Manage Your Accounts Better Today With These Easy Steps!

Credit Alerts Worth Setting Up Now

In order to maintain great credit scores, keeping track of all the activity on your accounts is key! Smart phones are attempting to make our lives easier with a multitude of applications. All major banking institutions now have online banking or apps to make life easier on their customers. These apps have the ability to “control” what comes and goes out of your bank. Gone are the days of driving to the bank to make a deposit. You can now take a screenshot and deposit through mobile banking. The possibilities are endless! We’ve made a list of several other ways to get the most out of your banking apps, most of which are free! Here are a few other ways to use those apps:

Maintenance Notifications:

Statement Notification: Many times it feels like the month flies by and bills are  due once again. ‘Payment due’ is now one of the most used alerts on mobile apps. When the payment is due, an alert pops up, reminding you ahead of time when to make a payment and what the balance is. You can set it up to notify you as soon as you would like! While auto pay or auto draft is great, it is still important to double check that the payment was taken on time. For many families with many different bills due at a time, this is a great way to reduce the headache of having to remember one more thing on that laundry list of “to-do’s” for the week.

Payment Received: Having this notification can ensure that the payment successfully went through and will notify  you immediately on your mobile device.  One of the worst things that can happen is  falling late on a credit card or payment.  Many times if something happens with a card on file and the payment is not processed, consumers don’t catch it. This will ensure that you know those payments are made on time and for the correct amount. To set these up, you will want to download the credit card or bank app you use and turn the notifications on for all purchases and payments made.

Balance Notification: This is a great notification to have set up, as it is very important piece of the puzzle for your credit score. A great rule of thumb is to keep the balances below 30%. The best thing for your credit score is two revolving accounts and two installments in order to have a healthy credit profile. The lower the balance, the better the score is! So, if you’ve noticed your credit card keeps creeping out of your wallet, you can set up notifications at a certain balance so overspending is combated. It is almost like an accountability partner and is great if you find yourself overspending often!

 

credit apps

 

Preventative Notifications:

  1. Suspicious activity- Your bank or credit card company will now send a text message to you if you would like if  there is suspicious activity on the account. The message may sound similar to this: Please verify activity on ____ card ending in ___ at this Location. You can then confirm or deny this text.  If you reply deny, a text follows up with a message that you will receive a phone call in the morning to go over the details. Easy enough, right?
  2. Card not present-Purchases made online will notify you with an alert. Online shopping has seen a dramatic spike in identity theft. For this reason, a feature such as this is a great to keep in mind.
  3. Gas-Any purchase made at a convenient store or gas station will alert you, if you wish. Unfortunately not every station requires a pin to make purchases.
  4. International Purchases-This is not a new feature but is great to keep in mind. If you are traveling, always notify your institution of the activity. Some will automatically turn the card off on you in order to protect the cardholder.
  5. Over limit-This notification is set up by the cardholder and notifies them any time a purchase is made over a certain price.

For more information about your credit score, please give Credit Law Center a call at 1-800-994-3070.

A note from the author:The opinions you read here come from our editorial team. Our content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when we initially post it.

Article by Breana Washington

 

developmentally Disabled and Finances

How to Protect Those With a Developmental Disability When Handling Finances

Managing money can be challenging for most Americans, even in the best situations. For the 6.5 million people in the United States living with a developmental disability money, credit and debt create a unique concern.

Developmental disability is a term used when a person has a specific limitation in cognitive functioning and skills, including communication, social and self-care skills. Examples of developmental disabilities include autism, attention deficit disorders, and intellectual disabilities.

Developmental disabilities vary greatly, so do the abilities of the disabled to handle their finances. Some individuals with developmental disabilities may be able to make sound financial decisions and for others receiving a credit card solicitation may lead them to overspend and put them at significant risk for a financial uproar.

How Can I Help My Family Member Make Sound Money Decisions

For many family members caring for an individual with a developmental disability we often question how much do we help, or what do we do to protect their finances. The ultimate goal is to achieve as much independence and still be there for them when they need our help.

Here are a few tips on how to help a developmentally disabled loved one with their finances.

1.Don’t Overstep

Intellectual disabilities vary in degrees, and for some individuals, they may be perfectly capable of handling their finances. If you are helping that individual in other activities of their daily living, it may be very natural for you to want to help them with this area. Many individuals with disabilities want to be as independent as possible. It is important to remember that they may see this as you overstepping or you trying to control their life. Keep in mind what their strong points are and offer advice as you would to any other.

Set up Accounts with Limitations

You may be tempted to set up joint checking accounts, or a credit card with an authorized user so you can easily track their spending behaviors.It is also important to remember that setting up these types of accounts opens you up to financial liability for any checks written or any credit card charges they have made. You may consider opening a Secured credit card for them, a prepaid card.

Put Credit Safeguards in Place

Reduce the number of credit offers sent to your developmentally disabled family member by opting out of receiving prescreened offers of credit at OptOutPreScreen.Com or by calling 888-5-OPT-OUT.

You may also want to look into putting a credit freeze on your loved one’s credit report. Having a freeze placed will make it difficult to obtain credit, but could also prevent your loved one from impulsive credit card applications.

Monitoring your loved ones credit report for any unauthorized activity or any credit errors is a good rule of thumb. Consumers are allowed one free credit report from all three major credit reporting bureaus; this can be obtained at www.annualcreditreport.com. 

Depending on the level of developmental disability you may also look into either guardianship or become power of attorney for your loved one.

Credit Law Center- Golden Ticket

Having a High Credit Score Could Be The Golden Ticket to Credit

A Credit score is a three digit number that could potentially make or break you when it comes to obtaining credit. Having a number above 740 is like having the Golden Ticket to getting credit.

Potential creditors look at your credit score to determine your risk. Your credit score is similar to a report card, with a grade on how financially responsible you are with your money.

What makes up your credit score?

  1. Payment History – 35% of your score, paying all bills on time will be a key factor. It is important to know that any late payments you have had will affect your score for some time and anything over 60 or 90 days late will be detrimental to your score.
  2. Amounts Owed – 30% of your score is determined by the percentage of available credit you being used. A good rule of thumb is keeping the amount owed under 30% of your available credit.
  3. The Length of Credit History – 15% of your score is based on the length of time you have had your cards open. Keeping the oldest account open and active will give you a stronger credit profile.
  4. Credit Mix – 10% of your score, having a good mix of credit shows you will be able to handle multiple types of credit lines. It is best to have a few credit card account and installment accounts.
  5. New Credit – 10% of your score is determined by how many new accounts you have opened. Having a few brand new accounts will affect your score.

Data from your credit report goes into five categories to make up a credit score.

Credit Report Grade Card

700 – 850 Excellent
680 – 699 Good
620 – 679 Average
580 – 619 Low
500 – 579 Poor
300 – 499 Bad

Having a zero credit score doesn’t always mean you have terrible credit, it usually just means you haven’t begun to establish credit yet. A zero score may also mean that you may have a harder time borrowing money from creditors since they have nothing to grade you on.

Having a score of 740 or higher qualifies you for the best interest rates, credit cards, and loans. It is also important to remember that the credit score is just a filter in the process of getting approved. Lenders will also look at your actual credit history.

It is important to remember that even if you have had a few mishaps or haven’t established credit yet, it is fixable. Remember the factors that are used to calculate your score and be conscious of your decisions, if you are unsure reach out to an expert.

5 Tips to stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck

5 Tips to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck- Credit Law Center

Many Americans are ending up broke month after month, even when their income is well above the poverty line. A recent survey by Suntrust Banks found that a third of higher-income households, (those that bring more than $75,000 or more a year) are living paycheck to paycheck.

It’s easy to get caught up in debt, once you are living paycheck to paycheck. You are more likely to use credit cards to pay for monthly expenses, therefore racking up more debt. Each month you will pay just the minimum amount owed, and continuing to rack up more and more interest.

If your income is steady, but your financial habits are what is causing you to live paycheck to paycheck, here are some helpful tips to overcome the paycheck to paycheck struggle.

1. Create a Monthly Budget

Many of us are poor at money management because we haven’t been taught the proper ways to manage money. Creating a monthly budget and sticking to it is much as possible. Budgets are a great way to get you back on track. Some budgets can be as simple as keeping track of your paydays and the due dates of all your monthly expenses, then determine items you might be able to cut back on to start saving money.

2. Stop Spending Impulsively

How many times have you grabbed something that has been placed at the end of an aisle at the grocery store, or Target? At some point or another, I am sure we are all guilty of this. Often we don’t ever use the product, or we may get home and instantly regret purchasing it.

3. Stop letting your feelings sway your shopping

Instant gratification can be a huge culprit in buying items we do not need. Emotions play a significant role in buying unnecessary items, your child may be upset about something, and you go and buy him/her a new toy, or maybe you just rearranged your living room, and you decided that to make it complete you need a new chair. You go and buy, and regret spending the money later. When you are feeling this way, maybe writing it down on a wish list will help curb the impulsive spending.

4. You’re Still Paying for Unused Memberships

With debit cards and credit cards being readily assessable to pay for things in this day and age, it allows for us to sign-up for gym memberships, video programs, and more. I know I have a gym membership that I have paid for the last 12 months and never used it.

5. Pay Attention to Your Bank Statement and Credit Card Statements

If you find yourself broke month after month, it may be a little easier to stomach if you avoid looking at your bank statements and credit card statements. Avoiding these important financial documents could be detrimental to your financial health. How can you possibly create a budget or tackle your financial situation if you are avoiding the key to your situation? You can’t! It is also important to review your statements to make sure all information reporting is correct, in this day and age there is a significant amount of fraud going on.

After you find ways to cut unnecessary spending and begin saving it will be important to start paying more than the minimum on your current credit card obligations. This will significantly help pay down the amounts owed and the interest you pay.