Are Credit Monitoring Services Worth It?

Credit

You know that your credit is important.

From getting a mortgage, to buying a car, to getting the best insurance rates, your credit can impact how much you pay, and whether you get the loan you need.

Staying on top of your credit is important if you want to save thousands of dollars over your lifetime.

On top of that, identity theft is the fastest growing crime, and everyone is vulnerable.

No matter how hard you try to keep your information safe, there is no way to completely guarantee that you won’t end up the victim of identity theft.

One of the earliest ways to catch identity fraud is to keep tabs on what is happening with your credit.

Because good credit is such a concern, and because identity theft is a very real fear, many people turn to credit monitoring services.  These services can help you keep track of whether or not your credit is improving, as well as notify you when someone opens credit in your name (and signaling that someone else might be using your identity).

But are credit monitoring services worth it? Continue Reading

Victim of Identity Theft? Here Are Your Next Steps to Protect Yourself

Credit card security

One of the fastest growing crimes in identity theft.

It’s the theft of information about you — information that can be used by fraudsters to pretend to be you and get access to a number of perks using your good name.

Whether your credit card number has been stolen, or whether someone is using your information to qualify for a car loan, it’s possible for someone else to pretend to be you.

Your stolen identity can impact you and your finances.

Obviously, if someone steals your credit card information and makes purchases, that can impact your abilities to use your own financial resources — at least until you take action.  If someone is using your card for purchases, you could be denied when you go to make purchases later.  And, if someone uses your information to open a loan, it shows up as your debt in your credit report.  If the fraudster isn’t making payments, it’s your credit that is sunk.

Once you realize that your identity has been stolen, it’s important to take action.

Here are the steps to follow as soon as you realize that your identity has been compromised: Continue Reading

New Technology Makes Shopping With Your Credit Card Easier

Most of us can’t remember a time when credit cards weren’t a part of our wallets.

Remember the Diner’s Club card?

Credit cards actually go back to the 1920′s when gas station attendants wanted to provide a system of payment for the increasing amount of automobiles on the roads.  The first cards were made out of card stock making them easy to counterfeit but as is the case with every good idea, evolution took over.

As of this year, of the households who have a credit card balance, the average amount of debt is $15,956 per household which equals total outstanding balances of $609.8 billion nationwide.

The evolution of the credit card is far from over.

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How to Make Your Own Pre-Paid Debit Card – And Suze Orman’s Approved Card

There’s been a bit of a ruckus with the release Suze Orman’s pre-paid debit card — the Approved Card.

Her card joins other celebrity cards such as the Rush Card and the Kardashian Card.

The problem, many claim, is that pre-paid debit cards come with fees to use them.  With Suze’s card, people are claiming that she is just profiting from her audience.

I’d like to show you an alternative to pre-paid debit cards.  In fact, I’m going to show you how to make your own pre-paid debit card!

First though, let’s go over what a pre-paid debit card is.

What is a Pre-Paid Debit Card?

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Get Your Credit Score…For Free

You know you need to have a great credit score.  But how can you get your credit score for free?

Having a good credit score will open all sorts of financial doors for you.  It’s fairly well-known that your credit score means a lot when you are applying for loans.  If you want to get approved for a loan, you need a good score.  If you want the best interest rates, you need a great score.

Having a good credit score will save you a ton in interest charges.

You can save hundreds, or even thousands, over the life of your loan.  Whether you are applying for a mortgage, an auto loan, or a credit card, good credit is essential if you want to be approved on the best terms.

You should also realize that your credit score can be used for other purposes as well.
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The Three Best Financial Moves You Can Make for Your Child

My grandmother was a young bride during the Great Depression, and some of the frugality she practiced during that time never left her. When I was young, I routinely saw her washing aluminum foil and plastic bags for reuse.

She and my grandfather lived in a trailer park during retirement to minimize their monthly expenses, and when my grandpa died at 88 and later my grandma at 90, they still had a enough money left to give a small inheritance to their nine children.

That type of sacrifice and money management is seen less often nowadays.

In fact, we routinely hear about college students who graduate with thousands of dollars in both student loan and credit card debt and struggle to find a job and pay their bills.

Yet, as a parent, there are three important things you can do for your teen to put them on the financial track that will lead to a life of prosperity.

Three Best Financial Moves You Can Make for Your Child

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How to Fix an Error on Your Credit Report

Credit_report_history_225

According to CBS News, approximately 80% of credit reports contain errors.  These errors range from minor, such as a misspelling of your name, to an error on your address, to serious such as the same mortgage appearing twice on the report or a loan showing that it is still open when it in fact has been paid off.  These latter examples can be enough to deny you future credit, especially if your debt to income ratio is perceived to be too high thanks to the error.  I myself found an error on my credit report — a student loan I paid off over 12 years ago still shows as being current.

How do these errors occur?  Some may be simple typographical errors, while others occur when a loan is sold to another institution.  Regardless of how the errors occur, it is important that you find them and correct them so that your credit report reflects your true credit history. Continue Reading

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