A code for good credit

Dear Readers: Do you worry about your credit card information when you shop online? Companies are making sure that security features are getting better. When placing an order on the computer or over the phone, in addition to your credit card number, you’ll be asked for your credit card’s CVV, or Card Verification Value.

This is a three- or four-digit code imprinted on the card, and it’s used as an extra layer of security for you. The number is located either on the back of the card next to the signature strip, or on the front of the card. This feature was added to credit cards in the mid-1990s. It is to verify that you have the card in hand.

Interestingly, a website that you shop frequently can store your credit card number for future purchases, but it won’t store the CVV — you’ll have to provide it each time, and that’s for your protection. — Heloise

Dear Heloise: My sister gave me a great hint about leasing an apartment. She suggested that I ask the current residents how they like living there — the pros, the cons, everything. Of course the website will look enticing, but I want to know the nitty-gritty.

This could save valuable time when looking for a great place to live. — Taylor L., Scottsdale, Ariz.

Dear Readers: Do you have a dripping faucet? According to the Environmental Protection Agency (www.epa.gov), one drip per second can waste 3,000 gallons of water per year. So get it fixed as soon as you can. — Heloise

Dear Heloise: As my finances have improved over the years, I have begun purchasing better-quality clothes, shoes and accessories. I felt guilty at first, until I figured the cost per use.

A quality item is one I will reach for again and again. A cheap T-shirt is something I may wear only once and then toss. My hint is to buy quality items that you’ll use many times. — Devin D. in Pittsburgh

Dear Heloise: For years, I dealt with sore and painful cracks on my fingers. Then I discovered hand soap with aloe vera, and no more sore hands. I use it exclusively now, even after doing dishes and cleaning the bathroom. — Connie J., Clinton, Ohio

Connie, aloe vera is a succulent plant whose gel is generally safe to use as a cosmetic, a moisturizer and a salve, and it is used in the manufacture of lotions, soaps and even facial tissue. Taking aloe vera internally is another option. Talk to your doctor about this, as there can be side effects. — Heloise