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6 Ways to Secure Your Life Financially Online

Doing personal business online is incredibly convenient – there’s nothing better than paying bills, shopping, or banking without ever leaving home. However, there are numerous risks that come with the benefits, so always make sure your online personal affairs are safe. Here are seven ways to secure your life financially online.
 
Use Secure Payment Sites Such as PayPal
 
One of the top ways people become victims of identity theft is via online business or shopping transactions. If the website you’re on isn’t properly secured, your personal and financial information could be at risk. One way to avoid having to go through identity theft restoration is to use secure payment sites like PayPal. You can transfer money to your PayPal account and use that to pay for goods instead of giving out your banking information. It’s also a safe, secure way to receive money. Keep your bank account to yourself whenever you can.
 
Use a Separate Checking Account for Online Purchases
 
PayPal isn’t always an option for online payments, so consider opening a checking account with your existing bank. Use it to send and receive online payments. The idea is to keep the bulk of your money secure from unknown scammers and thieves. Keep a minimum amount of cash in that separate account. You can always transfer money to and from the account if you need to, but don’t use your primary account for online activity.
 
Shop For Insurance That Provides Identity Theft Coverage
 
While you’re online shopping, look for insurance policies that offer identity theft restoration funds. Digital information can often get stolen while you’re in a foreign country – wouldn’t it be nice if your insurance covered that?
 
Change Passwords Often
 
You need complex passwords online that include letters and numbers, although that’s not enough to avoid identity theft. Change your password options and don’t use the same password for all of your accounts. Even if you have to write them down somewhere, make them cryptic and change them often. It’s one of the best ways to secure yourself financially online.
 
Don’t Respond to ‘Scary’ Emails
 
If your bank or PayPal sends you an email alerting you that your information has been stolen, close the email, delete it, and go directly to that website for verification. You’ll likely find that everything is just fine and that the email was a scam designed to steal your details. Avoid unsolicited emails that promise to make you rich or sell you something you didn’t ask for. Once again, they’ll start asking for information you should never share with this kind of “door to door” salesman.
 
Set Up a Separate Email Account for Shopping
 
If you want keep your private life private, set up an email account just for shopping. It’s a good way to keep identity theft scammers just a little further away from your precious financial information.
 
Just a little online financial savvy can save you a lot of money and frustration. How will you protect yourself online?

4 Ways to make sure your credit actually stays credit

Credit cards can be useful, but they are also potentially dangerous things. When provided with a credit limit that on the surface doesn’t appear to affect their bank balances, many consumers can end up overspending on their credit cards and go into debt. Credit cards are only really useful when they are used in an emergency or when making especially large purchases. Bearing the following pieces of advice in mind will help you make sure that you don’t overuse your credit privileges and end up getting into financial difficultly later on.

Pay Your Balance Quickly

One of the quickest ways to get into trouble with a credit card is by accruing interest. Credit card companies require a minimum amount to be paid off each month. If you continue to add purchases to a card that already has a deficit, then your minimum repayment figure will go up and up. Pretty soon, you may find that you are only paying off the interest each month and not making a dent in the overall balance. Make sure you keep up monthly payments of a sizable figure to help take large chunks out of your debt in one go. If possible, pay it all off at once.

Don’t Pay Late

This is another common problem with people in debt. Putting payments off because of poor cash flow or bad financial planning can lead to serious problems. Paying a balance late reflects badly on your overall credit score. If you consistently pay bills later than 30 days after their due dates, then you may be the subject of an investigation. Even if you can’t pay off the entire balance on time, at least try to pay some of it off.

Use a Prepaid Credit Card

One way to avoid the regular mishaps of having a credit card is to use a prepaid card. These cards keep you out of financial trouble because you can only spend the money that you have, rather than using credit that you don’t have. You can control spending with the REACH card to help you keep out of financial trouble.

Keep Your Old Credit Cards

A good way to build a strong credit rating is by using a card that you have had for a while. The longer you have owned your credit card, the more trust you will have with the banks because the chances are that you have been paying off debts for a long time. This means that the chances of your become a risky investment for them further down the line are smaller.
Banks will be more likely to reward you with bonuses such as a higher credit limits and lower interest rates.

A little credit can be a dangerous thing, but if you pay attention to your finances and keep and eye on what your credit rating is like, you should be able to keep yourself out of financial trouble. How have you managed your credit? Have you encountered any difficulties not include above that other people should avoid?

Basic budgeting for new graduates

The Cleveland Plain Dealer has a good article on basic budgeting for new college graduates, but this advice can apply to everyone. The advice might seem obvious, but unfortunately many people, let alone young people, have no idea about this stuff.

A smart budget has three building blocks: the money you make, the money you spend and the money you save.

Once you draft a budget, you may discover your plans outstrip your actual income. The good news: You’re only in debt on paper.

The real value of a budget is it lets you spot potential money problems and fix them before they hurt you or your credit rating.

Check out the whole article, and you’ll be on solid financial footing for your life if you learn the basic rules of budgeting.

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