Keeping a close eye on your credit score is an essential practice if you want to maintain your financial health.
It's important to take conscious steps to improve and maintain your credit, but it's also important that you have someone looking out for you when it comes to data thieves who might use your information to take out lines of credit.
We're going to talk about the importance of monitoring your credit in this article, and explore how Credit Verify can help protect your financial health.
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What Is Credit Verify?
Credit Verify is a paid service that allows you check your credit score and grants access to all of your credit history in one place, while protecting you from financial fraud.
It can be difficult and tedious to try and find your credit and other financial information when it's scattered about on municipal and other websites. Credit Verify eliminates that headache.
In this section, we'll discuss its features and pricing.
Through Credit Verify, you can check your credit score without harming it. Furthermore, it can be used to project what will happen if you take specific financial steps to try and improve your credit score. For example, if you have a less-than-great credit score right now, you can plot out different financial moves to try and increase your score. You'll see how effective they'll be at boosting your score and how long it will take for them to improve it. That way, you can have a clear route to your financial wellbeing.
There are a number of credit simulators out there, but there aren't many that are as accurate as Credit Verify's. This is because most of the simulations are created by individuals working with a hand-made algorithm. Credit Verify simulator works directly with the Canadian Credit Bureau and has a clear picture of which steps will do just what to your credit.
It's easy to look at your credit scores, think that you should probably do something about it, then put that decision off until another day. Having a clear visualization, with laid out steps in front of you, can help a lot in terms of motivation.
Daily Monitoring of Your Report
While you could hypothetically scramble to keep tabs on your credit score and financial history without the help of a professional service, you can't have it daily monitored without one.
Credit Verify is constantly monitoring your credit score and any factors that go into it. You're given a play-by-play of what goes into your report so that you can take the steps needed as soon as possible if you notice any fraudulent activity.
It's also important to know that TransUnion and Equifax can sometimes make mistakes. Whether inconsistencies on your score are the result of fraudulent activity or they're simply mistakes in the reporting process, it's important to have them taken care of.
It might surprise you that a lot of people have at least an error or two on their report, and those errors can be significant enough to drop your score and make lenders to provide you with higher rates.
Make sure that you're aware of all of the factors in your credit report and financial history so that you can dispute any mistakes that might pop up. Not doing so could hurt your ability to get new lines of credit.
Credit Verify offers a seven day trial for $1 that can be refunded if a client decides not to stay with the service. After the trial period, the pricing is $24.95 per month. This is in the standard range for identity protection services.
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What Can Happen if You're Unprotected?
There are a few ways that your identity might get snatched from you and used to your disadvantage.
The first is that a physical piece of your financial or personal identity is stolen, and that piece of information is used to access your private accounts. This might happen when someone snatches your credit card or finds a document with your sensitive information and extrapolates more information from those documents.
The second is when your information is stored in a massive database and that database gets hacked or compromised by cyber criminals. While it's not certain that your information will be used if it's harvested in this way, it's certainly unsettling to know that you've been compromised. It's also even more unsettling that we aren't always aware of all of the places that our information is being stored.
The third is when you get phished.
What Is Phishing?
Phishing is a scam where a malicious individual baits you to offer up some or all of your personal financial information. It's a little more insidious than it seems at first thought, though, because sometimes technology allows these criminals to get your information with very little contribution from you.
The classic example of a phishing scam is the Nigerian Prince. Many people to this day are contacted by unknown people claiming to be a Nigerian prince that needs money to return to their family or something along those lines.
This scam has been going on for decades, and it surprisingly still works on a lot of people.
Modern versions of this practice are harder to identify. Hackers can create a pretty comprehensive profile of you, forge an email or a notification of some kind, and make it seem as though the message they're sending comes from a trusted source and is urgent.
For example, they might create an email that looks identical to your bank's emails and embed a link that asks you to click and provide some sort of urgent information.
Once you click that link, malware rushes through your computer and harvests the information hackers are looking for. At that point, you're compromised.
A general rule of thumb when it comes to suspicious or urgent emails is to just call the company or institution to verify what's going on.
Once You've Been Hacked
Once your information is stolen, digitally or otherwise, criminals can run rampant over your credit.
They can take out credit cards and max them out. They might use a piece of mail to change your utility billing to trick you into auto-paying for their bills while yours run overdue. This process often happens without you having any idea.
They might even use one piece of mail to access other municipalities that send you mail, redirecting your mail to a location where they can gather it and collect more of your information.
There is a multitude of opportunities for people to steal your information and use it to take out loans and other lines of credit that will absolutely ruin your credit score if you don't catch it before it is too late.
Sure, there are legal proceedings that you can take to return your score to what it was before your identity was stolen, but those processes can take a lot of time and money to carry out.
Monitoring Is the Solution
If you're alerted to every change to your credit, you'll be on the front-end of any issue that comes up. The alternative is checking your credit score and financial history every so often by yourself. However, you may find out too late that there are two new credit cards taken out, a personal loan, and someone else's late utility bills and your credit has dropped a 120 points.
Besides alerting you of suspicious activity regarding your credit, Credit Verify provides services to help you increase your credit score to put yourself in a better financial situation.
Methods of Improving Credit
The great thing about a ding or two to your credit is that they're not going to last forever. In fact, good credit stays on your report a lot longer than bad credit does.
Consistent and timely credit card payments will stay on your credit report for around 20 years, while instances of missed payments and other financial difficulties last for around 6 years.
If you're looking to establish good credit or improve the score you have now, there are some surefire ways to do so. Let's take a brief look at ways that you can help you out.
Ways to Wind up With Great Credit
Keeping consistent and timely payments for all of your bills, especially loan repayments, is extremely important when it comes to keeping good credit. Missed payments, especially numerous ones, are an indication to lenders that you might not be creditworthy.
So, if you're looking to try and increase your score for the long-haul, timely payments are the first step. Making payments on time takes a little while to boost your score, but if you miss a few payments, your score could drop in a heartbeat.
Next, try taking out a line of credit that you can use to simply boost your credit and use it for nothing else. In other words, use this line of credit simply as a tool to raise your credit score instead of using the money you borrow as you please.
The most common way to do this is to take out a credit card and use it only once a week for gas. You can use the card once per month, pay the balance immediately after you use it, and that process will raise your credit.
It doesn't matter how much you spend. What matters is that you use the card at least once during each pay period and pay off the balance in full and on time.
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Reduce Your Debt-to-Income Ratio
Another big indication of your creditworthiness is your debt-to-income ratio. It's a lot harder to increase the amount of income that you earn than it is to knock down the principal value of your debts.
Doing so, requires that you set aside a little extra each month and simply put it toward your loans. Whether it's a student loan, credit card debt, personal loan, or something else, knocking down the principal value in addition to the normal monthly payment is huge.
Not only will it increase your credit score, but paying more than you have to will save you a great deal of money over the lifespan of the loan.
If you're curious about other ways to try and increase your credit, the credit simulator that Credit Verify offers is an excellent way to explore your options and start making moves to improve your credit.
There's no harm in trying, and you might find that their service points out some important issues in your credit report that need to be addressed as soon as possible.
Want to Secure Your Finances?
In addition to using services like Credit Verify, it's important to protect yourself financially in case of unforeseen events. Insurdinary is here to help you get the best rates and coverage for your insurance needs, get a quote today!
You can also explore our website for more resources, ideas, and opportunities to improve your finances.