Top Factors That Impact Your Credit Score


Age might be just a number, but your credit score is a little bit more than just that.

Your credit score (aka three digits that represent your credit files) determines how creditworthy you are and informs lenders on whether to approve you for a loan or credit card. This number is calculated based on multiple factors that hold different weights. Though each reporting agency measures your score a little differently, you’ll likely find these top score-determining factors wherever you look.

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Steps to Take If You're a Victim of a Data Breach


What exactly is a data breach?

Let’s start with an example. In 2013 Target announced that nearly 70 million customers’ names, credit card numbers, expiration dates, card verification codes, mailing addresses, and email addresses had been hacked from their credit and debit card devices used during the holiday shopping period.

The 2013 Target incident is the best explanation of exactly what a data breach is — someone hacking into a secure system to steal all of your account information. 

It’s considered to be a modern-day robbery of your cash and savings accounts.  

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Should You Refinance Your Car?


What is auto refinancing anyway?

When someone decides to refinance their car, they are essentially taking out another loan from a bank or lender to pay off their previous loan.

For example, let’s say you bought a car and the dealership sets you up with their finance department. After a year or so, you’ve come to realize that you could qualify for a better interest rate with a credit union or bank. So you request a loan with that institution to pay off the loan that you have with your car dealership, and now you only owe the institution what you borrowed.

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Terms Every First Time Homebuyer Should Know

Before you shop for a mortgage, it’s important to become familiar with the industry terms (and there are quite a few) that are commonly used. “Speaking the language” will help you make a better-informed decision and lead to the perfect mortgage for that perfect new home.

We put together a list of terms that will help you navigate the homebuying process like a pro.

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Are You Getting the Most Out of Your Checking Account?

I'd love to tell you that your checking account is undoubtedly the right fit for you.

Unfortunately, there’s a good chance that it’s not. Big banks tend to charge more fees and provide less perks, prompting you to pay more money for less benefits.

The right checking account will do two things: It will help you save your money and it will make managing your everyday finances as convenient as possible. Do you feel that your checking account accomplishes these two things?

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How to Protect Yourself From Credit and Debit Card Fraud

Let's face it, you're more likely to put a 99-cent pack of gum on your debit card than you are to have an extra dollar on you.

Using a credit or debit card everywhere you go is normal, and recent technologies have made the transaction process more safe and secure than ever before. However, using your cards comes along with an inherent risk of fraud. 

In an age of computer hacking and data breaches, the need to keep your bank account information secure is more important than ever. And, even if the tangible card never leaves your possession, the account information can still be compromised.

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What to Look for in Your First Credit Card

You've landed your first real job. 

Now, with a steady source of income, you’re ready to take the next step in the process of adulting – getting your very first credit card. This may seem like a no-brainer – just fill out an application – because aren’t all credit cards the same?

The answer is no, absolutely not. In all likelihood, you are going to have a long-term relationship with this card and the financial institution issuing it. Shouldn’t you make sure that this card is “the one?” And, if you don’t take the time to do some comparison shopping, you may pay out more of your hard earned money than necessary.

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Ways (in Every Price Range) to Raise Your Property Value

You don't necessarily need to break the bank to raise your property value.

There are a lot of things you can do to upgrade the value of your home before you make a move, and it's true that even a small investment can make a major difference.

Whether your home could use some minor changes or you’re considering a HELOC to make a big upgrade, there are a lot of different things you can do to make the space more appealing to potential homebuyers. So, if you’re thinking about selling or renting your home, read this list before you start packing up and moving out.

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Who Are Fannie and Freddie and Why Are They in My Mortgage?


Fannie and Freddie sounds like a brand of chocolates from the 1920s, or perhaps the names of your elderly grandparents you visit twice a year in upstate New York. Alas, neither is the case. So I bet you're wondering- "Who are Fannie and Freddie and why are they in my mortgage?"

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were actually created by Congress with the goal in mind of becoming an affordable and reliable source of mortgage funding for all Americans. The organizations provide funds to the financial institutions that shell out the cash you need to buy the home you want to buy- when you want to buy it. 

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What Should You Do With Your Tax Refund?


Ah, that April 15 deadline is approaching and you're going to have to go through with the dreaded and dreary task of doing your taxes.

You've gathered your W2's and your 1099's and posted up on your laptop, or perhaps you handed your documents over to an expert. Either way, some of us are in a better mood than others during tax season, hopeful that we’ll be getting some extra cash lining our pockets rather than owing more money.

But what are you going to do with that extra cash? 

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