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Millions of Americans are taking a financial hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you count yourself among them, you might be looking for some stability and ways you can save some money…

article preview image What Does It Mean to Be a Member?
Millions of Americans are taking a financial hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you count yourself among them, you might be looking for some stability and ways you can save some money. Fortunately, one of the simplest ways to get more out of your financial accounts is to become a member of a credit union. But how different is it really to be a credit union member versus a bank customer?
 
You’re a Co-Owner
Credit unions are owned by their members. It’s why every credit union requires a small deposit in a share account — this contribution represents your stake in the credit union. As a member-owner, you’re entitled to vote for the board of directors, giving you direct say in the leadership of your financial institution. At Advancial Federal Credit Union, you can cast your vote during our Annual Meeting held in the first quarter of each year. In contrast, bank customers rarely have any say in how business is run. Instead, the board of directors is elected by shareholders who may or may not have customer interests at heart.

You’re Part of a Community
Many credit unions, including Advancial, limit their membership to people who share the same community or workplace. This means your fellow members likely live or work in the same space as you. By focusing on a limited member-base, you’ll find that credit unions do a better job of meeting your unique needs compared to the big banks you see everywhere.

You Get Better Rates and Fewer Fees
Because credit unions are non-profit and member-owned, all earnings are used to benefit the members. This means members can expect to pay less in fees and interest. Plus, they can enjoy higher rates on savings accounts. Meanwhile, customers at banks are frequently taken advantage of to boost profits. Checking account maintenance fees and paltry interest rates on savings accounts are the norm and show little sign of changing.

You’re Treated Better
Credit unions have historically maintained higher customer satisfaction ratings, thanks to their strong emphasis on member service. Plus, members will discover services that simply don’t exist with the big banks. Have you ever wanted to manage your accounts in-person, but you’re traveling with no familiar branches anywhere? Credit unions, like Advancial, are part of shared branch networks, meaning you can use the services of any credit union in the network. There are over 5,000 shared branches available to Advancial members. Plus, Advancial reimburses fees from all non-Advancial ATMs, meaning our members don’t lose a cent to ATM fees when they aren’t near one of our branches.

You Get the Financial Features You Want
No need to worry about missing any features offered by banks! Checking accounts, savings accounts, youth accounts, credit cards, loans, online banking, a mobile app, mobile wallet compatibility, phone support, chat support, email support and financial education resources are all available at your local credit union.

Are You Happy with Your Financial Institution?
If you’re still a customer at a for-profit bank, now’s a great time to make the switch to a not-for-profit credit union. At Advancial, we offer checking accounts with no monthly fees, no foreign transaction fees, no ATM fees and no minimum account balance requirement. Plus, you can enjoy the benefits of monthly dividends and debit card rewards. Start enjoying our higher deposit rates, lower loan rates and great services by becoming a member at joinadvancial.org.
 

Love your car, but not your loan? Many Americans are paying way too much on their auto loan each month, averaging about $550 per month on new car payments.* If your loan payments…

article preview image Your Guide to Auto Refinancing

Love your car, but not your loan? Many Americans are paying way too much on their auto loan each month, averaging about $550 per month on new car payments.* If your loan payments are too high for your budget or you’re overpaying on interest, then refinancing might be right for you.

What Is Refinancing?

Refinancing is when you replace your current loan with a new one from a different lender. For example, you might have applied for your original loan with a bank that partnered with the car dealership. You decide to refinance through your local credit union, which buys out your original loan. From there, you make your new auto loan payment to your credit union.

A refinanced loan can have an entirely different term length and interest rate than your original loan. So if you’re unhappy with any of your current loan’s terms, it might be time to refinance.

When to Consider Refinancing

You should consider refinancing your auto loan in the following situations:

• The original interest rate was high. A lot can change in the months after buying a car. For example, the Federal Reserve may cut interest rates, lowering rates for many types of new loans. If you’re looking to lower your interest payments, refinancing after rates have dropped is an easy way to save.

• Your credit has improved. If you’ve been making timely payments on your auto loan, there’s a good chance your credit has improved. The better your credit history and the higher your credit score, the more you’re seen as a responsible borrower by lenders. This means you’re more likely to be approved for a loan with a great rate.

• You want to lower your monthly payments. Are car payments taking a big bite out of your paycheck? Refinancing your loan could reduce your monthly payment. This can be accomplished by extending the loan, such as from 36 months to 48 months. For example, maybe you originally borrowed $30,000 with a 36 month term and 3.8% interest rate. Your loan would be $883 per month. After six months, you have $25,234 left and decide to refinance. Even if the interest rate stayed the same, if the new loan had a 48 month term, you would pay only $568 per month.

Another factor to keep in mind: how long you’ve been paying your current loan. It’s more financially savvy to refinance when you’ve not been making payments for too long. That’s because you pay more interest in the beginning and less toward the end of your payment plan.

How to Refinance Your Auto Loan

It doesn’t take long to apply for a refinance, and many applicants can receive a decision in just a few minutes. Follow these steps and you’ll be on your way toward a refinanced auto loan:

1. Check your credit. Before submitting an application, you should be reasonably confident that you’ll qualify for the loan you want. Pull a free credit report from annualcreditreport.com to see if your credit history is in your favor and has no mistakes. You can also check your credit score to get an idea of the interest rate you’ll qualify for.

2. Gather information. You may need to provide the following:

• 10-day payoff amount

• Account number, monthly payment amount, months remaining and interest rate of your current loan

• Current lender’s address

• Driver’s license

• Pay stubs from work

• Social Security number

• Vehicle identification number, mileage, proof of insurance and registration

3. Submit the application. It costs nothing to submit an application and you can expect an answer quickly.

4. Verify the switch is worth it. Use an auto refinance calculator to help you decide if it’s worth refinancing your loan. You should carefully consider whether it’s more important to pay off your loan quickly or lower your monthly payments.

5. Complete the loan forms. Confirm the interest rate and term length and sign the final documents. Your new lender will then pay off the old loan and you’ll start making payments on your new loan.

Switch to a Loan You Like

Learn more about Advancial’s auto loan options, including rates and current offers. You can also apply online today.





 

* Source: LendingTree.

In times like this, you want to be confident that the savings you set aside will be there when you need it. If you’re looking for a safe place to keep your savings for a set period of…
article preview image Stack Up Savings with a Certificate

In times like this, you want to be confident that the savings you set aside will be there when you need it. If you’re looking for a safe place to keep your savings for a set period of time, a savings certificate is a great solution. A certificate earns higher dividend rates than a regular savings account, which can help you reach your goals faster.

You might be surprised by how much you can earn when you let your account balance grow!

Put Your Savings to Work

When you open a savings certificate, you agree to keep your money on deposit for a set amount of time. Certificates are available in terms from three months to five years. In general, the longer you commit your funds, the better the rate you’ll earn. It’s important to choose a maturity date in line with your goals because there may be a penalty for early withdrawal.

When a certificate matures at the end of the term, there’s a grace period, usually about a week, when the funds can be withdrawn. After the grace period, certificates are automatically renewable, making reinvestment quick and easy.

Types of Certificates

Advancial’s lineup of certificates provides more ways to maximize your savings:

  • Regular Certificate — start saving with a minimum of $1,000. Choose from a range of terms available, including 3, 6, 12 and 18 months, and 2, 3, 4 and 5 years.
  • Junior Jumbo and Jumbo Certificates — earn higher annual percentage yield (APY) with a minimum balance requirement of $25,000 (Junior Jumbo) or $50,000 (Jumbo).
  • Milestone Certificate — this add-on certificate has a low minimum of $100 and allows you to add funds to your certificate at your own pace. You’ll be rewarded with higher yields for each milestone you reach.
  • Starter Certificate — these certificates for Money Musketeers® and Dinero Teens® offer low minimums and competitive rates for young savers who meet the age requirements.
  • IRA Certificate — save for retirement with the protection of a certificate and the tax advantages of an individual retirement account (IRA).
Building a Certificate Ladder

You can buy a series of certificates with staggered maturities to have access to a portion of your funds at regular intervals. This strategy, called laddering, can help you take advantage of the best interest rates when rates are changing. If rates are falling, a portion of your money is still earning the higher rates that were available earlier. And if they’re rising, a portion of your money is available to reinvest at the higher rates at regular intervals.

To create a certificate ladder, open a series of certificates with different maturity dates. For example, if you have $4,000 to put into certificates, you might invest $1,000 each in six-month, 12-month, 18-month and two-year certificates. As each certificate matures, you have the option to use the money or reinvest it.

Take Advantage of the Benefits

When you’re ready to start saving, visit advancial.org to open a certificate online or call 800.322.2709 with questions.

Scammers are taking advantage of fears surrounding the Coronavirus. They’re setting up websites to sell bogus products, and using fake emails, texts, and social media posts as a ruse to…
a girl on her phone who is wearing a face mask. How Scammers are using COVID-19
Scammers are taking advantage of fears surrounding the Coronavirus. They’re setting up websites to sell bogus products, and using fake emails, texts, and social media posts as a ruse to take your money and get your personal information.

The emails and posts may be promoting awareness and prevention tips, and fake information about cases in your neighborhood. They also may be asking you to donate to victims, offering advice on unproven treatments, or contain malicious email attachments.

Here are some tips to help you keep the scammers at bay:
  • Don’t click on links from sources you don’t know. It could download a virus onto your computer or device. Make sure the anti-malware and anti-virus software on your computer is up to date.
  • Watch for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or experts saying that have information about the virus. For the most up-to-date information about the Coronavirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • Ignore online offers for vaccinations. If you see ads touting prevention, treatment, or cure claims for the Coronavirus, ask yourself: if there’s been a medical breakthrough, would you be hearing about it for the first time through an ad or sales pitch?
  • Do your homework when it comes to donations, whether through charities or crowdfunding sites. Don’t let anyone rush you into making a donation. If someone wants donations in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money, don’t do it.
  • Be alert to “investment opportunities.” The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is warning people about online promotions, including on social media, claiming that the products or services of publicly-traded companies can prevent, detect, or cure coronavirus and that the stock of these companies will dramatically increase in value as a result
Your first experience with saving money may have come from putting spare change in a piggy bank. Over time, the piggy likely got heavier and fuller until one day, you broke it open to buy that…
a girl and a piggy bank Savings Accounts: More Than a Piggy Bank


Your first experience with saving money may have come from putting spare change in a piggy bank. Over time, the piggy likely got heavier and fuller until one day, you broke it open to buy that toy you had been saving for. This is a good lesson in delaying gratification – putting money aside today to use later. But modern savings accounts offer more than a secure place to store money. Savings accounts allow you to earn interest on the money you save, and when combined with other features, can help you to save for future purchases, pay down debt or prepare for unforeseen expenses.


 

What is a savings account?

There are many types of savings accounts, but all savings accounts share common features:

● An account where you can securely deposit and store money

● FDIC or NCUA insured, meaning if anything happens to the bank or credit union, the government will insure your account up to $250,000

● You can earn interest/dividends on the money in your account

● Pre-authorized withdrawals from accounts are limited to 6 per month, as dictated by federal law — but this does not include in-person transactions made through tellers and ATMs

Where to start

Financial experts recommend building an emergency savings for unforeseen expenses; the frequently recommended amount is enough to cover three months of your living expenses, but even $500 can be a great help.

Types of savings accounts
Every financial institution offers savings accounts with unique features, but here are a few of the most common: 
  • Youth Savings Accounts — Youth savings accounts typically have a very low minimum deposit, no fees and may offer features that incentivize kids to learn the benefits of savings, such as Advancial’s Money Musketeers Kids Savings Club and Dinero Teens program.
  • Basic Savings Accounts — Basic savings accounts usually offer interest rates from 0.01% to 2.00%. The minimum to open a basic savings account is often very low, at Advancial just a $5 initial deposit is required, but required daily balances can vary widely and may correspond to the interest rate. For instance, maintaining a higher average monthly balance may be tied to a higher interest/dividend rate. While many savings accounts are free, some have fees — often tied to meeting certain conditions such as daily minimum balance, maintaining linked accounts or monthly transaction minimums.
  • Savings Certificates — Savings certificates, also called Certificates of Deposit (CDs), usually offer higher interest rates than basic savings accounts — in exchange for locking in your money for a specified length of time, or term. You can access your money before the term is up, but you will usually pay a penalty for doing so. Often, you can secure higher rates when you deposit larger sums of money. Advancial offers flexible savings certificates so you can set the term for any length of time from three to five years.
  • Money Market Accounts — Money market accounts offer higher dividends on larger initial deposits or tiered rates that change as your deposits grow, with the additional advantage that your money is easily accessible.
  • Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) — IRAs are retirement savings accounts with tax advantages. Earnings from the money you deposit in an IRA are tax-deferred until retirement. You can begin to draw money from your IRA without penalty at age 59 ½. There are some limitations on the amount you can deposit each year.
  • College Savings Accounts — 529 Savings Accounts and Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) are two accounts specifically intended for college tuition. Both accounts allow you to contribute after-tax dollars with tax-free earning.
Choosing the right account for you

Finding the right savings account depends on your financial goals. Look for the best annual percentage yield (APY) that meets your needs for minimum open, average daily balance and fee structure. Also make sure that your account is easy to use. Saving money isn’t always easy — so choose an account that makes deposits convenient, either online or close to home, or one that links to an existing checking account.

Whatever account you chose, make saving money a financial habit. Check out Advancial Federal Credit Union’s suite of savings accounts and other investment vehicles to get started.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

https://www.thebalance.com/types-of-savings-accounts-315775
https://www.valuepenguin.com/banking/average-bank-interest-rates
https://www.thebalance.com/savings-accounts-4073268
https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/banking/savings-accounts-basics/?trk=nw_gn1_4.0

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Displaying results 1-5 (of 101)
What Does It Mean to Be a Member?
Millions of Americans are taking a financial hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you count yourself among them, you might be looking for some stability and ways you can save some money. Fortunately, one of the simplest ways to get more out o…
Your Guide to Auto Refinancing
Love your car, but not your loan? Many Americans are paying way too much on their auto loan each month, averaging about $550 per month on new car payments. * If your loan payments are too high for your budget or you’re overpaying on interes…
Stack Up Savings with a Certificate
In times like this, you want to be confident that the savings you set aside will be there when you need it. If you’re looking for a safe place to keep your savings for a set period of time, a savings certificate is a great solution. A certif…
How Scammers are using COVID-19
Scammers are taking advantage of fears surrounding the Coronavirus. They’re setting up websites to sell bogus products, and using fake emails, texts, and social media posts as a ruse to take your money and get your personal information. Th…
Savings Accounts: More Than a Piggy Bank
Your first experience with saving money may have come from putting spare change in a piggy bank. Over time, the piggy likely got heavier and fuller until one day, you broke it open to buy that toy you had been saving for. This is a good l…
Tax Season and Identity Theft
Tax season is underway and while some of us may put off filing our returns, the procrastinators don’t include tax identity thieves. They’re geared up and ready to file. Unfortunately, they may be ready to file to get your tax refund. Tax i…
Credit Card Debt? Tip the Balance in Your Favor
If you’re overwhelmed with high-interest credit card debt, or if you want to simplify your finances, you may want to consider a balance transfer. A balance transfer occurs when you move the amount you owe from one or more credit card accounts…
A First-Time Homebuyer's Guide
Buying a home is one of life’s biggest moments. For most people, it’s the biggest purchase they’ll ever make, and every penny is worth it when all goes well. But how can you increase your odds of landing the perfect, affordable home without …
Your Guide to Auto Loans
Buying a car requires a lot of time and research. And that’s just deciding on the model and features! So of course the financial aspect can seem overwhelming to add on top of everything else. That’s why we’ve created this guide to help you n…
Credit Scores 101
Three simple digits. That’s all it takes to capture the quality of your credit history. It seems simplistic, but credit scores are an important tool that lenders use for virtually all loan and credit applications. Those three digits help len…
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Displaying results 1-10 (of 101)

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