Credit Unfreezes Vs. Credit Thaws Vs. Credit Unlocks

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Identity thieves aren’t going to open any accounts in your name, because you applied either a credit freeze or a credit lock to your account with all three of the major credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion). Lenders can’t access your credit report, and therefore, they won’t issue credit in your name.

If you want to open a legitimate credit account, you’ll have to remove the barrier (permanently unfreeze your credit, temporarily thaw a credit freeze, or unlock a credit lock). How do you remove and reapply your credit protection in the most efficient way possible?

The key is to keep the fewest number of accounts open for the shortest time possible. You’ll decrease the odds of criminals opening a fraudulent account in your name – especially if they’ve tried and failed before. They’ll move on to easier targets.

Credit freezes and credit locks both prevent …

Scary Financial Facts

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Are you ready for some Halloween horror stories? Forget Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, or Michael Myers – we’ve got something really scary for you. Those three famous horror movie characters can’t compete with these three real-life financial horrors.

The Debt’s Coming from Inside the House! Get Out Now! – America’s national debt has topped a staggering $21.6 trillion – but your main concern is your own household debt. Unfortunately, America’s household finances aren’t in much better shape.

According to the New York Federal Reserve’s Q2 2018 Household Debt and Credit Report, aggregate household debt is $13.29 trillion – the highest collective debt ever. Household debt has been rising for the last sixteen quarters. Outstanding student loans alone have topped $1.5 trillion. Revolving debt – mostly credit card debt – hit $1.03 trillion.

Out-of-control spending can crush your finances. To prevent spending binges,

Knowing Your Credit Score Leads To Higher Credit Scores!

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“Knowledge is power.” This famous quote, typically attributed to Sir Francis Bacon in 1597, surely wasn’t referring to credit scores – but, according to a new study, knowledge of your credit score does give you the power to manage credit responsibly.

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin, New York University, and the University of Chicago studied over 400,000 consumers of private student loans from June 2015 to June 2017. Sallie Mae offered free access to FICO scores over this period, but some consumers also received quarterly e-mail updates on their score and the underlying factors and calculations.

When e-mail updates were provided, consumers were 65% more likely to view their credit scores. Those who viewed their credit scores were significantly more likely to increase their scores and less likely to have accounts with missed payments.

Why would knowing your credit score help you improve it? The study’s authors suggest that a credit score make…

Don’t Let A Refi Hurt Your Credit Score

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By Tracy Scott

Do you have a loan payment that is squeezing your monthly budget a bit tighter than you’d planned? When you borrowed the money five years ago, you may have been in a different job, childless or paying less on other household expenses. Refinancing may provide the needed relief for your financial situation. It may also prevent you from needing to make bad money choices such as maxing out your credit card for groceries or opening new lines of credit to pay your bills.

What Does Refinancing Mean?

Refinancing is paying off a current loan by originating a new one. The old debt still exists, but it is now in the form of a new loan, quite often with a lower payment and interest rate. You need good credit to qualify for a refinance. Just as when you applied for the original loan, approval is often based on your ability to repay the loan, your employment history, and your current credit score.

Check Your Credit Before The Landlord Does

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Your Credit Can Affect Your Housing

When you apply for credit, you expect a potential lender to check your credit report. The lender wants to assess the risk of lending you money before approving your application.

Did you realize that potential landlords could check your credit report as well? A 2014 study by the credit reporting agency TransUnion found that nearly half of landlords surveyed considered credit check results as one of the top three factors in evaluating a potential tenant’s application. Landlords want proof that you’ll make payments on time, just like lenders do.

Is your credit report being correctly compiled by the three major credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) – and if so, is it being correctly represented to the landlord? You can’t take either one for granted.

Protecting Yourself Against Fraud And Theft Beyond Credit Freezes

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Credit freezes are one of the strongest actions you can take to prevent damage from identity theft.

When you freeze your credit, lenders can’t access your credit report to assess the risk of lending you money. Even if they have your personal information, thieves can’t open new accounts in your name. You can’t, either – but you can thaw your account and re-freeze it once you’re finished with new credit applications.

Unfortunately, a credit freeze doesn’t cover all potential sources of fraud. Credit freezes don’t affect existing accounts. You must take separate steps to protect them.

To exploit existing accounts, thieves must have enough information to access them – such as log-ins and passwords. Start by assuming that your data has been breached and that you’re on the defensive.

Check all bank and credit card statements for any fraudulent charges and review a …

Is Your Credit Score As High As Your Peers’?

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You may think you have an average credit score – but do you really? How does your credit score compare to the national average? How about within your age group? Thanks to new information from FICO, you can see where you stand.

The average FICO score reached an all-time high of 704 this year– right in the middle of the good credit range (670-739) according to the credit reporting agency Experian. However, the average clearly shifts upward with age. The youngest age group (ages 18-29) has an average credit score of 659, while the oldest age group (age sixty and older) has an average credit score of 747.

The other age groups follow the same credit score pattern. The 30-39 age group averages 677, the 40-49 age group averages 690, and the 50-59 age group averages 713.

Why would credit scores increase with age?

Credit scores are based on risk assessment. The …

91% Of Us Have Taken Steps To Protect Against Identity Theft

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In September 2017, America learned about the massive data breach at the credit reporting agency Equifax that affected approximately 148 million consumers – one of the largest breaches ever. Identity thieves suddenly acquired a new batch of Social Security numbers, names, addresses, phone numbers, and other personal information.

Consumers were advised to take steps immediately to protect themselves against identity theft. Did they heed that advice? A new survey from CompareCards.com shows that the vast majority of Americans (91%) took at least one protective step against identity theft while the average American had taken at least three steps.

The most cited protective steps were reviewing online bank and credit card statements more often (65%), checking credit scores (51%), and setting up alerts to notify users when charges were made to their accounts (50%).

Video: Why Seniors Should Care About Their Credit Scores

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Do you know an older American who is struggling with credit? Or doesn’t have any? In our exclusive video above, Nav Education Director Gerri Detweiler explains why a good credit score is important even in retirement.

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

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