Latest Finance Articles and Promotions

How to Mine, Buy and Use Cryptocurrency

Business man with lots of bitcoins on tabletIn a previous article, we discussed what cryptocurrency is and a brief overview of its history as a newcomer to payment methods. While there is much buzz surrounding cryptocurrency and its growing market, understanding how it is acquired and then subsequently used in real life transactions is a bit challenging. Unlike fiat or physical currencies, like the dollar or pound, cryptocurrency is all managed through a network of high-powered computers, making it more complex than its more traditional counterparts. Here’s how one can acquire cryptocurrency and then, use it to pay for goods and services.

Mining for Cryptocurrency

One of the most popular cryptocurrencies out there today is Bitcoin, and it encompasses all the traits of a cryptocurrency, including being free from the controls and restrictions of a central government or bank. Because of this unique attribute, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies cannot be printed or issued like conventional currency but instead are acquired through a process known as mining. Essentially, mining Bitcoins involves receiving the cryptocurrency after solving the math problems needed to verify transactions in the network. To keep the blockchain growing while maintaining the security of the cryptocurrency itself, mining is a necessary part of the process.

Mining for cryptocurrency would take a normal, everyday desktop computer and its owner more than 2 million years to complete a single block! This is why there are specific computer hardware and software tools that make mining for cryptocurrency more achievable, including an ASIC chip designed to mine cryptocurrency as well as mining software that connects to the chip. For those who do not want to invest in these necessary tools, they may find a cryptocurrency mining pool, based on cloud computing, works better to suit their needs.

In addition to mining, interested buyers may also acquire cryptocurrencies through special mobile or desktop applications. A service like Coinbase, for example, gives individuals the ability to link a credit or debit card to the app for the purpose of purchasing Bitcoin or Ethereum, another type of cryptocurrency. Once the bank account or credit card is connected, buying cryptocurrency takes a simple tap of a button. Applications provide data on the volatility of cryptocurrencies and the current price, making it easy to understand the investment from a dollars and cents perspective. Buyers are limited to the amount of cryptocurrency they can purchase each day or week, but this method takes away the need to mine in the traditional sense to acquire cryptocurrencies.

Using Cryptocurrency

Unlike traditional currency, digital currencies are not widely accepted at retailers and other merchants just yet, due to the fact that they are not issued as physical notes or coins. Instead, cryptocurrencies are kept in a digital wallet with a special key used to unlock or validate the currency’s worth. Individuals who have acquired cryptocurrencies can select any of the following to store and then use their currency:

  • Desktop wallets: with a desktop wallet, those who have cryptocurrencies can store and send details about the value of their currency while staying connected to the broader network to keep track of transactions.
  • Online wallets: online wallets, or exchanges, store data about the value of cryptocurrencies and can be accessed anywhere from a desktop computer or mobile device.
  • Mobile wallets: mobile applications may also serve as a storage tool for cryptocurrencies, and some allow for payment to be made with available balances at accepting retailers or merchants.
  • Paper wallets: information about cryptocurrency may also be maintained in a paper wallet which is a web-based service that issues paper to the currency holder. The paper includes one QR code for receiving cryptocurrency and another that allows for spending acquired cryptocurrency.
  • Hardware wallets: a USB device may also be used as a cryptocurrency wallet. This hardware stores details about the currency’s digital address and access keys.

Although cryptocurrency has topped the list of hot investments since its humble beginnings, many businesses see the volatility of its price as a reason to not accept it as a viable payment option for consumers. However, there are several large organizations that accept cryptocurrency in exchange for goods and services, including Microsoft, Intuit, and PayPal also announced its acceptance of cryptocurrency, specifically Bitcoin, in recent years, but the company is only acting as an intermediary between paying and receiving parties. Over time, as the cryptocurrency market evens out and becomes less volatile, more businesses may include digital currencies as part of their payment methods. For now, however, individuals who own cryptocurrency are limited in how they can spend their digital currency.

Posted on December 11, 2017 by Melissa

Green Monday: History, Economics and Predictions for 2017

Discount percentages for Green Monday holiday shoppingJust about everyone has heard of Black Friday and its digital counterpart, Cyber Monday, but most are woefully unaware of the “other” big shopping day of the year: Green Monday. Affectionately referred to as Cyber Monday 2, the second Monday in December each year is deemed Green Monday by major retailers and businesses around the world. The name originated in 2007, so it doesn’t have as long a history as Black Friday or Cyber Monday. However, it is the second biggest day of holiday shopping online of the year.

Posted on December 8, 2017 by Melissa

New Credit Builder App Lenny Helps You Build Your Credit Score

Lenny Credit logonew app is making headlines with its innovative approach to improving users’ credit score. Lenny has launched a hybrid peer-2-peer (P2P) and credit building app that is directed towards millennials. By utilizing P2P initiatives, Lenny helps users increase their credit score and take more responsibility over their personal finances. Building your credit is one of the most important factors in personal finance. That little number on your credit report sets the interest rate on just about every loan you will ever take. The difference between an average credit score and an excellent credit score could be the difference between thousands of dollars in fees and interest payments, or just hundreds of dollars.

Posted on December 7, 2017 by Ryan

Community State Bank (WI) offering New Construction Loan 1.99% for 12 Months

Community State Bank logoBuying a home comes with many considerations, including the location of the property, the age of the home, and the resources available to make the dream a reality. For some buyers, the thought of owning a brand new home is intriguing, given the control over the design and layout of the interior and exterior. Finding the right builder is one thing; making sure the financing is in order is another altogether. Several financial institutions offer special financing solutions for homebuyers interested in building, not just buying.

Posted on December 6, 2017 by Melissa

Credit Scores are Dropping – Tips for Keeping Yours Healthy

Credit score gauge with good and bad creditData released by Lending Club recently shows that both credit markets and credit scores are under-performing. The data revealed that people’s average credit scores were actually falling, which implies that those people are being too risky with their credit. This could partially be attributed to the growth of the peer-2-peer lending scene. Or it could be attributed to the growth in confidence since the economic recovery set in. At the same time, credit markets are also tightening, making it more and more difficult for people to acquire new lines of credit. It now appears that credit markets will remain subdued for some time. Regardless of your situation, take a look at our credit score tips to keep your credit score healthy.

Posted on December 5, 2017 by Ryan

Keesler FCU Offers 5.99% Holiday Helper Personal Loan Promotion

Keesler Federal Credit Union logoAs the holiday season ramps up, many face the challenge of covering large, one-time expenses out of pocket. Costs for traveling to see family and friends, entertaining, and the seemingly endless list of gifts all add up to a pretty penny throughout the last few months of the year. For some, taking out a personal loan to pay for these expenses up front but extend repayment over several months is helpful in getting through the season without breaking the bank. Fortunately, there are several financial institutions that understand this need.

Posted on December 4, 2017 by Melissa

The Most Cost Effective Ways to Borrow During the Holidays

Woman holiday shopping online from home with tablet and credit cardThe holiday season is full of time with family and friends, but it comes at a cost for most people. On average, individual spending throughout the last two months of the year reaches just over $1,000 per person, on expenses like travel, gifts, and holiday parties. While some may have money set aside in savings to help cover the extra costs of the holiday season, some turn to short-term borrowing to keep cash flow positive. Here are the most cost-effective ways to borrow cash during the holidays if savings isn’t enough.

Posted on December 1, 2017 by Melissa

Millennials Getting Credit Score Help from Baby Boomers

Millennial daughter, baby boomer mother and grandmother discussing financesMillennials are the new up-and-coming generation in America. The sons and daughters of the baby boomer generation, millennials, are a rather unique bunch. Born in a period of rapid and advanced technological growth, millennials tend to have a different approach to life than their parent’s generation. However, it isn’t just the generational age gap that has led to this major difference. It is also the severe economic conditions millennials were met with when they began entering the job market.

Posted on November 30, 2017 by Ryan

Is it Possible to Get an Auto Loan with Bad Credit?

Happy man driving happy and smiling in his new carIt may be the case that you’ve sat around wondering if you could be approved for an auto loan despite your bad credit. In the American way of life, a car is oftentimes a necessity. Even since the great recession from a few years back, both poor economic conditions and new legislation has make it more difficult to get approved for any kind of loan. If it is the case that you have bad credit, you should probably first ask yourself if a loan is even worth it. But if you have come to the conclusion that your finances can handle an auto loan, despite your bad credit, then you should know that not all hope is lost.

Posted on November 29, 2017 by Ryan

Cryptocurrency – What it Is & How it Works

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency graphOver the years, technology-focused fads come and go, sometimes creating a buzz that is more hype than anything else. But in some rare cases, a shiny, new application, tool, or software brings a wave of excitement that is difficult to ignore. Cryptocurrency is one of those topics, but many are more confused by it than interested in how it works.

Posted on November 28, 2017 by Melissa