How to Stay Safe From a Credit Card Breach

As if you needed another reason to be concerned about your financial well-being. Financial experts throughout the United States are continuously warning consumers about the dangers of various financial reaches. And with good reason. Throughout the past several years, there have been serious security breaches at some of the nation’s largest – and most trusted – retail stores.

When it comes to securing your financial information, there are many elements that are outside of your control. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to fall victim to these crimes. We spoke with a top security firm to discuss ways you can protect yourself. With the number of elements that are outside of the realm of your control, there are many more that are within your control. Whether you’re looking actively protect your credit card information or are simply wanting more information about how you can safeguard this essential portion of your life, this article delves into the various steps you can take to help reduce your risk when it comes to technology breaches.

Tip #1 – Use a Prepaid Credit Card

According to our research partner, this is perhaps the most secure way to carry out digital transactions. These cards are in no way connected to your bank accounts, which make them the ideal solution to this ever-present problem. However, they do have some downsides to them. The most noteworthy of these is there is virtually zero fraud protection. Therefore, if a thief gets a hold of your card number, you will likely just be out of this money. However, you can prevent this from being truly detrimental by only loading a small amount of money on the card to cover specific purchases. It’s a good idea to use a different card every month to reduce the likelihood of this happening.

Tip #2 – Temporary Cards

The majority of major financial institutions, such as Bank of America and Wells Fargo, offer what’s known as a single-use credit card. Just as its name suggests, these cards are only good for a single purchase. While these are a viable option, they are a pain for some consumers as you must go and retrieve a new card for every purchase you wish to make. However, if you’re planning a large purchase, then they may be a great option for you.

Tip #3 – Stick With Cash

While this may seem outdated, the safest way to protect your financial information is to limit its spread across the retail industry. Instead of using your debit card or credit card, opt for using cash instead. According to leading industry experts, traditional cash purchases are – and will always – remain the safest way to spend your money.

Credit Score for Low Mortgage Rates

When it comes to getting a mortgage, your income and the down payment  are both important factors. But they aren’t the most important factor. That would be your credit score. Not only does is a good credit score needed for approval to buy a car, boat, or home, but it also will play a major role in whether you get a low interest rate or not.

Credit Score for Low Mortgage Rates

Though it varies from lender to lender, you generally need a credit score of somewhere between 720 and 760 to get the lowest interest rate possible. This is usually the rate that the bank or mortgage broker advertises. Though many lenders will give mortgages to people with scores as low as 620 and even lower, the interest rate will be much higher.

While your credit score is the most important factor in getting a low mortgage rate, it isn’t the only one. If you are getting a loan through a government-backed program, such as a VA or FHA loan, you may not need a high score to get the best rate available. You also may be able to get a lower interest rate by paying points, which are upfront payments you can make to lower your interest rate.

Why Getting a Low Rate is Important

Because mortgages are such long-term loans, usually with 15- or 30-year terms, even small increases in the interest rate can mean you pay thousands or even tens of thousands more in financing costs over the life of the loan.

Improving Your Score

If your credit score isn’t high enough to get the lowest interest rate available on a mortgage, there are some things you can do to improve it. Pay off any past-due balances as soon as possible, and reduce the amount of debt you are carrying on your credit cards. Always stay vigilant regarding your financial security, and conduct regular security audits of your credit card accounts. One breach and your score could be impacted, even if you are not liable for the unauthorized charges. You also should also avoid from taking out any new loans or credit card accounts, especially in the months preceding your loan application.