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Steps to keep your credit card information safe and secure

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By: Amy
on 28th Oct,2013

Regardless of how often you use your credit card, the information can fall into the wrong hands at an alarming rate.
Steps to keep your credit card information safe and secure


Regardless of how often you use your credit card, the information can fall into the wrong hands at an alarming rate. Although many people might believe that shopping online equals an increased risk of having credit card information stolen, the crime can occur in public areas as well. There are several measures you can take to ensure that your credit card information is secure.

Keeping Up With Your Credit History


You can make sure that there is no suspicious activity in your account by choosing to preview your credit reports. In addition, you should check your credit score for any changes. Whether your credit score drops because of fraudulent activity or for personal reasons, it is important to bring the score back up as soon as possible. Your credit report will help you keep track of your current standing.


Fortunately, it is quite simple to review your credit report online. Each of the three large consumer reporting agencies provide access on a monthly basis. These consumer reporting agencies include TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. You can request the information by phone, filling out an online form, or sending a request through the mail. Depending on the circumstances and your personal preferences, you have the option of requesting each of the three reports at once or just one report at a time. One benefit of requesting the reports separately throughout the year is that you can monitor your credit history on a continuous basis rather than just once or twice per year.


Specific circumstances may allow you to retrieve your credit report as soon as possible. Examples include being denied credit or receiving credit at a much higher interest rate when a lower rate was already offered to you. In this instance, the organization that is issuing your card must tell you both the name and the address of the credit reporting agency the organization used to access your credit report.


A credit score check can instantly reveal your financial standings. Approximately 30 percent of your score is calculated based on your spending history, including the amount that you generally spend with accounts that have limits. Additionally, 31 percent of the score is dedicated to past payments. If you have missed payments or made late ones consistently, your score will be lower.

Dealing With Stolen Credit Card Information


Stolen credit card information is a common crime that can happen almost instantly. Unfortunately, thieves have found numerous ways to swipe your information from your card. In some instances, it can happen without the criminal ever needing to physically take your card. One easy way for the criminal to access your information is by installing a device or software that monitors your keystrokes while you are using your computer. Additionally, the criminal can use a card skimmer, a device that illegally copies your credit card information when the card is swiped.

Protecting Your Credit Card Information


Regardless of how often you use your credit card online, there are ways to keep your information safe and secure. When it comes to credit card protection, it is vital to stay vigilant and keep a close watch on your account activity.


You may be putting yourself at an increased risk if you engage in any number of behaviors. Examples include throwing away your billing statements and other documents such as credit card applications, which may have your credit card number, without running them through the shredder.


For online credit card protection, there are many useful tips as well. Make sure that the system you are using is updated with the latest security and firewall settings. Only use a secure website when entering your credit card information. An indication of a secure website is one that has a URL address that includes "https" rather than "http."


From online transactions to those that occur in person, you need to be aware of how you share your personal information. It is quite simple for a thief to get hold of your credit card information and begin using it to make purchases. Fortunately, there are many ways to stay safe and keep your information secure.

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