Know your credit report

Credit report

Your credit report from the 3 US credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, are available for you to view for free annually at AnnualCreditReport.com. Access your report and check for errors and fraudulent accounts. This report doesn’t include your credit score.

Errors

If any discrepancies are noticed, contact the credit reporting agencies and the bank or the credit card company reporting the unauthorized or wrong information and immediately report any issues. They’re required to investigate. It is important that you keep a log and copies of your correspondence.

Your credit score

Credit card companies display your credit score for free in your account. It is recommended that you check it on a regular basis. Paying bills on time and reducing debt can help improve your credit score.

How Often is My Credit Report Updated?

Credit reporting agencies typically update the information monthly. However, each of your credit account information change more often depending on due dates and payment cycles for each account. Additionally, large credit card companies have millions of accounts and they report portion of them at different times, for easier management of large data. Other information, such as bankruptcies and hard and soft inquiries are also reported within days, weeks or months from their occurrence. Thus, you will see changes in your credit reporting account all the time.

Conventional Loans

Conventional loans are not associated, insured or guaranteed by VA, FHA or USDA. A minimum of 5%, or 3% in some cases, of the purchase price must be paid as down payment. Additionally, private mortgage insurance must be paid, if the down payment is less than 20%.

DYK: If you pay 20% or more of home purchase price as down payment, you are not required to pay the private mortgage insurance

What makes or breaks a successful small business?

Starting and running a new business is challenging and requires hard work. Many new businesses make no profit or close their doors within their first 2 years. However, hard work, dedication, perseverance and good business practices will pay in the long run. As a new business owner, budgeting, preparing a simple business operating plan and setting goals will help running your business and will motivate you.

In addition, there are few more things that small business owners do to make their business successful, four of which are provided by GrowBiz Media. Read the entire article at: score.org

What successful entrepreneurs do right

  • They start strong
  • They focus on finding new customers
  • They put cash back into the business
  • They work hard

… continue reading…

Fixing Bad Credit Score Prior To Buying A Home

Buying a home is a dream for many individuals and families, but it can be a challenge for those with less-than-stellar credit. Fortunately, there are several manageable ways to fix bad credit to buy a house.” Continue reading at: lendedu.com

Lendedu.com articles offer our readers useful information about how you can  improve your credit score prior to applying for a loan to purchase a new home.

Protecting your credit card information while shopping on CyberMonday

I will start with saying that, after so many data breaches reported over the years, it is impossible to say that your credit card information is safe when stored on your computer or in stores’ databases. However, you can be a little more vigilant while shopping online, by following the ideas below.

  • Always check the shopping cart website address before entering your credit card payment information, ensuring that it is the correct one and that has an encryption certificate installed which is represented by “https://”, instead of “http://”. “https” means that all information you send and receive from the online store is encrypted.
  • If you receive an email with a special offer, it is best that, instead of clicking on the links in the email, you go directly to the website by typing it in your browser’s address bar. Your browser could be Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari, FireFox, Windows Edge, etc.
  • However, if you decide to click on the link provided in the email, hover over it first (if available) and wait to see the website address (url) that it directs to. The link could be a redirecting link, instead of the online store website address. In this case, use your judgement… just remember, it is always safer if the url starts with “https://”, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t direct you to a malicious, spamming website.
  • Additionally, if you’re still questioning whether to click or not on a special offer link from an email, view the email header details and do a quick review of the sender. Most email applications have an option in the “from/to” area that will allow you to view more details about the sender.
  • Never save credit card information unencrypted on your computer, in the cloud, on your phone, tablet, etc. Never send it via email.

Co-signing for a Loan

When co-signing on a loan you enter into an agreement to become responsible for the re-payment of the loan, including the late and legal fees, if the borrower defaults. However, the financial institution can lawfully go after the co-signer at any time.

If you do agree to co-sign on a loan for someone, you can request that the lender agrees that it will refrain from collecting from you unless the primary borrower defaults. Additionally, you can request that your co-signer agreement includes that your liability is limited to the unpaid principal and not any late or legal fees.

Upon co-signing you may have to provide financial documents to the lender just as the primary borrower and you will assume the same legal responsibility for the repayment of the debt as the borrower. Remember that any late payments will affect your credit as well.

Qualified Retirement Plans: Know the Rules

The IRS annually releases its Required Amendments (RA) list, which includes changes that individually designed retirement plans may need to make in order to remain qualified under the Internal Revenue Code. The most recent RA list was released via Notice 2017-72, which contains changes not only to the qualification requirements for individually designed plans but also to the deadline for amending the plans. There are two categories: Part A and Part B.

Part A: Likely Amendments

Two changes were made in 2017 to:

  • Cash balance/hybrid plans
  • Eligible cooperative plans or eligible charity plans

Part B: Unlikely Amendments

The 2017 RA list addresses: partial annuity distribution for defined benefit pension plans

Read the entire article here >>

Fares recalculated in local currency

The following countries may recalculate fares to their own currency when purchasing with American Airlines®: Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, U.K. The other countries’ fares are calculated in USD. If you buy fares on the AAdvantage® website using your credit card and you aren’t an AAdvantage® member, you should choose the country where your credit card was issued, as local currency and applicable fares may be used.