Online Safety Podcast

May 23, 2008

In today’s electronic age, thieves are using that technology in an attempt at scamming money from unsuspecting consumers.

Our podcast talks about some common scams, how they work and what you can do to prevent them.

To listen to the podcast, click the play button in the blog podcast player, or right click the link and save the MP3 version to play later.

Online Safety Podcast

For other podcasts from First New York FCU, check out the podcasts section of this blog.

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Tips to Avoid Late Fees

March 27, 2008

With late payment fees of $39 or more, credit card companies make millions of dollars a year just because we are a little late in making a payment.  What can you do?

The most important thing is to make your payment before the due date.  You will save on the late fee and it will help your credit score, which in turn will save you more money in your future lending needs.  Here are a few tips to help keep you on track and avoid paying late fees:

1.  Be aware of the rules of your credit card.  For example, many credit cards offer low rates, but if you are late by one day not only will you pay a late fee, but your rate will jump up, meaning it will cost you more money!

2.  If you are paying by mail, make sure you send the payment and payment coupon, at least a week before the due date.

3.  If you are paying by online bill payment, schedule your payment 2 or 3 days before your due date, to ensure that your payment is credited on time.

4.  If you find that your credit card payment comes at an inconvenient time, ask your credit card issuer to change the due date to assist you in managing your money.  Most credit card companies would be able to do this for you.

These are just a few common sense tips to help you manage your money and avoid paying fees when you don’t have to!


When is a ‘Free’ Credit Report, Not Really Free?

March 13, 2008

On the surface, it seems logical:  You type the phrase “free credit report” in a search engine to access the Web site that offers free reports–which you’re entitled to, by law.

But here’s the catch:  Your search results might not drive you to the one legitimate Web site operated by the Federal Trade Commission.

Q:  What’s the danger in going to the wrong Web site to get your free credit report?
A:  These sites hook you with offers of so-called free credit reports while aggressively marketing other services.  Go to any site other than annualcreditreport.com and you may wind up paying needlessly for services you don’t want.  Or, you could pay $75 for a credit score that otherwise costs $8 to $12.  In one example, a site advertised a “free credit report” but failed to disclose adequately that, if you signed up, you automatically would be enrolled in a credit-monitoring program and charged $79.95.  Many disclosures are in the fine print and easy to overlook.

Q:  What are some sites to stay away from?
A:  The one most heavily advertised is freecreditreport.com.  Other variations include free-credit-reports.com, freecreditreportsinstantly.com, thefreecreditreportsource.com, creditreport.com, creditreporting.com, and nationalcreditreport.com.

Q:  Which site allows access to free credit reports without trying to sell unnecessary services?
A:  Go to annualcreditreport.com, which was established after the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 gave consumers the right to obtain–once a year–a free credit report from each of the big three credit reporting agencies:  Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.  Or, you can call toll-free 877-322-8228.

Q:  Should I order the three annual free credit reports all at once?
A:  You can order them all at the same time.  A better strategy is to stagger your requests throughout the year.  Order a free report from one agency, then wait four months and order a report from a different agency, then wait another four months and order the third report.  After a year, start the process over again.  That way, you’re more likely to detect errors–or even fraudulent accounts set up in your name–than if you wait a whole year to look at all three of your reports.

Another suggestion is to visit any branch of First New York Federal Credit Union.  We can help you understand your credit report and score, and make recommendations on how to improve your score – and it’s REALLY FREE!


Common Credit Report Mistakes Could Cost You

March 7, 2008

If you haven’t requested a copy of your credit report, there are many reasons why you should.

A 2004 study–the most recent available–by the National Association of State Public Interest Research Groups revealed that almost 79% of all credit reports contain some type of error.  One-fourth of credit reports contain such serious errors that those individuals could be denied credit or be charged a higher interest rate.

What are the common errors?

1.  Misspelled names
2.  Wrong Social Security numbers
3.  Inaccurate birth dates
4.  Inaccurate information about a spouse
5.  Out-of-date address
6.  “Closed” accounts listed as “open”
7.  The same mortgage or loan listed twice
8.  Absence of major credit, loan, mortgage, or other accounts that could be used to demonstrate creditworthiness

What should you do?  Review your credit report, at least annually, for accuracy.  If you uncover an error, contact the credit reporting agency to have it corrected.  On an annual basis you can get a free credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com.  In between, First New York members can have their credit report run at no charge, to make sure your credit report is accurate.  Visit any branch office for more information.


Rebuilding Good Credit

February 27, 2008

A good credit score is a valuable asset.  One that will mean lower loan rates, which will save you hundreds or thousands of dollars over the life of a loan.

So, how do you rebuild your credit.  Here are some tips that will help:

Rebuild Credit

 


Ways To Boost Your Credit Score

October 31, 2007

Every time you apply for a credit card, mortgage, car loan, or insurance policy, your application is judged in part by your credit score.  Lenders use your credit score to determine whether to grant credit, and at what cost.  The higher the score, the more likely you are perceived to repay the credit, and at a lower rate.

Fortunately, you can take steps to boost your credit score. These tips can maximize your score and influence your credit-worthiness AND reduce the rate that you will pay!

1. Be punctual. Late or missed payments, foreclosures, and bankruptcies have the greatest negative effect on your credit score. This accounts for 35% of your credit score, so make sure to pay your bills on time.

2. Check your credit report regularly. Don’t let inaccurate information ruin your credit score. Consumers are entitled to one free credit report per year, which you can get online at annualcreditreport.com. Or visit any branch of First New York FCU and we’ll review your credit report with you.

3. Keep debt in check. Try to keep your account balances below 50% of your credit limit. About 30% of your credit score is based on the amount you owe in relation to your credit limit. For instance, if your credit card has a limit of $2,000, keep the balance less than $1,000.

4. Avoid excessive inquiries. New inquiries for credit account for 10% of your score, and a bunch of new credit requests—in a short period of time—can reduce your score.

5. Keep accounts open. Time is one of the most significant factors that can improve your credit score. Fifteen percent of your credit score comes from how long you’ve been managing credit. Closing old accounts—especially ones with a good payment history—shortens your credit history and lowers your score. Lenders take into account the average age of your accounts, so an older account can help balance newer credit.

6. Keep a healthy mix. The remaining 10% of your credit score depends on the types of credit you’re using. Make sure to have a healthy mix of credit. This includes things like a mortgage, a credit card or two, a car loan, and perhaps a retail card. First New York FCU can help you acquire the mix you need and give you tips on how you can improve your credit score.  Visit us or call us today!


Identity Theft Podcast Now Available

September 10, 2007

The latest First New York FCU podcast is now available to download.  The topic of this podcast is Identity Theft, and we’ll outline the steps you should take for Identity Theft prevention.

Here is the MP3 version.  You can click to open and listen to the podcast using your computers audio software, or you can right click the link and save it to your hard drive to listen at a later date on your MP3 player.

Identity Theft Podcast