Saturday, December 21, 2013

First Time in the US

Is this your first time to the US? Many things would have pulled your attention.

Length/Distance: feet/miles vs m/km

Weight: lb vs kg

Driving on the right side of the road is the right way

Power switch on is off and vice versa

Rubber vs eraser - When you write something wrong and you want to erase it, you use an eraser

Bill vs check - After dining at a restaurant you ask for check. Currency note is a bill. One dollar bill.

Apple doesn't sell PCs in the US. They instead sell Personal Computers!! PC means Windows Personal Computer

In movies, saving America is synonymous to saving the world

You better start liking football (Not soccer). Its American Football a lighter version of Rugby. Its called football because, its played with a foot length ball.

If you pay your credit card bill in full, some might think you are crazy because they think, why pay in full, when it says "minimum payment due" is far less. Don't be belittled. Just do what you think is right.

If you are on a visa, your legal duration of stay is determined by i-94 (used to be stapled on your passport, now it is made online) provided at the port of entry to US. The date mentioned on the i-94 takes priority over all the other documents you have (visa stamped on the passport, i797, offer letter, ead card etc).

The electronic power plug may not be the same as the one you used in your country. You might need power adaptor.

If you plan to get a mobile, don't be surprised if you get charged when you receive an SMS/Text. Outgoing and incoming calls are treated equally (called talk time).

If you go to a movie theater, the seats are available on first come first serve basis. Very few theaters in the US allow seat reservation. Seat reservation is an advanced feature as per US standards.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Loyal3 commission free stock trading

Loyal3 (

A social stock trading platform with no brokerage fees or commission. It is easy to use and understand. It explains things in a way which is understandable for novice. It has a very user friendly website ( Its first IPO was AMC which started trading on Dec 18, 2013. As of 1/27/2014, 55 company stocks can be traded via Loyal3.

Loyal3 in the News:

01/09/2014 - Loyal3 announces it's 2nd IPO - Santander Consumer USA in NYSE under symbol SC (Range: $100 - $10,000)
12/17/2013 - Loyal3 announces it's 1st IPO - AMC lets its movie fans buy into its IPO in NYSE under symbol AMC (Range: $350 - $2500)
05/13/2013 - Loyal3 recieves 18 million dollars in Series C financing


  • Commission free trading
  • Invest as low as $10
  • Very easy to understand user interface
  • Partial stock ownership. Ability to own high priced stocks
  • Has the ability for monthly fixed investment
  • Can use credit card for payment at no extra cost (one time, monthly or IPO). Takes 2-3 days for the trade. For one time and monthly investments, credit card can be used only for $10, $25 or $50 investments.
  • Invest in IPO ($350 to $10000). The minimum and maximum limits varies with IPO. Not all IPOs will be available, only those supported by Loyal3.
  • Dividends are credited to your account
  • Online chat customer service
  • Cash balance is SIPC insured (

  • Cons

    • Can choose from only a limited set of stocks
    • The buy/sell price is not predictable because trading is not immediate. It is pooled and can be run at any time
    • No Limit order or any other advanced order possible. Only able to sell at the market price at the time of batch trade
    • Once you place a one time buy/sell order, it cannot be cancelled. Now you can cancel orders. Monthly plans can be cancelled by going to the "My Monthly Plans" page
    • Limitation of $2500 per stock per month (30 day period)
    • 2 day delay for credit card and 3 day delay for debit or checking account transactions. So if you use credit/debit/checking to buy a stock, you will have to take the risk of volatility of the 2-3 days delay. The transactions happen on same day if done using funds in Loyal3.
    • No IRA
    • No mobile app yet. They should have one soon
    • If you make multiple transactions (monthly/one time) on the same date using credit card, make sure your credit card company doesn't treat it as fraudulent activity. Hope they will combine all the purchases into a single credit card transaction.
    Features available
    • Total amount invested for each company stock
    • Transaction history showing both trades and funds transfer
    • Transaction history showing only trades with Amount and number of stocks bought/sold
    • Transaction history showing funds transfer
    Good to have
    • Profit or Loss for each company stock (Realized and Unrealized profit/loss)
    • Transactions history showing Debit and Credit in two different columns
    • A page which shows the price (approx) of all the stocks. Currently, need to click on each stock to see the last close price
    • Ability to edit/cancel one time transactions (buy / sell) at least until few minutes or hours before the batch trade.
    • List view for the My Account page
    Other Trading Platforms

    PlatformStandard PricingMore Info
    eTrade 9.99
    Pricing information may not be accurate. Please refer to the company website to get more accurate information.


    1. Can I have more than one monthly investment of the same company (eg: Monthly buy order of stock XYZ on different dates)?

    2. Can I make one time purchase while I have monthly investement on the same company?
    Yes, as long as your net investment on the company does not exceed $2500 over 30 day period

    3. After purchasing stocks using Credit Card, if I sell the stocks, where does the money go to?
    The proceedings from the sale of the stock will be in your Loyal3 account and it can be transferred to your bank account. Note: The money cannot be credited back into your Credit Card account.

    Open Questions:

    1. How long will Loyal3 be able to sustain with commission free trades?

    2. In My Account page, when I add up the individual market values (after market close), it is approximately $5 less than the Total Account Value mentioned on the top of the page. How is this possible?
    Ans: This happened when I had pending transactions. As soon as all the transactions were settled, the total was correct.

    Remember, Loyal3 is a real stock trading platform like any other brokerage company where you deal with real money. So the value of your portfolio could increase or decrease. Thanks for reading my review of loyal3. I have used it since Dec 2013 and I love it. Feel free to leave your comments or ask questions which you might want to know about Loyal3.

    List of Companies supported by Loyal3:
    1. 21st Century Fox
    2. AMC Theatres (IPO)
    3. Abercrombie & Fitch
    4. Aeropostale
    6. American Eagle Outfitters
    7. Anheuser-Busch InBev
    8. Apple
    9. Berkshire Hathaway
    10. Best Buy
    11. Blizzard
    12. Buffalo Wild Wings
    13. Burger King
    14. Coca-Cola
    15. Discovery Communications
    16. Disney
    17. Dr Pepper Snapple
    18. Dunkin
    19. Electronic Arts
    20. Endurance
    21. Facebook
    22. Fifth & Pacific
    23. Frontier Communications
    24. Gap
    25. Google
    26. Hasbro
    27. Hershey
    28. Intel
    29. Kellogg's
    30. Kohl's
    31. L Brands
    32. Macy's
    33. Mattel
    34. McDonald's
    35. Microsoft
    36. Mondelez
    37. Monster
    38. Nike
    39. Nokia
    40. PVH
    41. Pepsi
    42. Quiksilver
    43. Ralph Lauren
    44. Santander Consumer USA (IPO)
    45. Starbucks
    46. Target
    47. Time Warner
    48. Twitter
    49. Unilever
    50. VF Corp
    51. Viacom
    52. Wal-Mart
    53. World Wrestling Entertainment
    54. YUM
    55. Yahoo

    Happy investing for your future.