Protect Your Family With Flood Insurance


Flooded house

Spring flowers bring April showers, which can also bring… flooding!
Be prepared for the next flash flood warning with flood insurance and water/sewer backup coverage.

Flood insurance covers physical loss caused by floods, related erosion, severe rainstorms, flash floods, hurricantes and snow melt. It’s covered under a Federal program called the National Flood Insurance program. Flood insurance can be purchased directly through your insurance agent, the same way you purchase your life or car insurance. You can purchase flood insurance for your home, apartment, business or condo.

You may not live near water, but flooding can still affect you. Almost 25% of all claims occur in low to moderate risk areas. If your home is located in such an area, you may be eligible for a low cost Preferred Risk Policy.

What does flood insurance cover? There are two types of flood insurance coverage. They include building property and personal property, each of which is purchased separately, although you are encouraged to purchase both types.

Building property coverage protects the structure, and generally covers:

  • The insured building and its foundation
  • The electrical and plubming systems
  • Central air conditioning equipment, furnaces and water heaters
  • Refrigerators, cooking stoves and built-in appliances such as dishwashers
  • Permantently installed carpeting over an unfinished floor
  • Permanently installed paneling, wallboard, bookcases and cabinets
  • Detached garages (up to 10 percent of building property coverage)
  • Detached buildings (other than garages) require a separate building property policy
  • Debris removal

Personal property coverage generally covers:

  • Curtains
  • Personal belongings, including clothing, furniture and electrical equipment
  • Portable and window air conditioners
  • Carpets not included in building property coverages
  • Washers and dryers
  • Food freezers and their contents
  • Certain valuable items such as original artwork and furs

There is usually a 30-day waiting period before a flood policy becomes effective and there are exceptions, so speak to your agent. It is important to know that your homeowners’ or business policy does not cover you for a sewer/drain back up or sump pump failure. However, most insurers do offer endorsements or add-ons to their policies, which can cover the cost of damages and cleaning up after this type of event.

If you are interested in purchasing flood insurance and water/sewer backup coverage, contact Members 1st Insurance Services  at (800) 283-2328, ext. 5218 or 5245. Members are eligible for an additional discount with several national and regional carriers through our insurance agency.

Tax Time Made Easy – Turbo Tax Offer for Members


Stressing out over preparing your income tax returns? Get your maximum refund you deserve!
We’re offering a TurboTax deal for our members and
have a special  offer fo our military members.
Take a look:

man with falling money

Our members may receive a $15 discount on various TurboTax Federal products, the easy way to prepare your taxes. When you use TurboTax you receive:

  • Step-by-step guidance with customized questions based on your job, family and life – so you’ll get every penny you deserve.
  • Year-round expert help, so you can get one-on-one answers to your tax questions – free.*
  • 100% accurate calculations* and our guaranteed maximum refund – or your money back.*
  • Audit Support – you’re covered in case of an audit.*
  • Access to E-file – the fastest way to get your tax refund.
  • Feel 100% confident when preparing your taxes when you use TurboTax.
  • See full offer details

Military members offer. TurboTax Military Edition is FREE for E1-E5. E6 to E10 and Officers pay only $19.99. NEW TurboTax Military Edition helps you keep more of your hard earned money with a customized experience that gets you military-specific tax deductions.**

  • Walks you through military-related tax situations including state of residence, uniform deductions and PCS.
  • Get extra help and guidance from TurboTax experts that know the difference between “basic pay” and “combat pay.”**
  • TurboTax calculations are guaranteed 100% accurate* and you’re guaranteed to get your maximum refund – or your money back.**
  • See full offer for details.

*Accurate calculations guaranteed. If you pay an IRS or state penalty or interest because of a TurboTax calculations error, we’ll pay you the penalty and interest. Maximum (Biggest) Refund Guaranteed or Your Money Back: If you get a larger refund or smaller tax due from another tax preparation method, we’ll refund the applicable TurboTax federal and/or state purchase price paid. TurboTax Federal Free Edition customers are entitled to payment of $14.95 and a refund of your state purchase price paid. Claims must be submitted within 60 days of your TurboTax filing date and no later than 6/15/13. Optional add-on services excluded. Cannot be combined with TurboTax Satisfaction (Easy) Guarantee.

**Accurate calculations guaranteed. If you pay an IRS or state penalty or interest because of a TurboTax calculations error, TurboTax will pay you the penalty and interest. TurboTax live tax advice service is free and subject to availability, restrictions and change without notice. Available via telephone or live chat. See full offer details.Maximum (Biggest) Refund Guaranteed or Your Money Back: If you get a larger refund or smaller tax due from another tax preparation method, we’ll refund the applicable TurboTax federal and/or state purchase price paid. TurboTax Federal Free Edition customers are entitled to payment of $14.95 and a refund of your state purchase price paid. Claims must be submitted within 60 days of your TurboTax filing date and no later than 6/15/13. Optional add-on services excluded. Cannot be combined with TurboTax Satisfaction (Easy) Guarantee.

© 2013 Intuit Inc. All rights reserved. State filing charges apply. Limited time offer for TurboTax 2012. Terms, conditions, features, availability, pricing, fees, service and support options subject to change without notice. Intuit, TurboTax and TurboTax Online, among others, are registered trademarks and/or service marks of Intuit Inc. in the United States and other countries. Other parties’ trademarks or service marks are the property of their respective owners.

TurboTax and TurboTax Online, among others, are registered trademarks and/or service marks of Intuit Inc. State filing charges apply. Limited time offer for TurboTax 2012. Terms, conditions, features, availability, pricing, fees, service and support options subject to change without notice.

Let us meet or beat your current merchant processing pricing


Take our $250 guarantee –
We’ll meet or beat your current merchant processing pricing, or we will give you $250.

Merchant services

Accepting electronic payments is a cost-effective way for any business to provide quality customer service and still maintain operational efficiency. If you are a retail business, service, mail-order or Internet business, we can help you process electronic payments and assist you with the ability to accept credit, ATM and debit cards.

Our partnership with The Small Business Authority, powered by Newtek provides you with all of the tools you need to set up merchant payment processing and a way to customize programs that will help drive customers to your door. The Small Business Authority provides competitive processing rates while also offering the highest level of customer service and expertise available in the industry. The Small Business Authority will also assist you with implementing personalized gift card programs, ATM’s and check guarantee services to help maximize your revenues and reduce your costs. And as an added convenience, equipment purchasing and leasing are available.

To learn more about our business services, visit your local branch.  

Newtek, The Small Business Authority will pay $250 to your business if we cannot lower your “true effective rate” from your current merchant processing provider. Rate and price comparisons are based upon the calculations provided by NEWTEK Merchant Solutions. The most recent two (2) month’s credit card processing statements are required to calculate the “true effective rate.” Pricing comparison applies to Visa®, MasterCard®, and Discover Network® credit card processing rates and other normal monthly fees only, and does not include one-time set up, hardware or software fees. Select business types are not eligible for the $250 offer. Ineligible business types include, but are not limited to: travel agents, ticket brokers, airline tickets, debt consolidation/collection services, dating services, online dating sites, financial consulting, recurring billing or continuity merchants, computer software sales, discount clubs, or custom furniture retailers. The $250 will be paid in the form of a check within 30 days. Limit one offer per merchant relationship/business entity. Offer is only available to new NEWTEK Merchant Solutions – The Small Business Authority customers.

** Percent discounts on merchant processing are based on average cost savings experienced by new NEWTEK Merchant Solutions – The Small Business Authority customers. Actual percent discount may vary.

States looking to ban merchants from charging “check out” fees


pink wallet with cards photo

We recently posted information about merchants being able to add surcharge fees on credit card transactions (“Be Aware of Credit Card Surcharges, posted here on 1/10/2013). The following update is reposted with permission from the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association. It originally published in CUNA News Now (February 11, 2013 edition):

MADISON, Wis. (2/11/13)–The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) continues to monitor bills introduced in various states to ban merchants from charging “checkout” surcharge fees on credit card transactions. The state bills now total 11, in addition to two other states said to be drafting similar legislation.

Last week Vermont, Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina, Utah, and Tennessee introduced bills in their state legislatures to ban the surcharges, and an earlier measure banning surcharges made progress in the New Jersey legislature.

Six other states–Hawaii, Illinois, Mississippi, New Jersey and Rhode Island–had introduced similar bills earlier. Pennsylvania and West Virginia also are said to be drafting similar bills. Since 10 states already have laws on the books banning the fees, if these states’ measures also became law, a total of 23 would have bans.

However, Maine–one of the original 10 states with a surcharge ban already enacted–is considering repealing that law. Last week legislators introduced a bill seeking to repeal its existing surcharge ban.

The flurry of bills are the result of a provision in a $7.2 billion industry court settlement that merchants negotiated with Visa and MasterCard and banks in an antitrust lawsuit. The settlement allows merchants to charge a checkout fee that must be equal to what the merchant pays to accept the card, which is typically 1.5% to 3% in the U.S. and not to exceed 4%. The surcharge provision of the settlement took effect Jan. 27. The surcharge does not affect debit cards.

CUNA is monitoring the developments because any surcharge on credit card transactions would affect all financial institutions, including credit unions, as well as credit union members. Here’s a rundown on last week’s activities:
• Vermont S.B. 87 specifies “a Vermont merchant in any sales transaction shall not impose a surcharge on a person who elects to use a credit card in lieu of payment by cash, check, or similar means,” said the Association of Vermont Credit Unions (Newslines Express Feb. 8). The ban would take effect in July. A bipartisan group introduced the bill: Judiciary Committee Chair Richard Sears (D), Economic Development Committee Chair Kevin Mullin (R), Committee Chair Timothy Ash (D) and Sen. Philip Baruth (D).
• A New Jersey bill making it illegal to impose a surcharge on credit card transactions passed the full Senate Thursday and the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee, said the New Jersey Credit Union League (Daily Exchange Feb. 8).
• The new Missouri bill, H.B. 495, would amend state laws to ban surcharges “on a cardholder who elects to use a credit card in lieu of payment by cash, check or similar means.” Its sponsor is Rep. Randy Dunn (D-Kansas City).
• Utah S.B. 67, sponsored by Sen. Curtis S. Bramble (R-Provo), does not make the distinction between credit cards and debit cards but “prohibits sellers from imposing a surcharge on a transaction paid for with a financial transaction card.”
• Tennessee’s H.B.0897, sponsored by Rep. Jason Powell (D), prohibits sellers and lessors, as well as “any entity issuing credit or charge cards” from imposing a surcharge on credit card payments.
• News Now also verified state laws prohibiting credit card surcharges have been introduced in Kentucky (HB 256 and HB 259) and in South Carolina (H. 3477), but details were not available.

The 10 states with laws already on the books are: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma and Texas.

Nab that dream job!


Job signAlthough the economy is trying to bounce back, there are many Americans who are still unemployed. If you’re one of them, you know that it can be intimidating to look for a new job. Even though it can be a frustrating process that may take months, you need to focus on your future and take action. Here are some tips to help you.

GET SERIOUS: Your job search should become your full-time job. Schedule tasks in your calendar and stick to them. Set achievable goals, such as sending out one resume per day. Scan job sites every day to look at new opportunities. Try www.indeed.com or www.careerbuilder.com. You may even want to connect with a local temp agency to assist you in your job search. Sometimes, it can be necessary to take an entry-level or part-time position – just to get your foot in the door. These positions can often turn into something more.

UPDATE YOUR RESUME: Rather than sending a generic resume to dozens of HR managers, cater your resume to fit the job requirements. Make sure your resume presents specific accomplishments and results that show how you could help the company reach its goals. It’s a good idea to have a family member or friend review your resume for errors, too.

NETWORK AND GET INVOLVED: Join a professional club or association to meet key contacts in your desired field. Talk to your friends and family members about your situation and ask them to keep you in mind when they hear of any job openings.

GO BACK TO SCHOOL: Additional training and education could enhance your marketability to a greater number of companies and make you a candidate for jobs that pay more. If you’re currently employed, but looking for a new job, consider taking some courses to learn the newest skills in your field of expertise.

THINK INTERVIEW: If you’re lucky enough to get an interview in this highly competitive job market, be thankful. Now it’s time to prepare! Learn all you can about the organization in advance. Review their website and social media presence. Google “tough interview questions” and think about how you would answer them if asked. Always be prepared to tell the interviewer about yourself in a few sentences and be able to explain why you would be the best person for the job.

STAY POSITIVE: It’s so easy to think negatively. Remain positive and be persistent. Your new job is just on the horizon.

Don’t forget to check out employment opportunities with us, too! Members 1st FCU is a great place to work, offers terrific benefits, and there are always opportunities for advancement. To view out our current openings, click here.

Also, if you’re dealing with a reduction in income or have started a new job, it’s a great time to reevaluate your budget. A GreenPath counselor can help you. As a member of Members 1st Federal Credit Union, you can take advantage of the GreenPath program, a free financial education and counseling program. GreenPath counselors are available Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. (EST), Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. To use this new service, call 1-877-337-3399 or visit www.greenpathref.com.

Data Privacy Day Is Here


Pick a topic and it probably corresponds to a day on the calendar in which to celebrate. Today is Data Privacy Day. Are you aware of how much of your personal information is freely “out there” for anyone to access? How much access to you give your  social networks? Do you use various protection software on your PC to keep malware and other nasty little computer invaders at bay?

Data Privacy Tips—Tips to protect your online data

data privacy day art2

  1. Before submitting your name, email address, or other personal information on a website, look for the site’s privacy policy. This policy should state how the information will be used and whether or not the information will be distributed to other organizations.
  2. Never respond to requests by phone or e-mail for personal information, no matter how urgent the request seems. Find the number of the company online or in the phone directory and call to ask if the request is legitimate.
  3. Scammers steal account information and then run up charges or commit crimes in your name. Dishonest merchants bill you for monthly “membership fees” and other goods or services without your authorization. If you see charges you don’t recognize or didn’t authorize, contact your financial institution, card issuer, or other creditor immediately.
  4. No matter which browser you use, it’s important to keep it updated. An out-of-date browser can leave your computer vulnerable to attack by malware, which could intercept sensitive data like your log-ins, passwords, or financial information. Most browsers update automatically, or prompt you to update to the latest version.
  5. Install and run anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall programs on mobile devices – and keep those programs up-to-date.
  6. Security software on your phone, like your computer’s antivirus, can’t protect you if you ignore security warnings and install the app anyway.
  7. Don’t broadcast your absence  or too many deteails of your private life on social media, i.e., Facebook, FourSquare, Twitter, etc. This can alert potential thieves to an opportunity to raid your vacant home. This threat is especially magnified if your social media accounts are public. Does everybody really need to know your every move?

For additional resources: http://staysafeonline.org/data-privacy-day/everyone-resources

Learn How To Protect Your Data


Data Privacy Day logo

Data Privacy Day

Data Privacy Day is an international awareness effort celebrated across the United States, Canada, Europe and other countries on January 28th every year. It began in the United States and Canada in January 2008, as an extension of the Data Protection Day celebration in Europe.The Day commemorates the 1981 signing of Convention 108, the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection.

In our online world, data is free flowing. All of us – from home computer users to the largest corporations – need to be aware of the personal and private data others have entrusted to us and remain vigilant and proactive about protecting it. Being a good digital citizen means being a good steward of data.

Members 1st is committed to protecting the privacy and security of your data. Here are some tips to help you protect your data:

  1. Protect your passwords. Don’t reveal them to anyone and never save your password on sites with financial or personal information.
  2. Check website security. All legitimate finance and retail websites use this SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption to make it safe to bank or pay online. URL’s starting with “https://” indicate the use of SSL (ex.https://m1online.members1st.org/OnlineBanking).
  3. Reveal only what is necessary.
  4. Select options that result in less of your personal information being shared.
  5. Manage your cookies. Cookies track your activity on a web site. Consider enabling or disabling cookies on a site-bysite basis.
  6. Guard against malware. Use antivirus and antispyware and make sure they are updated regularly to avoid malicious software that can steal your information while you’re online.
  7. Our Fraud and Security Center offers a library of information ranging from identity theft scams to ways in which you can become more diligent while online or elsewhere.

Visit one of our branches on January 28 for additional information on how to keep your data private.

Source: Consumer Action, http://www.consumer-action.org. All rights reserved.

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