It’s important to review all billing statements carefully upon receipt because in order to be covered under FCBA rules most disputed transactions must be reported within 60 days of the statement date on which the error appeared. First, contact the merchant and try to resolve the billing dispute directly with them. Generally, merchants will want to retain your business and avoid the time and expense incurred when a credit card issuer becomes involved in the dispute. However, if this good-faith resolution attempt doesn’t work, you can escalate the process by filing a written report with your credit card issuer within the 60-day window. The issuer is then obligated to investigate the dispute on your behalf. The card issuer must acknowledge your complaint, in writing, within 30 days after receiving it and resolve the dispute with the merchant within two billing cycles (but not more than 90 days) after receiving your letter. Send your letter to the card issuer’s billing inquiry address (usually found on your monthly statement), not the payment address. Include your name, address, account number and a description of the billing error. (See the FTC’s sample dispute letter .) Send via certified mail, return receipt requested, for proof of what the issuer received. Include copies (not originals) of sales slips or other documents that support your position. Keep a copy of your dispute letter. (Note: Some card issuers allow you to begin the dispute process online or by phone — check their website for details. But follow up with a mailed letter, just to be safe.) During the dispute. According to the FTC, you may withhold payment of the disputed amount (and related charges) during the investigation. In fact, many card issuers may voluntarily remove the charge from your account until the matter is resolved since they are representing you, their client, in the dispute. Other FCBA rules to remember: You still must pay any part of the bill not in question, including finance charges on the undisputed amount. The card issuer may not take any legal or other action to collect the disputed amount and related charges (including finance charges) during the investigation. While your account cannot be closed or restricted, the disputed amount can be applied toward your credit limit. The card issuer also may not threaten your credit rating, report you as delinquent or restrict or close your account because your bill is in dispute or you have used your FCBA rights. However, they may report that you are challenging your bill. In addition, it’s against federal law for creditors to discriminate against credit applicants who exercise their rights in good faith under the FCBA. For example, a creditor can’t deny you credit just because you’ve disputed a bill. Dispute aftermath. If it turns out that your bill contains a mistake, the creditor must explain, in writing, the corrections that will be made to your account. In addition to crediting your account, they must remove all finance charges, late fees, or other charges related to the error. However, if the card issuer’s investigation determines that you owe part — or all — of the disputed amount, they must promptly provide you with a written explanation. You may request copies of documents proving you owe the money.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit How to Dispute a Credit Card Charge
Protect credit cards from wireless theft
That’s according to research by LexisNexis and Javelin Strategy and Research . The reason more than half (57%) of those age 25 and older gave for never reviewing their scores? They aren’t interested in seeing them. In other words, they just don’t care. If you’re among those consumers, I can explain to you how strong credit scores can save you money, and point out that your credit reports may contain mistakes that are raising your interest rates and causing you to lose out on the best discounts on your auto or homeowner’s insurance. I’ll tell you that monitoring your credit scores can alert you to changes to your credit reports which, in turn, may help you catch identity theft faster if you become a victim. Maybe you’re not worried about any of that right now. That’s fine. But someday that may change. And if you wait until then, it may be too late. Why Your Credit Score Matters Let’s say you find a house for sale and fall in love. In today’s hot real estate market in much of the country today, you may need to get preapproved for a mortgage ASAP so that your offer will be considered seriously. What happens if you find a mistake that takes 30-60 days to clear up? Or how about if you are a victim of a natural disaster and need access to credit to make repairs while you wait for your insurance company to write a check? Are you really going to want to deal with your credit report then? You could lose your job and find that you need access to low-cost credit to start that small business you have always dreamed of owning. Starting a business is time-consuming enough without adding another item to your to-do list. Perhaps you’ll have to relocate to be closer to family or a new job, and you’ll have to get a mortgage to finance your new home while you try to sell your current one. Who knows? The point is, life happens. And when something does come up that throws a wrench in your plans, will you really want to find yourself worrying about checking — and perhaps working on — your credit reports and scores? Do yourself a favor and get your free credit reports and free credit score now, when you aren’t pressed for time or under the gun to get approved for a loan. By the way, in the same survey, 7% of consumers over the age of 25 who had never checked their credit scores said they didn’t want to pay the associated fees. For them, the good news is they can get one for free every single month using Credit.com’s Credit Report Card .
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit ‘I Don’t Care About My Credit Score’
‘I Don’t Care About My Credit Score’
Fortunately, you can protect yourself with a few simple steps. Visa’s PayWave, MasterCard’s PayPass, American Express’ ExpressPay and Discover’s Zip card are just a few of the cards with radio-frequency-identification, or RFID, chips built into them. These are not the only charge cards with RFID. Others are on offer in traditional and RFID form, allowing consumers to choose which they want. As of two years ago, there were 35 million chip cards in use in the U.S., according to The Nilson Report, an industry newsletter. Instead of the standard checkout, where you swipe your card and wait for a receipt, RFID card users simply swipe the card by a designated reader — if one is available — and go. Although these readers are not yet in wide distribution, they are becoming much more common. Unfortunately, this convenience comes at a cost — it’s easy to steal data from the cards. An inexpensive credit card reader can get at the data from a few inches away, even if the card is in a purse or wallet. So a crook can put the reader in a brief case, sidle up to someone and steal data undetected. There are also apps that make it possible to do this using nothing more than a smartphone. Credit card issuers have taken steps to combat this in a number of ways. These include having security codes that change after every use, which limits damage to one fraudulent transaction. Some also use additional security questions. However, researchers are divided on credit card debt how effective this is. At last year’s Shmoocon hacker conference, Kristin Paget of Recursion Ventures did a demonstration on stage in which she stole data from an RFID card and then used it for a purchase. Still, the Smart Card Alliance says it has yet to see a verifiable report of data theft from an RFID card. Moreover, the biggest threat to credit card data is theft from a database. Hackers are much more interested in stealing data on the wholesale rather than individual level. There are very simple steps you can take to diminish this threat even further. A number of companies now sell wallets that have RFID blockers built in. In 2011, Consumer Reports found that many of the blockers didn’t perform as well as promised and that none did as well as simply wrapping the cards in tinfoil. A slightly more attractive option: credit card sleeves made of Tyvek, a material made of high-density polyethylene fibers. They are inexpensive — 50 cents buys you added security, and you don’t have to explain why your wallet is covered in tinfoil.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit Protect credit cards from wireless theft
Looking for Mr. FICO: Singles using credit score to filter dates
Right. “While it sounds calculating and cold, it makes sense,” says Anthony Sprauve, director of public relations for myFICO.com. “A credit score gives you an indication of how someone handles their finances; a high credit score is the key to your financial future, but a low credit score could be an indicator of potential issues that need to be discussed.” In addition to qualifying for lower rates on loans and more access to credit, a mate with a low credit score may spell trouble in a relationship. In a survey conducted by myFICO.com, respondents reported that a lack of financial responsibility impacted their relationship more than an unfaithful spouse. When Lauren set up an online dating profile, she wasn’t looking for a partner with perfect credit. It wasn’t until her date disclosed his score that Lauren realized great credit represented more to her than preferred mortgage rates. “It was a reflection of whether he was responsible,” she recalls. The idea that credit scores are an indicator of how well someone handles commitment and honors agreements led to the creation of the online dating site CreditScoreDating.com. “If you’re looking at building a life together, you need to know the details of each other’s finances,” says the site’s owner, Niem Green. “If you can’t buy your dream house or the interest rates are ridiculous or all of the loans and credit cards need to be in one person’s name [because their spouse has bad credit], it can affect a relationship.” When CreditScoreDating.com launched in 2007, most of the members were in their 40s and, according to Green, often had relationships end because of financial issues. Following the financial crisis, the site experienced a surge in membership and a decline in the average age of members. Of the 15,000 members using the online dating portal, a “significant percentage” are in their 20s and 30s. “The younger generation is starting to realize that it’s important to be proactive about their financial stability by keeping their own scores high and finding a partner who also has a high score,” Green says. Credit: A taboo topic The problem: Not everyone is willing to share their score. A third of respondents to the myFICO survey admitted they were reluctant to share their scores with a significant other; just over half of the singles surveyed would tell a significant other their score. A 2013 CreditCards.com research poll found the same reticence: Discussing debt remains a huge taboo , as big or bigger than talking about religion, politics or your sex life. I understand that it’s an important issue but I don’t think it should be a top dating criteria … You could be shutting out someone who might otherwise be a perfect match Liz Weston Personal finance expert While talking about credit scores on a first date seems “a little weird” to personal finance expert Liz Weston, she believes couples need to talk about their finances, including the all-important three digit number, before getting serious. “I understand that it’s an important issue, but I don’t think it should be a top dating criteria … You could be shutting out someone who might otherwise be a perfect match,” says Weston, author of “Deal with Your Debt: Free Yourself from What You Owe.” “Judging someone by their credit score is as [ridiculous] as judging someone by their horoscope.” Credit confessional After learning that her date had a stellar credit score, Lauren worried that confessing her credit challenges would impact their budding relationship.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit Looking for Mr. FICO: Singles using credit score to filter dates