Make your MOVE.


Whether you are buying your first home, a vacation home, or if you are planning to trade up, relocate, build or refinance, the process involved to get into your new home can seem overwhelming.

Follow the general steps below to gain the confidence and knowledge you need to make your dream a reality.

excited couple with keys to new home

The Beginning.
Meet with a qualified mortgage specialist before you begin looking for a new home. Get an idea as to how much home you can realistically afford and the type of financing that is available. Ask to be pre-qualified for a mortgage. Inquire about the down payment requirements, application fee, information required for the application process, inspection fees, closing costs and other miscellaneous costs such as homeowners insurance. Then, go search for your dream home!

The Financing.
Once you find the right home, your agent will assist you in writing up an offer for purchase. Work with your lender to determine which type of loan or refinancing program best fits your situation. There are many options, and an experienced lender should be able to make recommendations. Complete a full application and provide supporting documentation such as asset statements, W-2’s, paystubs and tax returns. This can be done online or in person. Once your home purchase offer is accepted, you can lock-in the interest rate for your loan. This means that if rates increase, your rate will not change. Your lender will underwrite/approve your loan, obtain an appraisal, and gather any other needed documents.

The Settlement.
We have a dedicated settlement group, called Members 1st Settlement Company, which is comprised of professionals who will take you straight through the settlement/closing process. All documents will be prepared and ready for your signature at closing. Be sure to bring your closing cost funds, identification and other requested documents. Then sign and leave with the keys to your new home!

Make the call.
Our Mortgage Services team is ready to help you. From your first hopes and dreams, to the day you walk into your new home, we are here to help. We truly provide a one-stop shopping experience for your home mortgage needs.


Call us at (800) 283-2328, ext. 6026 or visit members1st.org/products-services/mortgage-services.

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Financial Literacy for Kids


No matter how enthusiastic you are, trying to formally teach finance to kids is a tall order that is likely to make their eyes glaze over. Hold their attention by keeping money lessons relevant, age-appropriate and a bit playful.

First Finances

Preschoolers can grasp that money is exchanged for stuff. Teach them the names of coins, and as their counting ability develops, explain their values. Playing “store” lets them gain skills as they “buy,” “sell” and even “price” household items.

Begin giving your children a small allowance so they can experience money in the real world, and appoint them as valuable “assistants” on your shopping trips. They’ll feel important while clipping coupons and helping you find items on the shelves.

Grade-School Growth

Early grade school kids can understand goals, saving and budgeting. Have them create and decorate wish lists and give them four containers for allowance labeled “spending,” “saving,” “investing” and “giving.” The spending jar is for inexpensive things kids want, such as candy or stickers. The savings jar provides a place to save for wish-list items, while the investing jar builds overall savings. The giving jar can encourage compassion as kids contribute to charities that are meaningful to them, or save to buy presents for family members.

Bring kids along when you visit a branch of a financial institution, explaining that the institutions keep your money safe and even pay you for letting it rest there. Make sure they understand the automated teller machine doesn’t spew free money and only releases cash you’ve already put in your account. By the later grade-school years, kids should graduate to their own savings accounts. Look for those with no fees and full parental access.

Middle-School Money

Middle schoolers are ready to be included in appropriate family financial discussions about basic living expenses and savings goals. Wish lists can be swapped for goal charts, and you may want to offer to match your children’s savings as an incentive to help them make a special purchase.

Most kids this age enjoy the experience of running a garage sale where they can set prices, make change and bargain with customers. They’ll have fun earning extra cash while you clear out space at home.

Teen Finances

In the teen years, introduce savings certificates, bonds and securities as investments. You may even want to give your teens a small amount of money and let them choose how to invest for a short-term or long-term goal. Encourage teens to work part-time and help them open a student checking account that has a debit card, mobile access and low or no minimum balance or maintenance fees. Consider downloading a mobile financial app to help them track spending and savings. When tax time comes, let them fill out their own return with your supervision and guidance.

No matter what the age, odds are kids would still rather play computer games than listen to you discuss money. Rather than get discouraged, introduce some fun financial apps and games. The experience kids gain through your efforts and a little help from technology will pave the way for a lifetime of financial savvy and success.

Source: NerdWallet, Inc.


Start saving with Members 1st!

We offer two types of youth club accounts depending on the age of your child. These accounts allow youth perform transactions and develop a relationship with the Credit Union. This is a great way to start teaching children about money!


Work-Life: Education Reimbursement


Graduation Day!As you think about your career options, have you considered continuing your education? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), workers with a bachelor’s degree earned an average of $464 per week more than workers with only a high school diploma — a higher salary that can add up over the course of your lifetime. While a higher income is a primary benefit of continuing your education, jobs that require bachelor’s and master’s degrees also tend to provide more benefits like health care, retirement, travel and other perks. These benefits may offer stability for you and your family.

Does your employer offer you education reimbursement? You may want to check with your Human Resources department. At Members 1st, we offer our associates educational reimbursement each calendar year. Our associates use this benefit to complete an associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s degree, or take college-credit courses to learn new skills. We currently have over 60 associates taking part in our educational reimbursement program.

Employer programs like this can help make attending or returning to college more affordable, but a recent study put out by The College Board showed average annual in-state college tuition in Pennsylvania was $22,299 for the 2017-2018 academic year. Will tuition ever stop increasing? Since 1978, college tuition and fees have increased by a whopping 1,120%. During that same period, the price of food has increased 244% and medical expenses 601%. In fact, tuition prices have gone up four times faster than the consumer price index, according to a report by Bloomberg.

Even if your employer offers tuition assistance, perhaps Members 1st can help you achieve your goals with one of our loan options. We also offer great refinancing options for those with current student loans.

By Sara J. Kennedy
Senior Vice President of Associate Experience


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Understanding Mobile Payments


What once seemed a fanciful or even silly idea — that instead of cash or a card we’d use our phones to pay for stuff — is becoming the norm. Mobile-based payments in the U.S. are projected to reach $142 billion in 2019.

While that’s a lot of growth, mobile payments still make up a tiny fraction of retail commerce. In 2015 they accounted for only 0.2% of in-store sales in the U.S. And that might be because the technology is still somewhat new and perhaps confusing.

Here’s a quick look at mobile payment: how it works, who the major players are and how secure these transactions are.

How it works

Mobile payments really took off in 2014 with the introduction of Apple Pay®. Since then, a number of competitors have popped up, including Samsung Pay® and Google Pay®.

As their names suggest, these mobile payment services are tied to specific devices. Apple Pay works only on newer iPhones and the Apple Watch, and Samsung Pay requires later Galaxy and Note models. Google Pay requires an Android device.

With mobile payments, your smartphone acts as a proxy for your credit card, debit card, loyalty card or metro card. The card info is read into the phone either by taking its picture or by manually entering the number and expiration date.

Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay all make use of near field communication (NFC). NFC enables two electronic devices, one of them typically mobile, to communicate via close proximity – say, by tapping the phone to a credit card/phone reader.

Samsung Pay also uses a technology called magnetic secure transmission, which makes it compatible with existing card readers that are not NFC-enabled.

What about security?

Mobile payment systems use a host of security measures to protect transactions from hackers. Each card registered on your phone is assigned a token, usually a string of numbers that represents your 16-digit credit or debit card number. This means your card number is never transmitted or revealed; the token is used to process the payment. It’s similar to how EMV or “chip” cards work, if you’ve come across those.

To complete a transaction, you will also need to input a PIN, use a fingerprint scan, or sign, depending on the particular payment service and the sophistication of the terminal at the checkout counter.

The risk with mobile payments ultimately lies with your accounts, not the payment devices. For example, some financial institutions don’t always have the best procedures to verify that the person adding a debit or credit card to a mobile payment service is the account holder. That makes it possible for thieves to use stolen account information in their own mobile payment app.

Cases of fraud have also been reported in connection with so-called peer-to-peer payment systems that were developed primarily to allow friends and family to send and receive money. In the case of Venmo, a division of eBay’s PayPal, users have reported unauthorized withdrawals that apparently took place as a result of weak authentication controls that let hackers take over accounts.

Many of us already carry our phones everywhere we go, and as more Americans embrace the technology, it’s likely more retailers will install mobile payment readers. Knowing the ins and outs is important before you jump in as well.

Source: NerdWallet, Inc.


The Visa® credit and debit cards offered by Members 1st Federal Credit Union are globally accepted and feature built-in chip (EMV) technology to provide you with an enhanced level of security. Our cards are also compatible with Apple Pay®Google Pay and Samsung Pay® on select smartphones, which means you don’t even have to pull out your Visa card when paying for purchases at the checkout terminal.

To learn more about the Members 1st Mobile Wallet, click here.

To learn more about the Members 1st Visa Credit Cards, click here


3 Ways to Make your Vacation More Enjoyable and Stress-free


beach chairs on sand smaller1. Set up travel notices
Tell us where you are going and which debit and credit card(s) you plan to take on your trip. This will help minimize the chances of your card being blocked or flagged for unusual activity, preventing any service interruptions during your trip. Simply go to Services » Card Management » Travel Notices on both Members 1st Online and the Members 1st Mobile App.

2. Set up Mobile Card Controls
These are easy to set up, and help you manage all your debit and credit cards. If you think you left your card on the beach in Belize, you can simply turn off your card until you locate it. Or, if you want to know each time you spent money at the grocery store, you can set up an alert for that.

3. Use our Visa Signature® Card*
While you relax, earn cash back** with every purchase you make on vacation, from pizza on the boardwalk to that souvenir T-shirt. Remember, there are no foreign transaction fees and this card offers many enhanced benefits, including no annual fee and your choice of cash back or points rewards.**

For more details on travel notices, card controls or our Visa Signature Card, simply visit members1st.org or speak to an associate at your local branch.


*Visit our website for important disclosure information.

**Your Members 1st Federal Credit Union Visa Signature Card will earn your choice of 1.5% cash rewards for every dollar spent (less credits, returns and adjustments) or 1.5 points for every dollar spent. Balance Transfers, Cash Advances, purchasing of money orders or cash equivalents (including ATM advances) are not eligible for rewards. Should your account become 90 days or more delinquent or fall out of good standing any and all accumulated cash or points rewards will be forfeited. Cash Back Reward redemption options are outlined at www.scorecardrewards.com. Minimum redemption amount is $25.00 for cash rewards. Points rewards can be redeemed at any time. All cash back and points rewards are non-expiring. Ask an associate for details.

We do business in accordance with the Federal Fair Housing Law and Equal Credit Opportunity Act.

College Students: Easily Make a Budget


Wondering how to budget for everything that you will need when you head off to college? Have you calculated your extra expenses for things such as fuel, clothes and eating out?

Use this simple College Student Budget Worksheet to see your expected financial aid/income and expenses at a glance. Simply enter your amounts in the correct categories and adjust as needed. This can also help you determine how much you may need to obtain in outside funds from work, parents or student loans.

Download the above fillable budget worksheet to plan your finances each semester.*

*Download our Student Monthly Budget Tracker with a PDF viewer such as Adobe Acrobat.


For more tips on planning for college and information about Members 1st’s student loan program, visit members1st.studentchoice.org.


10 Low-Cost Ideas for Father’s Day


Father’s Day is an important holiday to recognize and thank all the father figures in your life, such as husbands, fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and others.  However, it can be stressful trying to figure out how to give a memorable gift without breaking the bank.  This Father’s Day consider the following 10 low-cost ideas that are just as special as any other gift.

1. Mow the Lawn

Is Dad the one who usually mows the lawn every week?  Give him a break this Father’s Day and know that he will be appreciative.  This simple task will cost you nothing but your time!

2. Make His Favorite Meal

Let the father figure that you’re celebrating kick back and relax.  Surprise him by making his absolute favorite meal.  Not only will it be cheaper than taking him to a fancy restaurant, it’s also more memorable.

3. Wash His Car

Surprise Dad on his special day by getting his car squeaky clean.  Often an automatic car wash doesn’t get a car as clean as handwashing it does.  All you need for this task is soap, a sponge, and access to water.  This gesture is simple, but Dad will thank you for it!

4. Watch His Favorite Movie

Summer weather is great, but storms can be unpredictable.  Plan to watch Dad’s favorite movie with him in the event that rain ruins a sunny day.  Have his favorite snacks ready and enjoy spending some quality time together. 

5. Spend Time Outside

Plan to spend the day outside with Dad doing his favorite activities.  Go fishing, camping, hiking, running or biking together.  There are many free and fun activities to do with Dad in the summer sun. 

6. Play His Favorite Games

Take some time to play Dad’s favorite games with him this Father’s Day.  Whether you’re inside playing Monopoly, or outside playing basketball, Dad will cherish the time that you spend together. 

7. Help with Yard Work

Keeping the yard in shape and maintaining landscaping can be a big job.  Take some weight off Dad’s shoulders and do some yard work for him this Father’s Day.  This is another task that will only cost you your time, but Dad will be extremely grateful!

8. Make a Gift

Channel your inner artist this Father’s Day and get crafty.  Make Dad a handmade card or paint him something special.  Homemade gifts and cards are thoughtful, and sure to bring a smile to Dad’s face. 

9. Fire Up the Grill

Grilling season is finally here!  Show Dad how much you care and help him grill up something delicious for a Father’s Day meal.  This gives both of you a chance to spend time together, and you might learn some new grilling techniques!

10. Clean the Garage

Help Dad get organized by cleaning the garage or shed for him.  This is likely something that he has been meaning to do, but just hasn’t had the time for.  Surprising him with a clean space is both thoughtful and practical!


Happy Father’s Day from everyone at Members 1st!

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