You May Not Have to Remember Your Passwords Anymore If This Google Plan Takes Off

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You may soon be able to log into your Android devices without entering a password, thanks to the new “trust scores” Google announced at its annual I/O conference last week.

The trust scores, also referred to as the Trust API (application program interface) or Project Abacus, started development last year and The Verge reports the security updates are expected to be rolled out to a test group of “several very large” financial institutions next month. If all goes according to plan, Google expects Android users to have access to the scores at the end of the year and then potentially other operating systems after that.

How it Works

The API runs in the background and utilizes user-specific factors to develop a user’s trust score each time they log on, which could help prevent unauthorized users from accessing your personal information. According to TechCrunch, the API will factor in personal indicators, like face shape and voice recognition, as well as behavioral data, like how you move and type to compute the score.

Eventually, The Verge reports, trust scores could play a factor in logging into any apps or programs on mobile devices. Qualifications would vary based on what you’re trying to do, like banking apps requiring a higher trust score than a social media app.

Replacing Passwords

Until this security measure is implemented on devices, all users will continue logging in with standard passwords. If you think you have a weak password on any of your accounts, or use the same one for multiple logins, you may want to consider changing them. In fact, it’s a good idea to change your passwords often for better internet safety.

If you believe one of your accounts or passwords has been compromised, especially if it’s something that can be tied back to your finances, checking your credit report can help you see if anything damaging has occurred. (You can get your free annual credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com and view two of your credit scores for free, updated monthly, on Credit.com.) If you see any signs that your identity has been stolen, like new accounts you didn’t open or addresses that aren’t yours, you should dispute the information with the credit bureaus and report the fraud to the proper authorities.

[Offer: If you need help fixing errors on your credit report, Lexington Law could help you meet your goals. Learn more about them here or call them at (844) 346-3296 for a free consultation.]

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Google Bans Ads for Payday Loans

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Effective July 13, Google is banning ads for payday loans and related products, the company said Wednesday in a statement. With this, Google will not display ads for loans that require payment within 60 days of the date of issue. In the U.S., ads for loans with an APR of 36% or higher will also not be shown.

Google disclosed this measure is “designed to protect our users from deceptive or harmful products.” The policy will not impact mortgage, car loan, student loan, commercial loan or credit card issuers.

“I think this action is as unprecedented as it is significant,” Keith Corbett, Center for Responsible Lending Executive Vice President, said in a statement. “By example, Google is demonstrating how profitable enterprises can also be ethical and supportive of financial fairness.”

According to the Community Financial Services Association of America (CFSA), a trade organization for companies that offer small dollar, short-term loans or payday advances, “These policies are discriminatory and a form of censorship. The internet is meant to express the free flow of ideas and enhance commerce. Google is making a blanket assessment about the payday lending industry rather than discerning the good actors from the bad actors.

“This is unfair towards those that are legal, licensed lenders and uphold best business practices, including members of CFSA. Companies that restrict advertising of payday loans also do their users a disservice because consumers may need access to short-term credit that they cannot get from traditional banks. According to the FDIC, 24 million households are underbanked. Thirty-five states and the CFPB have recognized the need for short-term credit products like payday loans.”

The news comes on the heels of a recent study by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) indicating online payday lenders have created hazards for borrowers that lead to overdraft fees and loss of access to checking accounts. When borrowers don’t have enough funds in their accounts to pay the lenders, repeated withdrawal attempts can result in several non-sufficient funds charges averaging $185.

“In one extreme case, we saw a lender that made 11 payment requests on an account in a single day,” noted CFPB director Richard Cordray.

Last year, Facebook unveiled a similar policy to this, banning ads for “paycheck advances or any other short-term loan designed to cover someone’s expenses until their next payday.”

Payday loans can be costly and leave lasting damage on your credit report. Their short terms make the cost of borrowing high, and if not followed you can be charged expensive additional fees. In most cases, the average percentage rate (APR) on a payday loan averages about 400%, with some even as high as 5,000%.

Before you consider applying for one, know your alternative options. (You can view your free credit report once a year from AnnualCreditReport.com and see two of your credit scores for free, updated monthly, on Credit.com.)

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