Don’t Let A Credit Dispute Blow Your Mortgage

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“Always check your credit report for errors, and dispute any errors as soon as possible.” We normally give this advice, but there are a few exceptions to this rule – including when you are preparing to apply for a mortgage loan.

Errors in credit reports should generally be disputed because of the potentially detrimental effects on your credit score. Matt Schulz, Senior Industry Analyst at CreditCards.com, puts it this way: “The thing about a credit score is it’s not really important every single day, but when it’s important, it’s really important.”

Mortgage loans are one of those important occasions where a high credit score is essential – you want your credit score to be as high as possible in order to qualify for the best interest rates and save thousands of dollars over the life of a loan. Unfortunately, if a loan officer sees that items on your credit report are …

Less Than 1 In 3 Parents Teach Their Kids About Credit Scores

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Your kids are growing up fast. Soon, it will be time to have … the talk.

No, not that one. We’re referring to the talk about responsible use of credit. If you don’t drive home the importance of good credit practices while your children are young, they’re more likely to learn about credit the hard way – by racking up more debt than they can pay off.

A new survey by Chase suggests that many parents are not giving their children sufficient understanding of credit and how to use it wisely. The Chase Slate Credit Outlook found that while 56% of parents have talked to their children about money, only 32% of parents explained credit scores to them.

A greater percentage of parents (38%) encouraged their kids to get their first credit cards – thus, at least 6% of parents directed their children toward credit cards without giving them a full understanding of how they work.

When should you start a credit discussion with your children? According to Rod …

Video: Improve Your Finances With These Free Tools

MoneyTips

Did you know that MoneyTips offers not one or two, but three free tools for you to control your credit and master your finances? Learn more from MoneyTips Consumer Advocate Kristin Malia and MoneyTips Chief Marketing Officer Mark Fidelman in our exclusive video above.

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

Need Down Payment Help? Consider Shared Equity

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You want to buy a home and have the income to support a decent monthly payment – but you can’t save up enough money for a significant down payment. With home prices and interest rates rising, you’re afraid that you’ll be priced out of the market before you can save up a full down payment.

If you qualify for FHA or VA loans, you may be able to secure a loan with far less than the standard 20% down payment required to avoid private mortgage insurance (PMI). However, you’ll have to borrow more money by definition and will end up paying considerably more in interest over the life of the loan.

A few companies are offering a new alternative for down payment assistance – a shared equity mortgage. With a shared equity mortgage, a third-party investor contributes a portion of your down payment in exchange for a share of the proceeds …

1 In 3 Use Credit Cards Simply For Rewards

MoneyTips

Do you consider a rewards program as an integral part of your credit card choice? According to a new study by finder.com, close to one-third of Americans use credit cards just to get the associated rewards.

The finder survey suggests that approximately 71.7 million Americans (29.2% of the adult population) make credit card purchases just to receive the rewards. We spend an average of over $2,400 per person – almost $176 billion total – making purchases to rack up points.

“The powerful rewards associated with a credit card have been quite a motivator for consumers to swipe their plastic,” reveals finder.com’s.com’s Consumer Advocate, Jennifer McDermott. “Earning cash, travel miles or other items in exchange for using a particular payment method can feel like a major win at the time, but it can lead to overspending and going into debt.”

Where do we m…

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…