Understanding the do’s and don’t’s of banking is essential to your financial wellbeing. For tips on how to make banking work for you, just ask Alex, our expert banker. Learn more about the dangers of check fraud. Understand the consequences if you don’t pay your credit card bill. Discover what happens to a checking and savings accounts of someone who has passed away.
Question: How does check fraud occur?
Asked by: Grant from Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.
Answer: Check fraud happens when criminals use paper or digital checks to illegally obtain money. The most common type of check fraud is forgery. This occurs when someone tampers and uses a check without the account owner’s permission. Legitimate checks can be altered by either washing or scrapping the print. Afterwards, the payee, dollar amount and/or signature are modified. In order for a financial institution or retailer to accept the forged check, the con artist will typically provide a fake or stolen identification. Another type of check fraud is counterfeiting. This is when a check is either photocopied or created using a sophisticated software program and laser printer. The scam artist will generally use legitimate account and routing numbers to create the counterfeit checks. Other pieces of information like the maker’s name, address, and bank information may possibly be incorrect. The best way to avoid check fraud is to not deposit or cash any check that you weren’t expecting. Instead, verify the legitimacy of the check by contacting the financial institution that the check was drawn from.
Question: What happens if I don’t pay my credit card bill?
Asked by: Carol from Grand Forks, North Dakota.
Answer: A credit card is a revolving line of credit, with a set limit, that can be used to pay for goods and services or withdraw cash. When used, the cardholder is required to make at least a minimum payment to paydown the outstanding balance. There can be severe consequences if a credit card bill is not paid in a timely manner. First, the cardholder may be charged a late fee of up to $40 if the payment isn’t received by the due date. Second, the cardholder may have to pay a penalty rate of up to 30% APR if the bill is more than 60 days late. Third, if a payment hasn’t been received within 180 days, the credit card can be charged off and closed. Finally, the cardholder’s credit score can be lowered significantly. Missed payments will not end up on the credit report for at least 30 days after the due date. Late payments stay on a credit report for seven years and payment history accounts for approximately 35% of the overall credit score.
Question: I am the beneficiary on my dad’s checking and savings accounts. He recently passed away. How do I collect the money?
Asked by: Reece from Seattle, Washington.
Answer: My condolences to you and your family on the loss of your father. An account owner can name payable-on-death beneficiaries for their checking accounts, savings accounts, certificate of deposits, and IRAs. Adding beneficiaries will bypass the probate process. There can be one or multiple beneficiaries designated to a particular account. Once all of the owners on the account have died, the beneficiaries are entitled to the remaining funds. In order to gain access, the beneficiaries will need to provide the financial institution with their primary identification (i.e., driver’s license, state ID card, military id card, or passport) and the account owner’s death certificate. The beneficiaries can then withdraw all of the funds and close the account. The assets in the account must be equally divide among all the beneficiaries.
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Written by: Alex Sanchez, Branch Manager
Important: For your specific questions about banking, contact your banking expert, Alex, at: email@example.com
Alex has been in banking for almost 20 years. He has worked for such notable banks as Bank of America, US Bank, and Chase. Alex has his bachelor’s degree in Business Economic from the University of California Riverside.
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