The holiday shopping season is in full swing, and freecreditscore.com™ wants to help shoppers stay off the financial “naughty” list — and avoid identity theft “grinches.”
“Understanding how shopping behavior can affect credit scores during the holiday season leads to better buying decisions,” said Ken Chaplin, senior vice president of marketing for freecreditscore.com. “We offer a variety of articles and tools on freecreditscore.com that help educate people about credit information, which can help holiday shoppers stay on the financial ‘nice’ list this year.”
Here are a few guidelines to help consumers understand their score:
Before putting more purchases on those cards, know what you owe!
A credit score is directly linked to the number of credit cards a consumer possesses and the balance on those cards. The percentage of credit used on the cards weighs heavily on an individual’s credit score. If most cards are close to being maxed out, the credit score may suffer significantly. Before heading to stores, shoppers should assess the available balance on all cards to avoid maxing any out during the holidays.
Ho, ho, no! — Open new lines of credit with caution
During this time of year, many retail stores offer “instant” credit that promises discounts and rewards for shoppers. While these incentives may save a few dollars in the short term, the reality is that this kind of retail card can wreak havoc on your credit score in the long run.
Applying for a credit card initiates a “hard” credit inquiry by the card provider, which can cause a score to drop. In addition, the inquiry remains on a credit report for two years.
The holidays are a time to give, but don’t give your identity!
This is the time for celebration and counting blessings. However, there are “grinches” out there more interested in stealing personal identity information for their own gains. Saving physical and digital receipts can help to avoid being billed for what other people buy with stolen credit card information. As bills start to arrive, itemized expenses should be matched against actual receipts to make sure no one else is using the card for holiday shopping.
Shoppers also can watch for identity theft by monitoring their credit scores through enrolling in products such as freecreditscore.com. If cards are maxed out or if there’s an application for new credit lines, the score will change — and freecreditscore.com sends an alert noting the change. Consumers can access their score at no cost for seven days, also gaining access to additional finance tools and resources. After seven days, a monthly fee is charged for membership in freecreditscore.com.
Additional information about credit and credit scores is available at http://www.freecreditscore.com.
freecreditscore.com is part of a family of online consumer credit reporting sites belonging to ConsumerInfo.com, Inc., an Experian company. ConsumerInfo.com, Inc. was founded in 1995 to give consumers quick, easy and inexpensive access to their credit profile. It is now the leading provider of online consumer credit reports, credit scores, credit monitoring and other credit-related information. ConsumerInfo.com, Inc. provides credit monitoring to its more than 3.1 million members and has delivered more than 20 million credit reports on the Web. As part of the Experian family, it continues to grow its membership base and develop innovative products to help consumers better understand and manage their credit.
Experian® is the leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to clients around the world. The Group helps businesses to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate decision making. Experian also helps individuals to check their credit report and credit score, and protect against identity theft.
Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended 31 March 2012 was US$4.5 billion. Experian employs approximately 17,000 people in 44 countries and has its corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; California, US; and Sao Paulo, Brazil.
For more information, visit http://www.experianplc.com.
Experian and the Experian marks used herein are service marks or registered trademarks of Experian Information Solutions, Inc. Other product and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.
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