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How Much Is a $500 Bill Worth Today?

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

500 dollar bill

If you went to the bank today to withdraw $500 in cash from your savings account, you’d be handed five $100 bills or perhaps 25 crisp $20 bills. But there was a time when much larger bills were in circulation, and the bank teller would have handed you just one $500 bill. Today, the now-rare $500 bill is worth somewhere between $650 and $850 but can be worth much more depending on their condition and other factors.

A brief history of the $500 bill

The Department of the Treasury’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) used to print paper notes for several large monetary denominations, including $500, $1,000, $5,000, and $10,000.

The BEP would even eventually print a $100,000 Gold Certificate note, but these were only provided to Federal Reserve Banks and never put into circulation for public use. Today, the $100 is the largest monetary denomination printed and placed into circulation, which means that the possession of a $500 bill could mean you are holding something rare, and possibly of great value.

19th century: The first $500 note was printed by the BEP during the Civil War, and was issued well into the 1960s. Millions of $500 bills were printed over the note’s lifetime according to AntiqueMoney.com, a website run by paper money expert and long-time collector, Manning Garrett.

20th century: While the $500 bill could be found in the pockets of the very wealthy, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s website states the bill was mostly used by banks for large payment transfers. Over time, the advancement of banking technology began to steer the higher-denomination paper currencies, including the $500 note, towards obsolescence, and the BEP printed the final $500 notes in 1945.

Discontinued in 1969: The note then stayed in circulation until the Federal Reserve inevitably discontinued the note on July 14, 1969, removing it from public circulation altogether. Since it’s discontinuation, the $500 bill has become a sought after item for currency collectors, with the value of some of these elusive bills reaching up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

What a $500 bill is worth today

The possession of a $500 note means you are holding a rare piece of American history — and potentially even a substantial source of financial gain.

The worth of a $500 bill has grown since its years of public circulation. A money collector need only search online to find other collectors selling $500 bills for thousands of dollars on eBay.

However, determining the exact worth of a $500 note can be tricky, as there are a few key factors, such as rarity and the note’s physical condition need to be taken into consideration.

According to AntiqueMoney, most $500 bills are worth somewhere between $650 to $850, as long as they are in decent condition. But there are some $500 bills that are worth significantly more. The $500 gold certificate note printed in 1882 is typically considered to be more common, but depending on the seal type and signature on the bill, it’s possible for the note to be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The $500 gold certificate note that was printed by the BEP in 1922 was the last large size $500 bill printed in the US. Most of these bills are now worth around $4,000 each, and if the bill is in especially great condition, its value can reach into the tens of thousands. The $500 gold certificate that was later printed in 1928 is even more valuable as it was printed during a year that gold certificates were issued in the country for the last time. With only 420,000 of these $500 notes printed, they are now worth anywhere from $2,000 to $15,000 each.

There is quite a variety of $500 notes that were printed during their time in circulation. With so many different variables at play when considering their current worth, the general rule of thumb is to always reach out to a qualified collector for an educated appraisal.

How many $500 bills are left?

With millions of $500 bills printed before their discontinuation, it is difficult to determine how many are still left today. Federal Reserve Banks are required to destroy any $500 notes (as well as any other notes that have been discontinued from public circulation) they receive, and it’s unclear how many $500 bills are being destroying on a regular basis. But with the increased monetary value of the bill over the years, consider yourself lucky to encounter one in everyday life.

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Banking

Neobanks: The Future of Banking

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

In the world of deposit accounts and personal finance, there is a new class of mobile-friendly, budget-focused apps called neobanks. Neobanks offer a range of services that are designed to improve the banking experience for consumers with fee-free accounts, user-friendly features and interfaces and competitive interest rates on deposits.

What is a neobank?

A neobank is a financial technology company — otherwise known as fintech — that offers banking services, most often in online or mobile-first formats. You may also have heard them referred to as mobile banks or challenger banks.

Setting aside all the jargon, very few neobanks are actually banks in their own right. That is because most of them lack a state or national banking charter. Instead, neobanks partner with established chartered banks to hold their customers’ deposits and provide Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) insurance (more on that below).

Neobanks are different from virtual banks, digital banks or online banks — these terms refer to a separate banking category. Online, virtual or digital banks are chartered banks in their own right, with federal deposit insurance, or they are online brands of bigger, brick-and-mortar banks that provide deposit insurance coverage.

Still, neobanks offer similar services, chiefly in the form of cash management accounts. These accounts typically earn an interest rate that is competitive with the best savings account rates together with debit card access and the liquidity that comes with a checking account.

Neobanks break the brick-and-mortar mold

Many neobanks were founded by entrepreneurs hoping to tap into frustration with the banking establishment, which is stacked with institutions charging over-the-top fees and paying rock-bottom interest rates. It’s no accident that in the 2017 Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households, the FDIC found that 30.2% of unbanked households cited a lack of trust in banks as a reason for not having a bank account and about 45% noted issues with bank account fees as a reason for avoiding banking altogether.

This is the gap that neobanks are trying to fill for consumers’ benefit. It’s this innovation that Ken Tumin, founder of DepositAccounts.com, says is neobanks’ greatest strength.

“Innovation has helped neobanks come out with new banking products with greater simplicity, fewer fees and better interest rates,” said Tumin. “Neobanks are adding to the competition in mobile and digital banking. Added competition is always good for consumers.”

Common account features offered by neobanks

No fees: Neobanks often cut out all fees, which opens their products up to a wider range of customers. This goes well beyond that pesky monthly maintenance fee, as neobanks also nix the fees for overdrafts, excessive transactions and third-party ATM withdrawals.

Aspiration has attempted to build customer loyalty by operating on a Pay What Is Fair fee system. They don’t charge an upfront fee, but ask their customers to pay it forward in a fee that they think is fair, even if that’s $1 — or even zero dollars.

Check out the fee schedules of some of the top neobanks:

NeobankMonthly FeeOverdraft FeeThird-party ATM Withdrawal FeeATM Surcharge Rebates?
Simple$0$0$0No
AspirationVariable$0$0$5/month
Varo$0$0$2.50No
Empower$6$0$0Three a month up to $10 per fee
Chime$0$0$2.50No

Strong focus on online and mobile experiences: Neobanks are a product of changing times. Per the FDIC survey, more and more Americans are doing their banking on a mobile device, jumping from 23.2% in 2013 40.4% in 2017.

Neobanks put a heavy emphasis on the mobile experience they offer, knowing that customers are increasingly banking on the go and need well-designed, easy-to-use interfaces. While some neobanks make accounts accessible via both apps and online websites, many operate exclusively on mobile apps — these are known as mobile-first neobanks.

High interest rates: Similar to online banks like Ally Bank, neobanks can offer their customers very competitive interest rates on their deposits as they lack the infrastructure costs of conventional banks. Traditional banks and their standard offerings of 0.01% APY can barely compete. Take a look at the competitive interest rates these neobanks have to offer:

NeobankAPY
Simple1.75%
Aspiration1.50%
Varo Money2.80% (with requirements)
1.92% (without requirements)
Empower1.60%
Chime0.25%

Customer focus: Neobanks are also attempting to disrupt the traditional banking industry with a real focus on putting their customers first.

Neobanks put a major emphasis on transparency, especially by being more upfront about the few fees they do charge, and communicating frequently about rate changes. For example, Chime and Varo Money boast no hidden fees, laying out clearly all the fees they do and don’t charge. For other neobanks, it’s as easy as going to their FAQ for the lowdown on their slim fee schedule. Simple, emails its customers when a rate change is coming up and tells you how that will affect you and your money.

Neobanks tend to include money-saving and budgeting features that are built into their products, at no additional cost. For example, Simple displays an additional Safe-to-Spend amount when you check your account balance on the app. This is the amount the app has determined you have to spend freely after taking care of bills and savings goals. You can also easily set up these savings goals, and even split your savings into different buckets, labeled according to your personal aims.

Chime recognizes the issues customers run into when paychecks and bills don’t line up. This neobank deposits your paycheck into your account as soon as Chime gets it, instead of waiting the traditional one to two days. This gives you real-time access to your money.

Neobanks and FDIC insurance

As noted above, neobanks are not state- or federally-chartered banks, and as such they cannot directly obtain FDIC insurance for their client’s deposits. To provide the crucial security of FDIC coverage, neobanks partner with one or more chartered banks. At the end of each day, neobanks sweep their clients’ money into accounts at the partner banks — sometimes referred to as program banks — where the funds receive FDIC insurance.

Some neobanks cooperate with only one partner bank, which provides deposits with the standard level of FDIC insurance. Many neobanks utilize multiple partner banks, which allows them to promise deposit insurance coverage amounts that are multiples of the standard level of FDIC insurance. For instance, Aspiration claims that each of its customers gets up to $2 million in FDIC insurance on their deposits.

If you have a high balance in your deposit accounts, this is a great way to maximize your FDIC coverage. Let’s say, for example, you have $600,000 in savings you need to place in a new account. Conventional banks provide the standard level of $250,000 in FDIC coverage per account, per client — which means you would need to open three accounts at three separate banks to obtain full FDIC insurance coverage for your $600,000 balance. Alternatively, you could place the full amount in a single Betterment Everyday account.

Take a look at some of the big neobank names, their partner bank(s) and the extent of their FDIC insurance for individually owned accounts.

AccountPartner BanksFDIC Insurance Limit*
Aspiration SaveAvailable in customer statements$2 million
Betterment Everyday Cash ReserveThe Bancorp Bank
Citibank, N.A.
Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
+7 others
$1 million
SoFi MoneyMetaBank
East West Bank
TriState Bank Capital Bank
+3 others
$1.5 million
Chime Savings AccountStride Bank, N.A.
The Bancorp Bank
$250,000
*For individually owned accounts.

Are neobanks safe?

Money deposited with a neobank is safe as long as it secures FDIC insurance from partner banks. In terms of online security, neobanks are just as safe and secure as traditional banks and their own websites and online systems. Of course, when you’re working with the internet, there is always a chance of internet failure — not just for you, but for your bank, too.

For example, neobank Chime experienced an outage in October 2019 due to technical issues with a third-party payment processor. This led to intermittent outages for customers trying to access the Chime app, website and ATM transactions. The Chime team responded swiftly to outage reports and helped its customers recoup any out-of-network ATM fees and righted any awry transactions.

This isn’t a neobank-specific scenario, however. In the same month, Bank of America and its customers suffered a similar outage, while Wells Fargo had its own outage earlier in February 2019.

In the event of a bank outage online, it’s important not to panic. Your money isn’t lost in this situation. To get more information on the extent of the outage, it helps to check the company’s social media accounts for updates or give customer service a call. Just keep in mind that thousands of other customers are going to be calling customer service as well.

Finally, your money and information are still protected by several tech safety measures like firewalls, encryption and two-factor authentication. While these measures help protect your money, you should also do your due diligence in checking your accounts during a bank outage for potential fraudulent transactions.

Neobanking downsides

No branch access

The lack of branch access is a potential drawback, especially for more traditional banking customers. If you need to speak with a neobank representative, that’s mostly done online or over the phone.

Neobanks aren’t completely without physical access, however, partnering with ATM networks for nationwide ATM access. For example, both Varo Money and Simple provide access to over 55,000 Allpoint ATMs.

If you’re still wary, though, Tumin suggests keeping an account at a local brick-and-mortar bank or credit union in addition to an account at an online-only bank, whether it’s a traditional online bank or one of the new neobanks. That way, you can take advantage of the best of both worlds.

Bank middleman

When you place your money with a neobank, it is acting as a sort of middleman between you and an FDIC-insured partner bank. While your money is just as safe and secure once it reaches that bank, FDIC coverage typically doesn’t apply until your money is moved into an account at a partner bank. The money is not insured between the time you make the deposit and the moment it is deposited with the partner bank.

Tumin points out this issue with some neobanks where they have a cash sweep account that distributes deposits into multiple banks. These neobanks don’t clearly disclose their program banks until you have an account with them or ask specifically. It’s not entirely clear that these sweep accounts are as safe as the standard checking or savings accounts that are held at one bank.

Neobanks are getting their own bank charters

Varo Money is an example of a neobank that has gone most of the way through the arduous task of getting its own banking charter. In February 2020, Varo Money was the first neobank to be approved by the FDIC to receive deposit insurance. Once the FDIC’s move gets a final sign-off from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve, Varo will no longer need to deposit its customers’ funds with partner bank, The Bancorp Bank, for deposit insurance.

Square, a payments fintech, applied for a new industrial loan company (ILC) charter in 2018 and in March 2020 was approved by the FDIC to create a new industrial bank in Utah, pending approvals from the Utah Department of Financial Institutions. This is a slightly different authorization than a bank charter, but an ILC can offer deposit accounts and can obtain FDIC insurance. Investment and loan fintech company SoFi also applied for an ILC charter in 2017, but withdrew its application shortly after.

Varo Money plans to expand product line

Varo Money’s COO Wesley Wright credits Varo’s success to its dedication to “providing better and fairer banking for everyday Americans and breaking barriers from the very beginning.” He also expects Varo Money to receive final charter approval by the end of 2020. Once they receive that green light, Varo plans to expand to additional financial services including credit cards, loans and additional savings products.

“We do anticipate that other fintechs will apply to the FDIC for a national bank charter,” he shared. “Our progress with the charter application underscores a bigger shift in the banking industry toward technology-driven experiences as well as a renewed regulatory commitment toward financial inclusion.”

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

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Wallit Family Money Management App Review

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Wallit is designed to help families manage money and track spending. The app has features focused on budgeting, saving, spending and sending money, and lets you add multiple family members as users so everyone’s on the same page. The Wallit app lets you set allowances and assign tasks to family members, as well as monitor spending and track purchases. All-in-all, it’s a pretty well-rounded family budgeting app.

How does Wallit work?

The Wallit app is a free download available in the Apple App Store and Google Play (note that Wallit was rebranded from the name Ourly in 2019). Before downloading, start by signing up for a Wallit account, which you can do online. You will need to provide a username, password, email address, phone number and birthdate. Download and install the app, then sign into your account.

Once you’re logged in, you must connect at least one bank account to the Wallit app, to enable the app to track your spending and to use its other features. Wallit integrates with 90% of all banks and credit unions in the U.S. During this linking process, you will be able to see whether your institution supports Wallit.

You can add accounts for your children, and you can add a “co-parent” to your account. This is another adult in your family who also manages family finances. Within Wallit, co-parents can approve and edit allowances paid from your Wallit balance, but cannot transfer or receive money.

Wallit features

Your Wallit account is the core of the Wallit experience. You transfer money into your Wallit account from your linked external bank account, and then distribute the money to your family members, like paying your child’s allowances, and buying gift cards. Wallit holds your money in accounts with its partner bank, Radius Bank, which provides Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) insurance coverage for your money.

Once you have your account set up and your family has been added, you can get started managing you and your family’s finances, whether you need to budget, save, spend or send money — or all of the above.

Monitor family finances

Linking your and your family’s bank accounts allows you to manage your Wallit balances and move money around with ease within the app. Transfers from your bank account to your Wallit will take about three to five business days to be completed.

Once your bank accounts are linked to Wallit, you can see your account balances and history in one place. If your child has a linked checking account, you can see the purchases they’re making from that account. That way you can keep a closer eye on your child’s spending habits. You can still use Wallit even if your child doesn’t yet have their own checking or savings account.

Set allowances

Wallit allows you to set and track the allowance you pay your child. You can set up a weekly allowance in an amount of your choice. If you have multiple children on your plan, you can set different amounts for each child. Then each Saturday, Wallit will have you approve the allowance(s) for the upcoming week.

Establish goals

Wallit also allows you to set savings goals, like saving for a new computer, for example. You do this in the app through the “Goals” tab. Once you create a goal, you can share it with your family on your Wallit plan.

Every time you log into Wallit, you can see your progress towards that goal on your dashboard. You can visit the “Goals” tab again if you ever need to make edits to a goal.

Assign and approve tasks

Not only can you set allowances for your kids, but you can set them chores and keep track of them in Wallit, too. As the parent, you can assign your children tasks directly through the app. You personalize which child it’s assigned to, the task schedule, instructions and any other information about that chore.

Once your child finishes a task, they can submit it for approval in the Wallit app. This even involves taking a picture of the completed task, too. As the parent, you can then review and approve this task on your own app interface. Wallit helps you more seamlessly pay your child’s allowances for chores.

Spend

Once your child has been paid their allowance or for completing a task, they can easily use Wallit to buy digital gift cards from partnering retailers and brands. Kids on Wallit can only use the money that’s in their Wallit balance for this spending. That way, they’re preventing from overspending, overdrafting or taking on debt.

Wallit’s fees and fine print

Wallit is completely free to use. The app does not allow overdrafting or overspending from your Wallit account. There’s also no borrowing involved so you don’t have to worry about debt or interest.

When you add family members onto your Wallit plan, you will need to add their personal information as well, including your children’s. Wallit ensures that it does not intentionally collect personal information from minors without prior parental consent.

Advantages of the Wallit app

  • Monitor your family’s finances in one place
  • Set and track allowances and chores
  • Teach your kids about saving up with Wallit’s goals

As a parent, you can easily and quickly sign up for your Wallit account, and once you’re in, just as seamlessly add your kids or co-parent. As the administrator, you can see your whole family’s financial picture in one app.

Wallit also makes it easy to track the allowances you pay to your children. Plus, if you pay them an allowance for completing chores, Wallit’s tasks feature can help you monitor and track their progress on chores, too.

Wallit’s goals system can help you teach your children about saving by setting their money aside for a future purchase, rather than spending any extra cash right away. The goals interface illustrates the final goal amount and how far you’ve come to reaching that goal, making it easier for your kids to understand.

Downsides of the Wallit app

  • Doesn’t connect with all U.S. banks and credit unions
  • Doesn’t earn any interest
  • Drawn out transfers take three to five business days

Wallit works with 90% of banks and credit unions in the U.S. That’s an expansive network, but if you’re a customer of that other 10%, you cannot benefit from the Wallit app at this time.

While Wallit can help teach your children about saving, it can’t build your savings for you. The Wallit account doesn’t earn interest, making it an impractical place to actually stash your savings. That job is much more suited for a high-yield savings account, which will keep your money safe and typically growing at a competitive rate at the same time.

Wallit is also not the most dynamic money management app out there. It doesn’t have the capability to split your spending into categories as many budgeting apps do, or alert you of potential overspending. It also doesn’t help you track other finances, like loans or credit cards.

Transfers from your bank account to your Wallit balance take about three to five business days. While this is relatively standard, this means you have to wait three to five days to pay your child’s allowances or pay them for completing tasks. This certainly stretches out the process more than just paying your child in cash, for example. Constantly keeping enough money in your Wallit balance would be a solution, but that detracts from the savings that money could be earning you in a different account.

Wallit vs. other money management apps

 

Best for

Fee

Wallit

Families with kids

None

Honeyfi

Couples

$59.99 annually OR $9.99 monthly

Wally

Manually budget and track expenses

None

Simple

Comprehensive financial management package

None

Wallit vs. Honeyfi

If it’s family budgeting you’re after, consider Honeyfi, a budgeting app for couples. Like Wallit, you and your partner will need to link your personal bank accounts to the app to use its features properly. However, Honeyfi also allows you to sync your credit cards, loans and investments as well, offering a more holistic financial picture than Wallit.

Honeyfi allows you to create custom budget categories, split transactions and connect to Venmo and save towards specific goals together. Honeyfi isn’t free, however, charging a $59.99 annual fee or a $9.99 monthly fee (the subscription covers one couple).

Wallit vs. Wally

Wally is an option for those who want to budget and track their expenses without linking their bank account. Understandably, there are folks who are uncomfortable with connecting a third-party budgeting app to their bank accounts. As an alternative, Wally has you manually enter your income and expenses, which are organized under various categories. Wally also enables receipt scanning. With the information you enter, Wally provides a basic analysis — via pie charts — of your spending by category for each week, month and year.

Wallit vs. Simple

Finally, for a more comprehensive savings and budgeting package, consider Simple, a neobank dedicated to making banking easier and more accessible for consumers. Simple offers a cash management account, involving both a checking and savings component to its experience.

Simple’s checking account features includes a “Safe-to-Spend” balance, which is what Simple flags as spendable after accounting for bills. The savings feature, known as your Protected Goals account, earns 1.75% APY, while the checking side earns 0.01% APY. You can also divvy up your Protected Goals into separate savings goals with personalized labels. Simple is free of charge.

Is Wallit right for you?

Wallit is the best family budgeting app for you if you constantly find yourself overwhelmed by managing your family’s internal finances. It helps you organize yourself when it comes to paying the kids’ allowances, saving towards various goals and even assigning chores to your kids. It’s not the most intensively analytical app, but it can be just the tool to organize your family’s money and teach your kids about saving in one simple app.

Fees mentioned in this article are accurate as of the date of publishing.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.