Get 12 months of FREE Identity Protection from Home Depot

Just found out that Home Depot is offering 12 months of identity protection – FREE – to anyone who may have made a purchase between April and September in 2014 (at any of their stores in the US or CAN).

I just signed up and received coverage for USA and CAN at no cost. (Note: You do not need both…but I did, just to test it.)

The process is not as easy nor transparent for Canadians and it is different for Americans and Canadians customers:

In both cases they send you a pin or subscription number and instructions on how to use it. (The US reply was sent right away, the Canadian Equifax email came the next day, so expect a delay).

MY OBSERVATIONS:

  • Given the massive size of the breach (56 million credit and debit cards in 5 months!) , they do not ask you to provide evidence of purchases (ie receipts, dates etc) made during this time frame, so in theory, it appears ANYONE could add this service and get free protection for a year.
  • No credit card details were requested or required.
  • For Canadians you get a free 12 month trial subscription (worth $200 annual) with Equifax.  If you  already have an account with Equifax and they have your credit card on file, YOU MAY be automatically charged for renewing this service after 12 months unless you tell them before then…so make sure you diarize and check in before the time is up. This needs to be confirmed.
  • You do not need to sign up for both American and Canadian Identity Protection…but I did, just to test it.
  • With Equifax you will get the Equifax Complete™ Premier Plan for free for 12 months.
    • WebDetect™ (Internet Scanning): Receive alerts when we detect your personal information (e.g. SIN or credit card number) is being used on the Internet.
    • NOTE:  I tried to add this service (And I recommend you do!) but it never worked for me…could have been their WebDetect service was down or the sign up for this page was not compatible with the browser I was using. If you encounter problems, try again later or use a different browser. I will try again too.
    • Lost Wallet Assist: One-stop assistance in cancelling and reissuing your credit or debit cards, driver’s license, SIN cards, insurance cards, passport and traveler’s cheques when your wallet is lost or stolen
    • 24/7 credit monitoring with email notifications of key changes to your credit profile
    • Unlimited Equifax Credit Score™ and Report
    • Up to $50,000 of identity theft insurance†
    • View how your score trends over time
  • DURING ENROLLMENT WITH  EQUIFAX MAKE SURE you select the 12 month plan and not the default monthly plan when you subscribe
  • Finally as always, key a close eye on your credit card statements and bank statements for anything unusual. Fraudsters usually “test” a credit card or debit card account validity with small amounts at first.
  • Fingers crossed you were not one of the 56 million credit cards or debt cards breached. If you are, with this added protection and the financial responsibility resting on your financial institution and credit card company you should be covered.
  • As an aside, why Home Depot (or any retailer that is breached) gets off the financial hook for fraud loses is another issue. Perhaps the class action law suit started against Home Depot will hold them more accountable. Generally, you are not responsible for fraudulent purchases as long as you report them to your financial institution or credit card company within a certain time period. Check your agreements.

More details about the Home Depot breach are at: https://corporate.homedepot.com/MediaCenter/Pages/Statement1.aspx

Tips and Keys to Customer Protection (PDF)  at: https://corporate.homedepot.com/MediaCenter/Documents/Keys_to_Customer_Protection.pdf

 

 

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The Need for Debt Consolidation Program

A Debt consolidation program is a great avenue for Canadians who need assistance and permanent solutions to unwanted personal debt accrued through credit cards, personal loans, etc. Unsecured loans through these credit avenues add up before one realizes that outgoing payments are exceeding incoming earnings. At such a stage, a debt management program may be the only alternative to fend off bankruptcy, creditor calls, and court cases.

DebtManagers provides excellent alternatives to deal with unsecured loans. The experienced debt consultants of DebtManagers study each case carefully and develop a monthly budget that is manageable for the client and then they make a proposal to the creditors. In the vast majority of cases, the creditors accept and reduce the interest rate, thus saving you thousands of interest. The creditors prefer to receive a regular payment in lieu of going through the cost and hassle of bankruptcy. After the creditors accept the proposal, collection calls stop!

The debt consolidation program at DebtManagers is a fast and a secure way to wipe out debt and alleviate the high interest rates of unsecured loans.

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Reasons Why People Are Declined for Debt Consolidation Loans

When people face financial hardship, they tend to look for ways to raise funds to pay off their debts. One popular solution is a debt consolidation loan. However, not everyone is eligible to obtain a loan. Many applications get rejected by the lenders. Here are some reasons loans are rejected:
No fixed assets:
When you are facing difficulty managing your finances and you are already in debt, few financial institutions will lend you money without some sort of security. If you don’t have security you still may qualify, based on your past relationship, but you’ll pay higher interest rates.
Credit problems:
There are many credit issues that prevent people from obtaining a consolidation loan for their debts. Many a times, people have issues with their credit report due to late payments or debts in collections.
Poor credit history:
Many people applying for debt consolidation loans don’t have enough credit history. Not having a long credit history could mean a lender may reject your loan application.
Too much debt:
Banks and financial institutions have lending limits based on many factors including previous payment history, income, and current debt level. Too much debt compared to other factors such as your ability to service all of the debt may inhibit you from receiving a loan.
If your application for a debt consolidation loan is rejected then explore other ways to consolidate your debt. DebtManagers can suggest an effective solution to get rid of your overwhelming debts.

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Building Good Credit Without Debt

Many people have the misconception that building good credit requires one to get into debt. However, this isn’t true. One can build a good credit history without having to pay high interest rates.
Is there really a need to build credit. The reality is that at some point in time you will need good credit history or you will end up paying a higher interest rate. It is imperative to pay attention to your credit report. Whenever you need a mortgage or need credit to make a large purchase, you will need good credit to get the best terms. Another important reason to have a good credit is that a large number of insurers, landlords, non-lending financial service providers, etc. are interested in your credit history. So, this gives a good reason to build a good financial history.
Tips to Build A Good Credit
The first step towards good credit is to avoid missing payments and making late payments. The next thing you can do is to obtain and use a credit card. This will show that you are using your card and are able to make credit payments. However, make sure to pay off your balance each month to avoid paying interest and staying out of debt.
If you are facing difficulties in maintaining good credit, you can talk to one of the debt consultants of DebtManagers. Our expert consultants will help you in consolidating debt so that you can manage your finances efficiently.

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Living Paycheque to Paycheque?

According to a survey by the Canadian Payroll Association on financial health of Canada’s workers, a vast majority of Canadians are living paycheque to paycheque, i.e. they would be in trouble if any month’s pay were delayed by even a week. Out of the total respondents, 57 % expressed difficulty in managing their finances if their pay were delayed by a week; 63 per cent aged 18 to 34 reported the same difficulty compared to 74 per cent single parents. The CPA reported low savings as the main reason for this. The Canadian Payroll Association also found that 40 per cent Canadians postponed their retirement time, as they were not saving enough. The highest percentage (64%) of those who lived ‘close to the line’ are from Atlantic Canada and 60 per cent are from Ontario. The CPA remarked that slower recovery since the last recession could be the possible cause for this.

The CPA chairman, Dianne Winsor expressed her concern over the fact that 71 per cent over the age of 35 are struggling with their finances with their main saving years between 35 and 54.

If you are also one among those who are living ‘close to the line’, Debtmanagers may be able to help you. DebtManagers, one of the largest organizations for credit counselling in Canada, can help you to improve your financial situation. Our expert debt consultants can work with to find a way for you to become debt free in less time than you expected.

((Source – http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/personal-finance/most-workers-living-close-to-the-line-survey/article2157089/

Paragraph – “The regions with the highest percentages of people living paycheque to paycheque were Atlantic Canada, at 64 per cent, and Ontario, at 60 per cent, which the CPA said could be the result of their slower recovery since the last recession.”))

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Dealing with Unexpected Expenses

It’s human nature to ignore things that are in the future and to focus on the short-term. However, when it comes to finances, ignoring the future comes with a cost. Many people are unprepared for “unexpected” expenses that do not occur every month, for instance car repairs, vacations, birthdays, etc. Most still do not think much about holidays, back to school shopping, vacations and a lot of other items that come up in life. Consequently, these people get overwhelmed with their credit card balances and eventually end up overwhelmed in debt.
Debt consultants recommend that people should not be caught off-guard by unexpected expenses and must have a rainy-day fund for those unpredictable times. The old adage, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound cure” fits perfectly well in such a situation. Whenever you are working on creating a budget, you must take time to think about those “irregular” expenses and put some money aside.
In case you are finding it difficult to deal with your credit cards, our debt consultants can work out a solution by consolidating your debt so that you are able to pay off them off in less time than you could do on your own.

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Understanding Good, Bad, and Ugly Debt

A debt is considered good in two cases; when businesses borrow money to expand their business and when people take out a mortgage to buy a home. In both these examples, debt is a good thing because it is being used to expand assets.  Although the debtor owes money and has to repay it, the debtor receives an ongoing benefit either in the in the form of income stream or appreciation in home value. A debt is always good if the value of the benefit is equal to or greater than the amount to be repaid for debt.

If the ongoing debt repayments are more than the value of the benefits received then the debt is bad debt. For instance, a family had a great vacation to a sunny Caribbean resort and put the bill on their credit card. In this case, there is no benefit of having that debt; once the tan of the vacation has faded, there is little benefit remaining. This is what is termed as bad debt.

A good or a bad debt can turn to ugly if the payments are not made comfortably. Anybody who has gone through this situation understands ugly debt. Even though the loan was taken to buy a reasonably priced house, if you have been unable to make monthly mortgage payments, you have a serious problem.

Now, if you are in a situation of bad or ugly debt, then you seriously need to consider a debt management program by seeking help from an experienced credit counselling company in Canada. With DebtManagers, you can become debt free in much less time than you’d expect. If you want to restore your good credit, don’t hesitate, call our debt consultants.

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Payday or a RePayment Day?

For many of us, Friday is a Payday and it’s time to celebrate. However, for some of the people Friday is a “Payday Loan Repayment day” and that is not a very good thing.

The network of payday lenders has been increasing in almost every town and city and you would probably find a payday lender near your neighborhood. In Canada, payday lenders are present virtually everywhere. It has been estimated that in the United States the number of payday lenders are greater than the total number of McDonalds and Starbucks combined. Canada is quickly following where US is today.

If you still don’t know what payday lenders are, here’s a brief explanation. Pay day loans are short-term loans that people take when on an extremely tight budget or when they need an urgent cash. So, whenever people feel that they require cash to manage their expenses, they go to a local payday lender. The payday lender asks for a post-dated cheque or the permission to withdraw money directly from your bank for the balance of the loan and his interest charges and fees. This is what makes payday loans dangerous.

We are a Canadian debt consolidation  company that will help you manage your finances extremely well. Our experienced debt consultants also work on consolidating debt by negotiating with your creditors.

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Debt Management Programs: Helping Thousands of Households in Managing Their Finances Wisely

Since 2007, CGA-Canada has been analyzing collective attitudes towards indebtedness and spending. The 4th report in the series, “A Driving Force No More” revealed that Canadians are continuing to struggle with record levels of household debt.

86% of Canadians 19-64 years old are burdened with household debt. With the Bank of Canada cautioning an impending interest rate hike, the plight of Canadians is expected to worsen. In this scenario, it is imperative for those in debt to take precautionary debt relief measures and to become proactive and consider the alternatives that are available to them in order to become debt free.

If you are in arrears or you are planning to file bankruptcy, DebtManagers may be able to help. DebtManagers’ debt solutions and debt management programs can help you cut your monthly payment and work with you to set up a manageable monthly budget.

Depending on your situation, you can opt for credit counseling or our debt management program. Consolidating debt allows you to combine your un-secured debt into a single monthly payment with reduced interest.

So, if you struggling with debt seek help from debt management programs by DebtManagers and start living a stress-free life.

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Debt Relief Programs: A Big Sigh of Relief for Indebted Canadians

Rising Household Debt
Residential mortgage and consumer credit together make up household debt, mortgages comprising the major. As per the conventional wisdom, mortgage borrowing is more secure as compared to consumer credit, as the former is secured against appreciable residential assets. However, the introduction of HELOC (home-equity lines of credit) lowers the credit risk against consumer credit. Although HELOC and equity loans are secured against housing equity, this type of borrowing may encourage buying consumer goods that depreciate in value, making the equity position of households more vulnerable.

CGA-Canada has been instrumental in monitoring the spending habits and the level of indebtedness of Canadians. According to one of its reports, debts in a typical household have been on a continuous rise. “…Between 1999 and 2005, the median amount of household debt grew by 37.8% surpassing the growth of the average amount of household debt which went up by 31%. As such, rising household indebtedness was caused by increasing debt load of a typical Canadian family rather than by more affluent households…” The households with a lower income reported an increase in their debt loads.

Debt Relief Programs
The main cause of the rising level of debt is spending on non-essential household goods and personal services. If you are struggling with debt, you can opt for debt relief from DebtManagers, a professional debt management and credit counselling organization. The organization also offers debt management tools like the debt calculator to calculate your payments.

Over the past decade, DebtManagers has been helping Canadians with debt consolidation and debt management. The trained debt consultants of DebtManagers can help you relieve your worries and make a fresh new start to living a peaceful and happy life.

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