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Most Americans Believe ID Theft Likely to Cause Them Financial Loss in the Next Year: AICPA Survey

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NEW YORK–()–Where do you see yourself in a year? If you’re like most Americans, you might expect to be dealing with the financial fallout of identity theft. Three in five Americans (60 percent) believe it is likely that identity theft will cause them a financial loss in the next year, according to new research conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA).

“Law enforcement has reported a big spike in online scams during the COVID-19 pandemic. Taking time to review your bank statements and credit card activity for unauthorized transactions, while also putting safeguards in place like complex passwords, credit card usage alerts and two-factor authentication, can go a long way to mitigate the threat of ID theft,” Gregory J. Anton, CPA, CGMA, chairman of the AICPA’s National CPA Financial Literacy Commission. “Safe steps also include exercising caution when reading emails and clicking on links, learning about the latest scams, and being mindful of your online presence.”

As Online Shopping Increases, Few Take Steps to Protect Themselves

More than half of Americans (56 percent) say they have increased their overall online shopping since the start of the pandemic, with nearly a third (31 percent) saying it has increased significantly. While convenient, online shopping is not without a risk. Fraudsters can gain access to private website data such as your personal information and financial details which can be used to make unauthorized purchases, or even open new accounts exploiting your identity.

The survey found that since the start of the pandemic more than a third of American online shoppers (37 percent) have stored logins, passwords, or credit/debit card information on websites or apps, while only 3 in 10 (28 percent) have set up alerts on their credit or debit card for when a purchase is made without their card being present. These stats may be why in the past year one in five Americans (19 percent) have suffered identity theft or attempted identity theft. These incidents can be quite costly, as Americans lost a total of $16.9 billion in 2019 to identity fraud, according to Javelin Strategy & Research.

While basic steps can help prevent being victimized by fraud, few shoppers are taking them. The survey found that less than half of Americans (45 percent) have checked their credit or debit card statements to ensure that the charges match their actual purchases since the pandemic began. Further, nearly 2 in 5 Americans (39 percent) admit they use the same username and/or password across multiple websites.

“Using the same username and/or password across multiple websites is like using a master key for every locked door in your life. If just one online account becomes compromised, scammers will have the keys to the information behind every password protected account,” said Kim Hardy, CPA/CFF, member of the AICPA’s National CPA Financial Literacy Commission. “The surge in online activity as people are spending more time at home during COVID has presented bad actors even more opportunities to steal identities. In this environment, it’s essential that Americans are defending their personal information from fraudulent threats.”

Lower-Income Households Less Likely to be Familiar with their Credit Report

While the survey finds that two-thirds of Americans (67 percent) have at least looked at their credit report, that leaves one-third (33 percent) of Americans who have never checked their credit report. And those with a household income of less than $50K were found to be twice as likely to never have looked at their credit report than those with a household income of $100K+ (45 percent vs. 21 percent). A credit report lists all the debt taken in your name and serves a clear way to see if there are any inaccuracies such as someone taking out loans or credit cards using your identity which can ruin your credit score.

“Maintaining a good credit score is important for Americans of every income bracket. A good credit score can unlock many long-term financial health benefits, such as access to loans and credit cards with the most favorable terms. Whereas bad credit can make it more difficult to lease a car, purchase a home or pass a background check for a new job,” added Anton.

Checking your credit report is the best way to understand your current credit position. Unfortunately, for many, it can lead to an unpleasant surprise. A majority of those who have checked their credit report (68 percent) had to take steps to correct inaccuracies, with the average being 8 specific corrections among those who have taken steps at least once.

Tips to Help Americans Protect Their ID

Hardy, who has years of experience in forensic accounting, suggests online shoppers take the following four steps:

  1. “Don’t wait for suspicious activity to occur. Take time to check your credit score for free at least once a year with one of the three major credit reporting agencies. And if you find that you’ve been the victim of identity theft, report it immediately to the Federal Trade Commission, your local police department, and the credit reporting agencies.”
  2. “Do your online shopping at home where you know both the device and the network are secure. On-the-go online shopping, though convenient, puts your personal information at risk. You have no control over who might also be using that unsecured public network.”
  3. “Check to make sure the shopping websites you visit are secure. The URL, also known as a web address, will indicate if a website is secure. Look for a website address that begins with ‘https://’ in lieu of ‘http://’ which is missing the ‘s.’ If you shop on an unsecured website, scammers can steal your personal and financial information from any forms you fill out.”
  4. “Be cautious of any unsolicited communications concerning COVID-19 that ask for your personal information. The Federal Trade Commission keeps an updated list of commons scams on their website.”

Americans who would like to learn more about the steps they can take to help protect themselves from ID theft can visit: 360FinancialLiteracy.org/SafeID.

Additional survey findings:

  • One in five Americas (20 percent) feel it is extremely likely that identity theft will cause them a financial loss in the next year.
  • Thinking about online shopping accounts, only half of Americans (49 percent) update their passwords more than once a year. A quarter (26 percent) of Americans only update their online passwords when prompted by the website. And 9% never update their passwords.

Throughout 2021, the AICPA will be exploring the impact of COVID-19 on consumers, businesses and the accounting and finance profession through a series of surveys, reports and other content. For more information, please contact Jon Lynch [email protected] or James Schiavone [email protected].

Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of AICPA from December 15-17, 2020 among 2,116 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. When asked about their credit report, respondents who selected “not sure” (33%) were excluded from this calculation. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact [email protected].

About the AICPA’s 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy Program

The AICPA’s 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy Program is a nation-wide, volunteer grass-roots effort to help Americans develop a better understanding of money management and take control of their financial lives. Since 2005, the AICPA has been empowering people to make better decisions with the tools and resources on the 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy website. Financial Literacy is the cause of the CPA profession and the 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy program is the AICPA’s flagship corporate social responsibility effort. These efforts are focused on financial education as a public service and are completely free from all advertising, sales, and promotions. Connect on Facebook for tips, insights and motivation to keep your finances on track.

About the American Institute of CPAs

The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) is the world’s largest member association representing the CPA profession, with more than 431,000 members in the United States and worldwide, and a history of serving the public interest since 1887. AICPA members represent many areas of practice, including business and industry, public practice, government, education and consulting. The AICPA sets ethical standards for its members and U.S. auditing standards for private companies, nonprofit organizations, and federal, state and local governments. It develops and grades the Uniform CPA Examination, offers specialized credentials, builds the pipeline of future talent and drives professional competency development to advance the vitality, relevance and quality of the profession.

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Bad Credit

What’s the Cost of Having a Bad Credit Rating?

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In the past, a credit rating was only important when borrowing money. Things have changed, but a good rating is still free

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Q: My partner and I are having a disagreement about credit ratings. We came into a little bit of money and it’s enough to either pay off our line of credit or save for a special trip as soon as we can travel again safely. My partner says we should pay off our credit line so that we not only have a cushion, but it will help our credit rating. He’s really concerned because when he was in university and had some trouble with debt, he felt like his bad situation only got worse because he had bad credit. I think that with so many people having lost their jobs due to the pandemic, the consequences of having a bad credit rating right now won’t be that bad because we’re all facing the same thing. We are due a honeymoon and I want to save the money for a trip because it’s the only way we’ll ever be able to go. Who’s right? ~Ross

A: Credit ratings are one of those things that most Canadians would like to know more about, but the more they learn, the more questions they have. And answers often aren’t straightforward due to the complexity of the credit scoring system. However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t commend you and your partner for having these conversations about your finances. Even if you can’t agree on everything, just talking about possible options is already more than what many couples are able to do.

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When it comes to financial decisions and debates about credit, it’s best if I steer clear of taking sides. Most of us know there are hidden perks when we have good credit; but having bad credit, it can cost us in ways we never realized. To help you both achieve a win-win, here are things to consider as you make decisions for your financial future.

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The perks of having a good credit rating

A good credit rating allows a lender to offer you a better interest rate and terms and conditions. It can make you eligible for a low-interest credit card. When you’re buying a new car at a dealership and your credit score is very high, the financing incentives can include zero per cent interest with payments spread out over an additional year or two.

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When it comes to a mortgage, a high credit rating can result in added buying power with steeply discounted interest rates and a slight easing of qualification criteria. A solid credit rating means you are able to obtain a new cellphone with a plan on contract, rather than having to pay for a device yourself first. It means your home utilities will be connected without an upfront deposit. A good credit rating means you don’t have to worry you’ll be declined whenever someone requests that you consent to a credit check.

How to Get Your Own Credit Report for Free

What does it cost to have a bad credit rating?

As you may be able to guess, a bad credit rating will limit you in terms of how much money you are able to borrow, what interest rates you’ll be charged, and what the repayment terms and conditions will be. When your credit score drops below a certain point, you are no longer eligible for low-interest credit cards and credit card instalment offers for larger purchases. Your interest rate will even go up by as much as five per cent if your credit card payments are late. Unsecured lines of credit may not be available at reasonable interest rates, if at all, and other restrictions — e.g., co-signers, guarantors or collateral — might be necessary for other types of loans.

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How to Get Out of Debt With Bad Credit

The impact of a bad credit rating on mortgage payments

When it comes to a mortgage, a credit report with a few small collection items and a record of late payments could add as much as two additional percentage points to the interest rate. That will not only decrease your buying power, it will dramatically affect how much interest you pay over the term of the mortgage.

For example, a $350,000 mortgage with a payment based on two per cent (five-year term, 25-year amortization), the base monthly payment would be $1,482. Over the course of the five-year term, this mortgage holder would pay $32,120 in interest, along with payments on the principal.

If this same borrower would have to make payments based on four per cent instead of two, the base monthly payments would increase by $359 to $1,841 and the interest paid over the five-year term would more than double to $65,153! The additional interest takes money away from being able to afford other goals. Here’s a simple mortgage payment calculator to try calculations for your own circumstances.

A bad credit rating affects more than credit applications

It used to be that a credit rating was only important when you applied to borrow money, but things have changed. A poor credit check could cost someone their dream job. Many employers ask potential employees to consent to a credit check as part of the hiring process. While they screen for a number of criteria, if someone has filed for bankruptcy, it could preclude them from working in certain industries.

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Landlords also routinely ask potential tenants to consent to credit checks as part of the screening process. Those who have trouble paying their bills on time could have trouble paying their rent. Landlords may also fear that someone with prior obligations, e.g., significant vehicle payments or family maintenance arrears, might not be able to afford the rent along with their living costs.

How to Convince a Landlord to Rent to You

As financial institutions do as well, it’s up to each landlord and employer to interpret the credit checks based on their own criteria. This means that if you need to explain your situation, it might be best to do it before they check your credit.

What does it cost to have a good credit rating?

With all the drawbacks that come with having a bad credit rating, you might wonder what it costs to have a good rating. A good credit rating doesn’t cost you anything — and it will save you money in the long run. All that’s required is that you engage in positive credit behaviours. Here are five tips to do just that:

1. Make your payments on time

On-time payments can be for the full amount that’s owing, or the required minimum payment. One of the most significant ways to protect your credit rating is to pay at least your minimums on time every month. In order to do this, you need to live according to a realistic budget and spend below your means so you’ve got enough money to bring down what you owe.

2. Plan for the unexpected – watch your credit utilization rates

Any balances you do carry on credit cards and lines of credit, aim to keep them below about 65 per cent of the limit on each account. That way if something unforeseen happens, you’re not left in the lurch trying to make bigger payments than you can reasonably afford.

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3. Demonstrate how you manage during the good times and the bad

Time provides a true picture for how responsible someone is with their money and credit. Aim to keep one older account active so a potential lender can see how you manage your affairs. If you’ve had some late payments within the last six to seven years, if they are still reflected on your credit report, they will be less significant than all of the more recent payments you have made on time to recover from the past difficulties.

It’s natural in life to hit some financial bumps, and the longer you use credit the more likely it is that there will be some reflected on your credit report. Some ways of dealing with financial trouble wipe the slate clean, which is why lenders look at your overall financial picture as part of a credit application. A balanced approach tends to be the strongest: spending within your means and based on a steady source of income, using credit wisely, managing routine payments and obligations, saving in proportion to your level of income, and having some assets to show for your spending. It raises red flags if someone has been actively using credit for a number of years, but their credit report offers no meaningful information about their credit accounts.

4. Only keep and apply for the credit that you actually need

We all know that person who has so many credit cards in their wallet that it hardly closes. But a lot of credit doesn’t necessarily mean they have a good credit rating. In fact, it could signal a problem. Only apply for credit that you actually need and will use.

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Pay off and close any accounts you don’t use regularly and don’t really need. This protects you from giving in to temptation simply because you have credit available to you. It also protects you from fraudulent activity on an account you don’t use regularly. The first thing a fraudster would do is change your address and contact details so you don’t get their bills. By the time you’ve caught on to their spending spree, the damage could be done.

5. Not all credit is created equal

When there isn’t much to report on your credit file, potential lenders and interested parties might look more closely at the types of debts you do have. Different types of credit shed light on how you handle your money overall. For example, deferred interest or payment plans can indicate you aren’t able to save up for purchases ahead of time. Consolidation loans mean you’ve had difficulty paying your debts in the past. A line of credit is a revolving form of credit, like a credit card, and it’s easier to get into trouble with a revolving form of credit than with an instalment loan, where you make payments for a set period of time and then it’s paid in full.

How to deal with debt and save for a goal

When faced with a sum of money you weren’t expecting, consider how to make it work hardest for you toward your most meaningful goals. Pay off an expensive debt and then keep making the payments you were making on that debt into a savings account instead. You’ll save money on interest by paying off the debt offand also be able to save up for an important goal. This is a particularly effective strategy when interest rates on saving accounts are as low as they are now.

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Should I Pay Off Debt or Save Money?

If you have more money than what’s needed to pay off an expensive debt, consider whether it’s better to pay down another debt with the leftover sum, or to jump-start a savings account with it. If you have quite a few debts to take care of and not enough money to pay them all off, consider how best to use the sum you received while employing the snowball or avalanche method of debt repayment. Just be sure to execute your debt repayment plan within a realistic budget that also accounts for some savings. That will protect you from relying on credit and seeing your progress evaporate should you face an unexpected expense.

The bottom line on what your credit rating means

The best things in life are free, and this certainly applies to having a good credit rating — especially when you consider how painfully expensive the alternative is. No one thinks about what a bad credit rating will cost until they’re faced with the consequences. Only by then, it’s often too late to turn things around quickly. While negative information on your credit report is frustrating, with some patience and corrective steps, time is on your side to (re)build an excellent credit rating.

Related reading:

7 Things That Are Not on Your Credit Report

What are Your Bad Habits Really Costing You?

5 Credit Myths Debunked and What to Do Instead

Scott Hannah is president of the Credit Counselling Society, a non-profit organization. For more information about managing your money or debt, contact Scott byemail, check nomoredebts.orgor call 1-888-527-8999.

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Bad Credit

Fixed-rate student loan refinancing rates do not budge from record low set last week

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Our goal here at Credible Operations, Inc., NMLS Number 1681276, referred to as “Credible” below, is to give you the tools and confidence you need to improve your finances. Although we do promote products from our partner lenders who compensate us for our services, all opinions are our own.

The latest trends in interest rates for student loan refinancing from the Credible marketplace, updated weekly. (iStock)

Rates for well-qualified borrowers using the Credible marketplace to refinance student loans into 10-year fixed-rate loans continue to stick at record lows during the week of May 10, 2021.

For borrowers with credit scores of 720 or higher who used the Credible marketplace to select a lender during the week of May 10:

  • Rates on 10-year fixed-rate loans averaged 3.60%, the same as the week before and down from 4.35% a year ago. This marks the second week that rates have not budged from 3.60%, the record low set last week.
  • Rates on 5-year variable-rate loans averaged 3.18%, down from 3.19% the week before and up from 3.03% a year ago. Variable-rate loans recorded a record low of 2.63% during the week of June 29, 2020.

Student loan refinancing weekly rate trends

If you’re curious about what kind of student loan refinance rates you may qualify for, you can use an online tool like Credible to compare options from different private lenders. Checking your rates won’t affect your credit score.

Current student loan refinancing rates by FICO score

To provide relief from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, interest and payments on federal student loans have been suspended through at least Sept. 30, 2021. As long as that relief is in place, there’s little incentive to refinance federal student loans. But many borrowers with private student loans are taking advantage of the low interest rate environment to refinance their education debt at lower rates.

If you qualify to refinance your student loans, the interest rate you may be offered can depend on factors like your FICO score, the type of loan you’re seeking (fixed or variable rate) and the loan repayment term. 

The chart above shows that good credit can help you get a lower rate and that rates tend to be higher on loans with fixed interest rates and longer repayment terms. Because each lender has its own method of evaluating borrowers, it’s a good idea to request rates from multiple lenders so you can compare your options. A student loan refinancing calculator can help you estimate how much you might save.

If you want to refinance with bad credit, you may need to apply with a cosigner. Or you can work on improving your credit before applying. Many lenders will allow children to refinance parent PLUS loans in their own name after graduation.

You can use Credible to compare rates from multiple private lenders at once without affecting your credit score.

How rates for student loan refinancing are determined

The rates private lenders charge to refinance student loans depend in part on the economy and interest rate environment but also the loan term, the type of loan (fixed- or variable-rate), the borrower’s credit worthiness and the lender’s operating costs and profit margin. 

About Credible

Credible is a multi-lender marketplace that empowers consumers to discover financial products that are the best fit for their unique circumstances. Credible’s integrations with leading lenders and credit bureaus allow consumers to quickly compare accurate, personalized loan options ― without putting their personal information at risk or affecting their credit score. The Credible marketplace provides an unrivaled customer experience, as reflected by over 4,300 positive Trustpilot reviews and a TrustScore of 4.7/5.

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Bad Credit

Bad credit loan guaranteed approval online (In a business day)

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Bad credit loan guaranteed approval

(YourDigitalWall Editorial):- Pennsylvania , United States May 10, 2021 (Issuewire.com) – Do you have bad credit? But in need of money? You can still get a bad credit loan guaranteed approval from various websites.

Bad Credit Loans is one of the websites, which has been in the business of helping people. They make it simple for consumers to get the funds they are looking for online.

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They can help connect you to lenders that offer loans that may work for you. Their lender network includes state and Tribal lenders. Tribal lenders’ rates and fees may be higher than state-licensed lenders and are subject to federal and tribal laws, not state laws. Your credit history may impact whether a lender offers you a loan and the terms of your loan, but some lenders in our network may offer loans to borrowers with all types of credit.

Bad Credit makes it amazingly simple to check online whether you qualify for the loan. You just need to fill the convenient online form and will receive an offer in a few minutes from the network of lenders and financial service providers.

If your loan gets approved, funds will get deposited into your bank account electronically deposited in one business day. The loan offer you receive is free to use, and you are not obligated to accept the offer if you are not willing to.

With Bad credit loan, the best part is your credit need not be perfect to consider for a bad credit loan as even with poor credit you can still qualify for the loan while meeting the following requirements:

  • The Minimum age must be of 18 years.
  • Proof of documentation-proof of citizenship or social security number.
  • Regular income-full-time, part-time, self-employed, disabled, social security benefits (anyone).
  • Checking account in your name.
  • Telephone numbers-residence and work
  • A valid email address

Apply now and get a $5000 bad credit loan guaranteed approval

 

 

 

 

      



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(YourDigitalWall Editorial):- Sydney, New South Wales May 10, 2021 (Issuewire.com) – xbullion has announced its listing on the global trading exchange Bitrue. xbullion’s gold token, ticker GOLD, is secured by 1 gram of 9999/LBMA physical gold which is physically owned by the token holder. The gold is secured in best-of-class geo- disbursed […]



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