Credit9 - Personal Loans

6 Personal Finance Tips For High School Students And Young Adults

Setting a budget, savings, controlling spending and monitoring bank statements can seem like a real drag to teenagers in high school and college. Learning good financial practices at a young age will set millennials up for a debt free future.

Maxing out credit cards, taking out student loans can cause lifelong financial problems that they will be paying for through their twenties.

If you are a parent to a teengager, you should be teaching them about finances and preparing them for the real world. Below are some tips you can be following to help the next generation.

The Key To Creating Young Savers

Make saving a priority in your household, growing up around this will cause them to mimic good habits. If mom and dad are constantly late on paying bills, they will internalize this mindset. Model the behavior you want them to adopt.

Make It Fun

While personal finance is a serious topic, you don’t have to be preachy. Budgeting does not equal going without life’s little pleasures or not having fun. It means prioritizing things that are important and putting aside money for fun things that matter.

Start Young

Start kids off with a simple piggy bank and help them collect loose change around the house or give them an allowance. Giving them an allowance will teach them budgeting and how to save. For example if they really want a new toy, have them save up for it instead of just buying it for them.

Watch Impulse Purchases

Help your teens make a budget. Help them see which items they truly can’t live without and which items can wait. Ask them to wait three days before making a must-have purchase and then revisit the topic later to see if it’s still worthwhile.

Enjoy Life

Not every treat your kids enjoy has to cost money. Some of the most fun things you can do as a family can be had relatively inexpensively or for free. Go to the museum on ½ price days, spend a summer day doing absolutely nothing but playing old-fashioned board games and watching kid-friendly movies or watch the clouds roll by. Help them put the focus on fun, simple things that don’t cost anything at all.

Look For Ways To Teach Financial Lessons Everyday

As you make certain financial decisions, include the kids in the process. Ask them to pick out areas of the budget they’d like to be in charge of, such as groceries, car and transportation expenses or family fun night. By being an active participant in the process, kids absorb more information. They begin to see the consequences of their choices and realize there’s more at stake than just immediate gratification. Challenge them from time to time on their choices and the rationale behind them to help them make wise decisions that don’t cut quality or family togetherness.

Obtaining A Mortgage After Bankruptcy

It is still possible to purchase a house after filing for bankruptcy. It can be challenging and you will have to wait some time before your finances are able to bounce back but it is doable.

The most common guideline you’ll have to follow to purchase a home after bankruptcy is to go through a waiting period. Most lenders and mortgage lending programs including FHA and VA usually require this.

The average waiting period is two years. Check with your state and lender to find out what applies your particular circumstances. If your bankruptcy is due to hardship outside of your control, such as job loss or extenuating circumstances, you may be able to reduce that time to one year.

Rebuild Your Credit Quickly To Get Even Faster Approval

Open a credit account or using an existing account, make payments on-time for at least 12 months. Do not close the accounts after paid off. Rather, keep them open and active. Always keep the ratio of what you spend to what’s actually available low. For example, on a $1000 credit card, have an open balance of no more than $300.

Open a secured credit card. Again, make monthly on-time payments to show a good payment history. You can use this card for minor expenses, such as gas, groceries or utility bills.

Show that you know how to handle other types of credit accounts. Whether student loans, personal loans or other types of credit, make regular on-time monthly payments so that you begin to develop a track record of success.

Talk to your lender about the requirements necessary to qualify for a mortgage loan. This includes minimum credit score, debt-to-income ratio, length of waiting period after bankruptcy discharge, if you have extenuating circumstances and if there is anything you can do to reasonably speed up the process.

Even More Tips To Help You Buy Your Home After Bankruptcy

Look for first-time homebuyer programs. If you’ve never purchased a home, look for first-time homebuyer programs. Check out the eligibility guidelines and see if there’s some flexibility for your situation, particularly if you’ve been able to find new employment after a job loss.

Bring more to the table. An FHA loan will normally allow you to purchase with as little as 3.5% down payment. Are you able to put down 5% comfortably? If so, this can only help you.

Look at the various lending programs within your bank to see which will be most attractive to your situation. It doesn’t hurt to ask and to begin preparation as soon as you know you want to buy a home. With planning, proper documentation and persistence, you can bounce back from bankruptcy and buy your new home.

So, You’re Getting Married! Will You Need a Wedding Loan?

Congratulations, you’re engaged! Of course, unless you’re planning to elope, you’re going to need a lot more than luck to get through your wedding day. How you decide to pay for your wedding will be one of the first important decisions you make as a couple — and there’s a chance you’re thinking about getting one of those wedding loans you’ve seen advertised. You know the ones with rates “as low as 7.49%” to cover all the expenses associated with the dream version of your big day. Of course, you don’t have to go into debt just to get married — and, in fact, it may be a good idea not to, given the stress financial troubles can put on a marriage. But if you decide to go that route, it’s important to know exactly what you’re signing yourself up for. Here, we break down what you need to know if you’re thinking about getting a wedding loan.

The Cost of a Wedding

The average cost of a wedding in the United States is $26,645, according to the website, Cost of Wedding. Couples typically spend between $19,984 and $33,306, excluding a honeymoon. That’s a big chunk of change to cover out of pocket, but your wedding can easily be much less expensive — without eloping. (Many couples do pay less than $10,000 for their wedding, the website says.)

For instance, you could get your wedding dress at Goodwill, tell invitees that you’re registered at your bank, and throw a helluva buffet-style reception on a shoestring. There are thousands of articles on the internet about how to throw a frugal wedding, but if those approaches make your eyes cross and you’ve decided you want to go all out on your big day, there are options when it comes to borrowing money.

What’s a Wedding Loan?

You may have seen the ads: “Have the wedding of your dreams!” “No assets required.” “No hidden fees.” “Pick up your check tomorrow.”

Well-known lenders, as well as some that seem more fly-by-night in nature, offer wedding loans, which are really ordinary personal loans when you remove the window dressing. Personal loans are installment loans, meaning you pay a predetermined monthly payment at a set interest rate over a specified period of time.

According to a 2015 survey from The Knot, 32% of couples believe having access to credit and/or loans will allow them to spend beyond their budget. If they are opting to take out personal loans, there’s a good chance they’re paying double-digits for them. Rates on personal loans can vary by lender, location and credit score, among other factors, but to give you an idea of the costs, one online lender lists the average annual percentage rate (APR) on all its personal loans at 12.76%, as of the second quarter of 2016.

Hopefully you won’t have to borrow the whole amount you’ll need for your wedding and can draw on savings, income and family contributions for many expenses, especially the ones where a deposits expected — for example, the place where you’ll be having the reception and the caterer, each of which may require a 50% down payment.

Let’s say you decide to borrow $15,000. If you take out a wedding (read: personal) loan in that amount and are charged 12.76% for four years, your 48 monthly checks will be $400 each. You might be able to chip away at that rate if you have excellent credit (more on that below), borrow from the bank or credit union where you have your checking or savings account, and allow automatic withdrawal of loan payments.

Other Borrowing Options

You’ll likely get a better rate if you have some serious security to put up as collateral, such as your home. In that case, you would be better off getting ahome equity line of credit (HELOC), in which the average interest rate is much lower. (As of late 2016, it was hovering just below 5%). Not only would you get a lower rate, there will probably be some tax deductions you could take, which wouldn’t be possible with a personal loan. If you were to take out $15,000 at once, at 5%, you’d have to send in about $345 a month to pay it off in four years (not including any closing costs).

Only you can judge whether it makes sense to put your house or condo on the line to finance this one day (because, yes, if you default on the HELOC, the bank can technically start foreclosure proceedings). Many personal finance experts will encourage you not to go that route – and virtually all of them will be horrified by the notion of borrowing against your 401K or other retirement savings.

All In the Family?

Perhaps there’s a family member who could loan you the money. You may be able to create a win-win situation: You can offer the lenders – say, your parents — an interest rate that’s less than you would have to pay a bank or credit union, but more than they are currently earning. (Five-year CDs are currently paying about 1% on average.) If you borrow $15,000 at 3% for four years, your monthly payment would be $332.

Approach family and friends with a specific plan, including the interest rate you’d pay them and how much you’ll repay each month. Put the agreement in writing so you won’t be tempted to put that bill low on your priority list. Propose late charges if you miss payments by more than a certain amount of time, and have a plan for what will happen if you default on the loan. Watch out! You could be putting family relations in jeopardy if you can’t live up to the terms.

Should You Charge It?

Another option to consider adding to the mix is a credit card that offers a great introductory APR on new purchases. There are plenty of them out there offering 0% for a year or more. makes it easy to find cards that fit this bill.

There are a few important hitches:

  1. Never be late with a payment. Otherwise, you’ll be paying a lot more than 0% in interest.
  2. Be sure you can pay off what you owe by the time the intro period is over, when the rate is likely to go up significantly. (You may be able to find another card to transfer the balance to down the road, but you can’t really count on that. Plus, you’re generally charged a fee every time you transfer a balance.)
  3. Watch out for your credit limit. If you charge up to 30% of your available credit limit, your credit score could take a sizable hit, which might make other lenders nervous enough to jack up the rates on your other cards.

Credit Card Tips:

  • Call your current card issuers and ask for an increase on your existing credit lines.
  • Be careful not to use credit cards with high interest rates to finance purchases you won’t be paying off immediately.
  • Use credit cards as opposed to checks or cash when you can. That way, you’ll be able to take advantage of the cards’ purchase protection if you have a dispute with a vendor.

Check Your Credit

Remember, if you’re trying to get wedding financing with bad credit, it can really cost you. A stellar credit score will at least make personal financing more affordable since it will help you qualify for the best rates and terms. That’s why it’s a good idea to see where you stand before you apply. (You can view two of your credit scores, updated every 14 days, for free on

Now What?

If you’re feeling as though there are no really good borrowing alternatives for your wedding … good! “Few things can put more stress on a relationship than financial woes,” as personal finance author Gerri Detweiler writes.

Go back to the drawing board and come up with a way to make your wedding day special without leaving you with a bill that will only cause trouble over time. After all, you have your debts, and your beloved’s probably got a few, too. The last thing you need is another big monthly expense.

When Wedding Insurance Makes Sense

While you’re taking another look at cutting expenses, you might want to consider adding one — for wedding insurance — especially if you’re going to have a pricey party. You wouldn’t buy a car without insurance, would you? Yet many a perfectly fine car can cost a lot less than many a wedding. And given all the other wedding-related expenses, this one is fairly modest:

“At roughly the cost of including one additional guest at your wedding, wedding insurance is a smart idea for couples who want to protect the significant investment that this important occasion represents,” says the insurer Fireman’s Fund to both straight and gay couples. “Inclement weather; flood, fire or power failure at the event venue; lost or damaged attire; photographers and videographers who lose the event images or video; and other vendors who fail to show up can all spell disaster.”

According to The Knot, a basic wedding insurance policy costs between $155 and $550, depending on how much protection you want. While some companies are now offering “cold feet” coverage, it’s not usually included. But if you pay extra, in some circumstances, you can even get protection from that.

USA TODAY personal finance columnist Sandra Block offers excellent advice on wedding insurance:

  • Liability coverage “will protect you from lawsuits if an exuberant guest slips and falls in the conga line,” she writes.
  • Sudden death or illness. “If the groom has an appendicitis attack the day before the wedding,” Block explains, “wedding insurance will cover the cost of non-refundable deposits.”
  • Lost or damaged formalwear. “If the bridal store files for bankruptcy before you pick up your Vera Wang gown, wedding insurance will cover the cost of a new dress.”
  • Photography mishaps. “Your wedding photos are supposed to provide a lifetime of memories, but what if they’re all out of focus?” Block asks. “Or the photographer simply disappears? Wedding insurance policies will cover the cost of reassembling your wedding party and retaking the photos or videos.”

As with other forms of insurance, it pays to shop around. Get recommendations from folks who have been recently married. Call your current insurers and see what they are offering. Discuss the “what ifs” that worry you most — for example, are you concerned that one of you may be called up by the military? It may be part of the policy, or you may be able to purchase additional coverage.

It all boils down to how much of a gambler you are — and how much additional stress you want to have or avoid.

All the best to the happy couple! May the celebrations be grand … and not cost you too much.

What You Need to Know About Bounced Checks

Bounced checks occur when the promise to pay that you’ve signed can’t be processed because you don’t have enough funds in your checking account. They’re also referred to as rubber or non-sufficient funds (NSF) checks and are an expensive hassle that may cause the account you’re trying to pay to go to collections and hurt your credit scores for years to come. Even worse, they can result in criminal prosecution or even cost you the job you want.

They occur more frequently today thanks to electronic check clearing, which means banks don’t have to actually process the physical paper copy. Digital substitutes can now be presented instead, so your payment can clear within a few hours instead of a few days.

There are lots of ways to bounce a check, including:

  • Forgetting to enter a purchase or automatic withdrawal in your checkbook, so you think you have more money in the account than you do.
  • Your spouse forgets to tell you they used the debit card (tied to your checking account).
  • You don’t balance your checkbook.
  • You write a check expecting to be able to make a deposit before it clears, or simply knowing you don’t have the money to cover it.
  • Your bank or credit union makes a mistake and your account shows less money than it should.
  • Your debit card is used by a thief (or maybe a friend or relative who decides they need your money more than you do).
  • Your bank indicates a balance that includes available overdraft protection (see below) rather than your actual balance.
  • Someone writes a check to you, you deposit it and it bounces. Not only will you likely have to pay a fee for depositing a bad check but, if you’ve written checks using the money you thought you added, they’ll likely bounce.

Is It a Felony to Bounce a Check?

There are different laws in each state that outline what regulations they have for bounced checks, both for civil and criminal penalties. Civil penalties — those that address how much bad check recipients can collect to cover returned check fees and other charges — can often exceed the amount of the original payment.

Under criminal penalties, you can be prosecuted and even arrested for writing a bad check. A bounced check typically becomes a criminal matter when the person who wrote it did so intending to commit fraud — like writing several bad checks in a short timeframe — and this can be seen as a felony in many states, especially when the checks are for more than $500. If they are less than $500 and there are criminal charges, it is typically seen as a misdemeanor. The majority of bounced check cases do not involve criminal penalties, however, as they are done in error and most people cover the expenses quickly.

Are You Really In Legal Trouble?

Consumer advocates have been concerned about the use of “check diversion companies” in some areas of the country. These are private, for-profit companies that are in the business of collecting on bad checks. They may work under a contract with the District Attorney’s (DA’s) office even though they are independent companies. Their collection notices may even seem to come from the DA (or with approval of the DA). These companies have been criticized and sued for:

  • Demanding excessive fees (as much as $200 for a $20 bounced check).
  • Failing to give consumers the opportunity to dispute the debt.
  • Falsely implying that consumers will go to jail if they don’t pay the debt, even though no crime has been committed.

In 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) took action against a nationwide debt collection group that was using deceptive and illegal intimidation tactics to collect on bounced check debts. Under a law passed by Congress in 2006, which regulated check diversion companies, these companies (under contract with the DA) aren’t allowed to contact consumers until a prosecutor has reviewed the case and deemed the consumer eligible for collection. “The law also requires these companies to inform consumers of certain rights, including their right to dispute allegations of bad check violations,” according the CFPB.

If you don’t believe the amount they are trying to collect is correct, you can ask them to verify the debt. Send a certified letter requesting verification of the debt right away and keep a copy for your records. They must get back to you within 30 days.

You may also be required to participate in a class on financial management. For example, the Los Angeles bad check restitution program requires participation in an eight-hour financial management program.

If you are being strong-armed about a debt related to a bad check, you may want to consider getting legal advice, especially if a debt collector tells you that you will be arrested if you don’t pay on a bounced check immediately. A consumer law attorney can advise you on your rights.

As with any debt, you’ll find there is a state statute of limitations regarding the length of time for collecting on bounced checks. If someone tries to sue you for a bounced check and the statute of limitations has expired, you can raise that in court as a defense. Your state attorney general’s office can give you information on your state’s statute of limitations for bad checks.

It Adds Up

Banks typically charge a fee for insufficient fund mistakes — Chase Bank, for example, charges $34 for each item. However, you may also be hit with additional charges, like those from the company or person to whom you wrote the check. Target, for example, charges $25 if this happens in their store. Add that up and you’re looking at an additional $59 in fees alone.

And if this happens several times in a short period of time, your bank may pay the largest checks first, which could lead to several of the smaller ones bouncing. That means you’ll pay a lot more in fees, making it much more difficult to catch up on what you owe.

Convenience at a Price

Given all these warnings, you may think that the “automatic overdraft protection” some banks offer is a godsend. With these programs, you don’t have to sign up for a line of credit. The bank will simply cover you if you overdraft, charging you a “convenience fee.” But that convenience can come with a steep price.

According to the Center for Responsible Lending and other consumer organizations, the fees these overdraft programs charge rival those of “payday lenders,” who have a reputation of charging outrageous fees. In fact, overdraft protection program fees can result in an equivalent Annual Percentage Rate of 2,000 – 7,000% or more. (And you thought credit card interest rates were high!)

Your Credit May Suffer

Bounced checks don’t usually show up on traditional credit reports, unless you are sued or the balance is turned over to a collection agency. But if you write a check to pay a bill to a company that reports to credit bureaus, and it bounces, the late payment may show up on your credit history. Additionally, these failed payments may be reported to specialized consumer reporting agencies such as ChexSystems or Telecheck. These agencies collect information about how consumers have handled bank accounts and report that information to financial institutions as well as to retailers that accept this form of payment.

Negative information remains in ChexSystems or Telecheck for five years. You have the right to check those reports for free once a year and to challenge any mistakes. To obtain your free annual ChexSystems report, visit To check your Telecheck report, visit

If you have already been listed in ChexSystems and you are having trouble opening a bank account, you may need to look for a bank that doesn’t use ChexSystems. You can also try a credit union, if you are eligible to join one.

A few banks may review your credit reports provided by the three main credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax and TransUnion — before allowing you to open an account with them or before approving your request for an overdraft line of credit. If you are concerned about whether you credit reports will be reviewed if you open an account, be sure to ask about the bank’s policy.

You can see copies of your reports for free once each year by visiting You can also keep an eye on how your financial choices are affecting your credit by viewing two of your credit scores for free, updated every 14 days, on Reviewing your own credit reports and scores does not affect your credit score in any way.

Doing What You Can

With all these possible costs and complications, you can see why it is a good idea to avoid this problem. Here are four tips to help you protect yourself.

  1. Consider signing up for an overdraft line of credit, or finding out if you can use your savings account as protection if you accidentally make a payment for more than how much money you have in your account.
  2. Balance your checkbook, or at least become fanatical about writing down transactions and keeping a running total.
  3. Remember to include recurring debits in your financial tracking.
  4. Monitor your accounts online and set up alerts to come to your email or cellphone if your balance dips below a certain amount.

Brooke Niemeyer contributed to this article.

The Real Reasons Retailers Push Branded Credit Cards

When shoppers hit the counter of their favorite retailer this holiday season, they may be asked to sign up for the store’s branded credit card in exchange for a discount on their purchase. The cards are often a better deal for the stores than they are for consumers.

There are some perks to consumers—store cards, or private label cards as they’re known in the industry, are a good starting point to build up credit score, and there can be rich rewards for frequent shoppers. In general, though, these branded cards carry higher interest rates than general purchase cards and have lower limits. That makes them more expensive for consumers.

For retailers, however, store cards are a growing profit center. Private label card use by consumers grew nearly 12 percent per year from 2009 through 2012, according to the most recent data from the Federal Reserve. They’re an easy way for stores to build loyalty, collect data, and—of course—earn revenue from consumers. Retailers are so invested in turning customers into private-label cardholders, that they often offer their sales clerks cash incentives for signing people up.

One big reason that retailers like store credit cards is that they encourage customers to spend more. More than 60 percent of consumers say that they shop more often with retailers with whom they have a store card, and they’re also more receptive to communication about events and promotions by that retailer, according to a market research report from Packaged Facts.

Not only do store cards encourage more spending and build loyalty for merchants, but they also give the stores access to valuable consumer data. Plus, they cost less to process than other forms of payment. They’re also often compatible with mobile pay systems, which are expected to grow more dominant in future years.

Since retailers often control the approval process, they’re able to give cards to consumers who might not qualify for general-purchase cards, and to charge them interest on the balance.

In 2014 private-label credit and debit cards generated $254 billion in sales, according to Business Insider. They account for a large share of purchases at major retailers, used for nearly 60 percent of sales at Kohl’s and nearly 50 percent of sales at Macy’s last year, per an analysis by credit card consultant Ryan Douglas at First Annapolis.

The growing importance of private-label and general credit cards reflects a shift among consumers, who shied away from credit in general after the Great Recession. The average number of credit cards held by consumers has been ticking up in recent years according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Those numbers could continue to increase as cashiers suggest new credit cards over the coming months.

Credit Cards and Auto Loans Push Total US Debt Total to $12.29 Trillion

Americans are shopping again and they are increasingly charging it. Growth in credit card and auto loan debt added to the $35 billion increase in aggregate household debt for a total of $12.29 trillion at the end of June according to government reports.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York Center for Microeconomic Data reported in August that aggregate household debt balances at the end of June increased 3% from the end of March. Still, overall household debt is 3.1% below its peak of $12.68 trillion in the third quarter of 2008 just before the start of the recession. After a long, slow climb, the debt level is now 10.2% above the lowest level in the middle of 2013.

This was not an example of people rushing out to buy houses and take on second mortgages. In fact, consumer credit reports show that at the end of June, the total mortgage debt in the U.S. actually fell $7 billion from the previous quarter for a total of $8.36 trillion. Balances on home equity lines of credit fell by the same amount to $478 billion.

The jump in household debt came from an increase of $32 billion in auto loan debt and $17 billion in credit card debt nationwide from the previous quarter. Some areas of the country contributed more per person to that debt load than others. According to trends seen in the aggregate records of millions of visitors to Credit Karma between June 1 and June 30, the average auto loan in America was $18,049. Texans who financed their cars carried the largest auto loans on average with $22,816 per person. They were followed by Wyoming where the average auto loan for those who had one was $22,633. The states with the lowest outstanding auto loan debt per person who financed their car were Michigan with $13,546 and Rhode Island with $14,255.

Average amounts of credit card debt also varied pretty drastically by state. Over that same time period, credit card debt for those with an open card was $5,101 nationwide. Alaska led the way with an average of $6,087 in credit card debt per person with an open card, followed by Hawaii with $5,978. The states with the lowest credit card debt per person with an open card were Mississippi and Iowa with $4,025 and $4,308 owed respectively.

New York Fed Research Officer Donghoon Lee saw the report as a positive reflection of the direction of the economy. “Today’s report highlights a positive ongoing trend in household debt. Delinquency rates continue to improve, even as credit has become more widely available.”

What is Black Market Value of Stolen Credit Card Info?

Major security breaches have become too common of a story, with retailers and websites hacked with alarming frequency. It has become so common that it can often take a fairly egregious breach – think SONY in 2014, or Target in 2013 – for something to become a high-profile news story.

Stealing and selling personal information is a profitable business. A report by Intel Security, “The Hidden Data Economy: The Marketplace for Stolen Digital Information” sheds light on just how lucrative this business can be.

“As the commercial value of personal data grows, cybercriminals have long since built an economy selling stolen data to anybody with a computer browser and the means to pay,” writes report author Raj Samani.

According to this report, the going rate for a U.S. credit card number and a software-generated card verification number is worth $5 to $8. Data that includes the number as well as a bank ID number or a date of birth sells for $15. “Fullzinfo” information, which may include details like a cardholder’s full name, address, mother’s maiden name, Social Security number, and other details, can sell for $30.

While those numbers sound low, it’s worth remembering that hackers often make data available in batches of hundreds of thousands – when Target was hacked in 2013, 110 million records were stolen – so en masse, these breaches can become very lucrative for those trading stolen information. Data from some other countries can cost even more, according to the report, with Fullzinfo records from the European Union selling for $45 each.

For ATM cards, the report outlines that US cards with PIN numbers go for $110 each, while cards in Europe are worth nearly twice that. Thieves are reported to use the data they’ve stolen to create actual cards that they claim buyers can use at ATMs throughout the world.

The marketplaces in which hackers and their clients interact operate much like the legitimate online stores, including customer reviews and forums with negotiation advice. According to the report, video advertisements promote the wares of larger sellers, with the videos trying to provide visual confirmation of the trustworthiness of the seller.

Marketplaces such as the now defunct Silk Road pop up and shut down quickly as buyers and sellers dodge law enforcement and attempt to determine whether they can trust one another, reports online security expert Brian Krebs.

According to Intel Security’s report, credit card information is not the only type of data available for scammers to buy online. Login information for everything from streaming music and videos to store loyalty programs can also potentially be found for sale online. The report found logins to HBO GO available for less than $10, stolen sports streaming logins with a list price of $15, and hotel reward memberships (including points) for $20.

Beyond corporate nuisance and reputation, data breaches have a real human toll. According to the latest numbers from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2014, nearly 18 million Americans, or 7 percent of the adult population, experienced at least one incident of identity theft, with the most common type being misuse of an existing account. Of the more than 30 million Credit Karma members enrolled in credit monitoring who accessed their accounts in the last year, almost 1.7% received a fraud alert based on suspicious changes to their credit report.

In addition to being a hassle for victims who need to change their account information and often spend a lot of time clearing up disputes with credit agencies, there’s a financial toll to identity theft. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, about half of victims lost $100 or more to ID theft and 14 percent lost $1,000 or more.