Data Breaches Continue – Protect Yourself

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Another Day, Another Breach

Have we reached the point where Americans react to data breaches with a yawn? Given the constant stream of new attacks and the staggering number of accounts involved, that’s an understandable reaction.

The sportswear retailer Adidas recently joined the list of companies successfully attacked by hackers. The size of the data breach isn’t fully determined as of this writing, but an Adidas spokesperson estimated that “a few million” consumers who purchased products through the company’s U.S. website could be affected.

So far, the breach involves contact information and usernames, along with encrypted passwords – but not credit card information or any personal information regarding health and fitness.

Adidas joins a long list of corporations hit by data breaches over the last few years, including Delta Air Lines, Sears, Boeing, Under Armour, Panera Bread, Hudson’s Bay Company, and Best Buy. Hackers have…

Renters’ Top 8 Biggest Concerns About Buying A Home

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Homeownership remains a goal for most Americans. According to NerdWallet’s 2018 Home Buyer Report, 91% of respondents want to own at least one home during their lifetime. However, that same report shows eight concerns renters have regarding that goal. If you haven’t bought a home yet, see if they match your concerns.

1. Purchase Cost – Home prices were the top concern, cited by approximately 65% of renters. Recent statistics validate their concern. According to Trulia, prices rose in the starter market by almost 58% over the last six years. First-time homebuyers are being squeezed out of some markets entirely.

2. Maintenance Cost – It’s easy to underestimate typical home maintenance costs – usually around 1% to 2% of your home’s value on an annual basis. Fifty-eight percent of renters cited this concern, understanding th…

Shimmers: The New Credit Card Skimmers

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By Tracy Scott

According to Visa®, the introduction of the EMV (Europay, MasterCard®, and Visa) chip card in late 2015 resulted in a 76% decrease in counterfeit fraud in less than three years. Visa claims that the use of chip cards is incredibly effective against fraudulent activity. Other major financial institutions praise chip cards as the gold standard for consumer credit card protection.

EMV chip cards addressed the vulnerability of magnetic strip credit cards, namely credit card skimming. In this scam, a device is physically attached to a gas pump, ATM, or point of sale machine to capture your account information without your consent. Once this information is obtained, a counterfeit card can be created to make purchases or withdraw cash from your account.

However, consumers who upgraded to chip cards may have …

American Homebuyers By The Numbers (Infographic)

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Who is buying homes in the US? Discover who these homebuyers are in our exclusive infographic above.

Lenders compare mortgage applications across several factors, including the credit scores of hopeful homebuyers. You can check your credit score and read your credit report for free within minutes using Credit Manager by MoneyTips.

Last week, we detailed what sacrifices people made to pay for their homes. Come back next week for our final installment, which will offer a profile of U.S. home sellers.

MoneyTips is happy to help you get free mortgage quotes fr…

Raise Your Credit Score, And Pay Less For Insurance

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A poor credit score makes your financial life difficult in a number of ways. You receive poorer interest rates and terms on credit cards, it’s harder to qualify for mortgages, and, “When it comes time to get insurance, maybe your insurance premiums will be a little more expensive because you have a low credit score,” says Millennial Money Expert Stefanie O’Connell.

Why would credit affect your insurance premiums? Insurers have to determine the premiums you pay based on the collective risk factors for that particular field. Greg McBride, Chief Financial Officer of Bankrate.com, includes insurance companies in this assessment: “They’re looking for ways to evaluate your risk, and creditworthiness is one of those metrics.”

Insurance companies typically don’t use your credit score directly, but they may incorporate your credit score and other relevant aspects of your credit history into a credit-based insurance score – an analogue that focuses not just on the ability …

Video: How Much Should You Pay For Your Mortgage?

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A zero-closing-cost home loan sounds good, but not if you are trading those costs off for a much higher interest rate throughout the life of the loan. In our exclusive video above, watch Mortgage Advisor Casey Fleming explain what factors to consider when comparing mortgage offers and how to calculate a home purchase loan you can live with.

If you’re looking for a home purchase loan, you have to know your credit score. You can check your credit score and read your credit report for free within minutes using Credit Manager by MoneyTips.

Not Paying Credit Cards – A Timeline to Avoid (Part 2)

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By Sandra Parsons

In a recent article, we described the implications of being less than three months late with your credit card payment. While late fees, increased interest rates, and a knock to your credit score are bad enough, there are even more serious consequences when your payment is late by ninety days or more. Nevertheless, there are some actions to take that could mitigate the damage.

When your payment is 90 days late

Whooh! Things are getting pretty bad right about now. You’ve been charged a fourth late fee. You’re paying high interest rates. The accumulation of fees, your outstanding balance, and your high rates means your balance might be getting out of control.

Your credit report and credit score – Once you hit nin…

Not Paying Credit Cards – A Timeline to Avoid

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By Sandra Parsons

With so many bills and so many due dates, you may sometimes be tempted to let a credit card payment slide until payday. Our advice? Don’t do it. Here’s what happens when you start missing credit card payments.

When your payment is 1-29 days late

When you fail to make your minimum credit card payment by the statement due date, it’s considered late. This is true even if it’s late by just one day. You might think a day or a week is no big deal, but even a minor slip-up can have the following consequences:

Late fees – If you miss a minimum payment, you can expect to be charged a late fee to the tune of $15-$40 dollars. This fee will be applied to your next statement.

Increased interest rate – If you miss a payment, your credit card issuer may increase your interest rate. If you currently enjoy a low introductory rate, you can kiss that goodbye. If you’re pa…

How Car Shopping Can Lower Your Credit Score

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Congratulations! Your shopping has paid off and you’ve finally found an excellent car at a reasonable price. Now, how do you plan to pay for it?

Dealers will be happy to arrange financing for you. Simply fill out and sign a loan application, and the Finance and Insurance (F&I) manager will immediately begin searching their lender network to find the best deal for you.

Unfortunately, dealers may submit your information to several lenders to acquire that deal – a method known as “shotgunning” – and that has the potential to lower your credit score.

Each lender will run a credit check to see if you qualify for the loan. These checks are more extensive “hard pulls” that slightly drop your credit score – typically less than five points unless you have other risk factors. A high number of hard pulls can give lenders the impression that you’re rapidly expanding your credit, making you a risk in their eyes.

Most scoring systems allow f…