Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

3 new rules that could save you money

By Donna Rosato and Beth Braverman


(Money Magazine) -- 1. Student loans are cheaper

The change: Starting July 1, all students eligible for federal loans can borrow directly from the government via their schools' financial aid offices. (Previously some schools offered federal loans only through private lenders that got subsidies.)

How you benefit: The interest rate on federal loans that parents can take out (PLUS loans) is capped at 7.9% vs. 8.5% for private subsidized loans. Plus, bypassing a bank means simpler paperwork and, starting in 2014, more flexible repayment terms, says Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of FinAid.org.

2. Short sales are shorter

The change: New rules require lenders to provide pre-approved terms for short sales (in which homes sell for less than the owners owe) for sellers who weren't approved for a loan modification.

How you benefit: You'll know the minimum amount the bank will take for these houses, so your bid is more likely to be accepted. That should speed up the sales process, says RealtyTrac spokesman Rick Sharga.

3. Credit cards are less fee-crazy

The changes: As of Aug. 22 new Fed rules eliminate several egregious credit card fees, including inactivity fees. Issuers also can't charge a penalty for inactivity on gift cards for a year. For details, see federalreserve.gov.

How you benefit: You can let a credit card gather dust in your wallet -- and leave those gift certificates in there until you're ready to use them.  To top of page

Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed3.85%4.04%
15 yr fixed3.02%3.15%
5/1 ARM3.05%3.13%
30 yr refi3.93%4.15%
15 yr refi3.06%3.26%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,598.20 -91.66 -0.52%
Nasdaq 5,115.38 -12.90 -0.25%
S&P 500 2,098.04 0.00 0.00%
Treasuries 2.15 -0.06 -2.49%
Data as of 4:38am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Apple Inc 118.44 -2.86 -2.36%
Bank of America Corp... 17.77 -0.11 -0.62%
Frontier Communicati... 5.15 0.43 9.11%
Micron Technology In... 19.00 0.49 2.65%
General Electric Co 25.87 -0.23 -0.88%
Data as of Aug 3

Sections

Five major retailers have agreed to stop selling realistic-looking toy guns in New York state, attorney general Eric Schneiderman said Monday. More

The island's economy is a mess. Now its people are suffering from a major drought and water rationing. More

Represented by Teamsters, workers servicing some big Silicon Valley firms demand higher wager and better benefits. More

Candle-Lite is committed to manufacturing in America -- which is a good thing because it contributes more than $300 million to Ohio's economy. More

You can't blame it on the economy anymore. More Millennials now have jobs, but are still living at home. More