You’re at a restaurant out of town and you’ve just finished a great dinner. Your server comes back to the table with your credit card. She looks at you and says, “I’m sorry, but your card has been declined. You stare at her for a moment, while your mind immediately starts calculating how that could be – you have a $10,000 credit limit, and you’re not even close to hitting it. You pull out another card, hand it to her, and continue to wonder what happened… then it hits you. Your credit card number has been stolen and your card has been turned off by your credit card company for suspected fraudulent activity.
If this has ever happened to you, you know how violated you can feel that someone is using your card and spending money that is not theirs. Credit Card Theft can happen even when the card is still in your possession – the thief has obtained your number and security information and has created a new card with the same information. And it may just be the first step in obtaining other parts of your identity.
To best protect yourself from credit card theft, here are some “Do’s and Don’ts” when it comes to keeping your credit card information safe.
If you suspect your credit card has been compromised, call your credit card company or your financial institution immediately. They’ll turn your card off and tell you how to dispute the fraudulent charges.
Merrimack Valley Credit Union wants you to be as safe and informed as possible. If you’re not sure if your credit card information has been stolen, please call us and speak with a representative: 800-356-0067.
Category: Budgeting & Debt Reduction
According to a recent study, the average American household spends $64 per month on internet service. If you’re looking to reduce that cost, here are some ways to do that.
Guess what? You’re not the only one with debt. Most people are juggling several different payment responsibilities each month: credit cards, car loans, store charge cards, gas credit cards, personal loans and even student loans.
Do you feel like just when you catch up…something hits your budget out of the blue? Like when you suddenly need new tires… or your refrigerator dies and you definitely need to replace it? Just when you think you’re on top of everything, new expenses seem to pop up.
Credit Card Theft can happen even when the card is still in your possession – the thief has obtained your number and security information and has created a new card with the same information. And it may just be the first step in obtaining other parts of your identity.
One of the biggest factors impacting your credit score is the credit utilization ratio. This is your total credit used divided by the total credit available to you. Your best strategy when dealing with this ratio is to keep it below 30 percent. If it goes above that number, you could be in trouble.
Will there be a sweet tax refund check coming your way? Even though you may be excited about this lump sum of cash hitting your banking accounts, consider your options before going on a shopping spree. If you use this money to your advantage, you could improve your finances for long-term benefits. Here are some smart ways to spend your tax refund:
Did you know the average family of 4 spends $800-$1000 on food each month? Food is one of those sneaky budget items because it covers not only your weekly groceries, but any restaurant food, coffee or drinks on-the-go that don’t seem expensive until you add up the total at the end of the month.
Setting a financial goal is easy. Attaining that goal is the hard part. Here are some ways to make the road to your financial goal as smooth as possible.
According to a study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, groceries are going to get more expensive. The report suggested prices will likely increase between 1.5 percent and 2.5 percent during the next year. One way to save on groceries is to buy things in bulk. Here are some items that are usually worth buying in bulk:
Did you know the average US adult spends over $700 a year on gifts? In addition, we often can’t help ourselves while we’re shopping for others, and we end up also spending money on ourselves while out shopping. And that’s not even including the hundreds of dollars we spend on wrapping, cards, groceries, decorations, clothes and hairstyling for parties, and the gas, mileage, babysitting, and restaurant expenses it takes to get out and go shopping.
There’s a growing community of people who are strategically planning to retire much earlier than 65, 60, or even 50 years old. These people are making radical changes to their lifestyles and financial plans. They are looking to achieve “financial independence” and to “retire early.” Shortened to an acronym, that becomes F-I-R-E, and the FIRE movement is gaining popularity with millennials.
Are you expecting a tax refund this year? While it can be exciting to have an unexpected chunk of cash suddenly available, consider your options before going on a shopping spree. You could use this money to your advantage and improve your finances for long-term benefits. Here are some smart ways to spend your tax refund:
Now that the holiday season is over, are you dreading the arrival of your credit card bills? Many people do most of their holiday shopping with credit cards—and the totals sure add up quickly! Here are 5 strategies to deal with the financial aftermath from Christmas shopping and prepare a plan for this year’s holidays.
What makes up your FICO credit score? Where does it come from? What actions make it better or worse, and what does this mean to you? Anthony Marino, Merrimack Valley Credit Union’s Senior Vice President of Organizational Development, answers these questions and more in this informative recorded seminar.
Using debt consolidation as a tool to lower your monthly payments and interest If you’re like most Americans, you may be juggling several different payment responsibilities each month: credit cards, car loans, store credit cards, gas credit cards and even student loans. It can be overwhelming!
It is officially summertime, you’ve put in the request for some time off at work and you’re ready for some much needed R&R! You finally start to plan out your vacation getaway, and then… you see that the expenses are adding up quickly. The last thing you want is to arrive at your destination and realize you’re out of money. So how do you plan a vacation without overspending, that also fits your budget?!
Spring is finally upon us! While most people are thinking about spring cleaning their homes, it is equally as important to think about cleaning your finances. Yes, just like that one crinkled shirt hidden in the depths of your closet that you promise “you will wear one day” – your finances need some reevaluating, too! So, where do we even start? Here are a few tips and tricks to start spring cleaning your finances:
Before we start, I already know what you’re thinking, “Olivia, you’re not good at saving money. Is this going to be a huge flop like the ’No Spend November‘ challenge?” And my answer: potentially. I always do my best to be transparent when it comes to money… and I am a work in progress! I cannot guarantee this spending plan is going to be my “a-ha moment” where I get my life and finances together, but it is worth a shot!
Is anyone else confused at how it is already 2022?! Growing up, I always felt that the years were so much longer. However, the older I get the more I realize how quickly each day goes by. I began my career at the credit union when I was young and fresh out of college. Now, I am in my late 20’s and my back pops when I bend over!
If you’ve been a regular reader of the ThinkPink blog series, you should be well-versed on the importance of a budget. When it comes to saving money and having a plan, a budget is one of the best ways to take control of your finances and reach your financial goals. However, I’ve found that following through with a plan can be cumbersome and while there may be momentum in the beginning, eventually it fizzles out before a goal is even reached. Why is that?
For some readers, the No Spend Challenge could be done with ease and that is awesome! For me, a No Spend Challenge is difficult. It is especially hard when participating during the month of November. Let’s cue the smallest violin here, again. For starters, every store is now fully stocked with their transitional fall into winter pieces, which is arguably the best season for creating outfits.
This is a great time of year to get organized and back on track. Something about the return of regular schedules after a nice summer break leaves many people feeling ready to take on the world. Still, going into the end of the calendar (and tax) year can also leave us a bit anxious about our financial situations.