1. You can get a temporary credit card number. If you don’t feel comfortable using your credit card number when shopping online, you can use a short-term number instead. All you have to do is contact your credit card issuer or bank and make a request. A new, temporary number will be provided that is linked to your credit card account. Bank of America offers this option through its ShopSafe program. Citibank also offers this service via what it calls a virtual account number. Temporary credit card numbers are free of charge.
2. A potential employer can’t see everything about your credit. When a future employer orders your credit report, they can’t see your credit score. Employers don’t have access to your credit score, only your report. Employers receive a modified version of your credit report (known as an employment report) from the three major credit reporting agencies, which doesn’t include your score.
3. Depending on the card, you can refuse to show ID when making a purchase at a store. Under the merchant agreements with MasterCard and Visa, a merchant is allowed to ask for your ID, but you’re not required to show it and the merchant cannot refuse the transaction. These rules are listed in MasterCard’s Merchant Rules Manual and Visa’s Rules for Visa Merchants. However, if you’re purchasing alcohol, tobacco, or certain medications, ID is required by law regardless of the credit card you’re using.
4. Having a debt forgiven doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. According to the IRS, (depending on the type of debt forgiven) forgiven debt is taxable because it’s counted as income and the forgiven amount must be reported as such. However, in some cases, you might be eligible for an exclusion. One example is mortgage debt. Under the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act, if your mortgage is partially forgiven from 2007 through the 2012 tax years, you might be eligible to apply for tax relief and exclude the forgiven debt from your income. Debts discharged during bankruptcy are also eligible for exclusion.
Sheiresa Ngo is the multimedia content producer for consumer affairs at Black Enterprise.