Pay Off Debt Faster with ReadyForZero

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Our favorite free budgeting site for debt diggers, ReadyForZero.com , is offering an upgrade -- for a price. In addition to its free service, which allows you to track your finances and create a debt repayment plan, you can now pay your bills directly through the site. This new premium service, ReadyForZero Plus, costs $4.99 a month, after a free one-month trial period.

SEE ALSO: Best Online Money-Management Tools

A new kid on the online budgeting block, ReadyForZero launched in February 2011, but it's already making a big impact for its users. The site has helped thousands of Americans pay down more than $25 million dollars in debt since its debut. And co-founders Rod Ebrahimi and Ignacio Thayer have found that their more-active users are able to pay down debts twice as quickly as more-casual users. They hope that the new premium service will help users become debt-free even faster.

As with most other budgeting sites, you start using ReadyForZero by linking it to your financial accounts. Then, you create a debt repayment plan based on what you can afford to pay every month or the date you hope to be debt-free -- a focused strategy that sets this budgeting site apart from the rest. If you choose a monthly payment, the site will calculate when you'll be done repaying your debts; if you choose a target date, it will tell you how much you'll need to pay each month to hit that goal. It will also show you how much you'll pay in interest, as well as how much time and money you'll save by paying more than the minimum required. And it will make recommendations to help you pay off your debts faster. (For more information about the free service, see our slide show, Which Budget Site Is Best for You? )

By adding the ability to make online payments, ReadyForZero Plus hopes to be a one-stop shop for managing your finances. While you may be able to pay all of your bills online for free through your bank, you may find integrating the bill-pay service into your ReadyForZero account's budgeting platform worth the extra cost. "You can visualize your whole financial picture and see the impact of your payments," says Ebrahimi. "And now you can click straight from your account to make a payment, allowing you to take action right away."

The site manages your payments by shuttling it through one of its partner banks. ReadyForZero never holds your money for any significant amount of time. Ebrahimi says this handling of transactions is the most secure method. He also notes that the site has upgraded its security to be fully compliant with the Payment Card Industry standard � "the highest level of security around," he says.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Personal Finance , Credit and Debt

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