Posts Tagged ‘Pasadena Federal Credit Union’

Your Money is Safe at PFCU

5stardec16webNotice of a Change in Coverage:

Your peace of mind is important to us. Prior to 2008, an individual account was insured up to $100,000 by the National Credit Union Share Insurance (NCUSIF) and the Credit Union purchased an additional $250,000 coverage through a private insurance company, American Share Insurance (ASI). The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, signed into law on October 3, 2008, increased federal insurance coverage through NCUSIF on individual accounts to $250,000. On July 21, 2010 the coverage was made permanent. After analyzing the effects of this increase on the total membership less than 1% were not adequately covered under NCUSIF. As a nonprofit cooperative we strive to serve the needs of the membership and use funds entrusted to us wisely. The low percentage of accounts uninsured doesn’t justify the cost to continue the additional private ASI excess insurance coverage. Therefore effective January 1, 2017 this coverage will end.

The good news is there are many vesting options to add additional insurance coverage to your account that we would be happy to discuss with you. The NCUSIF fund is backed by the full faith and credit of the US government, just like the FDIC fund for banks. It is just a separate fund.

PFCU remains strong and well-capitalized. We continue to receive 5 Stars (highest rating) from Bauer Financial at www.bauerfinancial.com. Your money is safe at PFCU.

Ramnit: A Cyber Worm that Can Really Ruin Your Day

Staying ahead of malicious computer programmers is a challenge and requires an ever more complicated combination of precautions to ensure that your financial data is not getting into the wrong hands.

In a recent article, we warned you about “spiders” on the worldwide web.  Another particularly dangerous threat is known as a “worm”.  A worm is able to spread to other computers without being transmitted through e-mails or malicious websites.  One such worm is the “Ramnit” which has surfaced in Europe but is quickly spreading throughout the world.  The Ramnit takes advantage of the viral aspect of sites like Facebook.  Programmers realize that many people use the same password for social networking sites that they use for their bank accounts.  This makes it very easy for a worm to capture data and provide access to the funds of unsuspecting victims.  In addition, it sends messages to a user’s friends disguised as an article or other link and then prompts them to click.  As many as a million people a day click on erroneous links that then infect their computers, and the results can be a real headache.  If it seems unlikely that a friend would send you particular message, they probably didn’t.  Beware. 

Pasadena Federal Credit Union constantly monitors fraud alerts and works with online services that invest millions of dollars annually in security.  Our web hosting company has received numerous awards for their attention to security and we regularly review their efforts. 

Unfortunately, even a well-constructed password by itself is not very effective these days in protecting accounts.  Our new Online Banking and Bill Pay upgrade includes some new multi-factor authentication steps.

            -A site phrase selected by the user

            -A site key, which is a picture unique to each individual that helps verify they are on the actual site they intend to log into and not an imposter site

            -Security Questions

Never use the same password for multiple accounts and do not use a password a stranger could guess, such as your birthdate, social security number, address, nickname or other information.   These can open the door to identity theft.  Keep a log of hints that would help you recall a password but which would be meaningless to anyone else.   

When answering security questions that are things others might easily discover about you, such as names of relatives, your favorite color, etc. consider purposefully choosing an alternative answer (one that you will remember).  For example, if your niece is named Susie but she has blond hair, you might consider saying her name is “Blondie”.  Remember that someone who gains access to your social network also gains access to a potentially rich mine of information about you.  They can often determine things such as the names of family members, so those answers may not be the best ones to protect you. 

We have a very helpful demo on our website that walks members through some the exciting and helpful changes effective on our Per$onal Branch Online Banking and Bill Pay beginning February 9, 2012.  Watch it to familiarize yourself with these changes.

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.

Fuel Efficient Cars Pay For Themselves … And Then Some!

 

There are now many fuel-efficient cars on the market to save you money.

Even though gas has dropped below $4 per gallon, if you have a long commute to work, run errands on the weekend and/or take trips out of town, fuel takes a big chunk out of your monthly budget. If you drive an SUV, large pickup truck or an old gas guzzling sedan, the hit to your wallet is even greater.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could reduce your fuel bill AND drive a new car? You can! In fact, a brand new fuel efficient car could pay for itself in the first month … and then some!

According to the gas mileage savings calculator on auto website edmunds.com, if you trade in a 2007 Chevrolet Suburban, Cadillac Escalade or Dodge Ram 2500 Quad Cab for a 2011 Toyota Yaris sedan, Chevrolet Aveo sedan, or even a Volkswagen Jetta, you would save from $271 to $372 per month on gas: easily covering a monthly loan payment after your trade-in, and then some*.  In some cases, the value on your SUV may actually be worth more than your new car!

Let’s look at some specific numbers.

Say you own a 2007 Chevy Suburban LT 2500, and trade it in for a 2011 Volkswagen Jetta four-door sedan.  The Suburban is still worth $17,265, and the new Jetta with typical options sells for only $15,450.  Now, let’s assume you financed the Suburban over six years and still owe $15,000.  If you sell it for $15,000 and pay off your loan, you’d have to finance the entire Jetta.

A deal breaker?  Nope!  You’d still come out ahead.  Way ahead.

Let’s assume you have average credit and don’t qualify for the lowest available rate; we’ll assume you have an interest rate of 6.99% APR. Your Suburban monthly payment was $681.77, and the SUV only gets 14 miles to the gallon.  Your new Jetta, financed over five years, would have a monthly payment of $305.86; and, gets 29 miles to the gallon.

So, you’d save $271 per month on gas alone … PLUS, another $375.91 on your monthly car loan payment … AND, you’d be driving a brand new car!

That’s almost $650 added to your monthly budget, a better choice for the environment, and a brand new car that’s covered by a dealer’s warranty!  You’d save even more if you purchased a smaller vehicle that has even better gas mileage than the Jetta.

How much is your used vehicle worth?  Edmunds.com is a good resource, but you might also want to try Clearbook.com, a popular new website that uses used car listings to determine the current market value of your vehicle. Simply enter your zip code, make, model, options, mileage and condition to receive a low, average and high price.

Loan rates still at historic lows, making the cost of financing a new vehicle very affordable. At PFCU, our loan rates for new and used cars are currently as low as 2.99% APR for terms up to 5 years.  You can apply online or print an application to complete and return to us by mail, fax, or in a branch.

*Gas savings based on 2,000 miles per month at $3.80/gallon gas.  Loan payments assume an interest rate of 6.99% APR.

Arroyo Time Bank: People Helping People

Time is money
Time can be a valuable currency

The credit union motto is “People Helping People” and that’s what our new community partner, Arroyo Time Bank is all about.  Learn more in this informative Guest Blog:

What is Time Banking?

At its most basic level, time banking is simply about building community one hour at a time by doing something for someone else in the community. That hour is recorded in the time bank, then you get an hour to spend on having someone help you. It’s a simple idea, but it has powerful ripple effects in building community connections. Have you ever wished you had someone to help you get something done during your day? In a Time Banking community, your neighbors help you get it done.

Our Relationship with Money and PCFU

Pasadena Federal Credit Union (PCFU) and the Arroyo Time Bank (ATB) both value community and work to strengthen the community as a whole, which is why we chose Pasadena Federal Credit Union as our financial institution. 

    Currency, at its most basic level, is a medium of exchange, a way to get things or get things done. As such, using time as a currency is complementary to what you do with your regular currency (U.S. dollars). Instead of banking on the gold standard, time banking uses the “friendship standard” to create an alternative currency. Your investment in your relationships creates your earning and spending capacity.

As a banking institution, PFCU supports and builds the community through community oriented lending practices and community service. A time bank like ATB builds one-on-one relationships in the community through reciprocity. This reciprocity is tracked through the earning and spending of time credits. 

Time banking is not intended to replace money. It is intended to build community, providing a safety net of friendship for us all.

Five Core Values

There are five core values in time banking. First, we are all assets. We believe that every human being has something to contribute.

Second is redefining work, the concept that some work is beyond price; valuing whatever it takes to raise healthy children, advance social justice, and make the planet sustainable. That kind of work needs to be honored, recorded, and rewarded.

Third is reciprocity. Helping works better as a two-way street. We can help each other build the world we both will live in.

Fourth is building social networks. We need each other. Networks are stronger than individuals. People helping each other reweave communities of support, strength and trust.

Fifth is respect. Every human being matters. Respect underlies freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and everything we value. Respect supplies the heart and soul of democracy. When respect is denied to anyone, we all are injured. Time Banking honors the unique gifts, talents and resources that each of us has to share, regardless of age, employment or ethnic background.

Our Projects
      The Arroyo Time Bank pioneers and supports several community-wide projects to fit the needs of our diverse community. These include the following: the Neighborhood Fruit Picking Project, the Altadena Urban Farmer’s Market, and the Neighborhood Resilience Project at the Armory’s Madison Casita.
 

For more information on Arroyo Time Bank events, projects, and for instructions on how to join, please visit the Arroyo Time Bank website  AND, Arroyo Time Bank members are now eligible to join PFCU!

Safety First at the ATM

ATM, PIN, Safety, Security

Don't Let Others See Your PIN

On Sunday night, March 27, a young Moreno Valley woman was killed at a drive-up ATM machine.  As we grieve for her tragic loss,  it serves as a reminder to each of us to do what we can to protect ourselves and others as we go about our daily activities. 

ATM machines are convenient and easy to use.   As we drop by an ATM to get cash quickly, it can be easy to let our guard down.  Here are some quick and easy tips to help keep you safe:

-If the ATM you’re about to use doesn’t look right, don’t use it.  If you are at all uncomfortable, find another ATM.  PFCU members can text an address, intersection or zip code to 692667 to locate surcharge-free ATMsDroid and iPhone apps are also available to locate 7-Eleven V-Com machines available indoors, 24/7.

– Be wary of anything about the ATM that looks out of the ordinary, such as odd-looking or unfamiliar equipment.

– Be leery of a jammed ATM or persons surrounding the ATM, pretending to be technicians.

-If possible, use an indoor ATM machine, especially at night.  PFCU members can use any 7-Eleven, Costco, or Bank of the West ATM machine free of surcharges.  One of our ATMs is also located inside the Pasadena Police Department lobby.

-If you must use an outdoor ATM at night, ensure that it is well-lit, and that there are no shrubs or bushes or other large objects a person can hide behind nearby

-Bring someone with you when you use the machine, if possible

-Stay alert, look around you as you perform your transaction, multi-tasking is admirable, but this is not the time to be distracted with a cell phone call

-Have your ATM or Debit card in your hand and ready to use before approaching the machine

 -Leave your wallet in your pocket.

-If anyone suspicious starts to approach you, cancel your transaction and leave immediately

-If anyone follows you after you withdraw from an ATM, go to a crowded area and call the police

-If you use a machine in an enclosed area that requires your card to enter, do not allow anyone to follow you in

-Even though it’s a quick stop, don’t leave your engine running, your car doors unlocked or your keys in the ignition

-Immediately put your cash, ATM card and receipt away upon receiving them.  Do not count your cash at the machine, even inside a store or restaurant.  You don’t want anyone nearby to see how much cash you have.  Save your receipt. 

– Check your accounts regularly to make sure there are no unauthorized transactions.

– If your ATM card is lost or stolen, or you suspect fraudulent activity, promptly notify the Credit Union

-When using a drive-up ATM, ensure that all doors are locked and passenger windows are shut

-Try to avoid a drive-up ATM situated in such a way that your car is “trapped” from being able to drive away quickly if necessary.

-Using your free hand, shield the pin pad from the view of others when entering your PIN (Personal Identification Number)

-Memorize your PIN and never write it down

-When traveling, make sure you know the numeric version of your PIN, as some foreign ATMs do not include letters on the keypad

Debit cards are a safe, convenient alternative to carrying cash and are accepted at most stores and restaurants.  Traveler’s Checks are also great when going out of the country.  As much as possible, plan ahead.  When visiting a branch, try to anticipate instances when you will need cash and withdraw accordingly.  Many grocery stores will allow cash back on an ATM or debit card transaction and there is usually no fee.  Pick up a few incidentals or a pack of gum to receive cash in a secure location. 

Your safety is important to us.  Use common sense and don’t take chances.  It’s just not worth the risk.

The Savings Plan by Sammy Rabbit

The Savings Plan by Sammy Rabbit 

Hello friends!  

It is smart to have a money plan and do all you can to work that plan. It is smart to know where you want your money to go so it gets there and just doesn’t end up anywhere.  That’s what a plan can do – help you put your money where you want to. If you stick to it, you can do it. 

Here are a few things to know about plans: A good plan is in writing. A good plan is clear and easy to understand. A good plan has a start and an end date. A good plan includes small steps. A smart person puts energy, enthusiasm and pep into working each of those steps. A smart person reviews their plan regularly. A smart person gives their plan time to work. A smart person adjusts their plan when they know for sure the plan is not working. 

Anyone can have a plan and smart people do. So should you. You are smart too. You can do it! Now, go get to it! 

Your friend,

 

 PFCU has lots of ways to help kids save.  Check out the Kid’s Club at www.pfcu.org and become one of Sammy’s Pals!

 Make your Savings Plan today!  Download and print your goal setting sheet for free.

  http://www.pfcu.org/site/KidsClubSaving.pdf
 

Learn more about Sammy and his mission to help kids get in the habit of saving money and make dreams come true at www.itsahabit.com

© 2009 The It’s a Habit Company, Inc.