Our favorite free budgeting site for debt diggers,
, 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.
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
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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