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.

What’s Your Money Personality?


January is the perfect time to look within and reflect on ways you can better yourself in the New Year. Think about your spending habits. Do you see yourself in any of the descriptions below?

Group of shoppers

  • Hoarder – The hoarder likes to save, budget and prioritize.
  • Spender – The spender likes to spend, spend, spend.
  • Planner – The planner is the nitty-gritty, take-it-one-step-at-a-time type.
  • Dreamer – The dreamer hatches passionate schemes, but has no idea how to make them come true.
  • Merger – The merger wants to pull all of the couple’s money together.
  • Separatist – The separatist wants at least some of his/her own money.
  • Risk-taker – The risk-taker loves adventurous investing.
  • Risk-avoider – The risk-avoider goes for the sure thing.

If you’re concerned about the way you approach money, you may benefit from meeting with a financial counselor. Members 1st members can take advantage of the GreenPath program, a free financial education and counseling program. GreenPath counselors are available Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. (EST), Friday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. To use this new service, simply call 1-877-337-3399 or visit them on the web at www.greenpathref.com.

Give your credit history a free annual review


scattered money

It’s important to know what’s on your credit report. Think of your credit report as your financial resume. It can make or break your ability to receive credit, get a job or buy a home.

You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report every year. Here’s how to order one:
Online: www.annualcreditreport.com
Phone: (877) 322-8228
Mail: Print and complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form
and mail it to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service, PO Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.

Why is it important to check your credit report?1. It will help you find errors so you can get them fixed.
2. It will help you find fraudulent activity such as accounts opened in your name that you may not be aware of.
3. It will show you your payment history.

To avoid hurting your credit score:
1. Avoid missing payments on bills or loans. Even late payments count against you. If you can’t make a full payment, make some kind of payment.
2. Don’t let other people use your credit card accounts. You are responsible for your account, no matter who uses the card.
3. Don’t overdraw your accounts. You will be charged fees, and you can damage your credit record.

Ways to build your credit history:
1. Open a checking/savings account, or acquire a debit card. These alone will not help your credit, but they will indicate that you have money and you can manage it. Our VISA® Debit Card offers a monthly cash-back rebate with qualifying transactions.
2. Apply for a major credit card. Use it responsibly and pay those credit card bills back on time. We offer VISA® Credit Cards designed to suit your individual needs.
3. Apply for a small loan or line of credit.
4. If you share housing and utilities, make sure a few of those bills are in your name and pay it on time.
5. If you have a student loan, be sure to make regular, on-time payments.
6. Co-sign with a person who has established good credit. Once the co-signing has occurred, simply make your payments on time. Remember, as a co-signer you are equally responsible for repaying the loan if the other signer fails to make a payment.

Information stays on your credit report for up to seven to ten years.

Be Aware of Credit Card Surcharges


As a result of a legal settlement to resolve claims brought by a group of U.S. merchants, merchants in the U.S. and U.S. territories may add a surcharge to certain credit card transactions starting after January 27, 2013. This surcharge, also known as a checkout fee, is an additional fee that a merchant can add to your bill of sale when you pay with a credit card. U.S. merchants that surcharge are required to limit the surcharge fees to credit cards only, meaning they cannot surcharge debit and pre-paid cards. They must also limit the amount of the surcharge to the applicable merchant discount rate for the credit card transaction surcharged. A cap of 4% is currently in place, but that may vary. Additionally, companies must disclose the actual dollar amount of this surcharge on every receipt and disclose the fact that they charge a surcharge fee at the point of store entry and at the point of sale. Most likely, you will not see this change until February because of the 30-day notification and registration process that is required.

How will you know if a business is charging the surcharge? Merchants may charge this fee at their discretion. When you’re in a store, look for signs or postings when entering the store and at the cash register that warn you of the merchant’s fee. If you see this notification, consider using your Members 1st Visa Debit Card or a Members 1st Pre-paid VISA instead of your credit card. Unlike credit card transactions, merchants cannot charge any surcharge fees on debit or pre-paid credit card transactions.

If you suspect you’ve been hit with excessive surcharges or that your debit or pre-paid card was charged, visit www.visa.com/checkoutfees and complete a “Report a Merchant Violation Form.” Alleged surcharging will be investigated.

This new law only applies specifically to “credit card” products. Continue to use your VISA Debit Card as CREDIT at the merchant – you want to continue to earn your monthly Swipe 5 cash-back rebate. A debit card is a debit card whether you use it as “debit” or “credit.” If merchants attempt to charge you this fee when you are using your debit card as “credit”, they will be in violation and may be subject to a fine. If anyone has any issues with this moving forward, please report them to our Card Services Group at (800) 283-2328, ext. 6035.

Currently 10 U.S. states have surcharging restrictions including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma and Texas. Consumers who are subjected to checkout fees in states where those fees are prohibited by law may want to discuss this with the retailer or report the retailer to their respective state’s attorney general’s office. Keep in mind that Members 1st is not the entity charging these surcharge fees on your credit card purchases.

For additional information about payments and surcharging: www.visa.com./checkoutfees or call our Card Services Group at (800) 283-2328, ext. 6035.

Save Money with Our FREE Online Bill Payer!


Did you know? Our Bill Payer service is now FREE for all levels of our Member Loyalty Rewards Program! Not sure if you’re eligible? Check your statement or log into Members 1st Online (home banking). You can also call TeleBranch at (800) 237-7288 to talk to a customer service representative.

Do you use Members 1st Online but haven’t tried Bill Payer yet? Log into your account and select the Bill Payer tab to get started. With Bill Payer, you can set up recurring payments, view your payment history, add or delete payees and make one-time or irregular payments. Please note that you must have a Rewards Checking account to utilize Bill Payer.

Why should you consider using Bill Payer?
1. It’s secure
2. You’re in control – pay almost anyone, at any time, day or night online or using your mobile device (be sure to download our mobile app!)
3. It’s easy to use
4. You’ll save money on stamps
5. It’s convenient & time saving
6. You can schedule payments ahead of your due date or make same day payments as long as they are scheduled before 11 am that same day. You can also set up recurring payments.

Sign up today! It’s FREE for Silver, Gold, Platinum and Titanium members!

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