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Category Archives: Your Budget & Savings
As budgets get tight around the holidays, fraudsters often ramp up their scam attempts. Mystery shopper or secret shopper schemes are particularly common this time of year. These schemes may be advertised online or the scammer may target individuals by mail or email. This kind of fraud tends to target victims who are out of work, looking for more work, or otherwise in a tight financial situation—in other words, those who can’t afford to be a victim of fraud. This makes identifying scam attempts all the more important to potential victims. The following red flags indicate that a mystery shopper or secret shopper offer is a scam: You are unfamiliar with the company or individual contacting you to participate in their mystery shopper program. You receive a communication asking you to keep your participation confidential or not reveal the source of funds received for the activities. You receive a check … …continue
Tools to Keep on Top of Your Finances: The Third Video in the Consumers ConnectU November Account Series
“With Online Banking and mobile apps, staying on top of your finances is easier than ever,” says Tim Kosak, Consumer Lending Manager at Consumers Credit Union. Watch the video below, the third in the Consumers ConnectU November account series to learn how these tools can empower you to make the best choices for your money. Want more tips like these? Watch previous videos in the series, Debit vs. Credit and Do I Need to Balance My Checking Account?
Keep your cash for some holiday fun! Members with qualifying loans can skip one monthly loan payment per loan in either November, December, or January.* Use the cash for Christmas shopping, holiday celebrations, or to catch up with bills. Many members have questions about Skip a Pay. Let us answer them for you! How do I initiate my skip? You can initiate your skip by logging into online banking and selecting “Skip a Loan Payment” under the “Accounts” tab or by calling us at 800.991.2221. For payments of $500 or greater, the fee to skip a payment is $50; for payments of less than $500, the fee is $35. When should I submit my skip request? Please submit your skip request at least seven days before your payment is due. Skips will be processed approximately two weeks before your payment due date. How do I know if my skip has … …continue
Identity theft occurs when a criminal steals personal information, such as Social Security numbers, bank account or credit card numbers, or ID numbers to access the victim’s accounts or open new accounts, obtain credit, etc. with a false identity. To prevent identity theft, we recommend safeguarding all personal information and securely destroying all sensitive documents when you no longer need them. We provide secure shred bins in all of our offices for your use. We also recommend monitoring your accounts for any suspicious activity. The following can be signs that your identity has been stolen: Receiving unexpected billing statements or having your mail rerouted or stopped. Receiving multiple phone calls for another person. Notices that your address or password has been changed. A sudden unexplained change in your credit score or new accounts on your credit report. Unusual transactions on your bank accounts. Being told by a service provider that … …continue
We’ve often shared our view that creating a budget shouldn’t be looked at as a chore, but an opportunity to prioritize where your money goes. Budgeting helps you cut out the spending that doesn’t matter to you so that you have more money for the things you care about it. Of course, that’s why it’s can be difficult to start a conversation about money with someone else. It’s not just about the numbers—it’s about your individual priorities and values. It gets even more complicated when the financial choices of the other person impact your decisions and vice versa. Here are our three favorite tips for talking money with your partner: Ease into it If you’re currently furious at your partner for spending you consider frivolous, it’s not the time to talk. Instead, wait until you’ve cooled off. When you’re ready, don’t start with accusations. Ask your partner why he made … …continue
Do I Need to Balance My Checking Account: The Second Video in the Consumers ConnectU November Account Series
Many members ask, “Now that we have Online Banking, mobile apps, and debit cards, do I really need to balance my checking account?” “It depends on the way you budget and bank,” says Tim Kosak, Consumer Lending Manager at Consumers Credit Union. Watch the video below, the second in the Consumers ConnectU November account series for money management tips that don’t involve a checkbook register (although we’ve got those, too, if you need one!). Want more tips like these? Watch last week’s video, Debit vs. Credit.
Most of us are inseparable from our smartphones. We share pictures as we go about our day, tweet out the articles we’ve enjoyed, keep track of our bank accounts on the go, and ask Siri or Google for directions. All of that activity helps us get our daily tasks done and stay in touch with friends and family; however, it can also leave a data trail for those who would use our information for more malicious purposes. Internet security experts recommend that you selectively disable geotagging on your phone, so that you’re not giving out your location every time you share a picture or a status update, while still being able to use your maps applications to get directions. To do this on an iPhone: 1. Open Settings. 2. Select Privacy and then Location Services. 3. Turn off Location Services for your camera and any additional apps that you do … …continue
The information in this post is provided by our partner Accel Financial Counseling. Accel’s counseling services and educational programs are available free to all Consumers members. Knowing how to successfully manage a checking account is an important component of sound personal money management. It allows you to establish a strong relationship with your credit union and have access to other financial products. The following tips will help you to stay organized and manage your checking account with ease. Create a spending plan A spending plan, or budget, will help you organize your finances and maintain your checking account. Develop a plan that makes the best use of your money to be sure your dollars stretch to cover all your financial needs. Maintain your check register Your check register is an important record of your financial transactions. Despite advances in online banking and budgeting programs, many members learning to budget and … …continue
Have you ever been checking out at the store with your debit card and been given the choice of debit or credit? “Even though your debit card is not a credit card—because it’s connected to your checking account—you can select either,” says Tim Kosak, Consumer Lending Manager at Consumers Credit Union. Watch the video below, the first in the Consumers ConnectU November accounts series, to learn the difference between selecting debit and credit.
When Karon sold her home in Nevada and moved to Holland, she was looking for a better return on her money from a financial institution with a small town feel. She found it at Consumers. “When I went to Consumers, they took care of me and explained everything to me. There has never been an issue.” Karon enjoys the welcome she’s received moving to West Michigan, where even strangers say hello on the street. At Consumers, she adds, “I walk in the door, and they say, ‘Hello, Karon.’ They know who I am. It gets me warm and fuzzy.” She has moved all of her accounts to Consumers and loves the convenience of her debit card. She says, “I just swipe it, put in my PIN, and take off. My daughter insisted that I use my card instead of writing so many checks, and it works well.” “I have one … …continue