You may set up your smartphone to back up all of your images to the cloud automatically. Automated doorstep deliveries of dog food and diapers are an option. (Hello, Subscribe and Save on Amazon!) You can also set your monthly bill payments to run automatically. Automating everything is undoubtedly not the ideal idea when it comes to managing your multiple financial accounts and preserving your credit, though.
How to maintain good credit
Monitoring your bank accounts is one of the simplest methods to safeguard your credit and lower your chance of identity theft. It also helps you keep track of your spending and savings. So how frequently should you check your different accounts?
Your bank accounts
You should really check in with this important account once each day. While that may seem like a lot, if you bank online, it only takes a few seconds (and you should). Checking the amount and transactions in your account each day might help you confirm that your account hasn’t been the victim of debit card fraud. It also lessens the possibility of overdrawing your account, which might result in overdraft fines of up to $30 each occurrence.
Credit cards you use
It’s the same with your credit cards. You are able to evaluate your transactions and keep an eye out for any fraudulent ones by checking in with each of them each day. According to a survey conducted in 2012 by the research firm Aite Group and the payment-software provider ACI Worldwide, 42 percent of Americans had engaged in some form of payment card fraud in the last five years. And with all the recent data breaches, it is likely that this number is substantially greater now. Even if your liability for fraud is limited to $50 (and frequently none at all), dealing with it as soon as it occurs is always easier. Watching your balance increase may also discourage you from charging more than you can afford.
The credit card you have
One of the simplest methods to identify problems and potential symptoms of identity theft is to routinely check your credit report. Fortunately, the Fair Credit Reporting Act guarantees that every person has the right to free annual credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and Transunion. Consider pulling one report every four months, staggered from agency to bureau, rather than requesting your free credit reports from all three bureaus at once. By doing this, you’ll be able to check your credit report information proactively every quarter rather than only occasionally every year.
The advantage of this approach is that you can swiftly respond and add a fraud alert to all three of your credit reports if you notice any indications of an illegal account opening or other fake information. In addition to your annual freebie, placing a fraud alert on your credit reports gives you additional consumer protection rights. It also enables you to get current copies of your credit reports from all three bureaus, which you can then check and contest any fake accounts right away.
Getting a credit monitoring subscription is another option to keep an eye on your credit. Many credit monitoring services have a small monthly fee, but you can join up for free credit monitoring through Credit Sesame, which will provide you daily access to your Experian credit report. In the case that you experience identity theft, Credit Sesame also offers a free monthly credit score and free identity theft protection.
The retirement accounts you have
Although it’s simple to check your retirement funds everyday with online access, experts concur that there’s no actual reason to go to that extent. Since IRAs, 401(k)s, and 403(b)s are long-term savings instruments, you shouldn’t frequently change your investments in them. It is adequate to simply check in every six months, or even just once a year. If at that point your allocations are no longer in line with your risk tolerance, make the necessary reallocations. If not, let them alone and watch your savings account increase.
When traveling, keep your accounts secure.
What happens, though, if you actually go on vacation? You’re going to need a strategy if you want to accomplish more than just keep track of your accounts. To keep your accounts organized and safe from identity thieves, read the following advice.
A Federal Reserve Bank of Boston survey found that the typical American carries at least three credit cards in their wallet. Take those credit cards with you on a long weekend break, a weeklong tropical vacation, or another longer journey, and those cards become three chances for an identity thief to cause you a lot of trouble and make you wish there were wallets that protected credit cards.
Only the essentials should be in a consumer’s “holiday wallet”: a driver’s license, auto and health insurance cards, and a debit or credit card, which eliminates the need to carry cash or a checkbook. Carrying any store credit cards, discount cards, etc. is not necessary. Should your wallet get into the wrong hands, those just raise your risk of identity theft (and troubles).
You should bring one or two (at most) bank credit cards with you on both personal and professional vacations. Bring two so that you have a backup card in case the first one has problems.
There are a few tips for keeping your wallet and credit cards safe while traveling. Continue reading to find out how to keep your credit cards content and secure while driving.
Prank on thieves
Rifling through cash and credit cards (either in your wallet or in a bundle you take out of your pocket) when at a restaurant, rest area, or local attraction allows prospective identity thieves a look into your life. Instead, divide up what’s in your wallet.
Keep your debit/credit card in your wallet and a bank credit card in your front pocket so you just need to take out the one you want to use to pay at the register.
Divide and conquer your payment options if you’re traveling with your husband or partner. Mix things up and put half the plastic in each of your wallets or pockets rather than having one of you carry all the plastic. In this manner, the other individual will have a card from a different account in case one of you loses your wallet and you need to cancel a card.
Lock them away
You don’t want to carry your wallet or credit cards to the casino, the museum, or the amusement park. Do not seek refuge in your hotel room or bags. While it may be alluring to become complacent when stuffing your plastic on the bottom of your luggage, keep in mind that different hotel staff members may have access to your room. Because of this, it is best to store credit cards in a safe that a dishonest maid can’t access, such as the safe in the hotel room or the safe at the front desk.