How to Protect Your Checking Account

How to Protect Your Checking Account

A checking account is a common offering from a credit union. It’s a convenient way of paying for your purchases especially when it involves big amounts of money. Having a checking account allows consumers to pay for their purchase without needing cash. This will keep you safe from theft.

Regardless of an individual’s financial health, you can use a checking account as part of your personal financial planning. Most people get their monthly paychecks deposited to their checking accounts. Most people also have their bill payments automatically deducted from their banks. Some even set periodic withdrawals to fund their investment and retirement accounts.

People rely on checking accounts so it’s important to keep it safe and secured. Here are some tips and ways to protect your checking account:

Leave the Checkbook at Home

To keep your checking account safe, one thing you can do is to leave your checkbook at home, in a safe place. Only use your checkbook when you need to. Keep it in a safe place in your home and not in your purse or in your car.

Make your PIN as unique as can be

Checking accounts are usually linked or connected to a debit card. You use your debit card for daily purchases and to have access to your money. Unlike checkbooks, your debit cards are always in your wallet or purse. That is why it is important to make your card PIN as unique as possible so that thieves wouldn’t guess it easily. Don’t use your birthday or important events in your life as your PIN code. Make it something that’s hard to guess but easy for you to remember.

Secure your Mobile  App

If you are using a banking app on your phone and do transactions in it, keep your security high. There are things you can do to keep your phone banking app secured. Lock your phone with a password and you can also lock your banking app with another password. By doing this, you will be sure that no one can access your phone except you. Always know where your phone is located.

Be on the lookout for smishing

Mobile banking is safe, generally. However, there are online frauds like phishing or smishing. Smishing happens when you get a suspicious text message from someone who is pretending to be a bank or credit union representative. These kinds of messages may warn you of some kind of a bank security breach and will ask for you to call a number. You will then be asked for your PIN code and account number. Don’t trust this kind of communication. Call your bank or credit union’s customer service instead. They can verify if the text you received was authentic.

Setup alerts from your accounts

Have as much information about your account as you can. Check if your financial institution offers transaction alerts. With this, you’ll get a text or an email every time a transaction is made from your checking account. If there is an unauthorized activity, you will know it in real time. This will give you security as you will always know your account’s activity.

Always review your account statements  

To ensure that you know your account activity, make sure to review your monthly account statements. If you have online banking, you can check your account statement online at any time.

Report any theft immediately

In the event that your wallet or checkbook is stolen, call and alert your financial institution as soon as possible.  They have the opportunity to take action and defend your account against fraud. Alert them so that they can take action.

Protecting a checking account can be an easy task if you know what you are doing. Develop positive habits as you make and keep your account more secure. Be vigilant to avoid compromises that will negatively affect you.

If you are looking for a reputable credit union to open a checking account, check out Calcite Credit Union today!

What Do Mortgage Lenders Look For Before Approving a Home Loan

What Do Mortgage Lenders Look For Before Approving a Home Loan

Prequalification for a mortgage can be a big deal. It can give you an edge when seeking out real estate agents and house sellers. Getting prequalified is a good indicator that you’re serious about purchasing a house. While this is nonbinding, it will give you an idea of what you can afford.

To determine what lenders will look for, there are basic things to consider. First, you have to make sure that you are able to pay off the loan. Here are six items  that most mortgage lenders look for.

Your Credit

Your credit score and credit reports will be reviewed by lenders. This is one of the things that will determine what type of home loan you’d get. It also impacts – how much interest rate you will receive. The mortgage lenders will use these -to assess the risk of lending you money to finance your home. Lenders will also look and review your credit and payment history.

Your Remaining Debts

Getting qualified for a mortgage loan doesn’t mean that you need to have a zero balance on your credit cards. It – means that owing less to the creditors will be better. The lenders will use your DTI (debt-to-income) ratio to make sure you don’t have more debt than you can handle. DTI ratio is a financial measure that will compare the amount of money you earn versus the amount of money you owe. DTI limits will vary depending on your kind of loan program, yet it is usually 43 to 50 percent.

Avoid taking on new debts or making huge purchases until you have closed a deal. Mortgage lenders will review and check your credit report again before closing your loan.

Your Monthly Income

For a person to qualify for any loans, especially mortgage loans, lenders will need a proof of income. Lenders will want to see if you have a stable income based on your tax information for two years. If you are self-employed, the lenders will take a look at your gross income in your tax return.

Your Employment

Your employment history will be reviewed. Having no stable work for the past two years may impact your loan eligibility. Some lenders will call your present employer to make sure you are still currently employed with them. They will also verify your salary. If you have changed jobs in the last one to two years, the lenders may contact those employers as well.

Your Existing Assets

The lenders will ask for your bank account statements. They will need investment account statements as well. This is to make sure that you have the money that you claim. The mortgage lenders will verify that the money has been in your account for several months. They will also want to verify if you have any cash reserves. If you have recent large deposits, the lenders will also want to know about them.  

The Downpayment

There are home loans and mortgage programs that don’t need you to make any down payment. You may have more options if a down payment is available. Consider this an investment in your home’s equity. There are many lenders that give home loans with a down payment that is lower. This will allow you to finance up to 90 percent of the buying price. In most cases, the lenders will require you to pay the mortgage insurance if you pay less than 20 percent. This insurance will protect the mortgage lender against losses in the event that you don’t pay the mortgage.

Getting money from family and friends to pay for the down payment is a possibility. You will need to produce a gift letter to the lenders to prove the money isn’t some kind of loan. There are also other home loan programs that have rules when it comes to gift funds. Ask your lenders for details about this when you are applying for a mortgage.

If you are looking to applying for a mortgage loan, check out Calcite Credit Union today!

 

Reasons to Get a Debit Card for Your Kid

Reasons to Get a Debit Card for Your Kid

Children can be taught financial responsibility at an early age. They first learn how to save up by stashing their cash and coins in a jar or piggy bank. Later on, they would learn how to save up using a savings deposit account with the help of their parents. As these kids turn into teenagers, they will be tempted to spend more, may that be on a movie with friends or on a field trip. Having these expenses may give you an idea to get a debit card for your kids.

There are a lot of options to choose from. They include prepaid debit cards or traditional checking accounts with debit cards. These accounts can be a joint account between the parents and the child. The children can have control over their own money by having a debit card. Parents can also monitor how they are using it.

Debit card for kids can be from your own credit union or bank. Ask if they have any options for joint accounts with your child. Some banks and credit unions won’t allow minors to have debit cards under their name. It’s best to look for options with joint accounts.

Parents should look for debit cards with low or no fees for maintaining and funding the account. They can monitor it online, set spending limits, and have convenient access through ATMs.

Why Get a Debit Card for your kid?

This will teach them financial responsibility.

Teaching children financial literacy at an early age will help with financial planning as they grow older. Parents need to teach their children how to differentiate their needs and wants as early as possible. When the children put cash inside their piggy banks, emphasize the 10-10-80 rule. Ten percent of the money should be for charity, 10% for savings and the 80% is for what they want or need.

At first, children will be curious as you let them see you swipe your debit card. Let them give it a try the next time. Explain to them the process of how debit cards work and tell them that the password should be kept secret.

The kids will be able to travel abroad without exchanging money

Nowadays, there are so many opportunities for children to travel. Whether it’s a field trip or an international conference with their classmates, children may travel abroad. Before credit and debit cards were the norm, parents used to send their kids abroad with traveler’s checks or cash.

By having debit cards, you won’t have to worry about your child being robbed as they travel abroad. They can use their cards to buy what they need.

You can set the spending limit on your child’s debit card

You can put in a certain amount of money in your child’s debit card for his monthly allowance. This will teach your teenager to value his money and be responsible on how to use it. This will discipline them not to go overboard with spending and will teach them how to budget.

Kids will learn how to use financial tools wisely

Debit cards spend money that you already have in your bank account. When you get one for your child, you can teach them how to keep track of all their expenditures. Show them how to see how much money is in their account and how to manage it.

Teaching your teenager how to use his debit card wisely will lead to him being a financially literate adult.

When should you get a debit card for your kid?

Kids will have their own pace of being financially responsible. Some kids will be ready by middle school, others won’t be ready until they’re in high school. It’s better to let them experience making mistakes on their own so that they will learn from it. Of course, as parents, you will be there to guide them. It’s important that the parents  give time to monitor them as they use their debit cards.

Remind yourself that your goal is to teach your kids about being responsible with their spending habits. Also to let them manage their own finances. A big part of this is handling a debit card. Make sure that you give your best to help them out as they learn how to use it.

If you are looking to get debit card for your kids, check out some offers of Calcite Credit Union today.

Best Practices for Debit Card Use

Best Practices for Debit Card Use

Debit cards are very useful tools for staying in control of  your finances. They offer security and accessibility. You can use your debit cards for daily purchases without the risk of going into debt. Although like credit cards, failure to use debit cards wisely will lead to serious trouble. In this article, we will list some of the best practices you can have when using your debit cards.

Know how you deal with your finances

How do you spend your money? Do you keep track of your expenses? Do you keep your receipts and tally it when you get home? Do you balance out your income and outcome? Or do you go with the flow?  If you are on the more irresponsible side, it’s time to halt using your debit card for your morning latte and start paying cash for your daily purchases. A debit card may be a great financial tool but it’s not for everyone. Make sure to know your spending habits before getting yourself this card.

Keep track of your expenses

Keeping records of your expenses will help you keep tabs on how much money you spent. This will avoid overdraft fees and will lessen the stress. Write down every transaction you make wherever you are tracking your expenses.

Know the difference between debit and credit cards

These cards have distinct differences. As a user, it is your responsibility to know how they differ. When you go to a store and purchase something, you get asked “Debit or Credit?”. When you choose to pay with a debit card, you will have to type in your PIN number. The transaction happens online and then it’s processed instantly. When you choose a credit card, the purchase you made will hit your account after several days.

Watch out for holds

When you book a hotel and you use your debit card for it, you should know that some hotels will place a hold on your card. Make sure to ask about this. Ask about how much they are going to put on hold and how long are they going to be on hold. If this makes you uneasy, use your credit cards instead for transactions like these.

Choose a smart PIN number

A smart PIN number is a combination of random numbers that you can easily remember but others will have a hard time figuring out. Don’t stick with the conventional 1111 or 0000, this number combination is VERY easy to guess. Choose numbers that criminals and strangers would have a hard time guessing.

Check your account balance online regularly

On every transaction you make, always look at your account’s balance online. You can find out if there’s any holds, double charges or unexpected fees right away. Your losses due to fraud on your debit cards are only limited to fifty dollar according to the federal law. This is only when you notify your bank within two days after noticing the problem.

Be careful when linking your accounts

If you’re thinking of linking your debit card checking account to your saving account, you will risk exposing your money to fraud. The more accounts you link together, the more you are giving the thieves and fraudsters a free rein.

When making big purchases, use your credit card

Debit cards don’t have as many benefits and consumer protections like credit cards. When making big purchases, it is recommended to use a credit card. One benefit of credit card is that it has product protection. In case that there are problems along the way, you’d be able to file a claim with the credit card company. They will wipe off the charge. If you use your debit card in purchasing something that fails, then your money would’ve been gone for good.

These are some things to keep in mind and practice if you own and use a debit card. If you are looking for one, there’s a reputable company you can contact today – Check Calcite Credit Union.

Debit Card vs Credit Card: What Should I Use?

Debit Card vs Credit Card: What Should I Use?

Most people have at least one credit or debit card in their wallet. These are both convenient and offer financial protection. It is their differences that can impact your pocket. They might look alike but where do they differ?

The Difference Between Credit and Debit Card

Debit Cards

These cards link to your bank or credit union account. Whenever you use this card, the money is withdrawn from your – account. Debit cards will allow people to spend the money that they already have in their account. These cards require using a PIN when you make a transaction. Many financial institutions are now offering rewards and cash back for using their debit cards.

There are two types of debit cards that don’t require the users to have a savings or checking account.

  • There are EBT cards or Electronic Benefits Transfer Cards that are issued by federal and state agencies. They allow users to make purchases using their benefits.
  • There are also prepaid debit cards that allows people to make purchases without access to a bank account. They have to load a certain amount to the card.

Credit Cards

These cards are different from debit cards because when you use this, it’s like a loan. If you use this card, you are spending money that you don’t have. It’s an interest-free loan if you pay the credit card bills on time every month. A credit card isn’t connected to your bank account. Instead, it’s connected to a financial institution that has issued that card. Credit cards will allow you to borrow money from the issuer of your card to purchase items.

There are four categories of credit cards that are issued. There are:

  • Standard credit cards that extend a line of credit to their customers
  • Reward cards that offer cash back, points and other different benefits to the card users
  • Credit cards that are secured and need a cash deposit for collateral
  • Cards with no spending limit but don’t allow unpaid balances to carry over from one month to another

Debit Card Advantages

Consumers who want to be more careful about their expenses will prefer to use debit cards. With debit cards, there are minimal or no fees. Unless the consumer goes overboard with spending more than what they have in their account. This is unlike credit cards that charge annual fees, overdue fees, over-limit fees, and other penalties.

With debit cards, you can control the way you spend your money. Knowing that every time you use your debit card, your money in your account will deducted while you are earning rewards.

Credit Card Advantages

One of the main advantages that users can get with a credit card are rewards. By using credit cards, consumers can reap discounts, cash, travel points, and so many other perks. Credit card users who pay off their bills on time per month can profit.  They make their monthly purchases through their rewards cards.

Another advantage in using credit cards is it can build up a person’s credit score and history. Credit scores reflect on the user’s credit report which they use when applying for loans.

Credit card usage will also have warranties and insurance for the items that you purchased. So if you bought a defective item, you can do a check in with your credit card company and see if they will cover the expenses.

Credit cards will also offer consumers greater protection compared with debit cards. In case of theft or loss and the user reports it immediately within 48 hours, the user will be only liable to $50 of purchase. After 48 hours, the user’s liability will increase up to $500.

Conclusion

Shoppers who want to control their spending habit need to determine which will work best for their financial needs. Debit cards will protect people who are frugal with their finances. Debit cards will also make sure those big spenders to think twice about making their purchase.

If you are still having a hard time differentiating the two, remember that paying using a debit card is similar to paying using a check. The money is deducted from your savings or checking account. While credit cards uses credit which allows the consumers to carry balances from one month to another.

Choose wisely. If you are looking for a credit card or debit card, try visiting Calcite Credit Union and see which benefits they can offer.