Online Credit Reports

The three organizations that keep track of people’s credit histories in America are Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. One can obtain a credit report from these companies with a simple application. The Fair Credit Reporting Act has necessitated credit organizations to provide people with their credit reports, free of charge, once annually. These credit reports can be obtained over the Internet.

A person can apply for a credit report from any one of these companies or from all three of them. However, ordering credit reports from all three companies is a time consuming job. There are certain online companies who provide credit reports from the three companies if needed. An order can be placed through an online application by furnishing personal and financial details.

Online credit reports have certain advantages over printed credit reports that are received by conventional mail. One of them is that the credit reports are updated, and there is no time lag as in printed credit reports. Also it saves the hassle of contacting three companies individually. People who order online credit reports from the three companies usually do so on a rotating basis, i.e. after a period of four months, so that they are always updated about their credit worthiness.

There is a lot of detail that is mentioned in an online credit report. The report clearly indicates the number of active accounts a person has and the balances and transactions in each for a stipulated time. Missed payments, late payments and bankruptcies are also listed. The names of the firms that have reported credit, as well as those who have made inquiries are mentioned in online credit reports.

Ordering online credit reports is catching on. To date, about 8 million people have ordered credit reports via the Internet through various agencies.

Banking Salaries Going Up in 2011!

Bankers’ compensation should go up by almost five percent in 2011 for several important reasons. Before I go on here, it should be pointed out that not all banking salaries are headed north. There is a segment of banking generically referred to as “retail banking” (which is best described as what goes on when you walk into the local branch of your bank) that will actually decline a bit. The reason for that decline is twofold; a continuing pattern of making many of those jobs part time (and, hence hourly pay with no benefits) and growth of on-line and electronic banking.

What I reference here are salaries pertaining more to the type of banking that is extended to businesses and the professional bankers who handle the financial, lending, credit and investment functions for that part of our economy. The salaries of these professionals are going up!

Elevator going up

First, financial salaries across the board have been in a holding pattern since 2008 and everyone is willing to tighten their belts… for a while…but it will be hard to keep bankers’ belts tight when banks are scoring higher profits: According to FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair recently “the majority of banks are faring well and about 63% of institutions reported improvements in their net income”. In short, there is a positive expectancy that goes something like “the bank is doing better so I should be too”.

Baby Boomers going down

Second, few economists seem to be taking note of the fact that Americans are retiring at an increasing rate; the boomers are dropping out. The Social Security Administration reports that by 2015, the age 65 group of Americans will be our fastest growing segment.

“Wait a minute”, you say, ” I have been reading about baby boomers hanging in there beyond age 65″. I read the same articles and can’t find a lot of hard facts but I do find a lot of supposition based on two premises; first, that Americans are living longer and second, that they are poorer now than they were a few years ago and, hence, will continue to soldier on to rebuild their savings, etc. It may be that people in a certain income class have to work at their existing jobs longer but that may have always been the case. And, just because you are going to live longer, does that mean you want to work longer?

At any rate, I find, in the executive search work we do with banks, that the skilled professionals are departing their jobs at a rate faster than can be replaced and, hence, banks will have to pay more to keep the ones they do have. When the supply goes down, the price goes up… I think that’s what we were all taught in Economics 101.

Jobs becoming more technical and/or complicated

About fifteen years ago, I recall attending a symposium on the American economy and listening to a very well known economist tell the audience that there will be a “tremendous dumbing down of jobs” in the finance sector; that is, his view was that jobs will be made simpler. The theory was that computers would take over more and more of the decision making. My answer is nope, ain’t seen it yet! How about you… is your job easier/simpler that it was, say, even five years ago? Ask the average Chief Credit Officer if his job is easier today than it was five years ago and he will laugh you out of his office.

Let’s take a look at what many feel is the least technical job in commercial banking, the business development lending officer. This is the person who goes out and brings in new business loans to the bank. Not to insult anyone here; this is a tremendously important job in that business loans are the economic heart (or at least liver!) for all banks but the skills needed have probably remained unchanged in the last century. Yet, a recent interview with a VP of Commercial Lending went something like this: “My bank just installed its second prospecting management system in three years and I was still trying to learn the first one.” “We also have been attending seminars on our new portfolio risk assessment reporting system to keep ahead of the FDIC and, once it is up and running, I will be spending about a half day a week writing exception explanations on my accounts.” “I still can’t connect our email system to my cell phone and, hopefully, the IT guy will come over this week to help me”. “We’re short two credit analysts in our group because the bank dropped its credit training program a while ago so we all have to do our own credit write-ups now and this is much harder now than in the old days when we didn’t have to do an environmental impact report.” And so it goes. The computer making things simpler? I don’t really think so.

Mortgage banking yawning (if not waking up!)

Everyone knows about the great mortgage banking genocide that has taken place over the last few years. Underwriters, funders, shippers, securitization analysts, originators and the like have been swept from the face of the earth. At the same time, a mountain of new restrictions, laws and regulations have been dumped onto the backs of the remaining workers Right now the mortgage market is somnolent but with a few waking yawns here and there across the country. When it wakes up again (and it will!), the tremendous sucking sound you will hear will be commercial bankers pulled over into the mortgage sector. Historically, when mortgage banking begins to pull people from the commercial banks, the magnet is higher salaries. As this begins to occur, watch for higher economic retention incentives and counter offers to raise the ante for our friends in commercial banking.

Ok, so why five percent?

Five percent is a nice round number and human resource people (and economists) like the pretense of precision… so they will say something like 3.7 percent but, remember, no one ever audits their numbers after the fact. There is a lot of negotiating savvy in quoting a low percent increase and then offering you something over and above the average. The ultra simple logic of five percent goes something like this; two percent covering the ice age of 2008- 2010 and three percent for 2011. Is it enough? I am not sure but one thing you can count on is that salaries are going up!

Online Credit Card Management: Is it Safe?

In today’s world, you can manage almost every aspect of your credit cards online. While it is convenient to shop and pay bills over the Internet, you may be concerned about the security risks involved. The good news is that you can reduce your risks by taking preventative action. Follow these tips to make sure your online credit card management is safe.

Applying Online

Many websites allow you to apply online for a credit card. If you’re concerned about sending personal information into cyberspace, chances are you need not worry. In most cases, online applications are just as safe, if not safer, than sending forms through the regular mail system. When you drop an application in the mailbox, your personal information is exposed to numerous potential scammers. The process may take four to six weeks to complete, thereby creating more possibilities for others to see your data. If you send an application through an online connection, however, it will arrive in less than a second to the secured source. When applying online, first check that the site is secure and legitimate; then fill out the application.

Shopping Online

Before purchasing an item online, take a few measures to check for security. First, make sure that the company is legitimate. If you are in doubt, you can check with the Better Business Bureau. Next, look for security features on the site. If the payment page has the letter “s” after its “http” code (https:), it is protected with SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer. This applies encryption between your computer system and the company’s Internet server. When your data is transmitted over the Internet, it is encrypted, or scrambled, when it is sent. It is then unscrambled when it reaches its destination. Another safety feature to look for is a small padlock on the screen. Finally, make sure you feel comfortable providing your information. If something on the site concerns you, check into it before paying with your credit card.

Online Statements and Billing

Almost all credit card companies allow you to sign up for online access to your credit card account. When you do, make sure that the site has secure features. Be careful not to use a login name or password that contains obvious personal information, such as your name or date of birth. Check your card activity and online statements regularly for signs of transactions that you did not authorize.

Phishing

By far, phishing is one of the most dangerous fraudulent activities online. In phishing, scammers send e-mails that appear to be from legitimate companies. They often ask you to respond with personal information to confirm an account or win a prize. Be sure to check your e-mail carefully. A credit card company will never ask you to send personal information, such as your social security number, to them via e-mail. If you receive a questionable e-mail, do not respond to it or open any attachments it contains. Rather, report it to the credit card company or a credit bureau for inspection.

Like other security issues, online credit card management can be safe if proper measures are taken. Check sites for security features, look into online companies before making purchases, and avoid responding to questionable e-mails. By following these steps, you can enjoy the ease of online credit card management without the headache of credit card fraud.

Copyright Ed Vegliante. Free online reprints of this article are allowed provided the resource box remains intact with a live link back to http://www.credit-card-surplus.com .