Credit Card Podcast

August 1, 2008

Credit cards – we all have them and we use them – alot!

This podcast reviews tips on what to look for when shopping for a new credit card and ideas on how to use your cards wisely. 

Credit Card Podcast

To listen to the podcast, click on the above link and the podcast will play in the blog player, or right click and save to your computer to play later.

For other available podcasts, vist the Podcast section of this blog.

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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.


Phishing Podcast

November 21, 2007

The newest First New York FCU podcast is now available to download.  This month the topic is Phishing.  In this podcast we talk about what is phishing, pharming and how to prevent having your identity stolen. 

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.

Be sure to visit the Podcast section of this blog for all of our previous podcasts.

Phishing Podcast


Credit Unions Provide Best Deal!

November 13, 2007

Those of us who have either been a member, employee or volunteer at a credit union, knew this all along!

 Credit unions provide the best deal when it comes to banking, according to an article that appeared in the December issue of Money Magazine.

The article, titled “The Best Little Deal in Banking,” cited five reasons “why you should join a credit union”–including five basic products that credit unions offer to their members at competitive prices (Money Magazine December 2007).

For example, an auto loan at a credit union is like “french fries at McDonalds–classic and reliable,” according to the article. According to the Government Accountability Office, credit union auto loans carry two percentage points less than auto loans at big banks.

The other reasons cited include higher savings rates, lower credit card rates, great deals on morgages and the credit union perks that banks don’t offer!

Thanks, Money!  We’ve known this all along!!!


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!


Saratoga Springs Branch Update

September 28, 2007

Saratoga update

The work has been progressing on our new Saratoga Springs Branch!  The outside is complete and workers have been busily preparing the inside of the branch.

The new branch located at 424 Maple Avenue/Route 9, Saratoga Springs, will have:

  • 2 drive up teller lanes
  • A 24-hour drive up ATM
  • A 24-hour drive up night drop
  • Extended hours (including Saturday hours!)
  • Ample parking
  • Easy access

We are anticipating the new branch to be open in late October.  Watch for more information!