Auto Loans And Insurance

14 Apr

The Steep Price of Auto Loans and Insurance

Are you paying too much for auto loans and insurance? You may, and it’s likely that you never even knew it. That’s because 5 percent of U.S. consumers may have an error on their credit report that could leave them paying higher premiums for everyday products, according to a report issued this week by the Federal Trade Commission, a U.S. governmental agency.

The report, issued after years of study, is among the most in-depth and first of its kind to assess the accuracy of U.S. credit reports. “These are eye opening numbers for American consumers,” Howard Shelanski, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Economics told CNBC. “The results of this first-of-its-kind study make it clear that consumers should check their credit reports regularly. If they don’t, they are potentially putting their pocketbooks t risk.

Meanwhile, the Consumer Data Industry Association flipped the script. It spoke of the report’s positives. “The study showed that 95 percent of consumers are unaffected by errors in their credit report,” the association said a press release.

While 95 percent may seem like a high number, it’s simply not good enough. The 5 percent of Americans who are adversely affected likely equates to hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people. The problem is that most people wouldn’t even know these errors exist had this first-of-its-kind report not been conducted. Americans are allowed to check their credit report for free once a year. If they check it more than that it costs. The fees alone will likely discouraged people from constantly monitoring their scores. And one also wonders if checking it once a year is the same as due diligence. These mistakes need to be cleared up immediately.


Are Cars with Smartphone Interactivity Taking Technology Too Far, or Making Driving Safer?

12 Apr

Are Cars with Smartphone Interactivity Taking Technology Too Far, or Making Driving Safer?

If you’ve been out of the car-buying market for a few years and are planning on purchasing a new vehicle soon, you’ll likely be surprised at the variety of features available today. Many features that were once considered a luxury upgrade now come standard. From heated seats to rearview camera displays, even the most basic vehicles offer buyers the comforts of a more upscale ride. Smartphone integration is one such feature that’s being included in more and more redesigns, in all classes of manufacturers from Ford to BMW. As smartphone interactivity becomes a nearly standard feature, car buyers may question if they need to be so connected while on the go. If you’re about to start looking for a new vehicle, you’ll want to consider these pros and cons of purchasing a car with a smartphone-friendly system.


Safety – If you’re going to be using a smartphone while driving, there’s no question that doing so with hands-free technology is the safest way to do it. Voice control services such as finding a contact, dialing, and adjusting the volume all make it easy to place a call without taking your hands off the wheel. This also means drivers don’t have to pull over to the side of a road or fumble around in their purse or pockets, potentially causing a dangerous situation, in order to use their phone.

Convenience – An integrated technology platform allows users to have uninterrupted conversations as they get into and out of their vehicle. For example, the BMW system automatically switches to speaker mode as soon as the phone is in its cradle, then switches back to handheld mode when it is removed. The driver can have seamless transitions without the person on the other end of the line even realizing it.


Cost – Smartphone-friendly systems often come with a hefty price tag. Buyers who aren’t interested in the technology may end up paying for a feature they don’t plan on using or don’t really need.

Over-connectivity – As cell phone ownership skyrockets, many are concerned about addiction to the devices. Honestly, most people just don’t need to be plugged in around the clock. Time on the road is best spent focused on driving, so it’s important to think about whether or not this feature is a necessity, or if you’d be better off using your phone when you’re not behind the wheel.