Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

March 21, 2014

Building and protecting credit is essential

TAHLEQUAH — In today’s economy, it is difficult to keep finances in balance without at least a small line of credit, and it is almost impossible to buy property or a car without a few years of good credit history.

Creating a credit history can seem like navigating a maze, and as the number of digital transactions increase, a growing gaggle of grifters is looking for personal information leaks to exploit.

“A bank is going to look at several factors including past credit history,” said Marty Hainzinger, vice president of consumer lending for First State Bank. “A lot of people worry about their credit scores, but that isn’t necessarily the deciding factor on every type of loan. Banks also look at stability – how long an applicant has paid on accounts, the high and low dollar amounts, and the amounts paid.”

Building and maintaining credit helps a household plan budgets and manage finances. Higher credit ratings result in lower interest rates on credit cards, car loans and home mortgages. A low score can result in high interest on a loan or outright refusal.

“It is important to get credit updates,” Hainzinger said. “Often, people aren’t aware a debt has been turned over to a collections agency until they apply for credit.”

Federal law states everyone is entitled to one free credit report each year from each of the major credit agencies of Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. An official site is maintained by the three at www.annualcreditreport.com, or call (877) 322-8228.

Always check the accuracy of a credit report, because errors are common. Ensure business has been done with all listed creditors and that all past addresses are accurate; inaccuracies can indicate identity theft or fraud. Dispute any mistakes.

“The local bank can help with any accounts they have with their customers,” said Rita Steiner, customer service representative with First State Bank. “If they detect fraud, they can cancel their debit cards or checking accounts, and open new ones.”

The Federal Trade Commission, credit companies and banks offer some suggestions to build and protect credit:

To build and maintain credit:

• Open a checking or savings account. A financial history is important when applying for loans.

• Pay bills on time.

• Keep credit card balances low.

• Pay off debt instead of moving it to new cards with low introductory rates.

• Don’t open unnecessary lines of credit.

• Stick with credit card accounts. Creditors like stability.

To protect credit:

• Shred mail and documents with personal information such as charge receipts, copies of credit offers and applications, insurance forms, medical statements, discarded checks and bank statements and expired credit cards.

• Use caution when giving out credit card numbers, addresses or other personal data. Determine whether an organization is reputable before sharing such information.

• Social Security cards should be kept at home or in a safe deposit box. They should never be carried.

• When making online purchases, look for a lock and key at the bottom corner of the browser, a URL that begins https://, or the words Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), to ensure the transaction is secure.

• Do not use a credit card as identification. The information can be used for identity theft to open accounts, make purchases, obtain cash, get a job or rent an apartment with your identity.

• Credit freezes may be placed on an account, which makes it unavailable to new creditors or anyone who might use it for fraud. Only existing creditors have access. To obtain further credit, the freeze must be temporarily lifted.

Suggestions for victims of identity theft and fraud:

• If a wallet or purse is stolen, an initial fraud alert can be placed on a credit file. Duration of the alert is 90 days and it requires creditors to verify identity before issuing credit.

• If a victim of fraud, fill out an Identity Complaint Form with the FTC and place an extended fraud alert of seven years on credit files. The alert requires creditors to actually speak to the person on file before issuing credit.

To improve damaged credit:

• Get current on all accounts.

• Pay bills on time.

• If falling behind on payments, contact creditors or seek credit counseling and let them know the situation. Creditors are usually willing to work with their customers.

• Get a credit report every few months to monitor progress.


To read an online exclusive about a poll asking residents about credit status, go to tahlequahTDP.com.




Text Only
Local News
  • ts-Tax-free-main.jpg Shopper's delight

    Tax-free weekend coming up Aug. 1-3, just in time for back-to-school savings

    Attention, shoppers: Oklahoma’s Tax-Free Weekend is coming up, beginning at 12:01 a.m., Friday, Aug. 1.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • ballard-amanda.jpg Woman pleads no contest to molestation

    A Tahlequah woman accused of having more than 20 sexual encounters with a 13-year-old boy has pleaded no contest in exchange for a 15-year prison sentence, though 10 years have been suspended.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • svw-arch-society.jpg Archaeologist: Spiro Mounds may have been ancient music haven

    People gathered from across the country at the “center of the universe,” bringing with them different styles of music and instruments, each thought to have its own power and importance.
    This could be the description of a modern music festival, but to Jim Rees, it is a picture of the Spiro Mounds 1,000 years before Columbus came to the Americas.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Two headed for trial for conspiracy to kill judge and others

    Two of the four people accused of conspiring to kill a Cherokee County judge and several other targets were bound over for trial Friday following a preliminary hearing in Tahlequah.

    July 28, 2014

  • Woman accused in embezzlement sought for arrest

    Court officials have issued a bench warrant for a woman who previously pleaded to embezzling more than $40,000 while she worked for Tahlequah attorney Park Medearis.

    July 28, 2014

  • CN, UKB battle over trust land application

    Two Tahlequah-based tribes presented oral arguments Friday in a protracted fight over a land-in-trust application.

    Over the course of five hours, attorneys for the Cherokee Nation, United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians, Cherokee Nation Entertainment and the Department of the Interior made their cases before Northern District Judge Gregory Frizzell in a hearing that was originally scheduled for February.


    July 25, 2014

  • ts-NSU-Main-1-a.jpg No NSU pool, for now

    NSU experiencing delays in fitness center construction

    Earlier this month, Northeastern State University announced it is experiencing delays in the renovation of its fitness center and pool.
    The facility was officially shuttered Sept. 17, 2012, and at the time, the projected completion date for renovation was this fall.

    July 25, 2014 3 Photos

  • jn-Suspect-1.jpg Officials: Images of suspects may help nab church burglars

    Cherokee County investigators hope surveillance footage captured around the Crescent Valley Baptist Church in Woodall helps lead to the suspects accused of breaking into the complex and setting fire to one building this week.
    According to Undersheriff Jason Chennault, cameras captured footage of two suspects on bicycles early Tuesday morning, July 22.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • svw-movie-night.jpg Local library hosts family movie night

    Nova Foreman and her two daughters were about to leave the Tahlequah Public Library Thursday, when they saw the Family Movie Night flyer.
    The three decided to stay and enjoy a movie they had not yet seen at the free, theater-like event.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • svw-Keys.jpg Grant to fund stepped-up Keys PE program

    Kair Ridenhour’s new office is filled with pedometers.
    Ridenhour officially started his new position as assistant elementary principal at Keys Public Schools on July 1.
    But his other role at the school – that of physical education project coordinator – prompted the influx of pedometers.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo


Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins