New FICO credit education video series: Understanding your credit

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We’re excited to introduce a new education video series from FICO—Understanding Your Credit. We created these three initial short videos to help you understand FICO® Score basics. Watch them and learn what a FICO Score is, how it’s calculated from your credit reports, how lenders use them to evaluate your credit risk, and plenty more!   What is a FICO Score?   Every day, thousands of U.S. lenders use FICO Scores to make more well-informed credit-granting decisions. But what does that mean for you? And why is it important to understand how lenders use them?   This video takes a look at what a FICO Score is and why it matters to consumers and lenders alike. Watch to learn how FICO Scores streamline the lending process, making it faster and fairer for … [Read more...]

5 Smart credit card moves that could help your scores

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We all know the consequences of using credit cards irresponsibly: crushing debt, late and missed payment fees, poor FICO® Scores, bad breath (okay, maybe not one of those).   Of course, using credit cards wisely comes with a number of benefits. In addition to being a secure and convenient way to make payments, credit cards can help you establish and build credit, give you access to valuable rewards, and can even help improve your scores. To help you play the credit card game wisely, here are 5 smart moves to make.   1. Ask for a credit limit increase   Your issuer might occasionally surprise you with an unprompted credit limit increase, but it never hurts to take matters into your own hands if you've been pining for a higher credit line. A limit increase … [Read more...]

How identity theft insurance works

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Becoming a victim of a crime is something we neither plan for nor even imagine when thinking about the future. That’s why we have insurance. If something does happen, you’ll have assistance. You insure your car against break-ins, you insure your house against burglary and you even insure other high-price items like engagement rings or your smart phone.   Now imagine if you become a victim of identity theft—and not just credit card fraud. Say you discover an identity thief has taken out 3-5 loans in your name and has sold your information on the black market so that it can be bought, sold, used and abused. Do you have a plan for when that happens? Think about all the time it will take to correct your credit profile, restore your identity and monitor for more attacks. It can be … [Read more...]

Why your brain is bad with money

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If I handed you a regular-sized sheet of paper and asked you to fold it in half eight times, do you think you’d be able to? Go ahead, give it a shot—I’ll be over here casually making some tea.   For those of you who actually gave this a go (kudos to you, by the way), you probably realized by the fifth or sixth fold—faster than it took me to casually brew my tea—that getting that thin piece of paper to fold in half eight times is basically impossible (the world record is actually thirteen times, but good luck trying this at home).   Now let’s just say we have an imaginary piece of paper that we can fold as many times as we’d like. How thick would this paper be if we folded it thirty times? Fifty times? A hundred? The answers, respectively, are 1) thick enough to reach … [Read more...]

4 FREE ways to entertain yourself this weekend

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Boredom has a way of eating away at your finances. The easiest way to spice up an uneventful Saturday evening usually involves spending money. A night out at the movies, going out for a drink with friends, catching a live sporting event—if you want to enjoy any of these you better be prepared dig deep into those pockets.   But entertainment doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, it can even be totally free. Here are a few ways to keep yourself sufficiently stimulated, engaged, and entertained throughout the weekend without having to drop a dime.   1. Check out a book/movie/CD at the library.   It’s not as old-fashioned as it sounds. The library is a goldmine of free entertainment—it’s like if Netflix and iTunes got married, bought a brick and mortar … [Read more...]

How to Avoid Paying Credit Card Interest

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It’s no mystery that credit card companies charge interest on outstanding balances. And most credit card users are at least nominally familiar with their credit card’s APR (annual percentage rate). You carry a balance, you get charged interest—simple enough.   Beyond that, things start getting a little murky. How is your APR determined? How do interest charges get calculated? And at what point does your balance start accruing interest charges anyway?   Confusion spells costs when it comes to credit card use. It’s hard to avoid paying interest if you have no clue how and why it’s being charged in the first place.   So if you really want to minimize the cost of credit, you’ll have to understand how exactly credit card interest makes its way onto your monthly … [Read more...]

You’re ready for a relationship. But is your credit?

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If one of your New Year’s resolutions included finding that special someone to settle down with, you need to be ready and able for that special relationship. This includes your credit.   Talking about money issues with a romantic partner can be awkward, but once the relationship gets serious, it’s important to be able to be open and transparent with one another. Having money discussions is a great way to practice this important relationship skill.   Issues related to money are one of the top reasons for divorce, so sorting out all the money stuff before a lifetime commitment or marriage can give your relationship a much greater chance of surviving and thriving.   Now, I’m not a therapist or even a relationship specialist, but I have had relationships myself … [Read more...]

6 Ways to protect your identity in the wake of the Anthem breach

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This has been an extremely difficult week for consumers everywhere. Anthem, the second largest health insurer in the US, announced that sophisticated criminals perpetrated a daring cyber theft of at least 80 million consumer records from their databases.   Anthem is warning consumers that phishing scams related to this data breach are targeting current and past covered members. Tax preparation giant Turbotax® announced that it is temporarily suspending State tax e-file services nationwide as a result of fraudulent activity that most certainly involves identity theft as a means to tap into the tax refunds of innocent tax-paying US citizens.   Quick Fraud Facts As many as 1.84 million people may have been affected by medical identity theft in 2013, according to the … [Read more...]

5 Big credit mistakes you should avoid at all costs

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When it comes to credit, some people prefer the ignorant bliss method: Don’t look at your credit, don’t worry about your credit, don’t even think about your credit. This method can actually be quite effective for several months or even years – that is until you’re thinking about buying a new home, leasing a new car, financing a new computer, or whatever else you've been dreaming up.   When you’re actually looking for credit, it will quickly become clear that the ignorant bliss method was a mistake. Those financial decisions you carelessly made might actually hurt your FICO® Scores or credit history.   You don’t have to be the type of person that worries about credit constantly (although a periodic review of your FICO® Scores and credit reports is always a good idea). … [Read more...]

President Obama says credit scores are an “early warning system” for fraud. Is he right?

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On Jan 12th, in his lead-up to the 2015 State of the Union Address, President Obama gave a speech at the Federal Trade Commission outlining proposed legislation that would help “better protect American consumers from identity theft and ensure our privacy.”   In addition to previewing a new data breach notification law, which would require businesses to notify consumers of a breach within 30 days, the President lauded the recent efforts of several lenders who are offering free FICO® Scores to their customers.   He specifically thanked JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, USAA, the State Employees’ Credit Union, and Ally Financial  for “stepping up and equipping Americans with another weapon against identity theft, and that’s access to their credit scores, free of … [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.