Archive for the ‘ Uncategorized ’ Category

Security Features to keep your Credit and Debit Cards Safe


The convenience of credit

EMV Chip

  • The Chip in your card prevents counterfeiters from skimming your magnetic strip and copying that information.
  • EMV chips generate a new code for each transaction, making it extremely difficult for criminals to duplicate.
  • Counterfeit card use at chip-enabled merchants is down 66% compared to two years ago.

Mobile Card Control

  • Turn your card on and off. If you lose your card, can you temporarily turn it off until you find it. Or have the safety of knowing that it is turned off if there is actual fraudulent activity.
  • Set up alerts for certain transactions and usage.

Travel Alerts

  • Notify your financial institution about international travel or travel outside of your normal go-to places, so that your account isn’t suspended for possible fraud. At Members 1st, you can set up your alerts by logging into Members 1st Online and choosing which card you will be using.

Credit Score Updates

  • Be notified when your score changes.
  • Some institutions, such as Members 1st, provide your credit score through online banking. Simply log in to Members 1st Online and view your FICO score in the main menu.

Safe Usage

  • Do not let others use your card. Most merchants do not require signatures anymore, so you should treat your card like cash.
  • Do not give your credit card PIN to anyone. Both credit cards and debit cards also  have Personal Identification Numbers associated with them. If you give this out, that person can easily take a cash advance on your credit card or withdraw funds from your checking account.

Learn more about Members 1st’s debit card and credit cards.

Questions? Go to members1st.org or call us at (800) 283-2328, ext. 6035.

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Time to Prepare your Home for Fall!


Use this checklist to prepare your home for fall and the Man cleaning the gutterupcoming winter season.

  • Clear out the Gutters
    • Remove leaves and other debris from your drainpipe and gutters to prevent clogging. Before it gets very cold, drain your outdoor faucets to prevent freezing
  • Clean the Fireplace and Chimney
    • Clear out ash and charred wood yourself, and call a professional for the chimney cleaning. Have the chimney cleaner check the damper to ensure it can be tightly closed to prevent drafts.
  • Check the Heating System
    • Do a survey of your home’s heating vents to make sure they’re not blocked or covered by furniture, carpeting or curtains. Dust all vents and clean all filters. Plus, make an appointment for an annual heating system check-up
  • Store Air Conditioners
    • If you have removable window air conditioners, be sure to unplug them before taking them down. Once they are out of your windows, dust and clean them before covering or storing.
  • Check for Drafts
    • Stay warm, save energy, and reduce your heating bills by examining windows and doors for cracks. If you do find drafts, be sure to seal them properly.
  • Put up Storm Windows
    • If you have removable screens, now’s the time to clean, store, and replace them with storm windows.
  • Ready the Water Heater
    • Prepare for cooler weather by draining the water heater and clearing out any debris that has settled in the tank.

 Information courtesy of ReadersDigest.com.


Need funds for these projects or other home repairs?

Ask us about our new Home Equity Freedom Line of Credit!

Apply now or call TeleBranch at (800) 237-7288.


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5 Tips Every College Freshmen Should Know


high school studentsBUY A WEEKLY AGENDA OR DAY PLANNER.

In high school, teachers regularly remind you of assignments and you are in a set routine. There is no need to be overly organized. In college, that is not the case. At the start of the semester, a professor hands you a syllabus and that becomes your potential schedule. Professors are not obligated to remind you of assignments. On top of upcoming assignments and tests, you are in a new environment with an endless list of activities and clubs to try out. Take our word for it, a day planner will keep you organized and you will be less likely to fall behind on your school and social life.

RENT OR BORROW, WHEN POSSIBLE.

Either a few weeks before or the first week of the semester, you will receive a book list – don’t freak out; the prices listed are easily avoidable. Textbooks sold and rented at your college book-store may be overpriced. Amazon and Chegg are two sites that could chop your costs in half, by letting you rent their books for a reasonable price. Though, if not specified, wait until the first day of class to see if you really need the book or if the professor put it on hold at the library.

USE EVERY RESOURCE

id you know your school may have a writing center? Or counseling center? For many college students, it is difficult to adjust to the new environment. You pay for these services in your tuition. If you are feeling overwhelmed or need help with papers, don’t be afraid to utilize the resources available to you.
With your student email, programs such as Microsoft and Adobe have student discounts or are completely free. You may be able to use your student ID at local restaurants and businesses. Not all places have a sign, so be sure to ask the next time you buy a coffee or purchase a movie ticket.

GET TO KNOW YOUR PROFESSORS.

You are now a freshman; you have four years till you graduate. Don’t let that fool you – time flies. Now you are graduating. Internships and potential jobs require references, so who are you going to ask? College is not only about learning; it is also about networking. Visit your professors during their office hours and really get to know them because they can help you in the long run.

DON’T FORGET TO FOCUS ON YOURSELF.

College can be stressful. Taking time to relax or going to your favorite café is crucial to your success at college. There is nothing wrong with taking 10 minutes out of your day to scroll through your social media or have a little fun. Doing something you enjoy will make a difference in your mood and how well you do on school work.


Members 1st offers Undergraduate Loans and Graduate Loans.

Plus, we can help with refinancing current student loans.

Visit members 1st.org or contact out 24-hour call center at (800) 369-4980 with questions or to apply!

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What’s a Good Use for a HELOC?


7-2018-HELOC-Freedom-4.75-EMAILWhen you take out a second mortgage, a name for a home equity line of credit (HELOC), you’re offering your house as collateral to secure another loan. The upside: You can gain access to up to 85% of your home’s value, minus your current mortgage balance and adjusted based on your creditworthiness.

 

The downside? If you can’t make your payments, you could lose where you live. Because the stakes are high, you want to make sure you use a HELOC for the right reasons. Here are a few.

Making home improvements

Most people who take out a HELOC do so to make home improvements. Experts say you should only do this if the improvements you’re considering will increase your home’s value. This way, the money you’re borrowing will be returned when you sell your house at a higher price.

The National Association of Realtors’ 2015 Remodeling Impact Report lists these six changes as the ones with the best return on investment:

  • Installing a new front door.
  • Installing new siding.
  • Upgrading your kitchen.
  • Adding on to your deck and patio.
  • Making an attic into a bedroom.
  • Installing a new garage door.

These improvements can range from a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars, but they don’t change the footprint of your home and tend to be what future buyers look for.

Supplementing an emergency fund

Everyone should have an emergency fund to cover events such as unexpected car repairs and appliance breakdowns. Most people keep these in savings accounts, but you might consider a home equity line of credit as another source of cash. You only pay interest on the amount you borrow, and you could pay the loan off quickly to save money. Still, it makes more sense to have an emergency fund that’s earning a little interest rather than one that charges you interest.

Paying off high-interest debt

Because the average interest rate on a HELOC is much lower than the average credit card interest rate, many people think about using a HELOC to pay off their credit cards. This is a great strategy if you’re committed to never carrying a balance again. Otherwise, you’re just adding another debt at a lower rate.

Regardless of how you use a HELOC, remember that the interest rate is variable and may change each time you tap it. And you’ll have to repay the entire loan by the end of the payment period set by the lender. On the upside, the interest you pay on a HELOC is tax deductible, like your mortgage interest. If you use a HELOC for the right reason, that’s just one more benefit.

© Copyright 2016 NerdWallet, Inc. All Rights Reserved


Ask us about the new

Home Equity FREEDOM Line of Credit

This HELOC is the perfect fit for financing your small or large projects, all on your terms!

Click here or apply through Members 1st Online!

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HOW TO BUILD A CERTIFICATE LADDER


If you’re looking to earn the highest possible yield on your investments without sacrificing the safety of government backed insurance, certificates of deposits or share certificates are one way to go. By using a laddering approach with your certificate purchases, you can take things up a notch, gaining even more from this already solid investment.

Stand out from the crowd and different creative idea concepts , Longest ladder glowing among other short ladders on light green background with shadows . 3D render

WHAT IS A CD LADDER?

Certificates typically offer higher interest rates than regular savings accounts in return for locking in your money for a set time period. The longer that maturity period is, the higher your earnings. However, if you put all your money in one long-term certificate and interest rates rise before its maturity date arrives, you’ll miss out on the chance to take advantage of those higher rates. Also, if an emergency comes up, you won’t be able to access that cash without withdrawing the entire amount — and getting hit with penalties on your earnings.

Laddering is the perfect way to get around this dilemma. Rather than buying one large certificate, this strategy involves purchasing multiple certificates with staggered maturity dates. That way, a portion of your cash is freed up each year for you to reinvest in another certificate at current rates or use for other purposes.

A TRADITIONAL CERTIFICATE LADDERING MODEL

A classic certificate ladder has five “rungs.” Each of these rungs represents a certificate of equal value, and their terms are staggered so that one certificate matures every year. For five years, for example, you could invest $5,000 this way:

  • $1,000 in a 12-month certificate
  • $1,000 in a 24-month certificate
  • $1,000 in a 36-month certificate
  • $1,000 in a 48-month certificate
  • $1,000 in a 60-month certificate

When the 12-month certificate matures, you can then use that cash to purchase a new 60-month certificate that will mature in year six, and continue this way so you get both the high returns that the longest-term certificates offer and the flexibility of having one-fifth of your investment freed up each year.

OTHER LADDERING APPROACHES

Laddering doesn’t have to be one size fits all. Those who can’t tie up money for a whole year might do well with a four-rung ladder consisting of a three-month, six-month, nine-month and 12-month certificate so that cash is freed up every three months. Or if you may need cash more frequently, build your ladder so that one certificate matures each month.

Another thing to consider is changing economic projections. When times are uncertain, a certificate ladder with equal rungs is the safest overall plan. However, if interest rates are clearly rising, you might want to invest a larger portion of your ladder fund in short-term CDs to take advantage of better offers as they become available. When interest rates are falling, it pays to invest as much as possible in long-term certificates, since you may not have an opportunity to lock in such good rates again for a long time.

CERTIFICATE LADDER BENEFITS

Whichever approach you choose, certificate laddering offers a number of advantages over purchasing a single certificate:

  • Higher income plus liquidity: Once your first certificate matures, you’ll enjoy long-term certificate rates without giving up frequent access to your cash.
  • Flexibility: You’ll be able to adjust your ladder to changing economic conditions and your individual financial situation.
  • Peace of mind: Whatever happens, you’ve got it covered. When rates drop, you’ve already locked in your return. And when rates rise, you’ll have available cash to invest regularly.

Most financial experts agree that interest rates should be on the rise fairly soon, so it might be wise to build a shorter-term certificate ladder to keep your options open.

© Copyright 2018 NerdWallet, Inc. All Rights Reserved


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Scoop up the savings with our summer certificate specials.

CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS!


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When was the last time you reviewed your insurance policies?


New American dream homeWhile no one likes to think about needing to utilize their insurance policies, it would be nice to know you’re getting the best deal. It’s worthwhile to take a little time now to know you’re covered for the future. Below are a few tips and tricks for receiving the best possible price and value on your policies.

Consider taking a higher deductible
For the best savings, opt for a $1,000 deductible on your auto or home policy. At that level, you’ll pay a lower premium and won’t be tempted to file any small claims.

Ask about discounts

Below are a few that may apply:

  • Multiple policies with the same company
  • College students living away from home
  • More than one car
  • No accidents or moving violations in three years
  • Student drivers with good grades
  • Members 1st member discounts*
  • Plus many more – just ask

Put your savings account to work
Consider using your Goal Savings account as a way to save for those smaller claims up to your deductible or to save for premiums. Plus, you earn interest!

As always, contact our licensed staff at Members 1st Insurance Services at (800) 283-2328, ext. 5245 for your free quote and to learn more!

Insurance Services available to PA and MD residents only. Insurance products are not federally insured and are not obligations of or guaranteed by Members 1st FCU, Members 1st Insurance Services, or any other affiliated entity.
*Member discounts apply to personal lines only.

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Practicing Healthy Habits As A Young Adult


university students on a work placement .Making the transformation from being a carefree young person to a financially healthy adult can seem overwhelming and scary.  Most young adults starting out their careers can attest to the challenges of managing an entry-level salary while still striving for the financial stability they desire. But there are ways to create a path to financial independence early in your career.

Though your salary may be minimal now it’s vital to implement a realistic plan designed to save, budget, and maximize your cash flow.  If you find yourself in need of help reaching your financial independence, consider implementing these habits.

Write down what you spend:                                              

Budgeting is the foundation of personal finances at any stage of your life, not just for those starting to “adult”.  So if you’re new to budgeting, the first step is to write down all of what you spend: it could be the coffee you get each morning, the sofa you purchased for your apartment or house, or the monthly charge for the streaming video service you use.

The idea behind a budget is not to limit what you do with your money, but more importantly to maximize the money you work hard for each and every day.   It is a huge eye opener when you start to add up everything. It also becomes clear where you are wasting money and could cut back.  Cutting out even small things, such as that coffee or a pop purchase each day could save you over $100 per month.

Best of all, technology has made it easier to connect you with your finances and spending habits from the comforts of your own mobile phone or tablet. There are a variety of free budgeting apps available to you that will basically do all the tracking of your spending so it’s there each and every day to review as needed.

Create clear financial boundaries:

Ignoring the “Joneses” can be one of the biggest battles when making practical decisions regarding your finances.  You will soon realize that spending outside of what your budget can handle could push you further away from saving money and much further into debt.  “Can I do without this?” is one of the questions you should be asking when making a sizable purchase such as a new automobile, or buying/renting in the new trendy neighborhood. For example, it may be a difficult decision to stick with a used car that is already paid off instead of buying a brand new vehicle after college – but it was a smart one.

One thing you could consider is the “50-20-30 rule.”  Experts state that we should spend 50% of our monthly income on necessities, which would include utilities, food, and rent.   The next 20% would be allotted to savings and debt, such as paying off any loans or student debt.  The last 30% of your income would be for personal purchases, things like your mobile phone plan, internet/cable/streaming services, etc.  Staying within these guidelines can set forth financial boundaries that will cultivate a healthy financial future.  Forget the noise of the Joneses and stay within your means.  Eventually, you’ll build up your finances and leave others in your financial dust.

Paying yourself is priority #1:

When it comes to managing your finances and becoming more independent, you have permission to be a bit selfish.  To clarify, prioritizing paying yourself above and before you pay anything else is highly important when it comes to having a successful financial future.  No one can avoid unexpected expenses or financial emergencies, but like a Boy/Girl Scout, you should “be prepared.”

Having a savings plan will also keep you from accumulating debt with credit cards and loans.  It will help you learn to live and be content on a smaller budget.  A suggestion would be to start putting a small amount into your savings each month.  Maybe you can’t do 10% of your paycheck, but even 5% is better than nothing and it provides you with the opportunity to make saving a financial habit.

Many employers have made it easier for their employees to streamline their savings by offering direct deposit options, where a portion of your paycheck is put into your savings or a money market account each time you get paid.  You can also set up a process to transfer from a core bank account to a long-term savings or investment account so your financial future is automatically being handled.

Keep in mind that as you achieve your savings goals, you can increase the amount based on what you can afford.  It’s also smart to contribute as much as you can to your employer’s 403b or 401k retirement savings plan.  This money can be taken out of your check even before you get paid so it’s likely that you won’t even miss it. You will likely experience long-term tax benefits as well.

Information courtesy of GreenPath financial wellness.

Need additional help? 

We offer our members access to money management and financial education services through GreenPath Financial Wellness.  As a member, you can receive assistance with:

  • Personal and family budgeting
  • Understanding your personal credit report and how to improve your score
  • Personal money management
  • Debt repayment
  • Avoiding bankruptcy, foreclosure, and repossession

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