A Guide to Keeping Your Data Safe: Top 11 Cyber Security Tips

Of course, there’s a risk in handing over sensitive data. Identity theft is on the rise — the Federal Trade Commission received more than 1.1 million reports of it in 2022 alone. And the total number of data breaches has more than tripled, according to a 2022 report from Verizon.

The good news is, there are steps you can take to help protect your personal information. Some of these you’ll only need to do once, others are a habit that you’ll get the hang of with time.

Let’s take a closer look.

1. Use Strong Passwords

One of the most basic ways to protect yourself online is to use a unique password for each of your accounts — email, social media, mobile banking, you name it. Aim for passwords that are simple for you to remember but difficult for others to guess.

To create a strong password, keep the following tips in mind:

•   Use a combination of upper- and lower-case letters, symbols, and numbers.

•   Longer is usually better — aim for a password that’s at least six characters long.

•   Never use personal information like your name, birthday, or email address.

•   Random passwords are usually difficult for hackers to crack. Use a password generator if you need help.

💡 Quick Tip: Make money easy. Enjoy the convenience of managing bills, deposits, and transfers from one online bank account with SoFi.

2. Turn On Two-Factor Authentication

Take advantage of two-factor authentication (2FA) when possible. 2FA involves using one authentication method plus your username and password. Examples of 2FA include sending a numerical code to your phone or email, using fingerprint ID, or identifying you via facial recognition.

Certain accounts add an extra layer of protection by using authenticator apps like Google Authenticator, Authy, or Microsoft Authenticator. Typically, these apps generate a verification passcode, which you’ll need to enter when you log in.

3. Always Use a Secure Connection

There were concerns in the not-so-distant past about using a public wifi network to get online, as it could make your information vulnerable to hackers. But today, connecting through a public network is usually considered safe. That’s because most websites protect data through encryption, a process that involves scrambling information so it can only be deciphered using a unique encryption key.

To make sure your connection is encrypted, look for either a lock symbol or “https” to the left of the URL in a browser.

4. Know the Signs of a Phishing Scam

Phishing is the oldest trick in the book. Unfortunately, it also happens to be fairly successful.

Phishing emails and text messages can take many different forms: a link to confirm financial information, an alert about suspicious activity or log-in attempts on one of your accounts, an invoice you don’t recognize, a coupon for a free prize.

One effective way to help prevent falling for these scams? Be cautious about emails that have an attachment or embedded link, and don’t click or download anything from a source you don’t recognize. Keep in mind that legitimate companies usually won’t send you a link to change or update your payment information. If you’re not sure whether a message is authentic, you can call the company directly to confirm.

5. Check Your Credit Report

Checking your credit report regularly is a simple way to help protect your identity and financial security. You can request a free credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian, and Transunion, by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com . It will detail all the information about your financial history, including credit card debt, student loans, missed payments and more.

When you receive your credit report, make sure all of the information is accurate. If you notice anything that is incorrect, report it to the credit bureaus and dispute any inaccurate information.

💡 Quick Tip: Check your credit report at least once a year to ensure there are no errors that can damage your credit score.

6. Monitor Your Credit Card and Bank Accounts

Keeping tabs on your credit card and bank accounts doesn’t just help with tracking your spending. It’s also a good way to spot mysterious charges.

Sometimes, a scammer will start with a small, unassuming charge and then quickly escalate their spending when they feel that a person isn’t paying attention. Look for strange names and keep tabs on every purchase, no matter how small.

7. Make Social Media Profiles Private

At first glance, this might seem like an unnecessary step. After all, if someone has your social security and your address, what more do they need? But strengthening your privacy settings on your social media accounts can go a long way to protecting your data in the future. Hackers can use photos, comments, and more to learn about you, which could make it easier for them to break into your accounts.

8. Tap Into Online Tools for Help

As data security becomes more important, the government is getting involved. If you think, or know, that your identity has been stolen, you can visit Identity Theft , the Federal Trade Commission’s website dedicated to cyber security protection. There are resources to help you troubleshoot ongoing issues, create a plan to protect your identity, report identity theft, and more.

9. Update Software

Yes, updating apps, web browsers, and operating systems takes time and may temporarily disrupt your work. But the reward — protecting your data — is worth the few extra minutes. Many times, software updates include new features or improved security.

Set updates to happen automatically so you always have the latest and greatest version.

10. If Your Identity Has Been Stolen, Consider Placing a Credit Freeze on Your Files

By placing a credit freeze or security freeze on your files, you can prevent a potential hacker from opening a new account in your name. The freeze restricts access to your credit report, which makes it difficult for a cyber criminal to open up any accounts.

Freezing your credit does not affect your credit score. However, as long as the freeze is in place, you won’t be able to open any new accounts in your name. If you’re planning to rent an apartment, apply for a job, or buy insurance, you’ll likely need to temporarily lift the freeze for a certain amount of time or for a specific party.

Check with the credit reporting company in advance to find out the costs and lead times. The process is daily involved, as you’ll have to request a credit freeze with all three agencies.

Also, it’s worth mentioning that a credit freeze doesn’t prevent a hacker from adding charges to your existing accounts

11. Consider Placing a Fraud Alert on Your File If You Suspect Identity Theft

This is a much easier option than placing a full credit freeze, as it only requires creditors to confirm your identity instead of freezing all your credit in the future. It may be a good step to take if you are concerned that someone might have been able to access your personal data but lack proof

The Takeaway

Data breaches and identity theft happen, but by taking some simple precautions, you can help keep your personal information from falling into the wrong hands.

Cybercrime isn’t just disruptive, it can also be expensive. That’s why SoFi has partnered with Blink by Chubb to help protect your finances with cyber insurance. Apply in just minutes and get your quote.

SoFi helps you safeguard your digital life.

Photo credit: iStock/ozgurcankaya

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.


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Can I Rent a Car With a Debit Card?

Can You Rent a Car With a Debit Card?

Renting a car with a debit card is possible at certain car rental agencies. For some people, this may be a preferable way to conduct this transaction, but you may have to take additional steps before you get behind the wheel.

If you don’t have a credit card, it’s a good idea to research which rental agencies allow you to use a debit card — and understand the extra steps you’ll have to take before they hand over the keys.

Learn more about what to expect here, including:

•   Can you use a debit card to rent a car?

•   Which companies let you rent a car without a credit card?

•   What are the pros and cons of renting a car with a debit card?

•   What are alternatives to renting a car with a debit card?

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Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account with direct deposit and get up to a $300 cash bonus. Plus, get up to 4.60% APY on your cash!

Is It Possible to Rent a Car With a Debit Card?

So, can you use a debit card to rent a car? Yes! You’ve just got to find rental car agencies with a debit card policy. Though their policies differ and this list is not comprehensive, these are among the agencies that allow drivers to rent a car without a credit card:

•   Alamo

•   Avis

•   Budget

•   Dollar

•   Enterprise

•   Hertz

•   Thrifty.

Note that not every franchise follows corporate policy and that airport rental agencies may have additional requirements for renting a car with a debit card. It’s a good idea to call the specific location from which you hope to rent a car using a debit card. You can then make sure you understand what requirements must be met before you get behind the wheel.

If you’re renting a car with a debit card, a rental agency might require a security deposit and run a credit check on you. You may also have to provide multiple forms of identification and proof of return travel, be at least 25 years old, and/or have a debit card with a common logo, like Mastercard, Visa, or Discover.

Recommended: Cheapest Ways to Rent a Car

Why Do Many Car Rental Companies Require a Credit Card?

While you may be able to use a credit card like a debit card in some situations and vice-versa, renting a car is a special case. Can you rent a car with a debit card? Yes, in many situations. But do rental car companies want you to? Probably not.

Credit cards offer multiple types of assurances to a rental car agency. For starters, a credit card signals to them that you are trustworthy and responsible — two traits that a company might value before lending you a $30,000+ piece of heavy machinery.

Credit cards also enable rental car companies to collect money for any repairs, tickets, tolls, and other fees. Because of the open line of credit on the card, the rental agency knows it can charge you for incidentals as necessary — without requiring a large security deposit from you upfront.

Recommended: Can You Use a Debit Card Online?

Pros of Renting a Car With a Debit Card

Renting a car with a credit card certainly seems easier, but are there advantages to using a debit card? Most definitely. Here are some of the pros of using a debit card to rent a car:

•   No credit card necessary: The biggest advantage is also the most obvious. If you can’t qualify for a credit card or simply don’t want one, using a debit card allows you to rent a car without needing a line of credit.

•   No credit card interest: If you pay your credit card off in full each month, you probably aren’t worried about credit card interest. But if you suddenly have a charge for a car rental surpassing $1,000, you might be tempted to just make your minimum payment on your credit card — and rack up interest. By paying with a debit card upfront, you don’t risk accruing credit card interest.

•   No impact on credit utilization: High credit utilization can drive down your credit score. By using a debit card, you won’t tap into any of your available credit. However, if the agency runs a credit check for debit card users, the hard inquiry could impact your credit score temporarily.

Cons of Renting a Car With a Debit Card

Yes is the answer to “Can I rent a car with a debit card?” But paying for a rental car with a debit card can have drawbacks. Here are some of the top downsides of renting a car with a debit card:

•   No perks: By swiping your debit card, you may be missing out on credit card travel insurance offered to cardmembers. If you have a rewards credit card that earns cash back or points for every purchase, you may also be leaving money on the table by using a debit card.

•   Security deposit: When using a debit card, you’ll often have to pay the full cost of the rental upfront. On top of that, an agency may hold additional funds as a security deposit. This could reduce the cash you have in your checking account to spend while on your travels.

•   Credit check: Without a credit card, the rental car agency may perform a credit check before allowing you to get behind the wheel. This can result in a hard inquiry on your credit report.

•   More hoops to jump through: In addition, rental agencies may require multiple forms of ID, might have age requirements, and may even need to see proof of scheduled return travel to allow you to pay with a debit card.

Is It Better to Rent a Car With a Debit or Credit Card?

Do you need a credit card to rent a car? Not necessarily. If you cannot qualify for a credit card or do not want one, renting with a debit card is the right choice for you.

That said, using a credit card can offer some perks. Doing so is likely the better approach for many drivers since it won’t require a security deposit, may have built-in car insurance, and won’t necessitate a credit check by the agency.

Is It Safer to Rent a Car With a Debit or Credit Card?

If you’re wondering about using a credit card vs. debit card, renting a car with a credit card is generally safer than renting a car with a debit card.

While paying with both debit cards and credit cards is often an option, credit cards offer a heightened level of zero-fraud liability thanks to stricter federal regulations. Your credit card may also offer rental car insurance as part of its perks, meaning extra protection on the road.

Alternatives to Car Rentals With Debit Cards

You’ve just learned the answer to “Can I use a debit card to rent a car?” is often yes. But what if you don’t have a debit card or don’t want to use your debit card to rent a car? Consider some alternatives:

•   Using a credit card: The main alternative is paying for a car rental with a credit card. In fact, this is usually the better option for the driver and the rental agency.

•   Riding with another driver: If someone else in your party has a credit or debit card and is willing to pay for the rental, let them get behind the wheel. Many companies allow you to pay an additional fee to add a second driver if you’d also like a turn in the driver’s seat.

•   Paying with a prepaid card or cash: While rental car agencies will likely require a credit or debit card to secure the rental, some agencies may allow you to pay with a prepaid gift card, money order, or even cash at the end of the rental agreement — once the car has successfully been returned.

Recommended: Common Misconceptions About Money

Ways to Protect Yourself While Renting a Car

Renting a car can be stressful, but it also enables you freedom to travel, allows you to put miles on a car that isn’t yours during road trips, and may come in handy when your vehicle is being worked on. Here’s how you can protect yourself when renting a car:

•   Research the car before driving it: Once you know the year, make, model, and trim of your rental, you can research it online to understand any nuances to how it works, especially if you aren’t accustomed to newer safety technologies. The owner’s manual should be in the glove compartment and is worth reviewing if you’re uncomfortable driving an unfamiliar vehicle.

•   Carry insurance: Before renting a car, it’s a good idea to check with your car insurance agent and your credit card company to see what coverage you have. If you don’t have coverage for the rental through any other means, make sure you opt in for the insurance offered by the rental agency.

•   Follow the rules of the road: You should always abide by traffic laws, but they’re especially important when you’re learning a new vehicle. If you’re traveling in a foreign country, it’s a good idea to study their laws and traffic signs at home before your trip.

The Takeaway

Renting a car with a debit card is possible, but you’ll miss out on some of the perks of paying with a credit card — like potential cashback rewards and car insurance. Plus, rental agencies may require you to fulfill more requirements to get behind the wheel, like paying a security deposit or agreeing to a credit check.

When you open an online bank account with SoFi, you’ll get your own debit card that earns up to 15% cash back when used with certain local merchants. Plus, with our Checking and Savings account, you’ll enjoy many other benefits, such as spending and saving in one convenient place, earning a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), and paying no account fees. All that can make managing your money easier and help your funds grow.

Unlock the benefits of the SoFi debit card with your own SoFi Checking and Savings Account.


Which rental car companies allow you to use a debit card?

Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, and Thrifty are just some of the rental car companies that allow you to pay with a debit card. However, these and other rental car companies may have additional criteria for renting the car using a debit card, like paying a security deposit or providing multiple forms of identification.

Are there any restrictions when renting with a debit card?

Each rental car company may have its own restrictions when you rent a car with your debit card. For example, they may require you to be 25 or older, pay a security deposit, and/or agree to a credit check. It’s a good idea to call the specific agency before arriving to understand what you’ll need in order to rent a car with a debit card.

What is the process of renting a car with a debit card?

Rental agencies have varying processes for renting a car with a debit card. It’s a good idea to check online and even to call the specific agency to understand the process ahead of time. In general, companies may require full payment plus a security deposit upfront, they may run a credit check, and they might want to see multiple forms of identification. If you’re renting at an airport, they may also require you to provide proof of a return plane ticket.

Photo credit: iStock/Khaosai Wongnatthakan

SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at http://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.

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The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.


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What Does 2% Cash Back Mean? Is It Worth It?

What Does 2% Cash Back Mean? Is It Worth It?

Who doesn’t like a bit of extra cash in their pocket? And earning money from spending you’re already doing is arguably even better. If you prefer cash-back rewards with your credit cards, a card that features a 2% cash back flat rate — meaning 2% back on all purchases — can be a solid way to reap rewards.

Let’s go over the ins and outs of what 2% cash back actually means, as well as the pros and cons of a 2% cash-back credit card, to help you determine whether it’s worth your while.

What Is Cash Back?

Cash back is a form of reward that cash-back credit cards offer that allows you to earn money back on purchases you make. Other examples of credit card rewards include points or travel miles.

With a flat-rate cash-back card, all of your purchases earn the same amount in cash back. Other credit card issuers might offer higher cash-back rates on certain spending categories, such as on gas or groceries.
Meanwhile, some may feature rotating bonus categories to give your rewards-earning abilities a boost. For example, you might earn 5% cash back in the fall months on purchases made at restaurants and on gas.

You can redeem the cash-back rewards you earn in the form of a check, bank transfer, or gift card, or as a statement credit. Other options might include making a charitable donation or making a purchase through the issuer’s online portal. Depending on the credit card, there might be a spending threshold you need to meet before you can redeem your cash-back rewards.

What Is 2% Cash Back?

If you’re wondering, ‘What does 2% cash back mean exactly?,’ here’s how it works. Earning 2% cash back simply means that for every $100 you spend on your credit card, you’ll get $2 back. So if you were to spend $1,000, that’s $20 back in your pocket — though you’ll then have to redeem that cash back in order to make the rewards usable.

How 2% Cash-Back Credit Cards Work

As mentioned previously, having a 2% cash-back credit card means you’ll earn 2 cents back for every $1 you spend using the card, or $2 for every $100, and so forth.

There might not be a limit to how much you can earn in cash back. However, in other cases, the card may cap the amount of cash-back rewards you can earn for either regular spending or spending in bonus categories.

Pros and Cons of 2% Cash Back

While a 2% cash back card does come with some advantages, there are some drawbacks as well. Let’s take a look at both:

Pros and Cons of a 2% Cash Back Card
Pros Cons
Easy to use Higher APRs compared to non-rewards credit cards
Can rack up rewards quickly Earning caps may apply
Often no annual fee Don’t often offer travel rewards or perks


•   Easy to use: A major benefit of a 2% cash-back credit card is that the rules are simple: You spend money, and get a certain amount back. Plus, redeeming rewards is usually pretty straightforward, and you have a choice of how to do so.

•   Can rack up rewards quickly: If you use your credit card for everyday purchases, you’ll accrue rewards fairly fast. Of course, only put everyday purchases on your card if you can afford to pay them off, and always use your card responsibly, considering what a credit card is and the implications overspending can have for your credit score.

•   Often no annual fee: Many cash-back cards don’t have an annual fee. That means you won’t need to worry about spending enough to offset the fee.


•   Higher APRs compared to non-rewards credit cards: While your annual percentage rate (APR) on a card partly depends on your credit and other financial factors, rewards credit cards like cash-back cards tend to carry higher interest rates. If you keep a balance on your account, you can expect to pay a pretty penny in interest, given how credit cards work.

•   Earning caps may apply: While some credit cards allow you to earn unlimited cash-back rewards, others place a limit on how much you can earn. If you’re looking to max out your rewards potential, a cap could make that harder to do.

•   Don’t often offer travel rewards or perks: If you’re hoping to earn rewards that apply to travel, such as airline trips or hotel stays, a cash-back credit card likely isn’t the form of rewards credit card for you. While some cards may offer travel redemption options, most don’t, and many also charge foreign transaction fees.

Recommended: When Are Credit Card Payments Due

Is a 2% Cash Back-Credit Card Worth It?

Whether a 2% cash-back credit card is worth it really depends on how you’ll use the credit card. This includes what types of purchases you’d like to make, and if you plan on using your card for bills and everyday expenses, such as gas and groceries. If you use the credit card regularly, you’ll be able to earn a greater amount of cash-back rewards.

However, you’ll also want to balance that spending with sticking to important credit card rules, like not spending more than you can afford to pay off. Because rewards credit cards tend to have higher interest rates, it’s important to avoid carrying a balance so you don’t cancel out the cash back you earn.

A cash-back rewards card might not be worth it if you prefer to use your credit card rewards for travel. In that case, a travel rewards credit card typically will offer more lucrative ways to earn points or miles to use on trips.

Recommended: How to Avoid Interest On a Credit Card

Guide to Using a 2% Cash-Back Credit Card

If you get a 2% cash-back card, here are some tips to keep in mind to use it effectively:

•   Read the redemption rules. Familiarize yourself with credit card requirements, and see if there are any limits on how much cash back you can earn. Similarly, check if you need to hit a minimum amount in cash-back earnings before you can redeem those rewards.

•   Be intentional with your purchases. Devise a plan for how you intend to use your cash-back credit card. Perhaps you would prefer to use it on big-ticket items, or maybe on seasonal purchases, such as during the holidays or back-to-school season. This will help you make the most of your card.

•   Choose how you’ll receive your rewards. You’ll also want to decide whether you plan on receiving the cash-back in the form of an ACH transfer to your account, as statement credit, or as a check dropped in the mail. You also might be able to use your rewards by making online purchases through the credit card’s shopping portal, or by purchasing gift cards or donating to charity.

Recommended: Does Applying For a Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score

Maximizing 2% Cash-Back Earnings

If you have a cash-back credit card, it’s worth your while to take the time to determine how to maximize your earnings. Here are several ways to do so.

Use Your Card For Everyday Purchases and Bills

Consider using your cash-back card on major spending categories to earn the most on rewards. For example, if you spend $4,500 a year on food for you and your family and put all of your groceries and dining expenses on your card, you’ll get $90 in cash-back on just that spending alone.

You might also consider putting your recurring bills and subscription services on your credit cards. This will allow you to scoop up points in areas you already spend.

Just make sure you aren’t spending beyond your means. Keep an eye on your expenditures, and commit to paying off your balance in full each month.

Put Big-Ticket Buys on Your Card

If you’ve been saving up for a sleek new laptop or coveted designer shoes, consider putting that cost on your 2% cash-back card. That way, you can get the item and earn a bit of cash back on the purchase.

Your card may even come with added perks, such as purchase protection or an extended manufacturer’s warranty.

Look for a Card With No Annual Fee

A card without an annual fee means you won’t need to spend as much to make the cash-back rewards worthwhile. Case in point: If you get a card with a $40 annual fee, you’ll need to put $2,000 in purchases to break even at a 2% cash-back rewards rate.

Pay Off Your Balance in Full Each Month

As cash-back credit cards tend to have higher APRs, make it a point to pay off your card in full. This will help you avoid racking up interest charges, which can cut into the cash-back rewards you earn.

Recommended: What is a Charge Card

Strategize When You’d Like to Redeem Your Cash Back

To maximize your 2% cash-back rewards card, it helps to be intentional with how you choose to redeem your cash-back rewards as well as when you do so. For instance, if you tend to dig a debt hole during the holidays, use your rewards to pay for gifts and other related expenses. Or, you can put the rewards you’ve accumulated toward a statement credit, or redeem it for a gift card for your loved one.

The Takeaway

Whether a 2% cash-back credit card is right for you may depend on a few considerations, such as how often you plan to use the card, whether you may purchase higher-priced items with it, and if you plan to pay off the balance in full each month. It’s also important to understand all of the rules that apply to the credit card. Some cards have limits on how much you can earn in cash back or have annual fees that could cut into the value of your rewards.

A 2% cash-back credit card that’s used regularly, however, can provide you with a steady stream of extra cash that could benefit your budget, and you can also be strategic about how you redeem the rewards depending on your needs at a given time.


Is 2% cash back good for credit cards?

A 2% flat-rate, cash-back credit card can be a strong choice as a go-to credit card if you intend to use your card for everyday spending. Earning rewards at a flat rate and in this manner is simple and straightforward, as you don’t have to worry about keeping track of rotating categories or figuring out point conversion values.

Is 2% cash back better than points?

A 2% cash back credit card is a no-hassle, straightforward way to earn rewards. While you might earn more points on a travel card, redemption values and ways to redeem points on a travel rewards card can be more complicated. A flat-rate cash-back card can be a good choice to use as a foundation. Then, you can also open a travel card if it makes sense for your needs.

Photo credit: iStock/LaylaBird

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1See Rewards Details at SoFi.com/card/rewards.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

The SoFi Credit Card is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A. pursuant to license by Mastercard® International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

New and existing Checking and Savings members who have not previously enrolled in direct deposit with SoFi are eligible to earn a cash bonus when they set up direct deposits of at least $1,000 over a consecutive 25-day period. Cash bonus will be based on the total amount of direct deposit. The Program will be available through 12/31/23. Full terms at sofi.com/banking. SoFi Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. Member FDIC.

SoFi members with direct deposit can earn up to 4.00% annual percentage yield (APY) interest on Savings account balances (including Vaults) and up to 1.20% APY on Checking account balances. There is no minimum direct deposit amount required to qualify for these rates. Members without direct deposit will earn 1.20% APY on all account balances in Checking and Savings (including Vaults). Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 3/17/2023. Additional information can be found at http://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet


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Tips for Maintaining a Good Credit Score

Tips for Maintaining a Good Credit Score

Learning how to achieve and maintain a good credit score is a crucial part of your financial health. Not only can it be a badge that says your financial life is in good shape, it can also help you access credit and get approved for loans and insurance at more competitive rates. Being approved for lower interest rates and premiums can in turn save you tens of thousands of dollars over your lifetime.

A solid credit score can also have other perks, such as helping you get approved for products with better features, such as rewards credit cards.

While there’s no one size fits all solution on how to keep a good credit score, there are some best practices you can follow. Read on to learn more about this topic and actual tactics, including:

•   What is a credit score?

•   How can you maintain a good credit score?

•   What are tips to keep your credit score high?

•   How can new credit card users establish a credit score?

What Is a Credit Score?

A credit score is a three digit number ranging from 300 to 850 that is an indicator of your credit behavior. Your score is calculated based on your credit history from all three credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion — and is based on how lenders may perceive your risk as a borrower.

What exactly does that mean? By reviewing your past use of credit, your score reveals if you are more or less likely to pay back your loans on time. If you are more likely to repay your debts in a timely manner, the less risky you are.

The higher your credit score, the more creditworthy you are in the eyes of lenders.

What Affects Your Credit Score?

Several factors can affect your credit score, such as your payment history, the number of loan or credit applications submitted, and the age of your accounts you hold. There are also different scoring models, such as FICO vs. VantageScore. Each weighs factors differently to arrive at a credit score. Meaning, there may be some differences in your credit score.

Lenders may look at one credit score or all of them, plus different qualification criteria when deciding whether to approve you for a loan and at what interest rate.

How Is Your Credit Score Calculated?

Though there are different credit scoring models, most use similar financial behaviors to calculate them.

They’re grouped in the following categories:

•   Payment history: This factor is one of the most important factors in your credit score as it assesses whether you’re likely to pay your loan on time. Credit scoring models will look into current and past account activity, including any late or missed payments.

•   Amounts owed or available credit: The percentage of the available balance you’re using is your credit utilization. The more you are using available credit in your revolving accounts (like your credit cards and lines of credit), the more it could appear you rely too much on credit. This can make you look like a risky person to whom to lend.

•   Age of credit history: The longer your credit history, the more a lender can look into your credit behavior. It’s usually considered good to have a long credit history vs. a very short or recent one.

•   Account types: Having a different mix of loans offers more insight into how you handle various accounts. Credit-scoring models may not, however, use this as a major factor when calculating your score.

•   New or recent credit: The more recent applications you submit for new loans or credit accounts, the more risky you may appear to be. That’s because it may look like you need to rely on credit; that you are quickly trying to acquire different forms of access to funds.

(There are some exceptions, such as shopping around for mortgages within a short span of time.)

8 Tips for Maintaining Your Credit Score

Understanding the importance of a good credit score and what goes into it can help you protect the one you have. The following are eight suggestions on how to maintain a good credit score.

1. Pay Your Credit Card Bills on Time

Ensuring you’re on top of your bills (not just your credit cards) will help keep a positive payment history in your credit reports. This is the single biggest contributing factor to your credit score at 30% to 40%. Consider setting up automatic payments or regular reminders to ensure you’re paying on time.

2. Keep Your Credit Utilization Low

Your credit utilization is the percentage of the available limit you’re using on your revolving accounts like credit cards. Basically, you don’t want to spend close to or at your credit limit. A good rule of thumb to follow is to now use more than 30% of your overall credit limit.

So if you have one credit card with up to $10,000 as the limit, you want to keep your balance at $3,000 or lower.

3. Maintain Credit History With Older Credit Cards

Even if you don’t use your older credit cards that often, keeping them open means you can maintain your long credit history. Consider charging a small or occasional amount, whether an espresso or gas station fuel-up, to ensure your account stays open. This can reassure prospective lenders that you have been managing credit well for years.

4. Apply for a New Card Only When Important

Consider this as you try to keep a good credit score: Go slow. Since credit-scoring models look at the number of times you apply for new credit, only open one when you really need it. Stay strong in the face of offers to get free shipping or 10% off if you sign up for a card that many retailers promote.

Spreading out your applications is a good idea rather than regularly or heavily putting in a lot of card applications. By moving steadily and choosing a credit card and other types of funding carefully, you likely won’t raise red flags, such as that you need to rely heavily on credit.

5. Frequently Check Your Credit Reports for Errors

Mistakes can happen, and errors in your credit reports could negatively affect your score. You can get your credit reports for free at AnnualCreditReport.com from all three credit bureaus.

It’s wise to check your credit scores regularly, which won’t impact your score. If you see an error — whether it’s an account you don’t own or a bill marked unpaid that you know you took care of — dispute it as soon as possible.

6. Make Payments in Full When Possible

Making payments in full will help you maintain a positive payment history and lower your credit utilization. Both of these can maintain your creditworthiness and save you money on interest charges.

7. Don’t Close Old Credit Cards

Closing your old credit cards could shorten your credit history. It could also increase your credit utilization because it will lower your available credit limit. Even if you make the same amount in purchases, your credit utilization would go up when your credit score updates.

For example, if you currently have an overall credit limit of $28,000 and you have $7,000 in credit card balances, your credit utilization is 25%. If you close a credit card which had a $7,000 limit, you then lower your total available credit to $21,000 your credit utilization will go up to 33%.

8. Live Within Your Credit Means

It can be hard to say no to an invitation to try a pricey new restaurant or not tap to buy when scrolling through social media. But when you let your spending get out of hand, you may use your credit cards too much. It can feel like free money in the moment — but you still have to pay it back. If you overextend yourself, you may find it hard to pay your balance on time and risk a late or missed payment.

Instead, spend only what you can afford and try to avoid lifestyle creep (having your spending rise with your pay increases or even beyond them). That can help provide some guardrails for using credit cards responsibly.

Establishing a Credit Score for New Credit Card Users

Trying to establish a credit score can be a challenge since, ironically enough, you need credit to build credit.

If you are in this situation, there are several options to pursue, such as the following:

•   Open a secured credit card: A secured credit card is one where you’ll put down a refundable cash deposit that will act as your credit line. You can use this to establish credit and apply for an unsecured credit card. Some issuers will upgrade you once you make consistent on-time payments for a predetermined amount of time.

•   Apply for a credit builder loan: These types of loans are specifically geared towards helping you establish and build credit over time. Instead of getting the loan proceeds like a traditional loan, the funds are held in an escrow account until you pay back the loan in full.

•   Become an authorized user: You can ask a loved one, like a parent or even a close friend, if they’re willing to add your name on their credit card account. Doing so means the credit account will go in your credit history. Of course, that doesn’t give you access to use their account without restraint. The guardrails can be established between you and the original card holder.

The Takeaway

Maintaining a good credit score (and keeping that score high over time) comes with perks such as increasing the likelihood of getting approved for loans at more favorable terms. You might qualify for lower interest rates, saving you a considerable amount of money over time.

Using a credit card wisely is one of the ways you can build and maintain your credit score. But that’s not all there is to opening a credit: You also likely want one with great perks.


How can I maintain my credit score?

You can maintain your credit score by consistently making on-time payments, keeping a low credit utilization, and limiting applications for new credit.

Why is it important to maintain a good credit score?

Maintaining a good credit score can help increase the chances of getting approved for loans with more favorable rates and terms. It can also mean lower insurance premiums.

How can I maintain a good credit score without debt?

You can maintain a good credit score by paying off all your credit card balances each month so you don’t carry that kind of debt. Keeping older accounts open and using them occasionally can also contribute to a good credit score.

What can I do to build a good credit rating?

You can build a good credit rating by ensuring you’re making payments on time, not using all your available credit limit, and being careful in applying for new loans (that is, don’t apply for too many lines of credit too quickly). These are some of the best ways to achieve and maintain a good credit rating.

Photo credit: iStock/PeopleImages

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.


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Consumers Fear Credit Card Fraud, Still Get Lazy About Security

Think for a moment about all the personal information floating around online: We chronicle our activities on Insta and TikTok, send payments to keep the lights and WiFi on, and order up a storm of gifts, groceries, and impulse buys with a few quick clicks.

Sure, our digital lives are fast and fun, but there’s a downside — you might say a dark side. Many of us have online habits that can leave us wide open to the growing ranks of hackers and scammers. Cybersecurity is becoming an increasingly common concern, and getting hacked — or just the fear of it — can be one more stressor in an already anxious world.

SoFi took on the topic with a survey of 1,000 U.S. adults who self-identified as credit card holders, conducted online in February 2023. It revealed some surprising statistics about who’s been hacked, how worried people are, and what steps they are (and aren’t) taking to avoid becoming a victim.

SoFi's survey result

Over Half of People Believe They’re Doomed to Be Hacked

With the average person spending more than 6.5 hours per day online, there’s a lot of sharing going on of ideas, feelings, funny memes… And highly personal data.

Perhaps you’ve made a flurry of purchases on social media or discussed embarrassing symptoms via text and then thought, Uh-oh, I hope that was secure.

You aren’t alone. According to SoFi’s survey, 59% of people believe their credit card information or personally identifiable information will be stolen at some point, if it hasn’t been already.

That means the majority of people who participated in our survey expect to be hacked or already have been. When you consider how the number of data breaches is rising, it makes sense. Cybercrime is projected to almost triple between 2022 and 2027. No wonder we’re worried!

Less Than Half of Respondents Say They Know How to Outsmart Hackers

Frankly, most of us don’t have a clue as to what is really involved when you fall victim to cyber crime. Less than half of respondents in SoFi’s study believe they understand the risks of credit card fraud and different types of identity theft very well. In fact, only 45% of respondents said they understand very well how to protect themselves from online crime.

Most Respondents Are Working Hard to Defend Their Data and Assets

No one wants their most personal info kicking around on the dark web. Nor does anyone relish checking their credit card bill and seeing that someone charged $600 worth of baby clothes to their account when they are most definitely not a parent.

Most popular online security measures

Here’s what SoFi’s research found about how people are playing defense. Check out how many people use these protective tactics to avoid becoming an identity theft or credit card fraud statistic:

•   82% of people check their credit reports regularly.

•   82% use multi-factor authentication, or MFA. (A good sign: Only 3% of people don’t have a clue what MFA is.)

•   63% avoid using public WiFi.

•   41% use a VPN, or virtual private network. That said, 8% don’t know what a VPN is.

•   61% use a password manager.

•   86% avoid sharing personal information online.

•   60% use a credit monitoring service.

More of Us Should Be Monitoring Our Credit

That last move, using a credit monitoring service, is an important one. It can make mobile banking safer and help protect other aspects of a person’s digital life.

Steve Tcherchian quote

“Credit monitoring and identity theft protection work. If you don’t have this in place, do it now. With the size of the last few mega breaches and the companies they have affected, assume your data is exposed and you’re at risk. Everyone is required to purchase insurance for their car and house. Why not have the same for your most critical asset: your identity?” —Steve Tcherchian, CISO and Chief Product Officer at XYPRO, a cybersecurity solutions company

In addition to using the tactics above, the SoFi survey respondents have also deployed these moves to protect themselves from credit card fraud and other cybercrimes:

•   Using strong passwords

•   Clearing browser cookies and cache frequently

•   Not sharing their location in browsers or apps

•   Checking their account activity frequently

Most people (90%) check their credit card statements at least once per month. 44% of people check their statements at least once a week.

More Than Half of Respondents Admit to Recycling Passwords

Most people have good intentions when it comes to protecting themselves from the bad guys trying to swipe their financial or personal data. But hello, we’re all human. And that can mean sometimes recycling passwords because it’s just too complicated to come up with a new one. Or logging onto WiFi at a cafe or in a hotel because those Taylor Swift tickets are about to go on sale and you cannot, cannot live without them.

Risky online behaviors

More Than 1/3 of Respondents Use Public WiFi Without a VPN

Here, the SoFi survey respondents admit to risky online behavior:

•   53% have used the same passwords for multiple accounts.

•   34% have used public WiFi without a VPN.

•   29% have stored credit card information in their browser.

•   27% have provided credit card info over the phone.

•   26% have stored confidential information on a cloud server, such as Google Drive or Dropbox.

•   20% have shared credit card information with others (either in person or not secured online).

•   18% have downloaded software from unsecure websites.

•   13% have left their phone or computer unattended in a public space.

•   11% have responded to emails from unknown senders that asked for personal information.

“When logging onto public WiFi that doesn’t require a password for access, know that hackers can track your internet activity and intercept passwords and other sensitive data that is exchanged. If you must use an unprotected public WiFi network, avoid entering your social media, email, or bank credentials while connected.” —Brandon King, founder of Home Security Heroes, an identity-security advisory service

Not everyone realizes the very real risks of playing fast and loose with their personal data. More warnings about the consequences of getting hacked or scammed could be a huge help.

“Education and awareness campaigns need to be implemented at all levels, including schools, workplaces, and public forums. Financial institutions can play a significant role in providing customer education on safeguarding personal information. And social media platforms can spread awareness and provide tips on preventing fraud and identity theft.” —Andrew Lokenauth, founder of Fluent in Finance, a financial education platform

With the right information, many people might avoid becoming an identity theft statistic.

14% of Respondents Are Using Their Birthday or Their Pet’s Name as Their Password

You don’t need to confess, but many people are guilty of using shockingly simple passwords. One like your first name plus the digits of your birthday. Or your phone number. Or even the dreaded password1234.

And, making matters even worse, lots of busy people reuse their passwords with abandon. It’s easy to understand why: You might be prompted to create an account when shopping online so you can unlock a discount or free shipping, so you fall back on your old favorite. Or perhaps you need to create a password to access info on your vet’s website, so of course your doggo’s name is an easy to remember password, right?

Dumb password moves

Whatever the reason, there’s no doubt that there are plenty of people who aren’t following password security best practices. Here are some of the missteps the SoFi survey revealed:

•   14% use passwords that include their pets’ names or birthdays

•   13% use passwords that include their childrens’ names or birthdays

•   11% use passwords that include their significant other’s name or birthday

•   10% use use passwords that relate to a band or song they like

•   7% use something easy to remember like “12345” or “password”

•   7% use something easy to type like “QWERTY”

On the flip side, 16% use auto-generated, secure passwords provided by a password manager. High-five to those folks!

No More Lame Passwords: Pro Advice

Brandon King quote

Some advice from experts on this super-important subject:

•   Buckle down and “use different passwords for each login or account. If you reuse passwords, hackers can access your accounts more easily” in the event of a security breach. “By using separate passwords for each account, you can rest easy knowing that even if one of your accounts is compromised, the rest will remain secure.” —Brandon King, Home Security Heroes

•   “Keep a close eye on credit card balances, and immediately report any discrepancies to the bank or credit card company” to minimize your liability. —Andrew Lokenauth, Fluent in Finance

•   “Don’t write down passwords!” —Monica Eaton, founder of Chargebacks911, a chargeback management company

And need we mention that writing your PIN on the back of your debit card is a real no-no?

44% experienced fraudulent

44% of Respondents Have Had Bogus Credit Card Charges

Sometimes, you get lucky, and your bank or credit card company pings you asking whether that’s really you trying to pay for a lavish dinner in SoHo, NYC, when you are actually sitting on your couch in Santa Cruz. Fraud protection can be a wonderful thing, but it doesn’t catch every scammer. Learn more about threats to credit card security:

Older Respondents Are More Than 2x As Likely to Endure Credit-Card Fraud

Here’s what SoFi survey participants told us about experiencing examples of credit card fraud in the form of unauthorized charges:

•   44% of people have experienced fraudulent charges on their credit cards.

◦   Nearly two-thirds of this group (63%) have experienced fraudulent charges more than once.

◦   For most people (84%), the unauthorized charges were less than $500.

◦   6% of people said their most recent fraudulent charge was $1,000 or more.

•   4% of respondents have experienced fraudulent charges five or more times.

•   53% of respondents ages 55 and older have experienced fraudulent charges on their credit cards, showing that older age seems to correlate with being scammed more often.

◦   Perhaps that’s why confidence in one’s credit card security seems to wane with age: 26% of those aged 55 or older said they had been or expected to be hacked, versus 10% of those aged 18 to 24.

•   Almost three-quarters (74%) of those who experienced fraudulent charges said their credit card company notified them of suspicious activity.

Who Knew? Where Scammers Shop

Curious about where credit card scammers go shopping? People who experienced fraudulent charges and knew where their stolen credit card numbers were used said the purchases were made in these types of environments:

•   Big box retailers and grocery stores like Walmart, Target, Sam’s Club, Costco, Whole

•   Foods

•   Online retailers like Amazon and eBay

•   Smaller ecommerce sites

•   Gas stations and convenience stores

Monica Eaton quote

How can you better protect yourself?

“Opt for the latest payment innovations. Contactless payments, for example, can protect you against credit card ‘shimming’ [in which scammers insert a thin device into the slot of card readers to steal your data], as can digital wallets like Apple Pay, which deploy tokenization technology just like an EMV [which stands for Europay, Mastercard, and Visa] chip card does.” —Monica Eaton, Chargebacks911

Ouch: 15% of Respondents Have Been Victims of Identity Theft

It’s a scary fact that identity theft is on the rise. It can be deeply upsetting to have someone steal your personal information and credentials and use them for nefarious purposes, opening accounts and making purchases that you would never dream of. It can be similarly troubling to have to unravel the damage done and reclaim what is rightfully yours.

34% of Victims Lost Money Due to Identity Theft

Personal impact of identity theft

Unfortunately, the SoFi survey revealed the following identify theft statistics:

•   15% of respondents have been victims of identity theft.

•   Most often, this group found out about identity theft because they noticed fraudulent charges on their bank statements (21%).

•   Other common ways people found out:

◦   12% said they were getting suspicious emails, calls, and text messages.

◦   12% said their tax return was incorrect or filed by someone else.

◦   12% said there were inaccuracies on their credit report.

◦   10% said they were unexpectedly denied credit.

•   The most common impacts that people described as a result of identity theft were:

◦   52% said it made them angry or frightened.

◦   36% had to set up new online accounts.

◦   34% lost money that was never recovered.

◦   26% said their social media accounts were hacked.

◦   25% reported that their credit scores were hurt.

•   More than half of all respondents (51%) said they know someone who has been a victim of identity theft.

Those who are concerned about the possibility of identity theft can subscribe to services designed to help protect one’s information and send alerts about any evidence of this kind of activity. It can help provide peace of mind as this kind of crime increases.

92% of Respondents Are Confident Companies Can Protect Their Data

Learning about all the risks of credit card and identity theft out there can be troubling and make a person feel as if they have a big bullseye on their back, tempting hackers to target them.

But of course, that’s not the case. Steps are being taken to protect consumers from identity and money scams and new techniques are emerging. Most people recognize that it’s not all doom and gloom out there.

Consumer confidence in corporate data protections

In general, people are cautiously optimistic about how well their information is and can be safeguarded.

•   92% of people are somewhat confident or very confident in companies’ abilities to protect their personal information.

•   8% of respondents said they’re not confident at all in companies’ abilities to protect their information

◦   However, people realize there is only so much that can be done to protect information. 69% of this group believe all systems are vulnerable to hacking, regardless of the security measures that are implemented.

◦   On the flip side, 25% of this group believe companies don’t spend enough resources on cybersecurity.

Yes, we all may be at risk, but by adopting smart strategies and partnering with top-notch, security-focused financial institutions and other businesses, we can minimize the odds of falling prey to cybercriminals.

The Takeaway

As SoFi’s survey reveals, credit card fraud and identity theft are growing concerns for Americans. But there are proven and emerging ways to stay ahead of the scammers. By doubling down on smart tactics and taking steps to safeguard your personal information, you can protect yourself from serious damage.

1See Rewards Details at SoFi.com/card/rewards.

The SoFi Credit Card is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A. pursuant to license by Mastercard® International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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