Blog   Consumer Banking

Credit Card Debt vs. Emergency Funds

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You probably already realize the importance of keeping an emergency fund for unforeseen events such as auto repairs or health issues. However, actually saving for the unexpected can be a challenge. By not planning, you can put yourself at risk for financial disaster.

A recent poll from Bankrate revealed 24 percent of Americans have more credit card debt than they have in their emergency savings. Most people, 58 percent, who don’t struggle with credit card debt still fall short when it comes to having a strong emergency fund.

emergency savings vs. credit card debt

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Greg McBride, Chief Financial Analyst at Bankrate, can’t stress enough the poor situation consumers are putting themselves into. “These numbers mean that three out of every eight Americans are teetering on the edge of financial disaster,” says McBride.

How to manage credit card debt

While there isn’t one definitive way to erase credit card debt in a hurry, below are a few helpful tips to expedite the process.

  1. Tackle high interest debt first
    It may be easier for you to stick with a debt payoff goal if you attack the card with the lowest balance. However, most financial experts agree that the best practice is to pay down the balance on the highest interest card first.
  2. Double or triple payments
    Consider doubling or tripling your monthly payments, or apply tax refunds towards outstanding balances. The faster you can tackle your highest interest card, the sooner you will reach a debt-free lifestyle.
  3. Stick with your plan
    When faced with high debt, it is critical to track and budget expenses to monitor progress and keep spending habits under control. Once the highest-interest card reaches a balance of zero, it’s time to move on to the next highest interest card.
  4. Build an emergency savings
    Building an emergency fund is just as important as getting debt under control. Tuck away money each month and set aside for emergencies only. Do this even if it means paying less on your debt payments. Most experts agree that a healthy emergency fund equals at least six months of living expenses.

Getting credit card debt under control requires excellent planning, dedication and patience. Once goals are met, it is important to keep moving forward with healthy spending and savings habits.  Being financially prepared for life’s unexpected events is smart. Having peace of mind is priceless.

 

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.


UMB Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: UMBF) is a diversified financial holding company headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., offering complete banking services, payment solutions, asset servicing and institutional investment management to customers. UMB operates banking and wealth management centers throughout Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Arizona and Texas, as well as two national specialty-lending businesses. Subsidiaries of the holding company include companies that offer services to mutual funds and alternative-investment entities and registered investment advisors that offer equity and fixed income strategies to institutions and individual investors.



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How to use a home equity line of credit

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Finding the treasure within your home
home improvement

We’ve walked you through the steps to buying a new home. Before you finished unpacking, we’re guessing you already started a list of improvements and additions to give your new home a personal touch.

Reports like this one show that you’re not alone. Today, home improvement is becoming a growing trend for many American homeowners. Much of this growth is attributed to a rebound in the housing market and the highest consumer confidence scores since 2008.

So should you tackle a home improvement project?

Whether it’s updating your bathroom or adding more space to accommodate a growing family, improving your home can be a fun experience and a strategic method of increasing its fair market value. Research has shown that adding a deck and turning your attic into a bedroom raise the most value, returning approximately 85 percent of your original investment.

If you are considering making a home improvement, using a home equity line of credit (HELOC) to borrow against the equity in your home may be a good solution for financing the project. With today’s low interest rates and steady rise in home prices, you may have greater opportunity to borrow against your equity.

Some advantages:

  • You can make purchases with a HELOC debit card. Using the card is an easy and efficient way for you to pay for needed items.
  • The flexibility factor – the home equity line is something you can access as many times as you need to, as long as the credit is available. But remember to be disciplined with your spending. If you would like to use the equity in your home for a purchase, the wisest thing to do is use it for investments that help retain or add value to your home.

Give yourself an additional level of comfort by seeking counsel from your banker or financial advisor. This person is experienced in carefully reviewing all the home equity options to ensure you have the appropriate financial resources to complete your project in the most strategic way possible.

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When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.


Ms. Michelle Nischbach joined UMB in 2010. As Territory Sales Director in the consumer bank, she is responsible for overseeing operational and advisory excellence within five primary operating markets: St. Louis, Greater Missouri, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Arizona. Ms. Nischbach has 26 years of experience in the financial industry and earned her MBA from Lindenwood University.



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5th Step in Buying a Home – Loan Approval and Closing

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Have you:

Whew…you’re almost to the finish line. Now that you have a contract, the only thing left besides the packing and unpacking is to get approved on a loan and attend the closing.

Once you have an accepted contract it is time to contact your mortgage loan officer (the one you worked with when you were pre-approved) and start the process for loan approval.  Your contract should allow for at least 30-45 days for you to get loan approval and close on your new home.

Home Stretch

fixed or variable rate Settlement Cost Booklet HUD-1 Settlement Statement Image Map
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When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.


Jackie Ahumada is a mortgage loan officer with UMB Bank. She has more than 10 years experience in the mortgage industry and more than 18 years in management of customer service delivery and operations.



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4th step to buying a home: searching & making an offer

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Have you:

Good! Then it’s time to start house hunting. As a mortgage loan officer for the last 10 years, I certainly have a lot of knowledge in real estate, but still always refer to experienced realtors for this next step. Their knowledge of the housing market, along with expertise in real estate contracts, are the key to making the best selection of the property in which you could spend at least 5 years (but for some of you, potentially the rest of your life). I referred to Anita Trozzolo, a Kansas City realtor to give us some guidance for this next step.

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Create a priority list

You are making perhaps the biggest purchase of your life, and you deserve to have that purchase fit both your wants and needs.

Your priority list should include the basics, such as:

  • neighborhood and size
  • number of bedrooms and bathrooms
  • basement (finished or unfinished)
  • a kitchen that comes with appliances

If you can’t get a home at your price with all the features you want, then what features are most important?  Start prioritizing.  For instance, would you trade fewer bedrooms for a finished basement?  A longer commute for a larger home and lower cost?

What type of home best suits your needs?

You have several options when purchasing a home from a traditional single-family home, duplex, townhouse or condo.  Each option has its pros and cons, depending on your wants and needs, so you need to decide which type of property is best for you. You can also save on the purchase price in any category by choosing a fixer-upper. Keep in mind, though, the amount of time and money involved to turn a fixer-upper into your dream home might be much more than you expected.

Regardless of your choice, it’s important to target your search. By using options such as general location and affordability, you can refine your search and focus on homes that offer the most desirable features. However, based on my experience with the hundreds of first time home buyers for whom I successfully found and negotiated their first home, it is imperative to nail down location first.  The majority of buyers purchase homes from their choices in their most desired location.

Here are some more tips for your search:

  • Make sure your realtor understands your wants and needs.
  • Your agent must be patient, and show you as many homes as you would like to see. This is most likely the largest purchase of your life!
  • Have your agent set you up on an automatic home search program. This is an efficient way to guide you in your search.
  • Drive through neighborhoods on your off time to check out the area.
  • Choose your favorites before submitting an offer, and tour as many times as you feel comfortable.  Oh, and don’t forget to bring parents and friends. The more eyes the better!

Submit an offer, and most importantly understand the sales contract.  Your agent will assist you with the following:

  • To determine how much to offer, your realtor will show you a market analysis of all the recent sold properties comparable to the home or homes you’re interested in.
  • Obtain all material defects known from the seller through the seller’s agent.  
  • Discuss types of insurance that is required.
  • Counsel you on what price to offer the seller.
  • Make sure closing costs are explained and negotiated.
  • Make sure home warranty is explained and negotiated.
  • Explain the sales contract and all other forms associated with the contract.
  • Present your offer to the seller.
  • Negotiate your offer and counteroffers.
  • Set up inspections.
  • Provide the contract to the lender and closing company.
  • Stay in constant communication with the lender.
  • Arrange and attend the closing.
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When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.


Jackie Ahumada is a mortgage loan officer with UMB Bank. She has more than 10 years experience in the mortgage industry and more than 18 years in management of customer service delivery and operations.



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2nd step to buying a home—choosing the right loan for you

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So you’re ready to buy a home, and have finished the first step of pre-approval. Did you know that nearly half* of home purchases are from your fellow first-timers? It can be a daunting process, so we’re continuing the step-by-step approach to help you navigate this important financial decision.

There are many home loan choices. Finding the right lender will be the key to obtaining the information you need to make the right decision. The pre-approval process should have uncovered many of the factors that determine which loan will work best for you and let you know what interest rate you might be paying. Remember, to get a good interest rate, you’ll need as high a credit score and down payment as possible. The right lender will be able to guide you and explain the differences in each of the loans you qualify for.

Here is a general discussion of some of the mortgage loans available, to help prep you for your first meeting with a potential lender. The main differences are the size of the down payment and whether the interest rates can change.

Types of mortgage loans:

Conventional vs.Non-Conventional– One of the first decisions you will discuss with your lender is whether you want a conventional or non-conventional loan, which often depends on the size of your down payment.

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Conventional – A conventional loan typically requires a minimum down payment of 5 percent.  If you put down 5 to 19 percent, private mortgage insurance (PMI) may be required. This insurance protects the lender if you do not repay your mortgage.  Typically, you’ll have to pay this insurance until 78-80 percent of your mortgage is left, and then you may be able to remove PMIfrom your payments.  To avoid that extra insurance from the beginning, you’ll typically have to put down 20 percent or more.

Most first-time buyers choose homes with a median value of $147,000*, but in case you’re wondering, the conventional loan limit in most areas is $417,000. These loans can be fixed or adjustable (more on that in a minute). Conventional loans also allow you to have the seller pay up to 3 percent of your home’s closing costs and prepaid taxes and insurance.

FHA (non-conventional) – FHA loans typically require lower down payments than conventional mortgages, but there are also drawbacks to them. For example, FHA loans require mortgage insurance up front and it is usually more than private mortgage insurance with a conventional loan. Here’s how this type of loan works: The Federal Housing Authority does not actually lend the money but insures 100 percent of what the lender funds. FHA loans tend to be the most flexible in their credit guidelines. They usually allow for lower credit scores, higher debt-to-income ratios and as little as 3.5 percent as a down payment. These loans allow for up to 6 percent seller-paid closing costs and prepaid taxes and insurance.

Veterans Affairs (VA) – The VA loan was designed to offer long-term financing to eligible American veterans or their surviving spouses (provided they do not remarry). The VA loan does not require a down payment and does not require monthly private mortgage insurance.

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) – This loan is intended to help people purchase homes in rural areas. The property must be located within the USDA Rural Development Home Loan footprint. USDA loans offer 100 percent financing to qualified buyers and allow for all closing costs to be either paid for by the seller or financed into the loan.

Fixed vs. Adjustable Rate Mortgages – After choosing a conventional vs. non-conventional loan, it’s time for another decision: do you want a fixed or adjustable rate?

Fixed-Rate Mortgages – Fixed-rate loans are just that, loans that have interest rates that are locked-in for the term of the loan. This means that your rate will not change during the entire time that you have the loan. Keep in mind that even with a fixed interest rate your payment could vary based on changes in taxes or insurance. The repayment of the loan is also spread out, or amortized, over that same fixed period. You can choose from 10-, 15-, 20-, 25- and 30-year fixed rates. Generally, the shorter the term of the loan, the lower the rate, but also the higher the payment. For example, a 15-year loan will usually have a better interest rate than a 30-year loan, but you’ll have to pay more per month in order to get the mortgage paid off sooner. Therefore, choosing the fixed-rate period will be a large part of determining the amount of your monthly payment.

Adjustable Rate MortgagesThese loans typically allow you to have lower payments at the very beginning, but take on higher risk than fixed-rate loans. There is usually an initial time period (1 to 10 years) where the interest rate is fixed. However, the rate can change after the initial fixed period causing the monthly payment to go up. Be sure to talk to your lender about what type of loan is best for your situation. If any of these factors apply to you, your lender can explain in more detail how an adjustable rate mortgage would work for you. However, an adjustable rate may be a good option if:

  • you plan to sell in a few years,
  • you will pay off the loan early, within the next few years, or
  • interest rates are high right now and are anticipated to decrease in the coming years. (not the case today)

To avoid feeling overwhelmed, remember, your lender is there to walk you through everything. Instead, focus on what your needs are. Then, you can outline with your lender what you’re looking for so he or she can provide your best options.

Arrive at your first lender meeting with answers to the following questions:

  • How much will you have for a down payment?
  • What are your preferred neighborhoods?
  • Do you want to get your loan paid off as soon as possible even if it means higher payments, or do you need lower payments with more time to pay it off?

Choosing the right lender is just one part of your home-buying team. Adding an experienced realtor will save you time and money and will be discussed in step three of buying a home.

*statistic source: NAHB.org

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.


Jackie Ahumada is a mortgage loan officer with UMB Bank. She has more than 10 years experience in the mortgage industry and more than 18 years in management of customer service delivery and operations.



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1st step to buying a home: pre-approval

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Imagine walking in to your new house. You moved in a few weeks ago, you’ve unpacked most of your things, and it’s starting to feel like home. But then you wake up from this fantasy and realize you don’t know how to make this dream become a reality. We’re here to help.

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The process of purchasing your first home should be exciting and rewarding knowing you are taking control of your finances by investing into your own home. We want to give you a head start with understanding the process.

First things first. You’ll need to shop for a lender. Start with your own bank (a source you trust and believe in) and shop with other lenders as well. You’ll want to compare rates, cost associated with the loan and feel comfortable with the lender’s service levels before you apply.  A good lender will work closely with your specific situation. They will explain the loan and buying process and answer all your questions as a first-time home buyer.

The mortgage loan process has changed drastically over the years, so be prepared that the lender will want at least 30 days to get your loan approved and closed. Processing times will vary based on how complex your personal history is to document and verify. We suggest getting a pre-approval letter from your lender before shopping for your new home.

Why do you need a pre-approval letter?

  • A pre-approval letter will give your real estate agent a price range to know what homes to include in your search. It outlines the loan amount and terms you are approved for.
  • Pre-approval gives you a negotiating advantage. A seller might be more inclined to accept your offer if you have a pre-approval letter, even if you make an offer that’s lower than a buyer without a pre-approval. Sellers want the assurance of knowing their buyer can get financing since they are also planning on a home move.
  • A pre-approval letter is a stronger option than a pre-qualification letter because the approval is based on verified credit, income and asset data that an underwriter has reviewed and approved. The pre-qualification is based only on the data provided on the loan application that has not been verified or reviewed by an underwriter.

In order to expedite your loan process, here is a list of the documentation to bring to your lender when you have your first meeting for a loan application:

  • Last two years of W-2’s and tax returns with all schedules – This allows the lender to evaluate any other income or loss for qualifying purposes. All self-employed borrowers will need to provide a two year history of tax returns to determine income for qualifying purpose.
  • Most recent paystubs to cover 30 consecutive days – The lender will review and calculate income for wage earners.
  • Most recent asset statements to cover 30 days – This statement, also known as your bank statement, will need to show you have sufficient funds in your account to close on the loan. Any large deposits will need to be documented as to where the funds came from to meet loan requirements.
  • Additional information may apply based on the type of loan you are applying for – another important reason to select a lender who will walk you through the process and give you clear explanations.

The home-buying process can be long and complicated. Preparation involved in getting a pre-approval letter is fairly simple and it helps both you and the seller in the long-run.

Stay tuned for part two of this series: The second step to buying a home—choosing the right loan for you.

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Jackie Ahumada is a mortgage loan officer with UMB Bank. She has more than 10 years experience in the mortgage industry and more than 18 years in management of customer service delivery and operations.



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Wait a minute…who’s been sending emails from my account?

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Did you know every day thousands of webmail accounts (Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, etc.) are taken over by cyber criminals? Compromised webmail can be used to make purchases, transfer money from bank accounts or even trick friends and family into giving out information that allows access to their webmail – in a matter of minutes.

Take time to do a few simple things to ensure your webmail accounts are as secure as possible:

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Passwords

Weak passwords can be easily hacked and used to access your account.

  • Avoid using the same password on numerous accounts. This may make your email vulnerable if another site is compromised.
  • Change your password often.
  • Use strong passwords. For example, think of a special phrase and use the first letter of each word as your password. For more tips, visit OnGuardOnline.gov

Security Questions

Even a strong password can be compromised if security questions are easy to guess.

  • Make sure answers can’t be researched on social media sites.
  • Pick a question that only you know the answer to.
  • Choose the custom security question option if available.

Phishing Email

Phishing scams use a convincing message to trick you into clicking a link, downloading attachments or other “bait” that can be used to log your online activity, give a cyber criminal control of your computer or even direct you to a phony website where you’re asked to enter your username and password. All of these can be used to commit online crimes. To avoid phishing scams:

  • Look for misspellings or grammatical errors.
  • Question suspicious email; don’t click questionable links or download attachments that appear out of the ordinary, even if from a friend or company you’re familiar with.
  • If you aren’t sure, OnGuardOnline.gov provides help for identifying phishing scams.

Review Account(s)

The best protection against cyber crime is staying alert.

  • Check sent, trash, and other folders for suspicious incoming or outgoing mail.
  • Check advanced account options for changes you didn’t make. Your email may be forwarded to someone else and you didn’t even know it.
  • Investigate security options offered by your provider like notices for suspicious log-in attempts or two-step verification using a code that’s texted to your phone.
  • Regularly review financial accounts associated with your email address for suspicious activity.
  • Contact your bank and all other financial institutions immediately if you think your email has been compromised.

Don’t fall victim to cyber crime. Take time to secure your webmail accounts and encourage friends and family to do the same.


Ms. Flores serves as senior vice president and Chief Information Security Officer, providing oversight of UMB’s information security and privacy programs. She joined UMB in 2010 and more than 15 years of experience in information technology and information security. She attended Kansas State University with a focus on management information systems and is a Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US) and Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA).



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10 financial safety tips for vacation

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Most people think summer is the only time to take a vacation. But a lot of people take vacations in the fall and winter when flights and hotels are less expensive and tourist destinations aren’t as crowded.

A vacation is a great time for relaxation and spending time with family and friends. The last thing you want is to stress about fraud and have your vacation ruined because of a lost or stolen credit card. You can usually avoid this headache if you take a few extra steps when preparing for a trip or are more aware of your surroundings. Here are few tips to help prevent you from becoming a victim of fraud on vacation.

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  1. Protect cards as if they are cash. Do not leave them unattended anywhere, such as in a car, restaurant or even at the pool. If you are traveling, your cards should be with you at all times. Or you can put them in a secure location like a hotel safe.
  2. Never write down a personal identification number (PIN) – memorize it. Also, designate unique PINs for each card, and use random number, letter and symbol combinations when possible. Do not use easy to crack codes, such as a birth date, which could easily be found in your wallet.
  3. Don’t leave credit cards in your car’s glove compartment. An alarmingly high amount of all credit card thefts are from this area.
  4. Always check to make sure cards are returned when used at a store or restaurant. It’s easy to forget cards, especially when you’re on vacation. And it’s easy for servers or sales people to return the wrong card when they’re in a hurry.
  5. Don’t carelessly discard or leave documents that contain personal information in the open – including account numbers – such as car rental agreements or airline tickets.
  6. Do not give account numbers over the phone unless you have initiated the call. Most companies will only ask you to verify a portion of your personal information.
  7. Always take receipts and destroy any extra copies.
  8. If you travel overseas, let your card provider know about your plans to travel to a foreign country. There may be restrictions on using cards in some countries and a provider will be less likely to question the foreign transactions if prior notice is given.
  9. If you decide to shop online on vacation or need to update flight or hotel reservations online, be mindful of the websites you visit and what information you share. Always purchase from websites that start with https because this means it is a secure site. Also, be mindful when using public Wi-Fi networks. Internet connections that require a password are the safest. You don’t want that new eBook you ordered online costing you half your bank account.
  10. Most fraudulent use of cards takes place within a few days of their being lost or stolen. If your card is lost or stolen on vacation, immediately report it to the issuing bank or financial institution.

UMB Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: UMBF) is a diversified financial holding company headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., offering complete banking services, payment solutions, asset servicing and institutional investment management to customers. UMB operates banking and wealth management centers throughout Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Arizona and Texas, as well as two national specialty-lending businesses. Subsidiaries of the holding company include companies that offer services to mutual funds and alternative-investment entities and registered investment advisors that offer equity and fixed income strategies to institutions and individual investors.



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We regret to inform you that your account has been compromised…now what?

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You can do everything right to secure your personal information, but your credit or debit card information can still be compromised. Unfortunately, retailers and restaurants can be victims of hackers just like individuals can. Except when an identity thief breaches a retailer’s point of sale (POS) system, more than one person is affected. The company’s system can hold hundreds, if not thousands, of card numbers and key card security details including card verification value (CVV) codes.

CVV Code

 

Exact location of the CVV number varies among the card brands. Consult your card’s instructions for the location of your card’s CVV code.

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Throughout a given year, you have a chance of having your information stolen in one of these security breaches. Reportedly 44.8 million records were breached in 2012. Companies continue to ramp up security measures and while they do a good job, the hackers find points of vulnerability and use malware to pull the credit/debit card information.

Fast food restaurants and small business systems are the most targeted. The high level of transactions makes fast food restaurants a prime target. Small businesses are usually targeted because they don’t always have the same robust security resources as bigger companies, but even large national retail chains can be a victim of these security issues.

When there is a security compromise at retailer or restaurant, it should not end up costing you any money. Your bank should take care of everything, from issuing you a new card and personal identification number (PIN) to recovering any lost funds.

Smart ChipThe current risk environment will not notably change until smart cards (also known as chip cards) are rolled out universally in the U.S. We should see this by the end of 2015. The chip card is different from the card with the magnetic stripe because there is a small microchip in the card with a dynamic security code continually changing, making it extremely difficult to counterfeit.

As a consumer, you have little control over these external events, but this shouldn’t stop you from using your credit/debit cards. You can help protect yourself, by regularly checking your online bank statements and taking advantage of any fraud alerts through SMS texting and emails offered by your bank. At the very least, check your paper statements each month for any suspicious activity. If you regularly monitor your accounts, you will be able to spot fraudulent activity and your bank can quickly fix the issue.

 

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.


Mr. Hanson serves as vice president and fraud manager in Card Operations. He is responsible for providing fraud detections, prevention, and investigation services to UMB’s credit and debit card customers. He joined UMB in 2010 with more than 15 years of credit card fraud prevention experiences. He earned a Bachelor of Science in political science from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah and a Master of Arts in national security affairs from the Naval Post-Graduate School in Monterey, Calif.



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How to get your identity stolen

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You’ve read hundreds of articles about how to avoid identity theft, but if you actually want to lose your identity then just follow these ten simple steps:

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  1. Use your pets or child’s name as your email password
    Fluffy1234. Who would ever think of that? Identity thieves are using sophisticated technology to crack your passwords and steal your information. Using your dog’s name and a common number sequence will make it so easy that these identity thieves won’t even need a computer to figure it out.
  2. Over-share with your neighbor or a friendly stranger
    Always use the same personal identification number (PIN) or code for all your accounts, credit and debit cards. Remember when you had your neighbors watch your house and you gave them your garage code? Well now they also have your PIN for all your accounts. And what about that friendly stranger who offers to sell you a tropical vacation for pennies on the dollar? Once you give them your name, address and payment information, your identity could be as good as gone!
  3. Throw away personal documents without shredding
    Throw away receipts, old bill statements and credit card applications without shredding them. A more low-tech identity thief will just dig through your dumpster and use the information in receipts and bills to access your personal information. Then he will sign up for a credit card in your name with the application you threw away the other day. He’ll be sitting on a beach sipping a frozen drink after he spent all your money on that tropical vacation we mentioned while you spend months recovering your lost finances and clearing up your credit report.
  4. Make yourself an easy target for pickpockets
    Don’t pay attention to your surroundings in a crowd. Leave your fanny pack unzipped so anyone can reach right in and grab your wallet. This saves an identity thief from the trouble of looking for your information. He can just use your ID and credit or debit cards.
  5. Don’t password protect any personal devices
    Don’t password protect any of your personal devices (laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc.) and leave them out where anyone can access them. Why waste the time pushing buttons to unlock your smart phone when you could be taking a picture of your dinner!
  6. Respond to suspicious emails
    Even if it seems suspicious, respond to all emails asking for your personal information. Click on suspicious links too! This will route you to a website or file download that will make it really easy for you to share all of your online activity with the identity thief – user names, passwords, card numbers, you name it!
  7. Respond to suspicious requests on social media
    Easily hacked passwords on your social media sites allow identity thieves to pose as you and try to con your friends out of their personal information and even their money. Oh, and your ex really is stuck in London without a passport or money! Wire that $5,000 right away!
  8. Transfer money on an unsecure website or via email
    Speaking of sending money, be sure you give out your bank account info via email because it’s definitely a safe way to shop online. Throw in your Social Security number and your mother’s maiden name while you’re at it.
  9. Be careless with logins and personal information in public
    Openly log in to your personal accounts while you’re on a laptop or phone in a public setting. Balance your checkbook in a coffee shop and be sure you move out of the way so the identity thief can clearly read your account number.
  10. Never review your bank account statements
    They say ignorance is bliss. It’s true. If you never look at your account statements, you’ll never know if someone has your account information and is spending all your money. You’ll also never know when your spouse dropped a couple hundred dollars on a shopping spree!

Of course, we are joking and having a little fun with this post. At UMB we take privacy and security very seriously, especially when it comes to our customers. You might think identity theft can’t happen to you, but it is still very common and a few simple things can keep you protected. Just do the exact opposite of everything on this list. Or, take a look at our website to learn more tips and tricks to protect your information and your identity.

 

Bank deposit products provided by UMB Bank n.a., Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender


Ms. Flores serves as senior vice president and Chief Information Security Officer, providing oversight of UMB’s information security and privacy programs. She joined UMB in 2010 and more than 15 years of experience in information technology and information security. She attended Kansas State University with a focus on management information systems and is a Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US) and Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA).



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