AnnualCreditReport.com -- A Great Starting Point for Home Buyers



AnnualCreditReport.com Anyone thinking about buying a home, whether you're a first time buyer or a seasoned pro, should get familiar with this free site. Before you start shopping or talk to a realtor, you'll want to check it out. You can use it to pull your credit reports from all three major bureaus free of charge, once a year. If you want your scores you'll have to pay the bureaus for them. While it's helpful to know what your scores are, it's not necessary. The value here lies in checking the reports for errors.

You want to take a long look at exactly what your creditors are reporting. Check to see if there are any late payments or collection items showing. Sometimes you may already be aware of these items, and sometimes they catch you by surprise. I've seen medical debts show up that insurance companies were supposed to have paid, but didn't. Or ones that insurers did pay, but the hospitals and/or doctors didn't record correctly. Judgments already paid off but not reported to the court and recorded. All manner of mistakes that can lower your score and raise your interest rate, or even disqualify you from getting a home loan. It's much easier to to deal with these mistakes and issues before you start shopping than when you're preparing to make an offer on a home.

One of the great features of AnnualCreditReport.com is that if you do find an error you can file a dispute on it directly through the site. Again, these are better handled well before you're ready to write an offer on the home of your dreams, as it can take four to six weeks to resolve it and show up on your credit report. That's the kind of delay that can cost you a home if you find it later rather than sooner.

If your report looks good, great! You've just taken an important first step towards owning a home. If you found some blemishes (imperfections? dings?) and you're not sure if they'll slow you down or what you should do about them? Feel free to ask, I'm ready to lend a hand and help you figure out your next step!


 
Member Survey Headed Your Way 




This month we'll be mailing you a post card with a member survey. We'd like to get your opinion about what we're doing well, as well as where we need to improve. The postage is pre-paid, so all you need to do is separate the survey card, fill it out, and drop it in the mail.

Thank you in advance for your help, we appreciate your feedback as we work to make a better credit union for you!


 

Fighting Fraud With Your Help!

 


Fraud costs Americans billions every year, and PCCU's members are not exempt. There are safeguards in place to protect you, including Fraud Watch teams that look for unusual activity on your debit and credit cards. Limiting ATM withdrawal amounts and purchase limits keep the damage the bad guys can do in check. Ever wonder what you can do to help keep your accounts safe? Here are several things you can do to help us prevent or limit damage to your account.

First, keep us informed of any changes to your physical or email address, as well as phone numbers. This will help insure your account statements and/or notices come to you , rather than someone with bad intent. It's a good idea to do the same with any company or service provider that deals with your private personal information (hospitals & doctors, government agencies, etc.). Current phone numbers allow us to contact you quickly when we suspect something's amiss. A bad phone number in our database too often results in members learning about suspicious activity and card compromises from cashiers when their cards are declined, rather than the Fraud Watch team.

Another thing you can do is review your statement promptly every time you receive it. The sooner you spot something you didn't authorize and alert us, the more easily we can get your money back for you. After sixty days your rights decrease significantly and depend more on the goodwill of the merchant involved. By using Online and/or Mobile Banking you can monitor the activity even more closely, on a weekly or even daily basis. You can also set up alerts in Online Banking that will send you an email or a text message (or both!) to let you know if a number of things occur, like your balance falling below a particular amount.

Finally, be cautious about when and where you swipe your card. Skimmers, small devices that attach to card readers and hijack your card number, have gotten sophisticated and they can be difficult to detect if you're not familiar with the terminal you're using. If the card reader at a gas pump, ATM, or even a retail store looks suspicious be sure to alert a clerk and ask them to run it on a different machine. Or consider taking your business elsewhere. The same is true when you're shopping online, make sure the companies you're handing your card info to are reputable. If it sounds too good to be true, it almost certainly is!

Unfortunately, we can't eliminate fraud completely, but with everyone helping out and remaining vigilant we can minimize it's impact and mitigate the effects!

 


 




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