Tag Archives: financial education

5 Steps to Safeguard your Financial Data from Thieves

Most people leave a trail of data nearly everywhere they go.

Some of that data links to critical information, such as bank or credit card accounts. Hackers want access and are constantly deploying new tactics to steal that data from unsuspecting consumers.

You don’t have to make it easy for them. These five simple steps can help you protect your financial information from data thieves.

1 > Use Secured Networks and Websites
The majority of Americans shop online, and data thieves try to exploit that fact. You can help protect your bank and credit card accounts by sticking to secured websites, which typically include “https” in the Web address and display a locked padlock icon near the address. When using a wireless network outside your home or workplace, avoid making financial transactions unless the network is password protected.

2 > Beef Up Your Passwords
Make it harder for hackers to access your data by choosing complex passwords that include a mix of numbers, letters, and symbols. Steer clear of passwords that use personal information, such as your birth date or address, and avoid using the same password across multiple sites or accounts. Tools such as LastPass and PasswordBox will generate a random password for each site, store them securely, and automatically fill them when you log in to a site, so you only need to remember one password.

3 > Protect Your Phone
A stolen smartphone could be as risky to your finances as a stolen wallet, especially if you use mobile apps to manage your finances. So, while you’re strengthening the passwords you use online, consider doing the same on your phone. Some newer handsets are now equipped with fingerprint scanners, which could give you an added level of security if your phone is swiped.

4 > Be Smart at the ATM
Getting cash from an ATM is a fairly routine transaction. Many people insert their card, enter their personal identification number, or PIN, and take their money without giving it much thought. Doing so could put you and your money at risk, though. Before using a cash machine, check your surroundings, and the ATM’s card reader and PIN pad, for anything suspicious or unusual. If something seems amiss, it might be wise to find another machine.

5 > Upgrade to an EMV Card
Many card issuers are upping their security game by adding microprocessors to newly issued cards. Know as EMV chips, the devices create a unique code for each transaction with a given account, making it harder for hackers to steal your data or skim it from a card reader. Even if a hacker does get your account information, it’s virtually impossible to copy your card and its chip. EMV cards also require users to enter a PIN or give their signature to complete the purchase, adding a layer of security. (Note about EMV cards: USAgencies will be making the swith to EMV technology. Details coming soon!)

Despite taking every precaution, it’s possible your data could still be compromised. Use caution when doling out your account information, especially online or over the phone, and keep a close eye on your account and credit card statements. If you spot signs of a breach, alert your financial institution as soon as possible to help stop the fraud in its tracks.

Copyright 2015, NerdWallet

5 Credit Card Tips for Teens

New to credit? This should help!

If you just received your first credit card or your parents made you an authorized user on their account, you now have more spending power in your financial life. Although people with credit cards tend to spend more in general, developing good habits now will prepare you for more credit responsibility down the road. Check out these tips to ensure that you use credit the right way.

Check your card details
Since so many credit cards exist (all with their own perks, limits and fees), it’s smart to know your account well to avoid missing misunderstanding terms, overusing the card or neglecting a due date. A secured card, which is backed by a sum of money in a savings or checking account and has a credit limit equal to that amount, can help you avoid overspending. Secured cards, which issuers such as USAgencies Credit Union provide, can be good starting points for building credit. When you pay your bill consistently on time, you show that you can handle credit responsibly.

Check your credit report
A credit report gives a picture of your credit overall, from a summary of your loans or credit cards to any inquiries that lenders make when you apply for new credit. The three major credit reporting companies (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax) all provide one free credit report annually, so take advantage of that. Check for any errors or fraudulent accounts you see and notify the company in question if you spot anything.

Avoid overusing credit
Although you’ve probably heard the phrase “test your limits” used in a positive way, when it comes to credit cards this idea can do more harm than good. A good rule of thumb is to spend at most 30% of your credit limit each month, and keep the monthly balance below that level. Future lenders might consider you a high risk if you spend too much with your cards.

Pay bills on time
Like having an overdue library book, paying your credit card payment after the due date will mean an additional fee. Be over 30 days late and in addition to a late fee, it can drop your credit score, which is the 3-digit number that indicates how good you are with credit.

Pay more than the minimum
Your monthly credit card bill usually states the minimum amount you owe, but what it might not say is that you’ll have to pay interest on the remaining balance in future months. It’s better to pay the complete amount you owe so you can avoid extra costs and help raise your credit score.

As empowering and convenient as credit cards can be, they also can work as effective tools to help build your credit record over time. Keeping up good credit card habits can help you avoid debt while qualifying for loans and other products with favorable terms.

By Spencer Tierney, NerdWallet

Claim Your Financial Independence

with a comprehensive toolkit

Whether you have a student headed off on their own this year or you yourself are venturing into the wide world, you’ll find this toolkit includes everything needed to prepare your finances for the changes ahead.

View the toolkit and get started with claiming your financial independence.

Financial Literacy Month

April Seminars & Webinars

Increase your financial knowledge by joining us for our Financial Literacy Month of Feast&Forum financial seminars and webinars.

When:
  • Every Wednesday in April from noon – 1pm
Where:
  • Brown Bag Lunch at the Credit Union: 95 SW Taylor Street | Portland, OR 97204
  • Webinar: join us remotely, wherever you are!

Want to Sign Up?
RSVP by clicking the link below for the seminar or webinar you’d like to attend – just follow the steps when prompted and you’ll be all set! Or, you can RSVP to Kasey Rockwell at (503) 275-0346 – or – events@usacu.org.


 

April 1 – Investing Concerns in a Fragile Market
Take a deep dive into common investing mistakes and discuss the importance of asset allocation.

April 8 – Roth IRA
Learn the benefits of Roth IRAs and how they are different from Traditional IRAs; plus learn about the TSP option with a Roth.

April 15 – Understanding Retirement Plan Rollovers
We’ll cover rolling over 401(k)s, IRAs, TSP accounts, and others.

April 22 – Asset Allocation
Discussion on how to utilize asset allocation to work toward your short, mid, and long-term goals; plus we’ll look at TSP L-Funds.

April 29 – Transition to Retirement
Learn ten critical factors to help you plan for your retirement.

2014 Community Impact

Thanks to members, staff, volunteers, and business partners!

Your credit union may be smaller, but our impact is big!
Here’s a visual of the Community Impact USAgencies had in 2014 #givingback

Learn more about the philosophy that informs our giving efforts and submit a giving request.

USACU_CommunityGiving_infographic

Feast&Forum: Financial Planning Month

Register Now for a Seminar or Webinar

USAgencies is bringing you a series of free financial Feast&Forum seminars. We’re offering 1 topic per week during the month of October. You can join in person (brown bag lunch: bring your meal and enjoy it during the presentation) or via webinar.

View the full schedule of sessions and register today!

Please note: webinars are open to 50 people; brown bag lunch sessions are limited to 20 people.

Register, Attend, and WIN!
For each week you register and attend a Feast&Forum session during Financial Planning month, you’re entered to win a FitBit!

This drawing is open to adults 18 and older and the chances of winning are based on the number of entries. There is no purchase necessary to enter. All of these sessions are free and open to members and non-members alike.