Top Misconceptions on Personal Finances

Police FCU of Omaha is always here to help Your Blue Family. We find that our member-owners are very smart people. However, as with all of us, sometimes we simply don’t know what we don’t know.

Here are the most common areas where we provide personal finance insight to our members in no particular order:

“Credit Report Pull” Misconception – Some consumers erroneously believe that when a lender “pulls” their credit report to quote a loan rate, this process will lower or negatively affect their credit score. Nothing could be further from the truth. For a lender to provide you with an accurate rate quote, they must pull your credit report. It is common for borrowers to shop rates before making their choice, and this process will not adversely affect your credit score.

“Unsecured Debt” Misconception – Something that actually will adversely affect your credit score is holding too much unsecured debt. Converting revolving unsecured debt to a secured fixed rate and term product, such as a Debt Consolidation Loan, will not only improve your credit score but also save you money on finance charges.

“Identity Theft” Misconception – Some consumers believe that if they have a low credit score and/or a high level of debt, they won’t be attractive to identity thieves. Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous individuals all over the world that know several tricks to take advantage of anyone and everyone. So, protect your personal information like gold, regardless of your financial situation.

“Fraud Alert” Misconception – To further drive home the point that unscrupulous individuals know and use several tricks, not every fraud-alert call, text, or email is legitimate. Do not answer these communications directly unless you know for certain that they are coming from your financial institutions. Even if you are just a little unsure, follow your instinct and call the primary number for your financial institution or credit card. They will be glad to tell you if there truly is a fraud issue or if the only fraud was the call, text, or email you just received.

“Credit Monitoring” Misconception – Credit monitoring services are a good start when protecting your finances, but it is nothing more than a smoke alarm. Once you are alerted to the problem, you must “put out the fire.” Credit monitoring services won’t protect you, but having ID Theft Protection and Recovery can help tremendously.

“GAP Insurance” Misconception – Speaking of protection, many consumers protect themselves by purchasing guaranteed asset protection (GAP) insurance when buying a vehicle. GAP is an auto loan debt cancellation waiver that protects you financially if your vehicle is totaled or stolen and you owe more on the vehicle than your insurance will pay. Although some dealers will aggressively recommend this protection when buying a car or truck, the truth is that you can purchase GAP coverage for your vehicle at any time, allowing you to shop around for the best rate.

“Warranty” Misconception – Similar to GAP, warranties do not have to be purchased when buying a vehicle. This is especially true when buying a new car, truck, or SUV with a manufacturer’s warranty. The best time to buy an extended warranty is right before the manufacturer’s warranty is about to expire.

“20% Down” Misconception – The idea that a home buyer needs to put 20% down for a conventional mortgage is a myth. Police FCU of Omaha can suggest several options for home buyers regardless of the amount of your down payment.

That leads us to the most important takeaway: we are not a bank. We are, first and foremost, a service provider to sworn and civilian law enforcement and their families. So, if you have a need or a question, even if you may think it is pretty basic, come to us first. Police FCU of Omaha will steer you in the right direction. We are here to help Your Blue Family.