card. But if you spend a lot of time out and about, traveling for work or just because you love to travel, it’s hard to find a better card than Starwood Preferred Guest. This is thanks to a long list of travel related bonuses on which users can cash in.

What are the Bonuses?

Note that this list is incomplete. The card offers various limited-time bonuses, meaning that by the time you read this, you might be able to sign up for rewards not listed below.

  • 25,000 bonus Starpoints after spending $5,000 in your first three months
  • 10,000 additional Starpoints if you spend another $3,000 in the first six months on top of the initial $5,000
  • 1 Starpoint per dollar spent
  • 2 Starpoints per dollar spent at participating SPG Marriott Rewards locations
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Free Wifi at any Boingo hotspot (more than 1 million locations worldwide)
  • Starpoints can be redeemed for free flights from over 150 participating SPG airlines, and free stays at more than 1,300 hotels and resorts around the world

What are the Rates and Fees?

  • APR: 15.99% to 19.99% variable
  • Late payment fee: Up to $38
  • Annual fee: None for first year, then $95 for each year following

The Starwood Preferred Guest credit card is a powerful little card to have in your pocket if you love to travel. But… it’s not of much use for homebodies. On the other hand, the Starpoints system will put you up in hotels and on airplanes without costing you a dollar, so it could conceivably earn you a free vacation even if you only travel a few times a year. Most card holders who do not travel very often will stick to a card with a cash back rewards system, but if you spend a lot of time on the road, Starwood Preferred Guest is one of the best cards out there.

The Benefits Of Having A Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is one of those cards that makes people jealous when you pull it out at the restaurant. This is the heavy-duty “I’ve got a good job and all my ducks in a row” card. Not for everyone, but if you are in the market for a card like this, it’s one of the best on the market.

Who’s it for?

If you’re wondering whether or not Chase Sapphire Preferred is for you, here’s the most important thing to know: If you spend $4,000 in the first three months after opening your account, you’ll earn a whopping 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points. The value of 50,000 points may vary, but recent estimates put it over $1,000. So the question is whether you’re going to be spending $4,000 on your card over three months. For many middle class families and working professionals, this is a no-brainer. For others, reaching that $4,000 mark within three months may sound like a bit of a stretch. It’s a lot of power to have under the hood, so for some users the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is a bit like buying a Ferrari when you only need a car to pick up the groceries. But if you’re more of a “power user,” it’s one of the best cards on the market right now.

What are the Rates and Fees?

  • APR: 16.49% to 23.49% variable
  • Annual fee: None for the first year, then $95 every year following.
  • Rewards rate: 2.5%

Is It Worth It?

The Chase Ultimate Rewards program is one of the best out there right now, and at 2.5%, you’re looking at a lot of free goodies along the way. The question is simply whether or not you need a card like this. It comes down to one simple question: Are you going to be spending more than $10,000 a year with this card?

If you’re still working on building your credit, if you’re fresh out of college and still getting yourself established, you might want to consider something else as your starter card. But, if you’re financing a small business, pulling in a healthy salary, or covering the expenses of a family, Chase Sapphire Preferred is absolutely one of the best cards available. Not everyone needs such a high-power card, but if you do, it’s one of the most rewarding cards out there.