Kiplinger’s Advises Consumers on Protecting their Credit Rating
New rules put in place by the Credit CARD Act of 2009 and the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 help with avoiding credit card misinformation, as does the formation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which monitors the credit-card industry. But, says Kiplinger’s, “ultimately it’s up to you to use credit wisely.”
Considering that one of the major credit-reporting agencies, Equifax, is a member of recently debunked Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, high interest rates, lower credit limits, unwanted fees and dings to a credit score can happen all too easily. Consumers should look out for potential “creative financing” actions that may lower their credit scores. Kiplinger’s lists the following mistakes: Late payment of bills, bungled balance transfers, making minimum payments, using up all available credit, ignoring statements, foreign transaction fees, expensive cash advances, spending just to earn bonuses and reward offers, paying excessive annual fees, chasing “creative financing” teaser interest rates, and neglecting credit scores. Also, check your report often for signs of identity theft.
Kiplinger‘s also reports seven little-known credit card perks, such as enhancements to extended warranties, price-variance refunds, insurance on lost luggage and items stolen from hotel rooms during travel, points that pay for checked bag fees at airports, rewards that cover free admission to museums, concierge services, and even cards that help stranded international travelers get home when flights are cancelled.
The CFPB states “On President Obama’s first day in office, he issued a memorandum directing government agencies to favor disclosure in response to FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] requests ‘in order to renew their commitment to the principles embodied in FOIA, and to usher in a new era of open Government.’” The most important function of the Bureau is to supervise banks, credit unions, and other financial companies, and enforce Federal consumer financial protection laws.