Posts Tagged ‘credit card’

What You Need to Know About Your EMV Chip Card



Does your Credit or Debit Card look a little different?

PFCU recently began sending out EMV Chip Cards to our members with VISA® Credit Cards, and will soon begin issuing them to our members with Debit Cards. Just what are these cards, and how do they differ from the cards we’re all used to? One big advantage is a decrease in risk from data breaches like those that occurred at Home Depot and Target recently.



Check out this helpful video.

Here is some helpful information on the cards from our Ann Davidsom, VP of Risk Consulting at our partner, Allied Solutions:

Chip Card Facts for Consumers

• For cardholder protection, the mini computerized chip on the card uses a dynamic card verification value (dCVV) that changes with each transaction. This will help prevent fraudsters from being able to perform a subsequent card authorization.
• Make your chip card the payment of choice to help reduce the risk of card fraud.
• Protect your card or card number from unauthorized activity and don’t let your card out of your possession.
Using Chip Cards
1. Check to confirm your card has chip technology.
2. If your card has a chip on it, don’t swipe the magnetic stripe if the point-of-sale device is chip enabled.
3. Look for the card insert below the PIN pad on the card reading device to insert your chip card into.
4. Once your card is inserted, do not remove it until the sales associate or the machine says it’s approved.
5. If you were assigned a PIN with your chip card, enter your PIN after you have inserted the card. Remember, do not pull your card out until the transaction is approved.
6. If a PIN is not assigned to your chip card, insert your chip card and allow the sales associated to perform an authorization.
7. Swipe the card on the card reader if the merchant’s device is not chip enabled.

As new technology is introduced, PFCU will integrate it into our products and services to keep our members safe.

We’ve been doing it since 1935.

Time to Escape Banking Fees! Time to Join PFCU!

There's no time like the present to escape bank fees and mediocre service by joining a credit union.

Why a credit union?  Why PFCU?  There are LOTS of reasons! 

Suze Orman, Jane Bryant Quinn and numerous financial websites such as CULookup, Find a Credit Union and  to name a few, have been touting credit unions for years.  The clamor reached a fever pitch recently when big banks announced plans to begin charging people to use their debit cards.  When something has been free and suddenly isn’t, people notice.  Actually, there have been more subtle ways that bank customers have been paying more and getting less for several years.  Even as the economy worsened, many consumers saw dramatic increases in credit card rates over the past decade.  Fees of all sorts increased or appeared seemingly out of thin air.  People are feeling it more than ever and are looking for alternatives.

So why a credit union?  There are lots of very good reasons.  First, a credit union is a non-profit financial cooperative owned by members, not stockholders and run by a volunteer Board of Directors from the local community who are also members, rather than a board, which receives compensation and may not otherwise be connected to the people who bank there.  Consequently, credit union earnings which exceed operating expenses are returned to the members in the form of lower rates on loans, higher rates on savings, and fewer fees.  The difference can be quite stark.  The credit union motto is “People Helping People” and we take that very seriously.  That’s why you will see credit union employees out in the community teaching financial literacy, volunteering for community service, and offering sensible, low-cost financial services to our area, including those who under-served by other financial institutions. 

If you are thinking of joining a credit union, Pasadena Federal Credit Union is an outstanding choice!  It’s no accident PFCU was voted “2011 Best Bank/Credit Union in the San Gabriel Valley” by the readers of the Pasadena Star News, Whittier Daily News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune and LA Times.  We have outstanding loan and deposit products and exemplary service our members rave about. 

Take credit cards for example.  Suze Orman refers viewers and readers to, a site that has ranked all of the credit cards for banks and credit unions nationwide.  PFCU has received five out of five stars and made the “Dean’s List”.  Our card has no annual fee, no cash advance fee, no balance transfer fee, no over-the-limit fee and no default rate.  Wait until you see our low APR, which is well-below even the low end of the national average quoted in a recent AP article

PFCU has the same low rate for new or used car loans.  We allow deposits of at least $1,000 at a time to Share Certificates.  We don’t charge you to use your debit card.  You can use our Coinstar™ machine to deposit up to $100 in coin each day for FREE as a member

PFCU is also more convenient than you might think!  Although there is one branch with our name on it, it’s like we have more than 4,000 branches nationwide because we team up with other credit unions.  Go to to find a shared branch location near you that allows you to deposit and withdraw from PFCU accounts and make PFCU loan payments as long as you have your account number and ID with you.  There is also an iPhone or Droid app to make finding a branch even easier. 

PFCU does not charge to use ANY ATM machine.  You may incur charges at a bank ATM, but with more than 28,000 surcharge-free ATMs nationwide including 7-Eleven, Costco and Bank of the West, you won’t need to use one of those machines.  Just text an address, intersection or zip code to 692667 (MYCO-OP) or go to the locations tab of our website.  There are free phone apps and navigation apps as well. 

What are you waiting for?  The time is NOW to join a credit union.  PFCU is a smart choice you will be happy about for years to come.

Let Your Pink Slip Help You Get Out of the Red

Your pink slip could be your ticket to lower rates!

Many people have worked hard to get their cars paid off and still have plenty of miles to go before they need a new vehicle.  It’s a great feeling to have that pink slip in hand!  But, if one still has credit card payments or other unsecured debt, money may be slipping away.  If you are in that position, why not let your pink slip work for you?

While mortgage rates are at historic lows, many people with good credit can get even lower rates with a loan against their vehicle.  At PFCU, for example, our best rate can be had on new or used vehicles for up to 60 months, and there is no pre-payment penalty, so if things change you can react easily.  Consolidating higher interest debt with a car loan can help your credit score, too.   But be careful.   These loans, which are often referred to as “Car Title Loans” or “Pink Slip Loans”, are offered by a score of predatory lenders, but they are actually the same car loans your credit union has always offered!  Isn’t it great to know you can get a fantastic rate without all the fees at a credit union known and loved in the community like PFCU?  You can even apply right here, right now!

There are a few things to consider when determining if refinancing a vehicle with a clear title makes sense. 

  1. What is the value of the car?  Is it an older vehicle?  PFCU will finance up to 100% of Kelly Retail Bluebook value of cars 2003 or newer, although the rate on model years 2003-2004 is a bit higher.  
  2. How is your credit?  In most cases, your rate will be determined by your credit score.  Applying for a loan is quick and easy, and your loan officer will be able to tell you what your rate and payment will be.  A peek at your credit card statements will show how much you are paying toward interest every month, and they generally indicate how long it will take to pay off the balance if you just make the minimum payment. It can be very discouraging to make payments month after month with little reduction in the principal. An auto loan is usually amortized to pay off completely in two to seven years.  Remember how you paid off that car once?  You can do it again! 
  3. When do you plan to get a new car?  A good practice when paying off a car loan is to put the amount of the former payment into a savings account for maintenance and repairs, and ultimately for a down payment on a new car.  If you haven’t done that, you will need to make sure you can cover maintenance and have the means to get a new car when the time comes.  Chances are, by paying off your credit cards with a car loan, you will lower your payments each month.  Perhaps you can start by putting the difference away into a savings account earmarked for car expenses, whether it’s maintenance or repairs on your current vehicle, or a down payment.  
  4. Get Gap coverage and Mechanical Breakdown Insurance.  The Gap will pay off your loan if your car is stolen or totaled and you owe more than it’s worth.  Plus, with ours you even get $1,000 toward a new car! 

 Mechanical Breakdown Insurance will help you manage repair costs so there are no surprises.  It’s like the extended warranty you get at the dealer, but MUCH less expensive.

To summarize, refinancing a vehicle with a clear title is something to explore.  Call one of our friendly loan specialists and we can help you determine if it makes sense for you right over the phone.  Your pink slip might get you from red ink to black sooner than you think.

Don’t See Red on Black Friday!

Holiday Bills
Don’t Dampen the holiday cheer with too much spending

The Friday after Thanksgiving Day has come to be known as “Black Friday” because it is a day where many retailers that operate “in the red” much of the year actually turn a profit, thus “going into the black”.  But it can have an ominous connotation for shoppers who aren’t careful.  Indeed, a poll conducted by Harris Interactive for the National Endowment for Financial Education® (NEFE®) shows that 51% of American adults plan to brave the crowds in the early morning hours to shop for bargains.  Most will do so without a plan.  Don’t let it happen to you! 

Take a Lesson from Old Scrooge

How much can you afford to spend?  Do you have money saved up?  Many credit unions have Holiday Club accounts that allow you to set aside a little every paycheck for use at the holidays.  If not, be very careful about racking up huge credit card bills.  With interest and any fees, you’ll end up paying much more for an item, and keep paying for it long after the lights have come down and everyone has moved on.  It’s possible, in fact, that you may still be paying today on balances you’ve accumulated on Christmases past.  Remember Scrooge from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol?  He was visited by the ghost of past Christmases and saw what the future would look like if he didn’t change his ways.  You can’t change the past, but you can make intelligent choices today that can make all your future days more merry and bright! 

Make a List, Check it Twice

Assuming the loved ones in your life have been nice, it’s important to get them something they will appreciate without a flow of red ink.  If you haven’t asked them what they want, doing so can save you time and help ensure that they appreciate what you get them. 

Consider a Gift of Service

Be creative.  My brother and his wife obtained some of my old baby and childhood pictures from my Mom, scanned them, and had them put into a beautiful bound book.  There are many online services that will do this very inexpensively these days.  It was personal and is a real treasure.  Do you have a family member who just loves your brownies, cookies or homemade jam?  Are you great at fixing cars and have a relative who needs some work done?  Mechanic bills add up quickly!  If you have culinary skills, what about preparing a romantic dinner for friends?  Put your talents to work and it will mean so much more than a gift hastily selected and save you money. 

For items you purchase, take some time before you hit the stores to research online.  Search for items on your list and find the best prices.  Most retailers will advertise their Black Friday specials because they want you to come in.  Read the fine print.  Sometimes there may only be a handful of advertised items at a given price.  When you do hit the stores, stick to your list.  If you see something not on it that is a great bargain, it’s only a bargain if you actually need it to replace something else on the list.  This is about blowing through your list and sticking to your budget. 

You may run across great deals on items for yourself.  Consider these points before adding it to your cart:

  1. Is it something I need, or something I want?
  2. It’s a great deal, but can I afford it?  If I have to put it on credit, how quickly can I pay it back?  It stops being a great deal if you end up paying a lot of interest for it. 
  3. Can I ask someone else to get it for me as a gift?

Online Alternative

If you have family living out-of-state, shipping costs can be scarier than the ghost of Jacob Marley!  Some online retailers will waive shipping costs for purchases over a certain amount.  Some will even gift wrap for you.  Online retailers have different ways of structuring their prices, offering an item very inexpensively but then building a lot of their profit into the “Shipping and handling” charges.  Sometimes you wonder if the ‘handling” part involves a limo ride and a goose down packaging!

While you’re at it, don’t forget the gift of credit union membership!  More people every day are discovering the benefits of belonging to PFCU and Suze Orman and Jane Bryant Quinn are two big advocates.  It’s free and a benefit your friends and family will appreciate for years to come.  Referring is easy, and PFCU will enter you into a drawing for $750 at the end of the year.  Now that’s a great way to pay off your Christmas bills!