Credit Card Theft

LOCK YOUR CREDIT CARD IF IT GOES MISSING

Locking — rather than cancelling — a card, will block purchases and other ways a thief could hurt you, while still allowing recurring payments and similar conveniences to carry on unaffected. Check out the following article.

By Miriam Cross

Canceling and replacing a lost debit or credit card can be a hassle. After the new card arrives in the mail, you need to update every retailer, streaming service or utility provider that relies on your card number for payments. Now, many banks and credit card issuers are adding the option of temporarily “locking” your card instead, in case you want to buy some time to search for your card.

The lock can be an on/off switch in the bank’s app or on its website, or it can be a more sophisticated feature that allows you to specify, say, the locations or the types of transactions that are approved for your card. A lock will typically prevent new purchases, ATM activity, cash advances and balance transfers, but it will allow automatic or recurring payments, returns, credits and dispute adjustments. For extra security, you can also turn a card “off” that you are leaving behind while on vacation. Most issuers allow indefinite locks, though American Express lifts a lock after seven days.

You should lock your card as soon as you notice it’s gone or find an unfamiliar charge, then investigate further before contacting your bank, says David Keenan, senior vice president in card products at Fiserv, a financial technology company that has a locking and alert app called CardValet (available at Fiserv partner banks). If you can’t find your card, notify your issuer. Most issuers will send you a new card free, but they may charge a fee for rush deliveries.

If you’re waiting for a new debit card to arrive and need to withdraw cash, a bank branch may provide you with a temporary debit card on the spot. Some issuers also help you update merchants with your new card number. American Express will allow most recurring payments to go through seamlessly. Bank of America may provide your new card number to merchants with whom you have recurring payments, and Wells Fargo’s Control Tower tool will show you a list of merchants with whom you’ve had recurring transactions within the past 12 months.

© 2019 The Kiplinger Washington Editors

Brought to you by NEA Member Benefits.

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Credit Card

NEA® CASH REWARDS CREDIT CARD NOW GIVES THE POWER TO CHOOSE WITH 3% CASH BACK OPTION

The NEA® Cash Rewards Credit Card, provided by Bank of America, now gives cardholders the flexibility to choose how they earn rewards based on their changing priorities and interests. This is the first cash back card that offers this level of flexibility on earning and redeeming rewards.

As of January 14, 2019, cardholders are able to choose how they earn their three percent cash back from one of six popular categories: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement and furnishings. Cardholders will continue to earn two percent cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and unlimited one percent cash back on all other purchases.

Cardholders can easily change their three percent category for future purchases once each calendar month in their Mobile Banking app or in Online Banking, or make no change and it stays the same. The three percent cash back category will initially be set to gas. The ability to choose the three percent category will automatically be applied to existing Cash Rewards accounts and all new Cash Rewards cards.

In addition to changing the way cardholders can earn rewards, the NEA Cash Rewards Credit Card offers more flexible redemption options. Members will continue to enjoy these other features of the NEA Cash Rewards Credit Card:

  • No annual fee.
  • Cash rewards don’t expire.
  • Cardholders earn three percent and two percent cash back on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter, then earn one percent.

Current NEA Cash Rewards Credit Card cardholders are being notified about this new option by mail, email, and in their bank statements. If you have any questions about the enhanced NEA Cash Rewards Credit Card, go to https://www.neamb.com/products/nea-cash-rewards-card.

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NEA Member Benefits Announces the First National Bank of Omaha (FNBO) Home Mortgage for NEA Members

NEA Member Benefits (NEA MB) is pleased to announce a new home mortgage loan program for NEA members: the First National Bank of Omaha Home Mortgage for NEA Members. This new program will replace the previous program through Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, which ended August 31, 2018.

The FNBO Home Mortgage for NEA Members went live on November 1, 2018.

 

Features of the FNBO Home Mortgage for NEA Members include:

  • Exclusive member benefit: No loan application, origination, or processing fees (valued approximately at $660)
  • Competitive rates
  • FNBO Loan Experts to assist members through a dedicated, toll-free number
  • Family members (e.g., spouse/domestic partner, parents, children) are eligible to apply
  • Low down payment options available
  • Choice of refinance or new mortgage loan options and terms (e.g., conventional and jumbo loans with fixed rates and ARMs, and FHA, VA and USDA loans)
  • Robust online application platform and online support
  • Home Buying Process Quick Guide

FNBO will also be offering Home Equity Lines of Credit beginning at the end of January 2019.

 

NEA Member Benefits is very excited about bringing this new opportunity for purchasing or refinancing a home to NEA members and their families.  For more descriptive information about this program visit www.neamb.com and click on the program at the bottom of the home page.

Credit

YOU CAN NOW FREEZE – and UNFREEZE – YOUR CREDIT REPORT FOR FREE

As of September 21, credit bureaus can no longer charge you to freeze your credit reports or to lift a freeze. Here’s what you need to know to get your free freeze.

By Kimberly Lankford

Q: I remember reading a while back that everyone starting this fall will be able to freeze their credit report for free. Is this change effective now, and what do I need to do to get my free freeze?

A: The law providing free credit freezes took effect on September 21. The three big credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion—can no longer charge a fee to place or lift a credit freeze. In the past, the cost to freeze your credit report varied by state. Some states required free credit freezes for their residents, but others let the credit bureaus charge $5 to $10 every time someone wanted to freeze their credit record or lift the freeze (when applying for a loan, for instance).

A credit freeze prevents new creditors from reviewing your credit report, making it harder for identity thieves to take out credit in your name. For it to be effective, you’ll need to contact each of the credit bureaus separately to initiate a freeze. To see what steps you need to take, go to the Equifax freeze page, the Experian freeze page and the TransUnion freeze page.

Once you request a freeze either online or by phone, the new law requires the credit bureaus to implement it within one day. And if you ask for the freeze to be lifted, the credit bureaus have one hour to do it. “That is the law’s maximum time, but for most people setting the freeze online or by phone, it will be pretty close to instantaneous,” says Francis Creighton, the president of the Consumer Data Industry Association, a trade organization for credit bureaus and other consumer reporting agencies.

Some states have additional consumer protections. In Utah, for example, the credit bureaus must initiate or lift the freeze within 15 minutes of the request for a freeze on a mobile app, says Rep. Jim Dunnigan, who sponsored the credit freeze legislation in the Utah House of Representatives (Utah’s law took effect in May). You can find out about additional consumer protections in your state from its division of consumer protection or the state attorney general’s office.

The freeze remains in effect until you take steps to remove it—either temporarily or permanently. “Understanding the correct terminology is important,” says Eva Velasquez, CEO and president of the Identity Theft Resource Center. “A thaw (or unfreezing) of one’s credit allows them to temporarily remove the freeze for a specified period of time. For example, if a consumer knows they will be applying for credit, they can request a thaw for a day, or a week or another specified time period. And after that time period has elapsed, the credit will freeze again—no additional action is necessary on the part of the consumer.” Lifting a credit freeze, on the other hand, removes the freeze until the consumer actively requests the freeze from the credit bureau again. It’s free whether you lift or thaw a freeze.

The new law also lengthens the duration of a fraud alert that you can place on your credit file from 90 days to one year. A fraud alert signals to businesses that you may have been a victim of identity theft and that they should verify your identity before opening any new accounts. You need only place a fraud alert with one credit bureau, which will notify the others.

 

© 2018 The Kiplinger Washington Editors

Brought to you by NEA Member Benefits.

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