How to Help Your Child Avoid ID Theft

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A blog post for myFICO Kids – Making financial awareness, protection & health a part of the entire family.   Earlier this month we posted an article about the abundance of child ID theft and what parents can watch for to protect their children from those who may be seeking a new identity. Identity theft is highly preventable, not only for parents, but for children as well. Our youth are growing up with new technological advances that give them access to all things the internet has to offer. Most classes today even require the use of the Internet for research or projects.   One study found that 85% percent of kids aged 12-17 used social media networks in 2013, with 94% of teens on Facebook. With the constant updates to Facebook, everything your teen posts - status … [Read more...]

Announcing myFICO Feature Enhancements!

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  Great News! Enhanced FICO® Score Explanation Report (based on Experian credit report) now available.           Starting yesterday afternoon, all myFICO solutions based on Experian credit report data  (FICO Standard, FICO Score 3-Report View) will now include a newly designed FICO Score explanation report design to help you better understand and manage your FICO Score.       New explanation features include:   Incorporation of positive factors impacting your FICO® Score. Positive factors reinforce the good credit behaviors of high achievers, and encourage those people who may be working to manage their credit or improve their financial health. Personalized credit analysis and comparisons to … [Read more...]

myFICO Welcomes Financial Literacy Month

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While April is the official National Financial Literacy Month, we at myFICO like to think that sound financial literacy practices should be a 24/7 common practice for everyone.     And why shouldn’t it be when having a strong understanding of how to create/stick with a budget, the benefits of investing and saving, how the credit system works, how lenders evaluate applications for credit, how interest fees accrue and knowing your consumer rights can all save you thousands of dollars and loads of time.     At myFICO, we focus on that part of financial literacy related to consumer credit and encourage everyone to participate in this year’s National Financial Literacy month with the following activities:     Check your credit reports to … [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...]

Mortgage Tips: 9 Ways to Lower Your Monthly Payment

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We often hear information on how homeowners can use tactics like refinancing to lower their mortgage payments. But what about homebuyers? What tactics can you use to ensure you start out with the lowest possible mortgage payment?     Luckily, there’s quite a bit you can do as a homebuyer to keep your mortgage payments low. Here are just 9 ideas to get you started:     1. Boost your credit score     Your credit score is a big determining factor in your mortgage’s APR. And even a tiny difference in APR has a big impact on monthly payments (as well as interest paid over the life of your loan).     According to this FICO chart, average interest rates on a 30-year fixed mortgage range from 4.004% to 5.593% right now, … [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...]

Does Getting Married Affect Your Credit?

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Considering tying the knot? Congratulations! But, as any wedding couple knows, with wedding planning comes financial planning. The rings, the venue, the Pinterest-chic individualized party favors with gold flakes on them—with each addition to your perfect day comes a subtraction from your bank account.   All this spending most likely has you thinking about your financial future with your new spouse. I know how busy you are, so I’ve taken it upon myself to address the three most common questions couples ask me:   1. I don’t love my spouse’s spending habits. Should I try to teach my spouse new habits or just manage the finances myself?    One of the most important facts of life to know before you get married is that you can’t expect your spouse to … [Read more...]

The Dangers of 5 Popular Ways to Pay for College

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For many families, sending a child to college is a quintessential part of the American dream. But these days, you'd better start saving when they're still in diapers if you want to make higher education a reality. With the cost of college continuing to go through the roof, a growing majority of students are left searching for ways to subsidize the expense.   It has been said that education is the greatest investment, but to what lengths must you really go? When your savings, income, and even financial aid and grants  still aren't enough, alternative options are becoming increasingly necessary. While each has the potential to help pay the bills, they also come with inherent risks that often out-weigh rewards.   1. Credit Cards   Families often effectively … [Read more...]

Paranoid, Apathetic or Empowered:
Your Smart-Consumer Action Plan

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Protecting yourself as a consumer is pragmatic, not paranoid. I by no means encourage you to obsessively guard all traces of your personal information. If you take that approach, you’ll end up a recluse with a hoarding problem. But the reality is, how we transact has changed—we’re mobile, online and nationwide. So we’ve got to change the way we protect ourselves.   National Consumer Protection Week might be coming to end, but being a smart consumer means developing lifelong habits. That’s why we’ve provided a smart-consumer action plan. Print these tips, reference them often. Eventually, these steps should become habits so that every time you purchase, share, invest, donate or borrow, you will be better protected.   Your Smart-Consumer Action Plan   1. … [Read more...]

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