Nearly Half Of Millennials Feel Held Back By Credit Score


Is a bad credit score dragging you down? Almost half of millennials (46%) feel that way, according to a new survey conducted by OppLoans.

It’s an understandable feeling, given that millennials came of age during one of the worst recessions in decades. Many millennials emerged from the recession with delayed careers or lower-than-expected earnings and burdened with excessive student loan debt before they even started.

As a result, millennials tend to have lower average credit scores. According to Experian, millennials had an average VantageScore of 638 in 2017 – well below the overall average score of 675. In the previous year, TransUnion found that 43% of millennials had scores considered to be subprime.

The ripple effects of bad credit are reflected in many of the survey results. One-quarter of millennials claim that poor credit adversely affected their housing opportunities, while 14% of millennials continue to live with roommates because bad …

How To Best Pull Off A Balance Transfer


By Tracy Scott

Have you been ignoring those credit card offers that arrive in your mailbox each week? If so, reconsider slam-dunking them into the circular file… especially if you have credit card debt you’d like to eliminate. Sound counterintuitive? A balance transfer may be the quickest way for you to pay off your current credit card debt. Learn how to spot the best ones (often found online) and how to perform an easy transfer that can help you pay off your debt quicker and with less interest.

Step 1. Understand the Basics

All balance transfer credit cards are not created equal. Before you apply for a zero-interest credit card, you need to know the important aspects of selecting a new card that should impact your final decision. Banks are competing for your business, so be sure to compare different balance transfer fees, post-introductory rates, and bala…

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….

Card Cracking 101


By Sandra Parsons

While Cardi B is topping the charts, “Card Cracking” is ruining some music fans’ lives. Rapper Young Ash and five others were recently indicted for running a card cracking ring that recruited accomplices through her Snapchat channel. Learn how card cracking works and how you can avoid falling victim to such a scam.

What is card cracking?

Card cracking is a type of financial fraud in which the fraudster promises easy money to entice regular people into sharing their debit card, PIN, and online banking credentials. The fraudster deposits bad checks (often online) and then quickly withdraws them from the ATM. They instruct their victim/accomplice to report the activity to their bank as unauthorized to get reimbursed for the loss once the checks bounce. The fraudster walks away with the withdrawn cash, and the accomplice gets a cut of the profits.

However, it doesn’t usually play out the way the accomplice t…

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…