Posted on 2016-02-18 08:00:50
There is no shortage of misinformation floating around concerning credit. Here are five important things everyone should know about credit reports. 1. Credit matters for more than just credit applications. There’s no getting around it. Whether you are applying for a mortgage, auto loan or credit card, renting an apartment or getting cable TV, your credit matters. Your credit report can determine not only whether or not you get credit, but on what terms. If your credit is bad, you may be denied credit or have to put down a larger deposit. Credit is also used in other surprising ways, such as by employers who may review your credit report as part of the application process. 2. Credit scores are not part of your credit report. The three national credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion—store the information reported to them by creditors and others. Your credit report does not include your credit score, but rather your credit score is calculated based on the information in it at the time someone requests your credit score. Because the information in your credit report can change often, your credit score may fluctuate from day to day.
Posted on 2016-02-10 08:00:40
Where there is a will, there’s a way. That seems to be the mantra of identity thieves who come at identity theft from a new angle when something gets in their way. Such is the case with chip or EMV cards—credit and debit cards with an embedded microchip. What is an identity thief to do? One thing is certain. Identity thieves will adapt and find new ways to steal identities. But for now, time is on their side. Magnetic Stripes vs Embedded Chips Anyone who has used a credit or debit card is familiar with the magnetic stripe on the back of the card. The magnetic stripe contains information about the cardholder account. It didn’t take criminals long to figure out how to clone the magnetic stripes, and credit card fraud has been a huge problem ever since. Chip cards are much harder to counterfeit. Each transaction encrypts different data. A clone of the card would be easily identified as a fake if it were used because the chip terminal would recognize the data from a previous transaction.
Millions of US cardholders have now received a new credit or debit card with an embedded chip. But what is still on the back? A magnetic stripe! That’s because it will take several more years for a full transition to chip technology. Until then some merchants cannot read cards without a magnetic stripe. Until those ubiquitous magnetic stripes are gone, the risk for identity theft from cloning a card is still strong. Some would even say the United States has become even more of a target for credit card identity theft because we are still in the transition stage while other countries have long moved on. The New Identity Theft Risk Identity thieves have a way of staying one step ahead of the latest technology, and they won’t give up because of chip technology. One new workaround may be opening new credit accounts instead of using an existing account for credit card fraud. Statistics seem to support this theory. Last year (2015) saw a noticeable decline in fraud to existing accounts and a rise in fraud from new accounts. What does this mean to consumers? Pay attention to your credit report! If you only check your credit report once a year, you could be in for a big surprise the next time you take a look. A credit monitoring service will check your credit report daily and notify you whenever a new account shows up on your credit report. Score one for the consumer!
Posted on 2016-02-02 08:00:34
Make 2016 the year to stay on top of your credit report. Your credit report—and the credit score calculated based on the information in it—affects many aspects of your life. The obvious is that creditors will check your credit report or credit score before making a decision on a credit application. The information in your credit report can not only affect a yes/no credit decision, but it can also affect the interest rate you will pay. Who wants to pay more in interest? But the days of credit reports being strictly used for credit decisions are long gone. Today, many entities use credit reports to make decision including employers, landlords and insurance companies.
Posted on 2015-12-29 17:59:00
If you have ever taken out a loan or applied for a credit card, chances are good that you have a credit report with at least one of the three major credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian or TransUnion. Chances are also good that you’ve heard several myths about credit reports. Here we get to the truth about 5 common credit report myths. Myth #1: Paying off a past-due item will remove it from your credit report.Truth: Late payments can remain on your credit report for up to seven years from the date of the missed payment. Making a payment will update your credit report to show you are now current on the account, but it will not remove the history of the late payment. Paying bills on time—every time—is key to a good credit score. Myth #2: Income and bank accounts are included on your credit report.Truth: Your credit report contains no record of your salary or financial accounts other than those used for credit. You can have a million dollars in the bank, and a late payment will still show up on your credit report and impact your credit score.
Myth #3: You don’t need to worry about unpaid library fines and parking tickets.Truth: While it’s true libraries and police municipalities do not report directly to the credit bureaus, they may turn unpaid debts—even small ones—over to a collection agency. If that happens, the collection agency will almost certainly report the debt to one or more of the credit bureaus. Never brush off a debt just because it is small or not from a credit card company. Myth #4: If you pay your bills on time, there is no need to check your credit report.Truth: Credit reports have a high rate of errors, and those errors could affect your credit score. New information gets added to your credit report frequently as the companies you do business with report your credit history to the credit bureaus. A credit monitoring service makes it easy to keep tabs on your credit report by alerting you whenever there is a significant change that should be verified. Myth #5: Checking your own credit report can hurt your credit score.Truth: This one is our personal favorite. The truth is that checking your own credit report has absolutely no affect on your credit score. Zilch! If you use a credit monitor service such as MyFreeScoreNow, your credit report will be checked daily, and it will have no impact whatsoever on your credit score.
Posted on 2015-12-23 12:03:19
Whether you’ve spent a year damaging your credit score with poor credit habits or let the holidays entice you into overspending, now is the time to work on a better credit score. A good credit score is rarely a coincidence. Credit scores are designed to reflect your credit history, that is, how you have used credit over time. It is usually those who conscientiously think about their credit habits who have the higher credit scores. Here are 4 credit habits to adopt now for a better credit score in 2016. Always pay bills on time. This is a “no exceptions” rule. On most credit score scales, your payment history accounts for about 35 percent of your credit score. Even a single late payment can cause a significant drop. The impact will likely be more serious for someone who already has a good credit score. Keep account balances low. In other words, avoid overspending. Most experts recommend keeping your account balances below 25% of your credit limit; some recommend as low as 10%. If your balances are consistently higher than that, consider locking up your credit cards for a time. Let those balances drop. If you are one who uses credit cards to earn rewards, make sure your statement closing balance falls below 25%. If necessary, pay down your balance before your statement closes.