There’s wisdom in managing your credit

Shot of a family having fun indoors

By CAPITAL ONE BANK

 For the fifth straight year, Capital One is proud to sponsor this special section of The Defender and, through it, provide information to help readers and their families learn and practice effective money management. 

Among its many advantages, effectively monitoring and protecting your financial information and accounts can help you avoid becoming the victim of fraud and identity theft, put you in a better position to qualify for a loan or credit card, and determine what interest rate you pay.

It also has never been easier – or more affordable – to control your credit. Here are some tips to help:

  1. Once a year obtain a free copy of your credit reportfrom the three major credit bureaus at annualcreditreport.com. If you notice something strange or suspicious, contact the lender to investigate the matter.
  2. Sign up for a credit monitoring tool. Look for one that shows the factors that impact your credit score, so you can instantly find easy ways to improve or maintain it.
  3. Enable fraud alertson your credit report. This still allows lenders to access your credit report, but requires them to take extra steps to verify your identity before issuing credit in your name. Second Look from Capital One is a digital and mobile alert program that helps flag unusual charges for cardholders.Also, if you choose to receive text alerts, ensure that your mobile phone number is up to date.
  4. Sign up for purchase notifications. Many banks and credit card companies provide instant purchase notifications to let cardholders know when their credit card is used to purchase something. If you didmake the purchase, you can make sure the merchant charged the correct amount.
  5. Use different passwords for each of your accounts. Consider using a password manager to create complex, encrypted passwords for each site you visit.
  6. Be suspicious of emails or phone calls asking for your information. Phishing is when a fraudster tries to contact you while claiming to be your bank, electric company or anyone else you might trust enough toshare your personal information.