For most people, the holiday season is a time of joy, gathering together with family and friends, relaxing watching your favorite sports on TV, and just appreciating the simple things that come with the Christmas season. Your friends at allU.S. Credit Union in Salinas also know that the holidays can be expensive, especially if you are not careful with your financial information. We want to make sure you know how to stay safe, so here are a few tips for protecting yourself during the holidays:
If you’re out and about in the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, be sure to keep track of who has access to your personal information and how that information is being used. Do not bring unnecessary credit cards, personal cards, or documents with you when you go shopping. Do not carry written PIN or pass codes with you, and always keep an eye on your surroundings if you stop to withdraw money from an ATM. When making purchases, consider using your credit card over debit or cash. Credit cards have simpler processes for disputing fraudulent charges and limit your liability.
If you shop for holiday gifts online, be mindful to buy only from reputable websites with secure, encrypted connections. Before you check out online, check that the site is verified by TRUSTe or a similar trusted data management service. You can look for the TRUSTe privacy seal at the bottom of a secure webpage. Do not opt to have websites store your credit card information; while it may be more convenient, it can put your information at risk. You might even want to limit your online shopping to only one credit card, so that if your information is compromised, you will be able to limit the damage. Most importantly, avoid shopping or browsing your online banking and credit card accounts on a public Wi-Fi connection. It’s impossible to tell who has access to any data you transfer over an unsecure connection, so better to be safe than sorry.
In addition to being careful to protect your financial information, there are lots of things you can do to make the season more affordable and more manageable. Planning ahead is the best way to be a smart shopper and save money at the holidays. Make your holiday gift list early and make a budget so you know how much you will be spending. Start setting aside some funds now, so you will not have to rely on high-interest credit cards that you will end up paying back all next year. Starting early also allows you to shop around and compare prices, so you will know you are getting the best deals.
The holiday season can be a great time of fun and excitement, but is almost always means an extra demand on your finances that can make an otherwise joyful season very stressful. allU.S. can help you make it through the holidays if you need a little assistance. Apply today for a holiday loan that’s right for your budget and get a head start on the holiday shopping season!
Of course, while you are working to make the most of your money for this year’s holiday, you can plan even better for next year by setting up a Christmas Club account with allU.S. Credit Union. It is one of the best ways to save money for next Christmas!
Stay safe and shop smart this holiday season! Best wishes for a happy holiday to all of our allU.S. Credit Union members!