Articles

article preview image Check-Writing 101: What You Need to Know About Writing a Check
In an era of digital payments, you may not regularly need to write a check to complete a purchase. But at some point, you will likely want or need to write a check, because it’s the best option available, such as when you are:
 
  • Lacking cash on-hand or don’t have a credit or debit card
  • Shopping at a small business that doesn’t accept digital payments
  • Seeking to trace payment for an important transaction
  • Gifting money to someone
 
If you’ve never written a check before, know that it’s relatively easy, once you get the hang of it. For starters, be sure you have a Dinero Checking account, if you don’t have one already. It’s the perfect checking account for teens, as it offers no monthly service fee, unlimited check-writing, a free debit/ATM card, unlimited free ATM use and debit rewards – one point for every $5 spent.1 Plus, you can see all of your Dinero Checking transactions online or on your mobile device via cuAnywhere® banking.
 
How to Write a Check
 
With your Dinero Checking account, you’ll receive a deck of paper checks with your name printed in the upper left of each check. As shown in the accompanying graphic, there are seven simple steps for writing a check.

Advancial-OPI-Bank.jpg
 
  1. Enter the date in the line in the upper right corner. Be sure to write the month, date and year, either as “June 6, 2023” or “6/6/23”.
  2. Write the check recipient’s name in the “Pay to the order of” line on the left. Be sure to get the spelling of the check recipient right.
  3. Enter a dollar and cents amount, using numerals only, in the blank box with a dollar sign. Be sure to write out both dollar numerals and cents numerals, and put a decimal point between the dollar amount and cents amount. For example: “23.00”.
  4. Write out the dollar amount of your purchase using words and a fraction in the line right below the “Pay to the order of” line. Write the dollar amount first. For example: “Twenty-three”. Then, insert the word “and” followed by the cents amount, written as a fraction divided by 100. For example: “00/100”. Your complete line should then read: “Twenty-three and 00/100”. If there’s any room remaining on this line afterward, draw a straight line to the end of the blank.
  5. Write a reminder to yourself of what you’ve purchased in the “For” (or “Memo”) line in the lower left of the check. This will help you remember what you used this check to buy.
  6. Sign your full name on the signature line, in the lower right of the check. Use your given name, not a nickname, as this is a formal document. For example: “Anthony” not “Tony”.
  7. (Not pictured) Write a record of your check, including the check number, date, transaction description, and payment amount, in the check registry section of your checkbook. This will help you keep track of your checks written.
 
That’s it! If you have any questions about how to properly write a check, simply call or stop by your nearest Advancial branch office.
 
1Earn 1 point for every $5 spent on all non-PIN-based transactions.
If you’re a junior in high school (or will be soon) and you’re thinking of attending college, know your junior year is critically important. That’s because junior year is the…
class room Junior Year Rules! Why Your Junior Year in High School is Important
If you’re a junior in high school (or will be soon) and you’re thinking of attending college, know your junior year is critically important. That’s because junior year is the last full school year that colleges can review your high school performance, once you submit any college applications.
 
Your junior year also matters a lot because you’ll need to make key decisions – about current classes, future schooling and a career path – that will impact your next few years. Below are the most important items to think about for your junior year.
 
  • Class selection and grades – College admissions offices will pay close attention to the rigor of the junior year classes you select and the grades you earn. If you hope to gain entry to a selective college, you’ll want to take tougher classes and get good grades in them. Plan also to get to know your favorite junior year teachers well enough to ask them to write letters of recommendation for you for college.
  • Activities/athletics – If you choose during junior year to be in a school-related activity, like band or drama, or you’re part of a school athletic team, know that many colleges will review your extracurricular activities and interests as closely as your academics.
  • Career path – Where do you see yourself after your formal education ends? Perhaps in business, technology, education or something else? Your career interests will guide the types of colleges you consider. Or, if you don’t see college in your near future, you might consider joining the military, a civic service organization or the workforce after high school.
  • College planning – You can expect to receive lots of mail from colleges during your junior year. Colleges know it’s when students weigh their future education options, attend college fairs and visit colleges of interest. If you’re considering college, narrow your “short list” of school possibilities down to no more than 8-10.
  • Standardized tests – During junior year you might take the PSAT/NMSQT (Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test), which may qualify you for merit scholarships, AP Placement exams, if you took Advanced Placement classes, or the SAT or ACT, which many colleges still use as part of their admissions criteria. Some local school districts also require juniors to pass a qualifying test for high school graduation.
If you’re seriously thinking of college, plan now for its cost and how you’ll potentially pay for it. For 2022-2023, average annual tuition and fees (not counting room and board) are $39,723 at private colleges and $10,423 at public, in-state colleges. Many colleges potentially provide students with grants, scholarships and loans to help reduce and cover these costs. There are also several online sites to help you find other scholarship opportunities, such as this one.
 
If your parents are willing to help you pay for college, have that conversation now. If you have a part-time or school break job, you might consider dedicating some or all of your earnings to a designated “college fund” in a Dinero savings account. Advancial also offers student loans to help you fund college.
 
Life is full of choices, including deciding whether to bank with a credit union, like Advancial, or a traditional bank. Unlike banks, credit unions like Advancial are not-for-profit…
The Advancial difference Why Advancial Versus Other Alternatives?
Life is full of choices, including deciding whether to bank with a credit union, like Advancial, or a traditional bank. Unlike banks, credit unions like Advancial are not-for-profit organizations that exist exclusively to serve their members. Profits earned by a credit union return to members via higher savings rates, lower loan rates and reduced fees. Additionally, credit unions like Advancial generally offer more personal service to members than what banks typically provide.
 
Because of these differences, Advancial boasts a 94% retention rate with their members compared to the average customer retention rate of banks, which is 75%. In addition, when Advancial members were asked “On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to recommend Advancial to a friend or family member,” the average score was 8.4.
 
Why else should you consider being an Advancial member?
 
  • Advancial features democratic leadership – Unlike banks, which typically make decisions to benefit their stockholders and not necessarily their customers, credit unions like Advancial operate democratically, for the benefit of their members. Advancial is run by a volunteer board of directors elected by members to oversee the credit union’s operations and represent members’ best interests.
  • Advancial helps you save your money – By providing better interest rates and lower fees than what banks offer, credit unions like Advancial help you save more of your money. Even if your financial gain from Advancial is just $20 or $30 a month (and with many members, it’s much more), in a single year that adds up to hundreds of dollars extra for you! The Credit Union National Association estimates that members of credit unions like Advancial save around $13.5 billion per year in total over their banking counterparts!
  • Advancial emphasizes financial education – Unlike many banks, which have little to no interest in providing financial education to their customers, credit unions like Advancial are committed to improving their members’ financial knowledge. That’s why Advancial offers financial education to members of all ages – from young children to older adults – and why Advancial employees are always happy to answer members’ financial questions.
 
Contact Advancial to learn more about becoming a member of one of the nation’s oldest and strongest credit unions.
Household energy bills have been surging, making it more expensive than ever to heat, cool and electrify your home. If you’re still using older, less energy-efficient appliances or…
Energy-Efficient Appliances Consider the Benefits of Using More Energy-Efficient Appliances
Household energy bills have been surging, making it more expensive than ever to heat, cool and electrify your home. If you’re still using older, less energy-efficient appliances or reside in a less energy-efficient home, now may be an ideal time to upgrade. Doing so will not only significantly reduce your utility bills, it will also likely increase your property value and enhance your quality of life.
 
When considering more energy-efficient appliances, start with your home’s greatest energy-guzzlers. Heating and cooling appliances are by far the biggest energy-users in a home, typically comprising 40-50% of monthly energy use. Water heaters (gas or electric) consume about 14% of a home’s energy, closely followed by the washer/dryer at 13% and lighting at 12%. Your numbers may vary depending on the age and condition of your appliances and your energy consumption habits.
 
Whether considering a new furnace or heater, air conditioning unit, water heater or other major appliance, keep the following in mind:
 
  • Choose the right-sized appliance – A furnace or water heater too small for your home will need to run more often, potentially consuming more energy and shortening its lifespan. Appliances too large for a home are a waste of money, as they’ll be more expensive. Work with a trustworthy appliance dealer to ensure you get an appliance right for your home and needs.
  • Look for the labels – The U.S. government requires major appliances to be affixed with labels indicating their energy efficiency. The ENERGY STAR label (blue with white lettering) helps you identify the most efficient products. The EnergyGuide label (yellow with black lettering) helps you compare the estimated energy use and yearly operating cost of a particular appliance. To find rebates and special offers in your area on ENERGY STAR-certified products, check here.
  • Check what reviewers say – Not all appliances are created equal. A cheaper appliance won’t be of much help to you if it prematurely conks out, requiring repair or replacement. Before deciding on a particular appliance, see what others say about that particular brand or model.
  • See if a cheaper power source is available – Generally, natural gas is a less-expensive energy option than electricity. If you’re not using a natural gas appliance already, such as a water heater, clothes dryer or stove, check if such service is available in your home, and whether it makes financial sense for you to pursue.
  • Check for energy company rebates – Many energy companies offer their customers rebates on the purchase of a new, more energy-efficient appliance. Some even offer to cover the costs of your old appliance’s removal! Find out what financial incentives may be available in your area by checking with your local energy company.
 
Energy-efficiency upgrades in your home can take many forms. If your local energy company offers a low-cost or no-cost “home energy audit,” start with that. Your audit results will let you know if and how your home is less energy-efficient, such as if you have leaky doors or windows, or insufficient insulation in your attic.
 
Consider the following home energy improvements:
 
  • Efficient windows and doors – Newer windows and doors are made of materials that reduce air leaks and reduce heat exchange, so you won’t need as much energy to heat or cool a space.
  • Better insulation – With more insulation in your attic and walls, you’ll keep warm air from escaping in the winter, and hot air out in the summer.
  • A “smart” thermostat – A “smart” thermostat is a wi-fi enabled device that controls home heating and cooling settings by learning your temperature preferences and automatically adjusting them to energy-saving temperatures.
  • LED light bulbs – An LED light bulb with the ENERGY STAR label uses up to 90% less energy than an incandescent light bulb, with the same illumination.
 
If you’re interested in upgrading to more energy efficient appliances for your home, take a look at our home equity loan options or our Visa® Rewards Plus credit card to see how we can help.
As you may have noticed when buying anything lately, America is experiencing significant inflation – the highest in 40 years, according to economists.
article preview image Making Sense of Our Current Inflation
As you may have noticed when buying anything lately, America is experiencing significant inflation – the highest in 40 years, according to economists. What really is inflation? How did we get to this point? What’s being done about it? And most importantly, what can you do to reduce the effect of inflation on your personal budget?
 
Inflation is the rate of increase in prices over a given period of time. For 28 years, from 1992 to 2020, the U.S. inflation rate never exceeded 4.0% annually; in fact, inflation was greater than 3.0% just six times during this time. That changed in 2021, when the U.S. inflation rate hit 4.70%, then went up even more in 2022, at an annual rate of 7.7% (as of October 2022).
 
Unfortunately, inflation can rapidly erode your purchasing power. For example, a one pound loaf of white bread that cost $0.86 in 1997 now costs $1.81 as of October 2022, a 110% increase, due to the purchase power-sapping effect of inflation.
 
How did we get historically higher inflation in 2021 and 2022? Most economists attribute the root causes of our current high inflation to the classic reason of “too many dollars chasing too few goods.” As America emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic, a rapid increase in household demand for many items, coupled with supply chain shortages and shipping delays, rapidly pushed prices up. Anyone who’s made a major purchase during this time, such as of a new or used car, new furniture or a vacation, has experienced this reality firsthand.
 
Since inflation took off, the Federal Reserve has been trying to “pump the brakes” on inflation by rapidly increasing interest rates. The Federal Funds Rate, the interest rate that banks and other depository institutions lend money to each other, has been increased five times in 2022, by three percentage points, to try to reduce America’s high inflation rate.
 
While it’s good to know what the Federal Reserve is doing to try to tame inflation, you still need to cope with higher-priced gas, food, clothing and other items. What can you do to handle inflation?
 
  • Reduce your expenses – Common items that could be cut or reduced in cost include print and electronic subscriptions, cell phone and internet service and home and automobile insurance. See if you can find better pricing on all of these expenses. Our partnership with Mylo is a great place to start when reviewing all of your insurance options.
  • Invest in yourself – If you’re feeling stuck in a lower-paying job and have interest and aptitude in a better-paying career, take classes to earn a degree or certification that qualifies you for a new job. Prospective employers think highly of those who have worked hard to advance their skills and knowledge.
  • Continue saving and investing – Don’t let high inflation deter you from your long-term financial goals, like setting money aside for an emergency or to fund a future major expense, like college or retirement. Advancial offers several different savings options to fit your specific needs. Take a look and see which options would be most beneficial to you.
  < 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10  > 
Displaying results 1-5 (of 74)
Did you know it’s Fraud Education Awareness Week?
As the holidays approach we want to remind you that fraudsters do not take holidays off. The holidays are even more reason to be aware of fraud tactics and scams as fraudsters are working overtime to scam unsuspecting individuals. In particul…

Get the Latest News

article preview image

Six Side Hustles Anyone Can Do

Who wouldn’t love some extra pocket money? Here are six ideas for easy side hustles. Maybe one or more of them is right for you.  
Continue to Article
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.
Continue to Article
article preview image

How to incorporate financial education into your wellness program

When it comes to Workplace Financial Wellness, one of the first questions asked by Benefits Administrators is, “How do I incorporate this type of benefit into my overall wellness plan?”
Many HR and benefits practitioners struggle with this dilemma and rightfully so. If you ask even the most seasoned financial experts, they’ll agree - there isn’t just one strategy for incorporating financial education. However, there are best practices and crucial steps for setting yourself up for success.
Continue to Article
Leaving Advancial.org
You are leaving www.advancial.org and entering a site that is not operated by Advancial Federal Credit Union. Advancial does not provide and is not responsible for the product, service, overall website content, security or privacy policies on any external third-party site.
Continue
Equal Housing
We do business in accordance with the Federal Housing Law and the Equal Opportunity Act.

Leaving Advancial.org. You are leaving www.advancial.org and entering a site that is not operated by Advancial Federal Credit Union. Advancial does not provide and is not responsible for the product, service, overall website content, security or privacy policies on any external third-party site.
Continue
NCUA
Your savings are federally insured to at least $250,000 and backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government.

Leaving Advancial.org. You are leaving www.advancial.org and entering a site that is not operated by Advancial Federal Credit Union. Advancial does not provide and is not responsible for the product, service, overall website content, security or privacy policies on any external third-party site.
Continue
My Loan Applications
You are leaving www.advancial.org and entering the Loan Applications site.
Continue