How the Grinch Stole my Credit Card Number


Beware of Fraudsters this Holiday Season!   The frenzy of the holiday shopping season creates an inviting environment for fraudsters and identity thieves who aim to take advantage of distracted shoppers.   FICO manages the worldwide FICO® Falcon® Fraud Manager consortium, which provides fraud protection for approximately 85% of U.S. credit cards. Our experts suggest a proactive approach to protection with the following tips:   Lock your phone with a password Use extreme caution when downloading applications from unknown sources. Only download your bank’s mobile app from the official bank website or a trusted source. Enable “Find my phone” functionality when possible to locate missing devices or to remotely clear the device of all sensitive data in the … [Read more...]

Job Interviews: Things to Know


Dress professional, show up early, and be prepared with your best and worst features. These are basics for any job interview. But are you going in to the next job interview equipped with your financial health in mind? There are things you might need to know not only about your past (background) but your future (financial well being) as well. Now I’m not here to make you even more stressed before plunging into your closet for the ultimate power suit. Rather here are some tips to be aware before you wow your next boss.   Ask the “Right” Questions Let’s be honest – the real question on both you and your potential employer’s mind is “How Much?” However, on your first interview you might not want to lead with this. On the first interview, let the interviewer bring it up naturally, or … [Read more...]

Community Call-Up: 10/29/13


While blogs are an important source of information (if I may say so on my blog), another great resource for news, content, or advice is from people just like you. Here are some helpful conversations from people talking about credit.       A basic guide to credit and credit reports [US] Reddit is one of the best forms of social news and entertainment. Outside of pictures of cute animals and interviews with anyone, almost every interest has its own subreddit full of information. In the personalfinance subreddit, one user provided this basic guide to credit and credit reports with a lot of detailed information.   RENTING: What report would a landlord … [Read more...]

Word on the Web: Week of 10-27


Happy Halloween and November 1st! Costumes, candy, facial hair, and writing are the big topics being discussed. Did anyone see any fun FICO® Score related costumes this year? Around the office, the myFICO team had a great collection of unique costumes - mostly homemade!  Anyways, this week we’ll highlight some credit “tricks” and “treats” from around the web: Halloween Fright: Most Consumers Don't Know Their Credit Score As we move into the holiday season, knowing your credit score is more important than ever. But don’t be frightened - this article highlights some important data from the new American Bankers Association (ABA) survey, and some credit do’s and don’ts from the ABA. 10 Things Consumers Don't Understand About Credit … [Read more...]

Personal Finance Apps


For those of us with smart phones, we may joke “There’s an app for that!” On my phone I have social apps (Facebook, Vine), sports apps (ESPN ScoreCenter, two fantasy football apps), entertainment apps (RadioLab, Spotify, Planets), and even more related to my interests and needs. The realm of personal finance has not been excluded from this list as well – nestled between social and travel apps is my folder for personal finance apps, and I wanted to discuss with you some of the apps out there you may want to consider.   Mint This was honestly the first app recommended to me (by my friend who is a CPA). This award-winning app “allows you to track, budget and manage your money all in one place.” You do not need to have an account with the website prior to use, but you can … [Read more...]

So what’s Your Excuse?


This week, ABCNews posted an article about the craziest excuses for poor FICO® Scores. This got me thinking about some of the excuses out there. Now we aren’t in grade school anymore, so “the dog ate my billing statement” isn’t excusable. Especially with online/paperless payment options available. Likewise, my dear child spilled their milk on the mail isn’t a real crying issue. But there are legitimate excuses out there for poor credit scores, and legitimate reasons for good FICO Scores. Let’s try to blend the two together.   I Forgot to Pay on Time Hey, months fly by so quickly sometimes that some things escape notice. And we’ve all had that “Wait, it’s the first already? Oh no, I need to pay X!” the important thing is 1)      Get a calendar/reminder system set up – can be an … [Read more...]

Refinancing a Car Loan


Most people are familiar with the concept of refinancing a mortgage loan – but what about refinancing your auto loan? Did you know this is possible? Is this a good idea?   As with any refinancing decision, the validity of it depends on your unique situation:     What is the interest rate with your current auto loan and how does it compare with current rates? Obviously it only makes good financial sense to refinance if you can get a lower rate.  Check out auto loan interest rates by FICO® Score range for your State to see if current rates are lower than the rate you are currently paying. How far are you into the existing loan term? Remember, interest is “front loaded” in an auto loan (meaning in the beginning of your loan term most of your monthly … [Read more...]

Standards, Shutdowns, and Mortgage Applications


Late last month, the Washington Post published that in August there was an increase in the percentage of successful home mortgages for applicants with FICO® Scores less than 700 – up almost double 2012 percentage. Some were taking that as a sign of hope, as some lenders may have focused equally on employment and savings. But not everything was getting easier with mortgage insurance premiums increasing in certain cases. Regardless, with average FICO Scores down, lower might have been the new norm.   Unfortunately, as we entered October, the country is in a government furlough. If the shutdown is short, there hopefully will not be long-term effects. But if there is no compromise over the shutdown and it extends to weeks, this could directly impact mortgage applications. Remember, … [Read more...]

Drug Lords, Identity Theft & Fraud: What This FBI Crackdown Means For You


What better way to kick off Cyber Security Awareness month than with an FBI crackdown on black market websites? We sure can’t think of one.   Although the term “black market” sounds a lot like the next Hollywood thriller, it’s actually used to describe underground bazaars selling drugs, firearms, personal information or other criminal products. These marketplaces remain underground by setting up shop on high-security networks that aren’t accessible to the general public. Until relatively recently, the black market culture has been operating a lot like the Wild West—no rules, no government, just profit. That is, until the FBI showed up.   The FBI has been cracking down on cybercrimes since 2004. Their latest triumph? Agents arrested Ross William Ulbricht, leader of … [Read more...]

The Government Shutdown and Your Credit


As “Closed” signs surface across various Federal government offices and sites, it is likely to affect most of us in some manner as the government services we rely on may be temporarily unavailable.   For the overwhelming majority of consumers, this closure will have no effect on your personal credit as most of us do not work for the Federal government and credit related functions are generally managed by private businesses.   You may be impacted, however, if you are in the midst of a securing financing for a home loan. If you are doing a FHA loan, HUD (the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) stated that they will be able to continue processing single family loans during the shutdown.  They did share there will be a limited number of FHA staff available … [Read more...]

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