Video: Getting The Most From Identity Theft Protection


Like many other personal finance experts, author Jordan Goodman recommends using an Identity Theft Protection service to safeguard against the growing scourge of Identity Theft. In this video, “America’s Money Answers Man” explains how to get the most out of using one.

If you would like to monitor your credit to prevent identity theft and see your credit reports and scores, check out Identity Protector by MoneyTips.

Six Tips on Credit Card Fraud Prevention in the Digital Age


In a payments landscape where everything from Apple Pay to cryptocurrency is now available, credit cards and debit cards remain the go-to payment method of choice for most people today. Card payments are faster and, in many ways, more secure than ever before, particularly with the advent of chip technology as a second line of defense against fraud.

However, credit card fraud is still very much alive in 2018. While technology provides a safety net of sorts, consumers still need to be proactive about managing their transactions and statements. Here are six critical tips to help protect against credit card fraud in 2018.

1. Sanity Check Your Statements and Receipts

Sometimes fraud isn’t fraud in the truest sense, but rather a mistake by a cashier. In other cases, mystery charges on your monthly statement may cause you to scratch your head and call your card issuer. In eith…

Mortgage Deduction Claims Will Drop More Than 50%


Who wants simpler taxes? Most of us do, assuming we also keep more money in the process.

Starting in 2018, homeowners are more likely to have simpler tax returns – but they may need to make similar tax calculations to ensure a lower tax bill.

Tax simplification was part of the pitch to sell the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) to the American public. To help achieve this goal, Congress raised standard deductions and reduced or eliminated several itemized deductions with the TCJA to encourage filers to take the standard deduction. Taxes are much simpler if you don’t itemize, and there’s no reason to itemize if your standard deduction is greater than your collective itemized deductions.

The TCJA raised the standard deduction for married couples filing jointly to $24,000 (almost double the previous deduction of $12,700). The standard deduction for single filers rose…

What Do I Do When My Debt Is Sold?


Just like assets can be sold, so can debts. It’s possible that your auto loan or mortgage could be sold by one lender to another. If your debt is in good standing, the terms and conditions of your agreement generally apply, but things relating to the servicing of your loan such as due dates and payment arrangements may change.

The new loan servicer must notify you within 30 days of assuming your loan, providing the date of transfer and the contact information that you will need to continue your payments. Since the due dates may change and any autopayment functions may need to be established, you should act as early as possible and contact the new servicer to work out details and verify that your loan terms remained intact. Mistakes can happen, and it’s less costly to spot them early.

If you already sent your payment into the previous servicer, don’t panic. You have a 60-day grace period that waives late fees if you mistakenly sent the payment to the wrong lender….

5 Steps To Take After (Finally) Paying Off Your Credit Cards


With hard work and discipline, you’ve managed to whittle down your sizable credit card debt to zero. What’s the next step? More hard work and discipline. Keep doing what you were doing, because it’s working for you.

The principles that allowed you to eliminate your debt established fiscal responsibility and gave you positive momentum. Don’t let that momentum slip away. Follow these five steps to keep increasing credit card balances a thing of the past.

Keep the Surplus – Now that you’ve eliminated your credit card balance, resist the urge to go on a spending spree. Don’t settle for merely limiting charges to the amount that you can pay off at the end of the month. Keep your budget steady and spending low so that income continues to exceed expenses. You have better things to do with the surplus.

Build Emergency/Retirement Funds – The first priority with your surplus should be to start an emergency fund that provides a bu…

The Easy Way To Save Thousands On Your Mortgage


You probably comparison-shop for most of your purchases, especially the high-dollar ones. If you’re going to spend money on a new appliance or an automobile, you want to review options to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), there’s a big exception to this rule – mortgages. Almost one-third of homebuyers don’t bother shopping around with different lenders to find the best mortgage rate offer for their home purchase. In fact, over three-quarters of homebuyers applied for a mortgage with only one lender!

Why would you not shop around for the mortgage rate on your new home – the largest purchase that most Americans will ever make in their lifetime?

The CFPB suggests several reasons, topped by the assumption that shopping makes no tangible difference. A previous survey by the CFPB and the Federal Housing Finance Agency found that most consumers assume all mortgage lenders offer roughly the sam…

5 Spending Habits That Won’t Rebuild Your Credit


When your credit score is down, it takes great effort to rebuild it. You have to take care to pay down your debts and get your finances in order. You may also have to change some of your spending habits to have the greatest impact. Consider these five spending habits that will retard your credit rebuilding efforts.

1. Paying Cash

Arguably, it is responsible behavior to pay your bills with cash but using cash does not give lenders any way to assess your creditworthiness. There is no payback to monitor because there is no lending involved.

As Millennial Money Expert Stefanie O’Connell notes: “If you are not borrowing money and you have no history of borrowing money, then you have no credit. That means not being able to be approved for the mortgage or the auto loan or the personal loan… whatever it is in the future.”

2. Using Debit Cards or Prepaid Cards

The same principle applies here as it does with…

Video: The Top 3 Credit Score Myths


Does checking your credit score actually lower it? How does avoiding credit or closing an old account impact your current rating? Watch our exclusive video above as MoneyTips Consumer Advocate Kristin Malia reveals the truth behind three popular credit myths.

You can check your credit score and read your credit report for free within minutes using Credit Manager by MoneyTips.

All About Real Estate Disclosures


You want to know exactly what you are getting when you make any large purchase, especially when you are buying a home – the largest purchase that many Americans will ever make in their life. That’s why a real estate disclosure statement is a fundamental part of any real estate transaction.

By law, home sellers must provide a disclosure statement in writing regarding the condition of their home. The contents of disclosure statements vary by state and municipality, but they must disclose known hazards and defects of the home, as well as any important information that may affect the seller’s decision.

As a seller, you must make sure that you compile a thorough list of disclosure items. Your agent should be able to help you determine if each item must be disclosed.

Sellers are not required to search for any unknown defects, but failing to disclose a reasonab…