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It's time to begin planning
your holiday funding.
Apply for a Christmas credit card
or for a Christmas personal loan





Annuity - Learn about annuity investments.

Balance checkbook - How to balance a checkbook and download our free checkbook register software.

Bank checking account - How to read a bank checking account statement.

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Checkbook Register - Free CheckBook Register Software to Manage Expenses

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Christmas credit card debt - Options on how to get help with too much Christmas credit card debt.

Christmas credit card shopping - Tips for safe shopping with your credit card.

Christmas gift cards - buying, selling and trading retail store gift cards. Buy discounted cards or sell gift cards for cash.

Christmas personal loan - short or long term personal loan with monthly installments to purchase Christmas gifts.

Consolidate student loan - Apply to refinance student loan debt for a lower interest rate and payments.

Counterfeit money - Spot counterfeit money and report fake money to the govt.

Create a will - How to create a will yourself and prepare a living will.

Credit card statement - How to read a credit card billing statement.

Credit and divorce - How divorce affects your credit score and bill payments.

Credit and loan prequalification - Prequalify for credit cards and loans based upon your credit score.

Espanol credito - Obtenga el crédito y los préstamos financieros. Algunos abastecedores del crédito no tienen traducción española. Tarjeta de crédito.

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Can you spot counterfeit money? Don't let counterfeiters fool you, spot fake money and report it to the federal government.


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How to spot counterfeit money: Closely examine money you receive and compare suspect bills with a genuine bill of the same denomination and series. Pay attention to the quality of printing and paper, and look for differences instead of similarities.


How to tell if money is counterfeit

Real Vs Counterfeit

Portrait: A genuine portrait appears lifelike and stands out distinctly from the background. The counterfeit portrait is usually lifeless and flat. Details merge into the background which is often too dark or mottled.


Federal Reserve and Treasury Seals: On a genuine bill, the saw-tooth points of the Federal Reserve and Treasury seals are clear, distinct, and sharp. The seals of counterfeit money may have uneven, blunt, or broken saw-tooth points.


Border: The fine lines in the border of genuine money are clear and unbroken. On counterfeit money, the lines in the outer margin and scrollwork may be blurred and indistinct.


Serial Numbers: Genuine serial numbers have a distinctive style and are evenly spaced. The serial numbers are printed in the same ink color as the Treasury Seal. On counterfeit money, the serial numbers may differ in color or shade of ink from the Treasury seal. The numbers may not be uniformly spaced or aligned.


Paper: Genuine currency paper has tiny red and blue fibers embedded throughout. Often counterfeiters try to simulate these fibers by printing tiny red and blue lines on their paper. But on counterfeit money the lines are printed on the surface, not embedded in the paper. It is illegal to reproduce the distinctive paper used in the manufacturing of United States currency.



Genuine paper currency is sometimes altered in an attempt to increase its face value. One common method is to glue numerals from higher denomination notes to the corners of lower denomination notes.

These bills are also considered counterfeit, and those who produce them are subject to the same penalties as other counterfeiters. If you suspect you are in possession of a raised note:

Compare the denomination numerals on each corner with the denomination written out at the bottom of the note (front and back) and through the Treasury seal.


Compare the suspect note to a genuine note of the same denomination and series year, paying particular attention to the portrait, vignette and denomination numerals.


Counterfeit Coins

Genuine coins are struck (stamped out) by special machinery. Most counterfeit coins are made by pouring liquid metal into molds or dies. This procedure often leaves die marks, such as cracks or pimples of metal on the counterfeit coin.

Today counterfeit coins are made primarily to simulate rare coins which are of value to collectors. Sometimes this is done by altering genuine coins to increase their numismatic value. The most common changes are the removal, addition, or alteration of the coin's date or mint marks.

If you suspect you are in possession of a counterfeit or altered coin, compare it with a genuine one of the same value.

If it is above five cents in value, it should have corrugated outer edges, referred to as "reeding." Reeding on genuine coins is even and distinct. The counterfeit coin's reeding may be uneven, crooked, or missing altogether.


To prevent counterfeit money, the U.S. Treasury creates new one, two, five, ten, twenty, fifty and 100 dollar bills.


Suspect you've been given fake money? Turn it over to your local police or Secret Service field office. Or get more information on how to spot counterfeit money.


Need more information? Read our financial and credit articles related to money or government, and join our online financial newsletter.

What is credit card blocking, and why is there a hold on my credit card account? Have you ever been told you were over your credit card limit, or had your debit card declined, even though you knew you had available credit, or money in your bank account? If this happened shortly after you stayed in a hotel or rented a car, the problem could have been card “blocking.”

What's Blocking? When you use a credit or debit card to check into a hotel or rent a car, the clerk usually contacts the company that issued your card to give an estimated total. If the transaction is approved, your available credit (credit card) or the balance in your bank account (debit card) is reduced by this amount. That's a “block.” Some companies also call this placing a “hold” on those amounts.

Here's how it works: Suppose you use a credit or debit card when you check into a $100-a-night hotel for five nights. At least $500 would likely be blocked. In addition, hotels and rental car companies often add anticipated charges for “incidentals” like food, beverages, or gasoline to the blocked amount. These incidental amounts can vary widely among merchants. If you pay your bill with the same card you used when you checked in, the final charge on your credit card, or final amount on your debit card, probably will replace the block in a day or two. However, if you pay your bill with a different card, or with cash or a check, the company that issued the card you used at check-in might hold the block for up to 15 days after you've checked out. That's because they weren't notified of the final payment and didn't know you paid another way.

Why Blocking Can Be a Problem: Blocking is used to make sure you don't exceed your credit line (credit card) or overdraw your bank account (debit card) before checking out of a hotel or returning a rental car, leaving the merchant unpaid. Blocking is sometimes also used by restaurants for anticipated sizeable bills (like large groups at dinner or a party), by companies cleaning your home, and other businesses to ensure credit or account money will be available to complete payment.

If you're nowhere near your credit limit or don't have a low balance in your bank account, blocking probably won't be a problem. But if you're reaching that point, be careful. Not only can it be embarrassing to have your card declined, it also can be inconvenient, especially if you have an emergency purchase and insufficient credit or money in your bank account. On debit cards, depending on the balance in your bank account, blocking could lead to charges for insufficient funds while the block remains in place.

How to Avoid Blocking: To avoid the aggravation that blocking can cause, follow these tips:
When you check into a hotel or rent a car; or if a restaurant or other business asks for your card in advance of service - ask if the company is “blocking,” how much will be blocked, how the amount is determined, and how long the block remains in place.
Consider paying hotel, motel, rental car, or other “blocked” bills with the same credit or debit card you used at the beginning of the transaction. Ask the clerk when the prior block will be removed.
If you pay with a different card, by cash, or by check, remind the clerk you're using a different form of payment and ask them to remove the prior block promptly.
Ask your current debit card issuer if they permit blocks, for how long, and from what types of merchants. If they do, you may want to consider getting an overdraft line of credit from your bank. Ask about a plan that always automatically covers the overdraft and does not involve a separate bank decision on whether or not to pay it each time. Although you might incur some interest on this plan if you don't pay off the amount fairly quickly, you would not have an overdraft that is not paid. Ask your bank if they offer an overdraft line of credit, how it would work, and how much it costs. In addition, if you are considering a credit or debit card, shop around. When comparing credit and debit card offers, ask issuers if they permit blocks, for how long, and from what types of merchants. You may want to consider an issuer that uses shorter blocks.

Review Disclaimer: Review information was gleaned from the website, and is neither an endorsement by us nor an confirmation of content nor a warranty of any promises made by the website. Use the review information at your sole discretion and sole liability. Review - © 2011 Wilmington Savings Fund Society, FSB - Member FDIC

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Beware Phishing, Vishing, SMiShing and Spear Phishing scams
Victim of a Counterfeit or Fake Money Order? Learn how to spot fake money orders, report the scam, and what you must do if you have cashed fake money orders.
Learn how the credit card shaving scam works, and how to report the scam.
Get out of Credit Card Interest Reduction Scams
Bright Sky and Round Sky customer complaint about advance fee scam.
Signs of Debt Relief Scams to Avoid being a Victim of Fraud
Investing for retirement: Credit Federal defines Treasury Bills, Treasury Notes, Treasury Bonds, Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS), I Bond and EE Bond.
Treasury Secretary John Snow delivers economy speech.
Treasury Secretary Snow to Release DVD on Identity Theft to Help Better Protect Consumers from Financial Fraud.
Victim of a Counterfeit or Fake Money Order? Learn how to spot fake money orders, report the scam, and what you must do if you have cashed fake money orders.
To protect Americans from counterfeit money fraud, the federal government has issued new money. View the new $5 dollar bill.
To protect Americans from counterfeit money fraud, the federal government has issued new money. View the new $10 dollar bill.
To protect Americans from counterfeit money fraud, the federal government has issued new money. View the new $20 dollar bill.
To protect Americans from counterfeit money fraud, the federal government has issued new money. View the new $50 dollar bill.
View new money images of the $5, $10, $20 and $50 dollar bills. The new money is to help protect Americans from counterfeit money scams.
Illustrations of new money bills, including the one, two, five, ten, twenty, fifty and 100 dollar bills designed to thwart fraudulent counterfeiting. Don't be a fake money victim.

Review Disclaimer: Review information was gleaned from the website, and is neither an endorsement by us nor an confirmation of content nor a warranty of any promises made by the website. Use the review information at your sole discretion and sole liability.

Top Well Known Credit Unions by Membership
1. Navy Federal Federal Credit Union - Merrifield, VA. 3,194,292 members.
2. State Employees Credit Union - Raleigh, NC. 1,498,062 members.
3. Pentagon Federal Credit Union - Alexandria, VA. 864,803 members.
4. The Golden 1 Credit Union - Sacramento, CA. 694,836 members.
5. Security Service Federal Credit Union - San Antonio, TX. 681,353 members.
6. Boeing Employees Credit Union - Tukwila, WA. 588,755 members.
7. America First Federal Credit Union - Ogden, UT. 484,291 members.
8. Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union - Tampa, FL. 471,441 members.
9. Schoolsfirst Federal Credit Union - Santa Ana, CA. 400,721 members.
10. Digital Federal Credit Union - Marlborough, MA. 370,309 members.
11. Desert Schools Federal Credit Union - Phoenix, AZ. 364,261 members.
12. Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union - Harrisburg, PA. 350,812 members.
13. Alaska USA Federal Credit Union - Anchorage, AK. 348,933 members.
14. Vystar Credit Union - Jacksonville, FL. 347,123 members.
15. Wescom Central Credit Union - Pasadena, CA. 340,620 members.
16. Mountain America Federal Credit Union - West Jordan, UT. 319,361 members.
17. Redstone Federal Credit Union - Huntsville, AL. 304,825 members.
18. Municipal Credit Union - New York, NY. 301,068 members.
19. ESL Federal Credit Union - Rochester, NY. 298,288 members.
20. Patelco Credit Union - San Francisco, CA. 297,626 members.
21. GECU Credit Union - El Paso, TX. 281,983 members.
22. Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union - Live Oak, TX. 278,971 members.
23. Citizens Equity First Credit Union - Peoria, IL. 261,360 members.
24. Teachers Credit Union - South Bend, IN. 254,871 members.
25. San Antonio Federal Credit Union - San Antonio, TX. 248,548 members.
26. State Employees of Maryland Credit Union - Linthicum, MD. 245,115 members.
27. Alliant Credit Union - Chicago, IL. 234,003 members.
28. Kinecta Federal Credit Union - Manhattan Beach, CA. 228,439 members.
29. Arizona Federal Credit Union - Phoenix, AZ. 224,865 members.
30. Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union - Poughkeepsie, NY. 214,769 members.
31. American Airlines Federal Credit Union - Ft. Worth, TX. 212,362 members.
32. Eastern Financial Florida Credit Union - Miramar, FL. 206,744 members.
33. GTE Federal Credit Union - Tampa, FL. 203,376 members.
34. San Diego County Credit Union - San Diego, CA. 201,254 members.
35. Tinker Federal Credit Union - Tinker Afb, OK. 196,717 members.
36. Ent Federal Credit Union - Colorado Springs, CO. 193,449 members.
37. Keesler Federal Credit Union - Biloxi, MS. 191,474 members.
38. Onpoint Community Credit Union - Portland, OR. 191,006 members.
39. Teachers Federal Credit Union - Farmingville, NY. 189,227 members.
40. Coastal Federal Credit Union - Raleigh, NC. 187,790 members.
41. Kern Schools Federal Credit Union - Bakersfield, CA. 187,385 members.
42. Bellco Credit Union - Greenwood Village, CO. 186,978 members.
43. Grow Financial Federal Credit Union - Tampa, FL. 186,348 members.
44. Virginia Credit Union, Inc. Credit Union - Richmond, VA. 185,718 members.
45. Community America Credit Union - Kansas City, MO. 184,042 members.
46. Founders Federal Credit Union - Lancaster, SC. 183,968 members.
47. Delta Community Credit Union - Atlanta, GA. 181,259 members.
48. Truliant Federal Credit Union - Winston-Salem, NC. 181,191 members.
49. Wright-Patt Credit Union - Fairborn, OH. 172,822 members.
50. North Carolina Local Government Federal Credit Union - Raleigh, NC. 170,523 members.

Credit Tip: If your credit card or loan application is rejected due to information supplied by a credit bureau, federal law requires the creditor to give you the name of the bureau that supplied the derogatory information. If you contact that credit bureau within 60 days of receiving the denial, you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report.

Credit Tip: If you find an error in your credit report, you are entitled to have it investigated by the credit bureau and corrected at no charge. However, if negative information on your credit file is accurate, then only time and responsible credit habits can help restore a bad credit history.

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