Fraud Alert

Nobody likes to have their security compromised even more so to have one’s identity stolen. As much as we want to be exempted from identity theft, there is just no guarantee that we won’t be targeted by those culprits. This doesn’t mean that you should take the security of your identity lightly; on the contrary, you have to be even more alert and vigilant.

If a time will come that you think you may fall prey to credit card fraud or identity theft, don’t hesitate to take the necessary actions to prevent it from happening. For example, if you have lost your wallet with your credit cards and social security card in it, don’t delay in contacting your creditor and have the card cancelled. Then immediately have a fraud alert placed on your credit report to help prevent a possible identity theft.

 

Fraud Alert

The name itself explains it; fraud alert basically notifies businesses or anyone who would pull up your credit report that your information has been compromised. The entities that have pulled up your credit report would then have to take extra measures in verifying that the person applying for a loan or a credit card is indeed you.

Placing a fraud alert on your credit report is free and you can do it on your own. So there shouldn’t be a reason for you not to activate this feature, if your personal information gets compromised.

 

Types of Fraud Alert

There are two major types of fraud alert that you can utilize to help protect you from theft and fraud.

  • Initial Fraud Alert – If you think that your personal information has been compromised for the first time and haven’t been a victim of identity theft, this type of fraud alert is what you would want to activate. The initial fraud alert lasts for Ninety (90) Days and can be renewed should you find it necessary.
  • Extended Fraud Alert – This fraud alert is best for people who have been victimized by identity theft already and may still be clearing out fraudulent activities under their names. Although the function of the feature is the same as the initial fraud alert, It’s duration of seven (7) years is necessary and more convenient, instead of activating the former and keep renewing it every ninety days.

How to place a fraud alert

Get in touch with any of the three major credit bureaus (Transunion, Equifax, and Experian) to have a fraud alert added to your credit report. You don’t need to contact all three of the bureaus, you just need to contact one. Whoever you have selected will be the one who will contact the other two bureaus to inform them of your request of fraud alert.

If you will just be placing an initial fraud alert, the three credit bureaus offer forms that you could just fill out and submit online, making the process quicker and hassle free. However if what you need is the extended fraud alert, the request will have to be in writing. This is also the case if you would request to have an alert removed from your credit report.

Who Can View My Credit Report?

Your credit report contains all sorts of personal information: your address, employment history, social security number, etc. This report also bears the summary of your credit history, your account numbers, and overdue accounts.  If you have accounts that were turned over to credit agencies, these will also show in your credit report.

All this information is very useful to organizations, as they can determine if you are eligible to acquire their services. Continental Finance will access your credit report to decide which credit tier would suit you best. Many credit card companies are quick to reject applicants based on a negative credit report. However, Continental Finance takes time to thoroughly review the applicant’s history to ensure fair treatment with the goal of giving consumers the opportunity to rebuild their credit score.

It’s not just financial that will need access to your credit report. Employers may require a credit history screening. If you are looking to rent an apartment or house, many landlords will check your credit report to determine if you will pay in a timely manner. Basically, most organizations that you have initiated business with will probably need to check your credit report to determine your eligibility.

You should also know, many lenders and merchants purchase memberships to credit bureaus for fast and easy access to customers’ credit history. However, credit bureau members have a contract limiting their usage; they are only allowed access when they are considering persons for employment, extensions of credit, or other legitimate business reasons.

If you’re now worried about the safety of your credit report information, you shouldn’t be. There is a law established that protects your credit report information. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) specifies who are allowed to access your credit report and why. This act states that a company/individual must have a legitimate reason to view your credit report. Any organization or individual who acquires a copy of your credit report under false pretenses can be fined and jailed for up to a year.

Getting a Copy of Your Credit Report

Since the 1970’s, credit scores have played an increasingly vital role in the lending industry.  These scores are now reviewed not only by prospective lenders, but also by landlords, insurers and government agencies. There are two scoring models that are mainly used.  Below shows the importance of each category in calculating the credit score.

FICO Score

  • The Consumer’s Payment History: 35%
  • Total Amounts Owed by the Consumer: 30%
  • Length of the Consumer’s Credit History: 15%
  • Types of Credit Used by the Consumer: 10%
  • Amount of the Consumer’s New Credit: 10%

VantageScore

  • Amount of the Consumer’s Recent Credit: 30%
  • The Consumer’s Payment History: 28%
  • Utilization of the Consumer’s Current Credit: 23%
  • Size of the Consumer’s Account Balances: 9%
  • Depth of the Consumer’s Credit: 9%
  • Amount of the Consumer’s Available Credit: 1%

If you are in the process of rebuilding your credit score, you should know that these reports are the sole source of information for your credit score. Thus, it is important that the information included is positive and accurate. Continental Finance reports to the 3 major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion on a monthly basis.

It is imperative that you have access to these reports so you can be aware of your financial status. Your credit reports can help you analyze your credit standing, make you aware of fraudulent activities, and function as your “resume” when applying for loans, credit cards, etc. Banks, financing firms, or lenders will use your credit report to make decisions.

You can always access your credit report for free by logging in to www.annualcreditreport.com.

The Reflex MasterCard®

Do you make two trips to the grocery store just because you didn’t have
enough cash during your first visit? Are you tired of always looking for a working ATM before you make any purchase? Can’t keep track of your finances because you keep losing your receipts? Then it may be time for you to get yourself a credit card.

We are certain that you’re aware of how convenient and helpful it is to have a credit card. You may have previously thought of getting a credit card again, but just got tired of financial firms denying your requests for credit.

Continental Finance believes in second chances; that is why we give more focus to people that are neglected by other firms. In fact, Continental Finance has created several cards that may meet the needs of these consumers; one being The Reflex MasterCard®.

The Reflex MasterCard is designed for people with less than perfect credit.  If you make on-time minimum payments and maintain your balances under your credit limits, you may be able to build, rebuild, or reestablish your credit!

If you have financial challenges or are trying to improve your credit score, using a credit card responsibly can help.  The Reflex MasterCard will report you payment activity monthly to the three major credit bureaus.  Debit card use doesn’t appear anywhere on your credit report; therefore, it can’t help you build or improve your credit.

Add The Reflex MasterCard to your financial plan: get yourself a Reflex MasterCard today!  Click here to Apply Now!

Building your Credit Score and Managing your Finances

Credit cards are a great way to build your credit score and credit history. They also help you streamline most of your daily expenses into just one billing, so you can keep track of your monthly purchases and enable you to better manage your finances.

How to build, repair, and manage your credit score can be summed up in these 3 keywords: Know, Pay, and Control. These are the keys that Continental Finance fortified over the years and have helped many of our customers reach their desired result.

“Knowing” is always the first step in most, if not all, aspects of life that can be managed; thus, it is imperative that you are aware of all the on-goings of your account, such as your billing statement, recent transactions, payment history, and more. This is where the Online Banking Service comes in, and Continental Finance has made sure this is a free service provided as a feature of our credit cards.

Now that you know, it is time to make sure payments are made and are received on time to avoid those unwanted penalty charges. Late payment fees or charges are among the main detractors in building and maintaining your credit score. The Online Banking Service of Continental Finance also allows customers to pay their bill online, a proven faster and safer method.

Last and most certainly not the least, controlling what you spend is crucial. A lot of cardholders fall into this trap where they spend more than they can manage. Thus, Continental Finance always makes sure their customers do not fall victim to this by initially allocating a credit limit they can handle. Credit limits can be increased in time when customers have proven that they are able to manage their respective credit tier.

Managing your account online is safe, secure, and fast.  There are several ways in which you can manage your account online; such as,

  • Signup for electronic statement delivery
  • View electronic statements and account summary information
  • Make payments online
  • View available credit
  • Create reports that help track expenses

The Online Banking Service is available 24 hours a day so you can access and manage your account whenever it is convenient for you.