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How to improve credit card security

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Dear Liz: Can you explain why you don’t need a personal ID number when using a credit card? I know people who have had their cards stolen and used quickly and heavily. This would immediately protect the credit card companies from paying millions of dollars to cover the losses.

Answer: “Chip code” cards – which combine a microchip and a personal identification number – are common in most other parts of the world. However, in the United States, credit card issuers are reluctant to require their customers to use PINs.

Issuers fear that people will find PINs cumbersome and choose to use competitor cards that do not require remembering and entering a PIN. The resulting high level of fraud is considered a cost of doing business.


As long as the fraud is reported within 60 days of the charges appearing on the statement, consumers won’t pay for these fraudulent transactions. But compromised cards can still be a nuisance.

One of the best ways to protect your credit card from fraud is to use mobile payment systems, such as Apple Pay or Google Pay, that don’t expose your credit card number to merchants and allow you to pay for purchases quickly and securely.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022, U.S. Social Security Administration office in Mount Prospect, Illinois. Millions of Social Security beneficiaries will soon learn how much of a boost their benefits will receive next year. The increases will be announced Thursday.

Credit utilization and your score
Dear Liz: My credit score went from 675 to 690 when my credit utilization rate dropped to 24 percent. since then my utilization rate has dropped to 17 percent, but my score is still 690. approximately how much of my credit utilization rate must I reach to see a credit score over 700?

Answer: Keep in mind that you have many credit scores, not just one, and that the formulas used to create these scores can vary greatly. But in general, the less you use the available credit, the better. People with the highest credit scores tend to use less than 10% of their lines of credit.

File – This is the new housing development in Middlesex Township, Pennsylvania on October 12, 2022. The government’s mortgage rate report was released Thursday, Nov. 17.

How to give up your house
Dear Liz: I want to make sure a close friend of mine gets my house after I die. Which is better for this friend in terms of taxes, adding her to my deed or leaving the house to her in my will? I am afraid to leave it to her in my will because my family may try to contest the will. Although I will leave my family money in my will, I want to make sure that the house goes to my friend.

Answer: If you add your friend to the estate, you are giving her the house as a gift during your lifetime. This means that if she sells the house, she may be taxed on the appreciation that has occurred since you purchased the house. On the other hand, if you bequeath the house to her, the gain over your lifetime will not be taxed. You can leave her home through a will, a living trust, or in many states, through a deed of transfer on death. (You can read more about this option in the next section.)

If you are concerned that someone may object to your decision, seek appropriate legal advice. Estate planning can get complicated and most people would benefit from the help of an attorney, but this is especially true if you have quarrelsome relatives.

SAN CLEMENTE, CA – JUNE 30: Beachgoers launch from the San Clemente Pier on a warm summer day Tuesday, June 30, 2020 in San Clemente, Calif. Heal the Bay released its annual Beach Report Card and the San Clemente Pier was among the top 10 beach bums on the list.

Deed of transfer of death
Dear Liz: I’ve been through the probate process a few times in California and Nevada, and I can say it sucks. It’s expensive and occurs at the most stressful and sad time for families after the loss of a loved one. While estate planning and revocable trusts seem to be all the rage, I’d like to recommend another route: death transfer deeds for real estate. They are available online through the county. It avoids the complexities of probate, is much simpler than a living trust, and still allows the family to benefit from a higher tax base on the property.

A: Probate isn’t always a nightmare. Some states have adopted reforms that have reduced the cost and time of the process. Even in states where probate is notoriously slow and expensive, such as California, there are often rules that allow small estates to bypass most of the onerous tape sections.

However, due to rising real estate values, simply owning a home is enough to trigger probate even if the deceased had little or no other assets. As a result, many states now offer the option of a deed of transfer of property at death, which is a great solution for those who have no property other than their house.

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