Blog Posts by Kelsey Havens

Kelsey Havens is a writer, financial health enthusiast, consumer protection advocate and Content Manager at myFICO. Connect with her on Google Plus: +KelseyHavens

Identity theft protection vs. credit monitoring: Which one is best?

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You have one noble goal: don’t become a victim of fraud. But what’s the best way to protect yourself? The most popular forms of protection fall into two categories: credit monitoring and identity theft protection. There’s a lot of debate about which type of service can protect you best. Here’s what you need to know about both.   Credit Monitoring One of your biggest concerns is probably how fraud and identity theft could impact your credit and thus ability to get a good loan. Credit monitoring is a great protection option, as you’ll be able to stay on top of suspicious changes to your credit reports—changes that could signify fraud.   PROS:   Most credit monitoring services scan your credit reports for changes at least weekly (FICO monitoring products … [Read more...]

5 Personal Finance Tips for Millennials

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So people keep calling you a millennial (some say it with a nicer tone than others). Amongst a variety of other defining characteristics, you have the unique (albeit unwelcomed) experience of graduating into a recession. Cons? Lower starting salaries and a lack of options. Pros? You’ve seen what irresponsible money management can do and you don’t want to make the same mistakes.     You’re also a victim of the tuition bubble, burdened with hefty student loan payments and a 30-year payoff plan that might as well be a mortgage. Now before you get out the violin, keep in mind that your generation is also relentlessly optimistic, savvy and smart, making you a force to be reckoned with in the workplace (conceal your ego though, please). If nothing else, we can assume your … [Read more...]

Word on the Web: June 2014

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  Ah, June. Home of the summer solstice, last days of school and the beginning of summer fun. It was also a great month for summer savings tips and budget planning. We scoured our favorite personal finance blogs looking for the best blog posts of June. Here’s what we found.       10 Simple all natural bug and mosquito repellents Maybe the worst part of summer is those relentless, blood-sucking bugs. But bug repellents can get expensive, especially if you’re constantly restocking. Plus, putting all those chemicals on your skin is more than a little disconcerting. Luckily, Wisebread has you covered. Check out these 10 natural bug and mosquito repellents for a budget-friendly and pest-free summer. Payment showdown: Race to a $0 balance Managing your … [Read more...]

The real-life effects of data breaches and identity theft

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Due to what feels like a constant flow of data breach announcements, the threat of identity theft has become common knowledge. We hear of personal information being stolen or exposed, but how that stolen information is used remains somewhat of a mystery unless you’ve actually experienced it. So let’s take a minute to imagine what it would really be like to become a victim of identity theft. Here are three scenarios.   1. Your favorite store gets hacked Hundreds of businesses are affected by data breaches every year, and these data breaches can expose your personal information. The real victim is the consumers, not the businesses themselves. Only a few weeks ago EBay suffered a data breach affecting its millions of consumers. It appears the hackers didn’t get any financial … [Read more...]

3 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Credit

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Understanding your full credit picture is usually a learning process. One category of common confusion is the why, what and how surrounding your three credit reports. If you don’t understand how all three of your credit reports affect your financial health, you might be facing some surprises next time you apply for a loan. Here are three things you should know:   #1.Your credit reports are fraternal Your credit reports aren’t identical triplets. In fact, the information on each report may vary greatly. That’s because lenders aren’t required to report to all three bureaus—or any bureaus for that matter. Plus, each bureau processes data differently, so the information reported could vary. For example, a small local lender may only report the credit obligation to one of the three … [Read more...]

Medical Data Breaches: Why Your Doctor Might Need a Check Up

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Think about the last time you went to the doctor’s office. Did you fill out a form with your Social Security number (SSN)? Were you prescribed any medicine? Did you disclose past allergic reactions?     Now think about what an identity thief could do with that kind of information. There’s a myriad of options, which is one of the reasons why medical identity theft impacted almost half (43%) of all identity theft victims in 2013. To get your information, an identity thief might hack your doctor’s digital filing system, find records leaked on file-sharing sites by an employee, or simply steal your doctor’s laptop. No matter how the data breach occurs, you’re left cleaning up a potentially life threatening mess. Here are just three potential … [Read more...]

Word on the Web: March

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      Spring is well on its way which means it’s time to plan for summer fun. Here are our top blog picks from March that will help you budget and save for a joy-packed summer.     8 Best Mobile Coupon Apps to Save Money Shopping on Your Smartphone Drop the scissors and toss the coupons—there’s a better way to save. MoneyCrashers.com reviews the best coupon apps out there so you can take your extreme couponing into the digital age.     Save Money on a Great American Road Trip Hoping to do some travelling this summer? Instead of spending loads of cash on plane tickets, consider a road trip. Wisebread.com shows you how to get the most bang for your buck while touring the nation.     5 Tips to Save Energy (and … [Read more...]

5 Credit Spring Cleaning Tips

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After the holidays and long winter, it’s not just your house that needs a deep clean. Your credit reports, balances or savings might be looking a little dirty, too. While you’re making a checklist of things to throw out, clean or redo, we recommend adding a few credit items to the list. In the name of the season, we’ve got 5 spring cleaning tips for your credit!   1.       Check your credit reports for any errors   It’s extremely important to make sure there aren’t any errors on your credit report. An error is usually the result of a clerical typo made when processing an application, but it could also signify identity theft. Order all three of your credit reports and make sure you don’t see anything suspicious. Learn how to dispute an error on your credit reports, and … [Read more...]

Your Beginner’s Guide to Playing the Credit Card Game

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The credit card game is a little bit like a choose-your-own adventure. Do you want airline rewards? Take the path to your left. More interested in cash back? The door is behind you.  Sure you might meet some villains along the way, but there’s a treasure chest at the end.  If you act responsibly rather than impulsively, you can take advantage of some great rewards. To get you started, here’s a beginner’s play book.   Step 1: Choose your goal If you have credit card debt already, you’re best bet might be credit debt consolidation. Look for a card that has a lower interest rate than your current credit cards and that waives the balance transfer fee for the first few months. Consolidating your credit card debt can help you manage your monthly payments, save on interest rate costs … [Read more...]

5 Smart Ways to Use Your Tax Refund

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Wondering what to do with your tax refund? First of all, resist all urge to frivolously spend it on small purchases you don’t need. A Nordstrom’s shopping spree won’t help you pay off your bills or retire. And that large TV you’ve been coveting? Don’t even consider it unless you’re completely debt free. A good rule of thumb: If you couldn’t afford it before your refund, you shouldn’t be buying it now.   Instead, treat your tax refund, and any large bonus for that matter, as an investment opportunity. That doesn’t mean you can’t spend a dime. In fact many experts recommend spending a small percentage of it to help you stay motivated to save. Go for a small splurge—somewhere in between a new toothbrush and a new motorcycle. Then, do something smart with the remainder of your … [Read more...]

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by a credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of a credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a credit card issuer. This site may be compensated by credit card issuers mentioned on the site by such companies.