Banks vs. Credit Unions

Banks vs. Credit Unions

Banks

Banks

Does it really make a difference whether you conduct your financial affairs at a bank or a credit union? A lot of people seem to think it does. Believers report that credit unions offer the lowest interest rate around for banking, credit cards and loans.

What is a credit union?

A credit union differs from a bank by the fact that it is owned and directed by its members. Members of the Credit Union elect their usually volunteer Board of Directors through a one person one vote system. The definition provided by the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) says credit unions are not-for-profit cooperative institutions. Credit unions are generally smaller institutions than most banks.

How do credit unions differ from banks?

Banks in the United States typically have $1.53 billion in assets as opposed to credit unions which on average have only $93 million in assets. Most credit unions do offer the same types of services offered by banks such as savings accounts, checking accounts, credit cards, loans, certificates of deposit and online banking. Some credit unions call these banking functions by different names such as share accounts, share draft accounts and share term certificates. In general, only members of a credit union can use their services. You must be eligible to join a credit union.

Banks are for profit shareholder owned companies that are regulated by state regulators or the federal government. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insures banks. The purpose of banks is to make money for their shareholders.

Advantages of credit unions

Credit unions are not publicly traded corporations so in general they can offer lower rates on credit cards, banking, savings accounts, and loans. Though not insured by the FDIC credit unions do have a federal insurance program called the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF). Most credit unions are profitable but this money is used to lower loan rates, and fees when possible. Since members are also owners of the credit union, some credit unions will offer bonus checks to members when there are particularly high earnings.

Customer satisfaction

In financial surveys credit unions almost always outperform banks in terms of customer satisfaction. This may come directly from feeling a part of the institution, an owner rather than a customer. When an organization’s primary focus is not on making a profit but on making the members more financially secure this could translate into more satisfaction with the whole financial experience. If you like small financial institutions credit unions are smaller and you are more likely to get to know the employees.

Advantages of banks

The strengths of credit unions may have you rushing to open an account with your closest credit union but banks do have their strong points too. Larger banks may be able to offer the best rates around for financial products. Do some comparison shopping before opening an account anywhere. Banks in general offer more products and services than available at a small credit union. Banks may also have more online banking services and 24 hour customer service phone lines than credit unions. Again compare options when opening an account.

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New Credit Scam Warnings Issued by the Better Business Bureau – $9.84 Charge Scam & ‘One Ring’ Scam

The $9.84 Charge Scam

BBB

BBB

Following the widespread credit data breach that affected Target customers (as well as customers of other major retailers) over the holiday period, the Better Business Bureau has now issued a new safety warning, and there is a possibility that this warning is related to the holiday data breach.

Reports are emerging that consumers are finding unauthorized charges on their statements. In most cases this charge is $9.84, categorized on the statement as a ‘Customer Support’ charge with one of a number of fake websites.

When victims visit the website levying the charge, they are provided with a telephone support number and an email address. After getting in contact, they are told that the charge will be removed and the amount credited to the affected account. It is not certain whether this information is fake, and whether getting in contact will actually lead to the account being reimbursed.

We recommend that all affected consumers DO NOT get in contact with these fake websites. There are a number of recommendations provided by the BBB to help consumers protect themselves:

-       If you suspect fraud, get in contact with your card issuer.

-       You should destroy your current card and request a new one.

-       Place a fraud alert on your credit file (visit the Federal Trade Commission Website ftc.gov)

-       Be vigilant with all of your existing accounts

Investigators are still determining whether this scam has anything to do with the data stolen over the holiday period.

The ‘One Ring’ Return Call Scam – DON’T RETURN THE CALL!

Fraud Alert

Fraud Alert

The BBB is also warning consumers about another scam, which appears to be unrelated to the holiday-period data breach and the $9.84 charge scam. As of writing no complaints have yet been filed, however the president of the BBB Steve J. Bernas has stated that this scam is spreading across the U.S. very quickly and it is only a matter of time before complaints are filed.

In this scam, malware is used to infect personal computers, which then make thousands of calls to random telephone numbers. Each call only lasts for one ring before it disconnects, hence the name.

The purpose of the scam is to tempt people with missed calls on their phones to return the call.  When they do so, they are charged $19.95 for an international call fee. Victims have reported that the calls are coming from various international locations, mainly foreign British territories.

If you have been affected by this scam, you should immediately alert your cell phone carrier and watch your bill carefully. The earlier you report the fraud, the better chance you will have of having the charges partially or fully reimbursed.

The BBB states that the best way to protect yourself from this fraud is to not answer or return calls for any international numbers that you do not recognize.

For more help and information, visit the Better Business Bureau website bbb.org.

Be Vigilant,

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Target Hacked: Credit Card Security Breach at Target

Watch Out! Target Credit Card Breach

Target

Target

If you have shopped at Target recently with a credit card then it is important that you check your credit account. The major US retailer was recently the victim of a major payment data breach, so if you are a Target shopper or have been in between certain dates, then you’ll want to pay attention and see if this affects you, no matter how many transactions you have made or how much you have spent.

The Target Breach

While the exact details of the breach are unclear, a picture is slowly emerging. Attackers managed to install malignant software onto payment desk computer systems in over 1,800 Target store locations It is not yet known how the attackers were able to successfully achieve this across so many stores.

Between November 27 and December 15, 2013, this software stole information from credit or debit cards that were used by customers to make payments at brick-and-mortar Target stores. This has allowed the attackers to gain access to customer names, credit card numbers, CVV security codes and expiration dates (with debit cards as well as credit cards).

This is proving to be a very serious and widespread security breach.  The security of up to 40 million credit/debit cards may have been compromised. Not long after the breach, credit card issuers began to report fraudulent activity across the U.S.  Target is now being sued by numerous customers for the breach, which could amount to millions in damages being paid out.

Am I At Risk?

The attack took place between November 27 and December 15, 2013, so if you paid for your purchase by credit or debit card at a U.S. brick-and-mortar Target store during this time then you should assume that you are at risk. Data gained from your card’s magnetic stripe could be used to create counterfeit payment cards. This was not a server data breach, so you are not at risk if you shopped online with Target.

If you have been a victim of this massive fraud, please comment below and share your experience to help others who may be similarly situated.

What Can I Do To Protect My Account?

Unfortunately there is not a great deal that you can do to prevent the attackers from exploiting your details if they have managed to get hold of them already. In this case your only real option is to remain highly vigilant. The best thing to do is to keep a very close eye on your credit card statements, and to get in contact with your provider immediately if you see any fraudulent activity.

Account alerts can be set up with online credit card management services, and fraud alerts can be registered with each of the major credit reporting agencies. Your credit card issuer or bank may also be helping to keep an eye on things for you. For example, JP Morgan Chase has temporarily lowered daily spending limits for vulnerable cards, while other banks are tightening security and keeping a very close eye to spot fraudulent activity.

Target has stated that they would offer free credit monitoring for any of their customers that have been affected by fraud. If you used a credit card at Target during the aforementioned period, the only fail-safe way to protect yourself would be to cancel your account and have your credit card issuer issue a new card.

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Credit Card Payment

Credit Card Payment

Credit Card Payment

Credit Card Payment

Credit card holders should carefully monitor their credit card payment. Are you aware your minimum MasterCard credit card payment is rising?

A new govt. program working to get USA citizens out of credit card debts are pushing MasterCard issuers to raise minimum standard payments. If you are an American, your minimum monthly MasterCard payment may shortly be doubling.

Who’s Raising Your Monthly Minimum MasterCard Payment? Whose concept was it to extend card minimum standard payments? The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, a bureau of the U.S. Treasury Office which has become more concerned with ruling in the abuses of MasterCard corporations.

BOA has been asking for the higher monthly minimum amount. MBNA, Citigroup (a.k.a. Citibank), Discover, and Chase (on some of its cards) have been breaking the news to their card owners . How Much Will Card Minimums Increase? For many visa cards, eg MBNA and B of A, the new rates mean that monthly lowest payments will double. At this time, the monthly minimum amount is only 2 percent of the balance on the majority of these cards. The new rate will be around 4% (the particular number may vary greatly from card provider to card company).

This indicates that if you’ve got the average American Visa card balance of approximately $10,000, your minimum regular payment will go from $200 / month to $400 / month. Why the MasterCard Minimum Amount Increase? You’re probably wondering why any person would wish to make you pay a higher minimum standard payment. The basic reason for making you pay more is: for your own good.

Credit Card Payment Tips

According to Mike Peterson, founder of American Credit Foundation, by doubling the sum you pay each month towards credit card debts, you may ease back on what you pay towards interest by much more. Look: Old monthly minimum amount of two percent of balance, $2,000 bank card arrears at 18% % interest:

  • Time to repay debt in full: about thirty years.
  • Interest paid: about $5,000 two and a half times what you first borrowed! New monthly minimum amount of 4% of balance, same debt:
  • Time to pay down debt in full: about ten years.
  • Time saved vs. Old payment: twenty years.
  • Interest paid: about $1,100slightly over half what you originally borrowed. Total saved versus. Old payment: $3,900.

Tips for Paying Double Simply How does one pay off your new, higher card balance?

Stop Charging

Yes, you will need to make major sacrifices to cease using your ATM card. If you have difficulty resisting the enticement to charge, these are some solutions that have really worked: * Give your MasterCard’s to a chum or relation to hold in safe keeping. * Freeze the cards in a block of ice. * Never carry more than one Visa card with you. Economize on the Tiny Things According to Michael Peterson of the North American Credit Foundation, even little savings truly add up when talking of debt. His favorite example is the Cola example: * If you purchase one Cola a day at $1 / day that is $365 / year. * If you instead invested that one greenback a day at ten percent interest (the average annual return on major stocks during the last half century), you’d be a millionaire inside fifty six years. * Naturally, with cards, this logic works in reverse : if you are sufficiently fortunate to be paying only ten percent interest, 50 years of charging Cola to your MasterCard will mean you have lost the same quantity, not just in interest paid, but in the lost chance to save and invest. One greenback a day is $30 / month, 15% of the average $200 increase in Visa card minimum regular payments.

So as to get that complete $200 increase out of your daily budget, you would just have to save $200 / thirty or less than $7 a day. OK, perhaps you are not drinking 7 Diet Cokes a day.

Saving weekly instead of daily, $200 / month works out to about $45 / week, or the price of an eatery meal for a tiny family–another luxury you may want to skip till you are debt-free. Larger Savings * Taxes. Most US citizens could pay tons of bucks less tax every year if they just took all of the discounts they were suitable for up front, instead of waiting to get a repayment in April. By April, you’ll have spent an enormous piece of cash on interest on debt that you would not have spent if you would had the cash to hand. * Pleading. Call the card firms and ask if they can permit you to set up a repayment schedule, or at a minimum supply a transient extension. Simply calling and informing them you have not forgotten about them can help in keeping you out of the worst difficulty. * Credit counseling. Credit advisors can talk with MasterCard issuers to help get a repayment agreement you can stay abreast of. They can also open your eyes to untouched income sources you never knew you had, like kicking the $1,000,000 Cola habit. With only a modest amount of planning, you can make the higher minimum standard payment work to your benefit, just as the policy’s writers intended.

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Liberty Bank Credit Card Payment

Liberty Bank Credit Card Payment and Login

Liberty Bank

Liberty Bank

Making your Liberty Bank card payment or looking to login to view your statement or manage your account online? Understand your payment options with this payment guide. Want to pay your bill online? Follow the link to the Liberty Bank Credit Card login. More details on the Liberty Bank Credit Card program are also provided to help new customers. To make a payment online or manage your account, follow the link provided below on this page to the Liberty Bank credit card login. You will also find useful “pay my bill” information such as the credit card customer service number, payment mailing address, and billing phone number below.

Liberty Bank Credit Card Payment

Elan Financial Services are the issuers of the Liberty Bank Credit Card program. You have a number of payment options available.

Pay Online: Elan Financial Services offer an online account management service for all cardholders – My Account Access. This is a useful, secure and easy-to-use service which you can use to pay down your credit card balance and monitor your balance and purchases. This service has recently been updated with a new design and interface. To make your Liberty Bank credit card payment online click the “Pay Online” button below to login, register, view your statement or manage your account online.

Pay by Phone: The Liberty Bank credit card payment phone number is 800-558-3424.

Pay by Mail: The Liberty Bank Credit Card payment address is: Cardmember Service P.O. Box 790408, St. Louis, MO 63179-0408. Overnight payments can also be made if your payment is urgent. Send overnight payments to: Cardmember Service, 824 N 11th Street St. Louis, MO 63101-1016. Please include your Liberty Bank account number on your check. Your account number is located on your statement. To ensure your Liberty Bank payment is received on time it is recommended that you mail your payment at least 5 business days prior to the due date shown on your monthly billing statement.

Pay in  Person: There are 49 Liberty Bank branches across central, southern and eastern Connecticut. Visit one to pay your bill in person. Conversely you can visit the bank where you have a checking account to make a transfer to your credit card account.

Liberty Bank Credit Card Customer Service: The Liberty Bank credit card customer service number is 800-558-3424.

Liberty Bank Credit Card

Chartered in 1825, Liberty Bank is the oldest mutual bank in the state of Connecticut. There are many benefits to going with a smaller, community-minded bank like Liberty Bank – in the case of their credit cards you get attractive incentives and features with modest feels and no penalties. Penalty programs are one of the worst things about credit cards from the major credit issuers, but you won’t find them with the credit cards on offer from Liberty Bank.

There are a variety of personal and business credit cards to choose from, including the Visa Signature Bonus Rewards Card, the Visa Signature Bonus Rewards PLUS Card, the Visa Platinum Card, the Collect Rewards Card and the Secured Visa Card. All cards are issued by Visa – with Signature you get excellent perks such as Travel Assistance, Vehicle Collision Damage Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver and Extended Warranty Coverage.

The best introductory rates are available with the Visa Platinum Card, so this is the card to consider if you have a balance to transfer or if you want hassle-free purchases for the first 12 billing cycles. The best rewards are available with the Bonus Rewards PLUS card. You get 1 point per dollar on purchases and an automatic 50% bonus on all points you earn every month. The College Rewards Card is a highly competitive college credit card option because it offers both low interest rates and a rewards program. You can learn more about Liberty Bank Credit Cards and apply for them online.

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Johnson Bank Credit Card Payment

Johnson Bank Credit Card Payment and Login

Johnson Bank

Johnson Bank

Making your Johnson Bank card payment or looking to login to view your statement or manage your account online? This guide provides a simple overview of your payment options. Choose the right option and get your bill paid! Pay online by following the link to the Johnson Bank credit card login. To make a payment online or manage your account, follow the link provided below on this page to the Johnson Bank credit card login. You will also find useful “pay my bill” information such as the credit card customer service number, payment mailing address, and billing phone number below.

Johnson Bank Credit Card Payment

The Johnson Bank Credit Card is issued by Elan Financial Services, and it is Elan who process and manage accounts and payments. For more help and information regarding your account, get in contact with 24-Hour customer services at 800-558-3424.

Pay Online: Once your account is up and running you should apply for the online cardholder service at My Account Access. This is Elan’s online account service, and it comes with various tools and features to help things fast, easy and convenient. Secure payments can be made at any time and you can review your card usage with online statements and account summaries. To make your Johnson Bank credit card payment online click the “Pay Online” button below to login, register, view your statement or manage your account online.

Pay by Phone: The Johnson Bank credit card payment phone number is 800-558-3424.

Pay by Mail: The Johnson Bank credit card payment address is: Cardmember Service, P.O. Box 790408, St. Louis, MO 63179-0408. If you are running out of time to make your payment you can mail a check or order overnight to: Cardmember Service 824 N 11th Street, St. Louis, MO 63101-1016.

Johnson Bank Credit Card Customer Service: The Johnson Bank credit card customer service number is 800-558-3424.

Johnson Bank Credit Card

In partnership with Elan Financial Services, Johnson Bank offer a range of attractive Visa credit cards. There are plenty of cards on offer, so chances are you will find a suitable card that pushes all the right buttons.

Here we shall take a look at one of the simplest cards on offer: The Visa Platinum. This card is not concerned with flashy rewards, but instead benefits you with low standard rates, introductory rates and Visa benefits. Akin to all Elan credit cards are the fair terms and conditions, and these also act to benefit you and protect you financially when you fail to keep your account in good standing.

The Johnson Bank Visa Platinum Credit Card offers 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months. After this introductory period is over, the standard rate will vary from 9.99% to 20.99% based on your credit profile – 9.99% is the lowest rate available with any Elan card. These long introductory periods give you more freedom to spend and the chance to save money on an existing balance. The cash advance APR is 23.99%.

The Visa Platinum offers a healthy line of credit to most applicants, and there are not over-limit fees and no penalty program. Late payments and returned payment fees are up to $35, but at least you do not get stuck with an indefinite penalty program.

Fees and Terms

The minimum interest charge is $2. This card comes with no annual fee. Transaction fees for things such as balance transfers and cash advances are 3%-4%. Foreign transaction fees are 2% for transactions in US dollars, and 3% for transactions in foreign currencies. The grace period lasts for a minimum of 24 days.

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Credit Card Payment

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