Accepting Credit Cards Over the Phone
There has been a huge growth in the number of cold calls, and unsolicited offers that people receive on their home and business phones. The process can be very intrusive and frustrating and is the subject of a growing number of complaints. Many of these calls come from phone companies, especially mobile phone providers but they are also for new windows, for insurance and for credit among other things.
If you are offered credit over the phone, it can be quite tempting, especially if you have poor credit or have had difficulty in getting credit in the past. However, there are some risks involved and you should be careful. The primary concern with these types of calls is that at the end of the day, if you are the recipient of the call, you do not know who is calling you. Just because someone says they are from a respectable bank or credit card provider does not necessarily mean they are, and you should accordingly be cautious about what information you give out over the phone. Of course, if you have made the call, or have requested it from a reputable lender, then this will be far less of a concern.
Do not, under any circumstances, be pressured into giving out sensitive information over the phone or accepting credit if you are not comfortable doing so. If you do think you want to accept a phone offer for credit, then give out as little information as possible over the phone. They will probably need your address, but any other information can be sent to them through the post, in an application form. You should become very suspicious of anyone who calls you and starts asking for your payment details, bank account number or any other similar information. If they are a genuine company, then they should be more than happy to send you an application form through the post.
Also, make sure you ask who you are speaking to and which company they represent. Ask them for their website address so that you can look up the company on line. Also, when the application form does arrive by post, read it carefully and satisfy yourself not only that the offer is one you would like to accept, but also that the company is one that you would like to be dealing with. Finally, look at the address carefully and make sure that it all appears above board.
Are You A Credit Risk? No? Are You Sure?
You may not find out how bad your credit really is until you apply for a mortgage. Then you will quickly realize that the low interest rates everybody raves about these days, the rates that are a big part of the rising prices of real estate across America, don't apply to everyone. To be specific, they don't apply to you! If you have bad credit, you are not going to receive the same low interest rates on your home loan that your neighbor with good credit will.
Why not, you may ask. Well, here's the thing. If your credit score is poor, banks and other financial institutions consider you to be a risky business partner. In order to lend you money, they have to insure themselves against the risk that you may default on payments. They do this by offering you a higher interest rate so their end of the deal looks a bit sweeter. For you, though, it means higher monthly payments and that you can afford to borrow less money than if your credit was better.
If you don't even know if you're considered a credit risk or not, don't you think it's time you found out? This is one of the smartest moves you can make, business wise, as it affects not only your mortgage but the interest rates you get on your credit cards, car payments and virtually every financial agreement you enter into.
Checking your credit score
When banks and others want to ascertain what kind of credit risk you may pose, they will consult your FICO score before doing anything. The FICO is like a report card of your credit. Your FICO score is a three digit number ranging from 300-850. You actually have three separate FICO scores, one for each credit bureau - Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. These may not show the same score, since not every creditor reports to all three credit bureaus.
In order to make sure you see the same thing that your eventual creditors are seeing, order all three of your fico scores. Study them carefully. You look at the total score, naturally, but you also want to scrutinize the details carefully. Maybe that rent check last year that you sent in one week too late was never registered properly. This will definitely affect your overall score.
If you do find any errors in the reports, make sure to contact those responsible for that specific record and ask them to correct the entry. If you are lucky, a couple of phone calls will make a real difference in your credit score!