Archives for September 7, 2017

Equifax Hack Check Tool, Free Year of Identity Theft Protection and Credit Monitoring

“The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone.”

equifaxlogoEquifax announced that they were hacked between May-July 2017, exposing the personal information of potentially over 143 million people. As one of the three major credit bureaus, they have a lot of data: credit card numbers, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and driver’s license numbers. Essentially, everything you need for identity fraud.

Equifax has a Potential Impact Tool that lets you check if they believe your information has been exposed. You must provide your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number. It seems that unless they say “you’re not affected”, then you should assume you were affected. No matter what, they are offering everyone a free year of Equifax TrustedID Premier service, which includes:

  • 3-Bureau credit monitoring of Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit reports
  • copies of your Equifax credit report
  • the ability to lock and unlock your Equifax credit report
  • identity theft insurance
  • Internet scanning for Social Security numbers

They’ll give you a date and you’ll need to come back to activate. I suppose they need to make a queue with that many new “customers”. Equifax also set up a dedicated call center at 866-447-7559, open 7 days a week, 7am–1am Eastern time.

So the business that gets to collect all my personal data (and then charge me for a credit score based on that data) lost my data, and as an apology gives me a temporary subscription to their own identity protection service (which people pay for because… their data gets hacked). Does anyone else feel like there needs to be more of an incentive not to get hacked? This benefit only lasts for a year, so you may want to sign up for other free credit monitoring services. Also see the Big List of Free Consumer Reports on how to get a free full copy of your credit and other consumer reports.

Plastiq Promotion: Pay Mortgage With Mastercard for 1.5% Fee

“The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone.”

plastiq_logoPlastiq has a new 1.5% promo rate (standard fee is 2.5%) if you schedule 3 or more mortgage payments with your Mastercard by end of this 2017. You must pay the standard 2.5% first, and then discount will come in the form of a rebate check sent by January 5, 2018. The check will be sent to the name and billing address associated with your Mastercard used for the promotion. Max rebate is $200. Their instructions:

  • Schedule 3 or more monthly mortgage payments by checking the box next to recurring.
  • Use a Mastercard.
  • Set up the first 3 payments so they are set to process between September 5, 2017 and December 31, 2017 11:59 p.m. EDT.
  • Look for a notification of eligibility on the payment review screen.

Here are some ways that this promo may be useful…

Sign-up bonus spending requirements. Sign-up bonuses on credit cards usually have spending requirements. For example, you might get a $500 value bonus but need to spend $3,000. Well, that’s effectively 16.7% back so if you need a little help to get over that hurdle, it’s okay to pay a 1.5% fee.

2% cash back credit cards, or similar. If you have a rewards credit card that offers 2% cash back (or equivalent value in points), then you can still make a slight profit by putting them on your credit card. A current example is the Citi Double Cash Card. For example, if you have a mortgage bill of $5,000 and you earned 2% cash back while paying a 1.5% fee, your net 0.5% is $25. You could also get another month or so of “float” before the your credit card bill is due.

Combine a rewards card + 0% APR on purchases. Many credit cards offer 0% APR on purchases for an introductory period of 12 months or longer. If the card also has a half-decent rewards program on purchases, the combination of purchase rewards and spreading out the payments over a year at no interest could be attractive.

Referral program. Plastiq has a somewhat confusing referral program. If a new user signs up via a referral link and pays $500 worth of bills, they will then get $500 “fee-free dollars”. So first you’d have to pay the fee on a bill, and then on your next bill, $500 of it will be “fee-free” (at 2.5% that’s a $12.50 savings). The referrer will get $1,000 in fee-free dollars. If you take advantage of the promo above, that should trigger the bonus. Here’s my referral link. Thanks if you use it.

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