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Identity Theft Protection, Reviews

Zander Insurance Group Identity Theft Protection Review

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Pickpocketing at the subway station

Over 16 million people were affected by identity theft in the United States in 2014, according to a recent study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics. 86% of victims had their credit card or bank account compromised, while 4% had their identity used to open a new account.

With identity theft on the rise, you might be wondering if it’s worth paying for help to protect your identity and finances. Before considering whether or not an identity protection service is right for you, keep in mind that no company can completely prevent identity theft.

One company that offers identity theft protection is Zander Insurance Group. It’s personally endorsed by Dave Ramsey, and the company has been in business for over 80 years. It’s an affordable solution should you want assistance in recovering after experiencing identity theft.

Overview of Zander’s Identity Theft Protection Plan

Zander offers the following services with its identity theft protection plan:

  • Personal information monitoring
  • Unlimited recovery services
  • Child information scan
  • 100% recovery success
  • $1 million reimbursement
  • Proactive measures and support
  • Electronic stolen funds coverage

This might sound like an impressive list, but the reality is, most of these services you can get elsewhere for free. What you’re really paying for is the recovery service, because filling out the paperwork to reverse the damage is the most painful process associated with having your identity stolen.

As our guide on identity theft protection explains, you can set up an alert from any of your accounts so you know when a charge is made, and you can sign up for free credit monitoring through services such as Credit Karma and Credit Sesame.

Additionally, you can receive your credit report from the three bureaus for free at, and you can put a freeze on your credit at any time for about $10. This takes care of “proactive measures.”

It’s important to understand what the $1 million insurance policy covers. You can read the full policy benefits here, but to summarize the document, the insurance will cover:

  • Costs incurred as a result of identity theft, such as replacing documents, postage required to get documents replaced, and obtaining credit reports
  • Lost wages as a result of having to take time off of work to deal with restoring your identity
  • Legal fees and expenses incurred as a result of having to go to court to contest any accounts opened without your knowledge due to identity theft, or to hire a lawyer

As you can tell, this policy only reimburses you for costs directly incurred from having your identity stolen. The coverage is useful in extreme situations. For example, if you file for your tax return and find that someone has already filed for it, you’ll have to deal with the IRS on top of everything else. That process could take weeks, or months, to get through.

If you don’t have the time to deal with the hassle of paperwork and phone calls to recover your identity, it could be worth paying for the identity restoration service, and Zander has one of the most affordable options.

On top of that, membership with Zander grants you access to an “ID Self Defense Academy” so you can educate yourself on how to reduce the risk of having your identity stolen.

If you’d like a detailed overview of what Zander offers, it has its benefits summary and terms of service available here.

[Worth It or Not? Identity Theft Protection Reviewed]

How it Works

Zander offers a comprehensive “Personal Information Monitoring” program along with its recovery service. While you can monitor your accounts and credit for free, Zander takes this one step further by conducting daily searches for your information online. It will search thousands of websites to ensure your information isn’t being sold. If it finds anything suspicious, you will be alerted immediately via email.

This service is optional and included in the identity theft protection plan. If you’d like to take advantage of it, you need to opt-in after signing up for membership.

The star of Zander’s identity theft protection is its full-service recovery plan. In the event your identity is stolen, Zander will file all the necessary paperwork and make phone calls on your behalf so you don’t have to deal with the process. A representative will work with you to restore your credit to its pre-theft status. (Zander is not a credit repair agency, and will not advise you on how to improve your credit score;it works to fix the damage that was done from identity theft.)

When Zander finds something suspicious, you will receive an email telling you to log into your account where you can view the full report. Included are instructions on what actions you need to take next. If necessary, a representative will help you, but not all alerts will require you to take action.

Note that Zander doesn’t offer credit monitoring, and it doesn’t have to with other companies offering this service for free. It will send you a reminder once every four months to check your credit report so you can stay on top of it.

Zander also doesn’t have access to your bank and credit card accounts, and it recommends you set up separate alerts and check in on those daily to lessen the chances of identity theft occurring.

If you receive an alert after business hours, you can submit a form online and a representative will contact you the following business day.

What Does it Cost?

Zander offers its services for individuals at $6.75 per month. If you sign up for a year of service, you’ll pay $75 (or $6.25 per month).

For a family plan, you’ll pay $12.90 per month, or $145 per year ($12.08 per month). The family plan covers your spouse and dependents up to age 26 who live with you.

Transparency Levels

Zander is upfront in stating that “no identity protection service can prevent identity theft from happening.” It places emphasis on its recovery services for that reason. We’re on the same page as Zander –we don’t believe you should be paying an arm and a leg for things you can do for free.

Zander’s customer service is also top-notch. The representatives are friendly and quick to respond.

Other Alternatives

Zander has a great identity theft protection plan for anyone not completely comfortable with technology, as it relies on email and its website for communication. If you prefer another solution, two we recommend are:

IDShield: Individual plans are $9.95 per month, and family plans are $10.95 per month. For that price, you get access to unlimited consultation, complete monitoring, and a $5 million service guarantee. Support agents are available “24/7/365 for emergency situations” as well. Its services are very similar to Zander’s.

Prosper Daily: (Formerly BillGuard) This is an app with three payment tiers. You can download it for free, but you can only connect one financial account. A “pro” account is $5 per month (or $35.88 for an annual membership) and allows you to connect four financial accounts. The “ultimate” account is $10 per month (or $83.88 for an annual membership), and you can connect an unlimited amount of accounts.

Prosper Daily offers a way to track your spending, credit score, and even the location of your purchases. It also alerts you whenever there’s fraud with your bank account, credit card, credit report, or if something is found on the black market. It will keep you up to date on data breaches as well. On top of all this, it offers identity restoration services and $1 million in identity theft insurance. It’s a good all-around solution if you’d rather handle your finances via mobile.

Paying for Peace of Mind

Zander is an affordable option for those that would like peace of mind when it comes to their credit. Identity theft can happen to anyone, and with hackers getting smarter and data breaches becoming more frequent, it pays to be on top of your financial accounts.

While you can do a majority of the monitoring yourself for free, restoring your credit may be difficult on your own. Check to get an idea of what the process looks like. If you find yourself getting overwhelmed, consider outsourcing this to a company like Zander.

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.

Erin Millard
Erin Millard |

Erin Millard is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Erin at


Advertiser Disclosure

College Students and Recent Grads, Reviews

Review: SunTrust Custom Choice Loan

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

mortar board cash

SunTrust offers students a good option to finance their education with its Custom Choice Loan. Interest rates are fairly low, students may apply with a cosigner, and it comes with several repayment options. As a bonus, SunTrust offers graduates a 2% principal balance reduction as long as students graduate with at least a Bachelor’s degree.


Details of SunTrust’s Custom Choice Loan

The minimum amount you can borrow is $1,001 and the maximum amount you can borrow is $65,000. The total amount of Federal and private student loan debt you take out per year can’t exceed $150,000. You can choose a 7- or 10-year repayment term, and a 15-year term is available for borrowers taking out $5,000 or more.

Fixed APRs range from 5.35% to 14.05%, and variable APRs range from 4.37% to 13.38%.

You have four choices of repayment plans:

  • Immediate Payment – There’s no grace period as you begin full payments while in school
  • Interest-only Payment – You pay the interest that accrues on your balance while in school
  • Partial Payment – Available on loans $5,000 or more, you can make payments of $25 per month while in school
  • Full Deferment – You get a grace period of six months when you choose this option, and you’re eligible for deferment as long as you’re enrolled in school part-time at an approved school (this option is the closest to how Federal student loans function)

The interest rate you get approved for is based on your credit history, loan term, amount requested, and other information provided on your application.

A 0.25% interest rate reduction applies if you set your loans to autopay, and SunTrust customers benefit from an additional 0.25% reduction if they pay through their SunTrust bank account.

How Does the Custom Choice Loan Compare to Federal Student Loans?

Before applying for the Custom Choice Loan, you should exhaust all of your federal student loan options first. Make sure your family fills out the FAFSA form to see what you might be eligible for. Federal student loans have lower fixed interest rates, and come with more benefits than private student loans do. These benefits will help in case you hit a rough patch with your money.

For the 2018 – 2019 Academic year, Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans have a fixed interest rate of 5.05%. That makes the 5.35% fixed APR and 4.37% variable APR of the Custom Choice Loan comparable. However, those are the lowest possible APRs available, and if you don’t have excellent credit, you may not be eligible to receive them. Variable rates are also subject to change, which means they can increase over the life of your loan and become more expensive.

SunTrust doesn’t have an origination fee with its loan, but the Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loan has a 1.062% disbursement fee from October 1, 2018 through September 30, 2019.

SunTrust’s APRs aren’t horrible, though. If you can, apply with a cosigner who has better credit, as you’ll be eligible for lower rates. You want to get as close to Federal interest rates as possible to get the best deal.

[7 Things You Need to Know about Private Student Loans]

Eligibility Requirements

You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to apply. A majority of four-year public or private colleges are eligible – you can check eligibility on the first page of the application.

If your credit history isn’t sufficient enough, you can apply with a cosigner, and there’s a cosigner release option available after 36 consecutive, on-time payments.

You must also be the legal age of majority when completing the application. Applicants residing in Iowa or Wisconsin aren’t eligible for this loan.

[How to Tell if Your Loans are Federal or Private]

Application Process and Documents Needed

You can apply online by yourself or with a cosigner. After your application and credit (a hard credit inquiry is used) are reviewed, you’ll be presented with your loan options. If you choose to move forward with the loan, you’ll be provided with a list of documents you need to upload.

Once you’ve submitted everything, an Approval Disclosure will be sent to you for acceptance. You have 30 days to accept the terms of the loan before they expire.

Upon acceptance, SunTrust will contact your school to request certification of the loan, as you’re only allowed to borrow enough to cover your education expenses. This also ensures you don’t take out more student loan debt than necessary.

Once everything is complete, you (and your cosigner, if you applied with one) have three days to back out of the loan. After that, the loan is finalized, and the funds are sent directly to your school.

Have these documents ready to submit when applying:

  • Proof of income – the student or cosigner must show proof of positive income in the form of a recent W2, paystub, or tax return
  • Photo ID
  • Proof of residency may be required if Photo ID isn’t sufficient

The Fine Print

There are no origination, application, or prepayment fees for this loan. If you’re 10 days past due on a payment, you’ll be charged 5% of the unpaid amount as a late fee.

The minimum loan amount is different in certain states: $5,001 in Alaska, $3,001 in Colorado, $2,501 in New Mexico, $5,101 in Oklahoma, $5,001 in Rhode Island, and $3,701 in South Carolina.

[Student Loan Disbursement 101]

Repayment Assistance Options

American Education Services is the loan servicer for SunTrust. If you experience any difficulty repaying your student loans, you’ll have to contact them for repayment assistance options. You may be able to apply for a deferment, forbearance, or interest-only payment for an extended period of time.

Pros and Cons of the Custom Choice Loan

Pro: If the borrower dies, then the balance of the loan may be forgiven as long as SunTrust is contacted and provided with proof of death. (If the cosigner dies, the student remains responsible for the loan.) Students who become permanently disabled can apply for a loan discharge as well.

Con: The loan isn’t available to those living in Iowa or Wisconsin, and minimum loan amounts differ in six states. Make sure that doesn’t apply to you in case you’re not looking to borrow a large amount.

Pro: The Custom Choice Loan fittingly gives you a few choices when it comes to loan repayment options. Choosing partial payments or interest-only payments can help lessen the amount of interest you’ll pay over the life of your loan, and are easier to manage than going into immediate repayment.

Pro: SunTrust offers a Graduation Reward where 2% of your principal balance will be reduced, provided you graduate with at least a Bachelor’s degree. The principal balance is based off the net total of all disbursements you receive from SunTrust.

SunTrust Bank


on SunTrust Bank’s secure website

Private Student Loan Alternatives

Not eligible for a loan with SunTrust? There are many other private lenders offering student loans, such as Citizen’s Bank and Sallie Mae.

Citizens Bank: You can borrow up to $90,000 and your combined Federal and private student loan debt can’t exceed $120,000. Fixed APRs range from 6.39% to 11.65%, and variable APRs range from 6.14% to 11.40%. Repayment terms offered are 5, 10, and 15 years.

Citizens Bank (RI)


on Citizens Bank (RI)’s secure website

Sallie Mae: One of the most well-known private student loan lenders, Sallie Mae has a Smart Option Student loan with fixed APRs ranging from 6.25% to 9.16%, and variable APRs ranging from 4.00% to 9.04%. You can borrow up to the cost of attendance, and this loan comes with a Graduated Repayment option.

Sallie Mae Bank


on Sallie Mae Bank’s secure website

It’s also worth checking with your bank or local credit union for their rates. If you or your cosigner have an existing relationship with a bank, that could help you secure lower rates.

Are you afraid of your credit being negatively affected if you apply with too many lenders? As long as you complete applications within a 30-day window, then the credit bureaus will count all inquiries as one inquiry, ensuring your credit doesn’t take a huge hit. Shopping around for the best deal is worth the effort with student loan debt being such a burden. Lower interest rates will make your loan more affordable.

A Solid Option if You Have to Use a Private Lender

The SunTrust Custom Choice Loan is a solid option for students requiring more financial assistance than what the Federal government can provide. SunTrust customers benefit more with the 0.50% interest rate deduction, and no one can complain about receiving a 2% principal reduction on their loans upon graduating.

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.

Erin Millard
Erin Millard |

Erin Millard is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Erin at


Advertiser Disclosure


Apple Pay Cash Review

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

With so many peer-to-peer money transfer options on the market, it can be difficult to figure out which is the most functional. If you’re an Apple user, you’ve probably been exposed to their proprietary product: Apple Pay Cash. Is it the best option for you, though, as far as fees and security are concerned?

Let’s dive in to find out.

Apple Pay at a glance

Fees: 3% fee if you use a credit card; free if you use a debit card or balance from Apple Pay Cash

How long it takes to receive funds: Funds are sent immediately to the recipient.

Fraud protection: If you feel you are a victim of fraud or a scam, Apple encourages you to contact the company immediately.

Compatible devices: iPhones (XR, XS, XS Max, X, 8, 8 Plus, 7, 7 Plus, 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, and SE models), iPads (iPad Pro 3rd generation, iPad 6th generation, iPad Pro, iPad 5th generation, iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 3 and iPad mini 4 models), Apple Watches (1st generation, Series 1, Series 2, Series 3 and Series 4 models), and Mac models introduced after 2012 with an Apple Pay-enabled iPhone or Apple Watch. Mac model must have Touch ID.

How Apple Pay Cash works

Before you can start sending money, you need to link a card or bank account to your Apple Pay account.
First you’ll have to identify if your financial institution participates. If they do, you can then add your account to your device in the ‘Wallet’ section. You will have to add each individual card to each individual device. Keep in mind that while sending money to friends and family is free with a debit card, you will incur a 3% transaction fee if you use a credit card to send those same funds.

Now that you have a funding source, you can send money to family and friends easily. On your iPhone or Apple Watch, you can simply ask Siri. Apple tells consumers you can say something along the lines of “Send $50 to Mom,” to use this functionality.

You can also do a completely manual transfer. On your iPhone or iPad, you’ll be doing it through messaging. Open up a conversation with your recipient and press the Apple Pay button.

It looks like this:

If you don’t see it, click the button that looks like this:

You’ll be prompted to enter a dollar amount.


apple pay apple pay


Then simply type in the amount you’d like to send, add a message for your recipient if you so desire, and press the button that looks like this:

Finally, to send the payment, you will need to verify your Face ID, Touch ID or passcode.

To do the same with your Apple Watch, you will also need to open a conversation in messages and press the Apple Pay button. Turn the digital crown to set your payment amount, then turn it again when you’re ready to submit. Press “Pay,” and then double click the side button.

When someone sends you money via Apple Pay Cash, it will be deposited into your Apple Pay account. The first time you receive money, you will have to formally accept the payment within seven days. From there on out, payments will be automatically accepted unless you change your account settings.

You can leave your money in your Apple Pay Cash account, or you can transfer it to your bank account. Bear in mind that when you send money, it will be drawn from your Apple Pay Cash account first. If you send more than you have in your Apple Pay Cash account or your do not have a balance, it will come from your first payment method. This will preferably be a debit card so you can avoid the 3% fee which is incurred when you use a credit card.

Apple Pay Cash vs. Venmo

Except in rare instances where there is a hiccup in the payment process, both Apple Pay Cash and Venmo transfer money from user to user automatically. It may take one to three days to transfer money into your bank account, but your funds will be available via your Apple Pay Cash or Venmo balance immediately.

These two services also have the same fees as noted in our in-depth comparison: 3% of all transactions paid via credit card.

The biggest difference between Venmo and Apple Cash Pay is that Venmo is available to those who don’t have an iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch or compatible Mac. If most of your friends and family use Apple products regularly, this accessibility issue could be a moot point. But if you or much of your social circle uses Android or products with other operating systems, Venmo may be the way to go.

Apple Pay Cash vs Zelle

If you don’t feel like waiting a few days to get your money into your bank account, Zelle is a good alternative. Offered by many banks, Zelle is very much like Apple Pay Cash and Venmo except that money is transferred directly from bank account to bank account. You won’t have a “Zelle” balance like you would have a Venmo or Apple Pay Cash balance. Transactions with Zelle are usually completed within minutes.

Zelle itself doesn’t charge consumers any fees to use its service, but your bank or credit union might. The only fee to worry about with Apple Pay Cash is the 3% fee when you use a credit card as your payment method.

Risks of mobile payment apps

Apple Pay Cash is secured on various levels. First, you will have to enter a passcode, Face ID or Touch ID to send any money. This is required each and every time you make a transaction. Secondly, your actual card numbers aren’t stored directly on your mobile device or Apple’s servers, which helps keep you safer from potential hacks.

Because these security measures are already in place, the remaining bulk of staying safe with Apple Pay Cash is placed on your shoulders. Make sure you don’t accept payments from people you don’t know. In fact, Apple encourages you to report these payments as “junk.”

Even with people you do know, you should be careful of imposters. You may get a payment from a “friend” with a dummy phone number or email address and/or Apple Pay Cash account. If you’re not expecting a payment from someone, verify that they sent you money by getting in touch with them before accepting the payment.

If you want to have to opportunity to reject payments, you will have to change your settings. While you will have to formally accept your first payment, after that the default is to accept all payments automatically. Go into your settings to change payment approval to “manual” in order to dodge any shady incoming payments.

Finally, Apple cautions users to be wary if a company requests an Apple Pay Cash payment via messaging. Apple will never ask you to pay your bill this way, and it’s not the safest way to pay your other bills either as you can’t be 100% sure it’s really the entity you owe money to rather than an imposter.

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.

Brynne Conroy
Brynne Conroy |

Brynne Conroy is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Brynne here