As we near the end of January, many who started the New Year with resolutions are probably finding themselves sticking to those resolutions, or trying to remember what exactly their resolution was. While health and wellness may have been at the top of many resolution lists, making sure to take care of yourself financially should also be a priority for you in 2016. Parry Custom Homes, a premier Pittsburgh on your lot builder, shares how you can still manage your credit cards better than last year, with these simple tips.
A good starting point to make sure your focus on in 2016 is to be more vigilant about fraud. Even if you have an EMV card, it is still important to be cautious with your information and how you use it. The gas station pumps are one of the biggest places to be cautious since it will still be several months before self-service pumps will be required to have an EMV reader.
Speaking of EMV cards, be sure to make the switch to an EMV card this year. EMV stands for Europay, Mastercard, and Visa, which are chip cards that comply with the deadline for new rules and standards on fraud that went effect last October. These new cards contain a computer chip, which makes them less susceptible for fraudsters to counterfeit. You may have noticed stores complying with this new rule in their credit card readers. If you haven’t received or been notified about your Chip card, contact your card issuer and ask when you will be receiving it.
Another tip is to freeze your credit. Placing a freeze on your credit makes things a lot more difficult for identity theft. Freezing your credit is something that cannot be detected in your file and it won’t hurt your credit at all either. You can freeze your credit by contacting each of the 3 major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You’ll need to supply them with your basic information and plan to pay $5-$10 per bureau, depending on where you live.
Be sure to educate yourself on the best practices when it comes to your credit cards as well. Did you know that 51% of Americans wrongfully believe that their credit card accounts with high balances help their scores as long as they are paid on time? This is one of the major myths that shows why it is important to educate yourself and your family, to make sure you are doing everything correctly and as it should be done.
Data breaches are on the rise and in 2014, nearly 20% of American households suffered a data breach. This makes it very important to monitor your credit reports and statements for signs of fraud.
Lastly and most importantly, start paying off your credit card debt in 2016. This is one of the most effective ways to bump up your credit score, pay off your “amounts owed.” This is 30% of your FICO score’s calculation. Start by prioritizing your credit card payments and the card with the highest annual percentage rate. You might also want to consider opening a balance-transfer credit card, which allows you to move expensive debt over to the new card, with a low or 0% APR for a certain period of time. Just be sure to read the fine print.
These simple tips can have your credit cards and safety on the upswing in 2016!
Parry Custom Homes is an established homebuilder in the Pittsburgh area. Call or contact us today for more information about this floor plan option, or to view other homes in our portfolio that may suit your new home needs.