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.

Preventing Online Credit Card Fraud

The use of Internet has ballooned in the last 10 years and everyday we rely on it more and more. The convenience of the internet makes our lives easier to manage and the real-time information that is available has become a part of our daily lives. Overtime, we have lost our fear of using the Internet for purchases using our credit cards. We use it on retail sites like Amazon, auction sites like eBay and numerous others.

Such prevalent use of the internet and online purchasing bring their own perils. While security, authentication and online processes for accepting, storing and distribution of credit cards and personal information have evolved and become better, the number of incidents of online fraud and identity thefts has risen sharply.

The card issuers, online merchants, payment clearing houses etc. are all taking steps to reduce such incidents and have heavy penalties for not following guidelines. For e.g. no online merchant who accepts credit cards can store the number in a unencrypted fashion. The penalty is $25,000 per violation. While the companies will continue to improve their processes and reduce the incidents of online fraud, we as consumers can take several steps to reduce our exposure. Some of the steps we can take are summarized below:

* Using virtual credit cards

Virtual cards also known as controlled payment numbers, have been available for use for quite some time now. Here is how they work…

The first thing to do is to sign up for the virtual programs offered online by the credit card companies. Companies such as Citibank, Discover, and even Paypal have this feature. You will need to install software that comes along with the program. All you need to do is to enter your actual credit card number in this software and make up a number that isn’t your actual card number every time you make online purchase. This masks the real card number to the online merchant. The online retailer or website doesn’t get a glimpse of your actual number and won’t be able to maintain your data in his or her records. Also, hackers get to see your temporary number which proves to be unusable for them.

* Availing of auxiliary security measures offered by credit card companies

Some credit card companies offer additional security measures or programs for online card users. Two notable credit card issuers that offer these kinds of services are Visa and MasterCard. How do these auxiliary security measures work?

This feature requires a password in addition to the regular information entered when making online purchases. Regular information which includes the card number, address, zip code etc. are still provided while making purchases but the password becomes an additional security feature. You can also change this password frequently to prevent the use of your card by unauthorized users.

* Online authentication systems

These verification systems give auxiliary security while making an online purchase. This system makes use of special 4-digit pin numbers or codes to authenticate that the one using the credit card is indeed the one who owns it when he or she is making an online purchase. You can check with your card issuer for more details on this.

There are other ways to avoid online credit card frauds other than the ones mentioned above. All you need to do is check with the card issuer to find out more about these security features. Although they may prove to be a hassle to those who are busy, these methods can help prevent identity theft or loss of credit card information and thus reduce bigger hassles down the road.

Online Credit Card Application and Service Processing Services

There are a growing number of people who have successfully made an online credit card application and the number of these cards holders is growing. People with a bad credit history are able to get online credit cards, although they pay higher Annual Percentage Rate than those with a good or excellent credit score, and typically have a much lower credit limit, so the online market place is wide open to all. Even people with no credit card can use a merchant service such as PayPal to buy goods and services online, so if you don’t currently have a facility to sell online, you should seriously consider online credit card processing services.

You can expand your business by getting the software that will enable an online processing service, and you may be pleasantly surprised at the low cost of such a service. You pay a small transaction fee in the region of 25 cents per transaction and a small monthly payment of around $10, a similar gateway fee and other small monthly fees, depending on the company you choose to do your card processing service. If you want to expand your business, it can be well worth you checking out what is on offer for your business. You need to have an Address Verification System so that fewer mistakes can be made in accepting payments online and the encryption which makes transactions safe and secure (SSL).

These security features are commonly offered by online card processing service companies. You will be able to accept all the forms of payment from anywhere in the world using such a service. This will certainly enable you to expand your business and so increase your profits and revenue. Business owners reportedly saw their sales increase from 50 % to 400 % when they took advantage of a credit processing service.

Such a facility is not a risk, as you can insure against fraud and defaulters, although this is an added cost, but it is worth getting for the peace of mind, knowing that you are safe from Internet fraud. The Address Verification System is an advantage as if the address given by the credit card holder does not match that held on file for the card, you will have early notification and can hold the shipment of goods, or withdraw the offer of services. The risks of online receipts are minimized with an online processing service, and with online credit card application growth, you really should be making money online along with your competitors.