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Nov 5

2013

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A skimming device is a tool illegally affixed to a legitimate ATM or other automated point-of-sale machine to assist criminals in committing fraud. The device picks up ATM or debit card information when your card is swiped. A miniature camera sometimes used with the device to record the PIN of users. By copying the data onto blank cards and using an acquired PIN, fraudsters can access your money.

 

ATM skimming is a sophisticated crime. The devices used to commit fraud are complex and difficult to detect. At the same time, ATMs are well equipped with security measures to detect unauthorized activity. Additionally, our branch staff has procedures in place to prevent our ATMs from being compromised and processes to ensure any tampering is immediately detected. We have had some members fall victim to these devices at gas stations, restaurants or other self-service point-of-sale machines. As always, we feel that awareness is the best way to prevent any type of fraud.

 

Here’s how to protect yourself from fraud associated with skimming devices:

 

Physical protection
The simplest and most effective way to protect your card and PIN is to cover the keypad from view when you enter your PIN. Developing this simple habit can prevent thieves from accessing your money, regardless of whether they’ve skimmed your card.

 

Be aware
Take caution if you notice inconsistencies in your ATM experience. Some fraud artists are now using cell phone cameras to film videos of PINs being entered while standing behind users at ATMs.

 

If you’ve used an ATM in the past and you remember it being a motorized ATM (one that takes and holds your card during your transaction) and now it’s a “dip” ATM (one that you simply dip in and pull your card out), take caution. A skimming device may be attached.

 

Similarly, if the card swipe doesn’t match the color or style of the ATM machine, it might be a skimmer. Compare the card device to others at nearby ATMs or gas pumps. Gas stations that ask for your zip code instead of your PIN may be a safer option.

 

Above all, trust your instincts. If you suspect foul play, or if you’re in doubt about the authenticity of a machine, use a different machine or payment method.

 

Transaction alerts
Transaction alerts keep you informed of account activity. When a transaction occurs on your account, you’ll receive a courtesy email. If the transaction wasn’t yours, contact us immediately. An immediate response to suspected fraud is the best way to protect your money. We can shut down your card to protect your funds and send you a new card or issue you a new card at a branch. These simple alerts can be set and managed under the “Manage Profile” tab in BranchLine online banking.

 

If you suspect that you could have been a victim of ATM skimming or any fraudulent activity, call us at (888) 858-6878 as soon as possible. We can offer additional layers of protection on your account.

by Michelle, AVP, Operations

Feb 12

2013

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Currently, retailers pay credit card companies a percentage of their transactions to accept and process credit card payments. A recent court settlement between the credit card industry and retailers now allows retailers the option to pass payment processing costs to consumers who pay with a credit card. This ruling went into effect January 27, 2013.

 

Not all states are affected. Due to state laws, merchants are not allowed to impose a credit card surcharge in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma or Texas.

 

 

 

Here are more surcharge details:

 

The fee may be imposed on credit card transactions only.  Debit transactions are not involved in the agreement.

The fee cannot be more than the merchant actually pays to accept credit cards.  That amount ranges between 1.5% and 4% of the transaction amount.

The fee must be clearly disclosed at the store entrance and where the payment is being accepted.  When using an online retailer, the surcharge must be posted on the website’s homepage.

The notice must include: the amount of the fee; that the fee is being charged by the merchant; and, that the fee does not exceed the merchant’s cost to accept credit cards.

The fee amount must appear on your receipt and may be referred to as either a surcharge or checkout fee.

 

 

For more information, please call a member service representative at (888) 858-6878.

 

by Jenna, Vice President, Operations

Feb 5

2013

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It’s the time of year for pink balloons, red roses, French restaurants and chocolates.  Sounds expensive, right?  Think again.  Here are a few tips to keep Valentine’s Day in your price range.

 

Set a budget.
It’s a good start to put a price on it.  Limit your spending to $20 – or even less.  Get creative!  Frame a picture, hand make a card or bake a cake.

 

Eat in.
How about Costco surf and turf?  Dim the lights, light a candle and put the kids to bed.  Plus, you won’t need to pay an expensive babysitter.  You can have a nice dinner at home without denting the pocketbook.

 

Smell the roses.
How about flowers from your garden or a friend’s?  The sentiment is there and the smell is still in the air.

 

Treats.
Make a homemade dessert.  Even a boxed cake can be romantic with a heart-shaped stencil on top.  Your sweetheart will appreciate the thought and you’ll appreciate the $3 price tag.

 

Be thoughtful.
Only you know your Valentine, that’s why thoughtful gifts always reign supreme.  She may prefer her favorite childhood candy or a trip to the ice cream parlor to a giant box of fancy chocolates.  He may prefer a bag of Cheetos and a six-pack of premium beer.  Let each other know that you remember!  Add a bow and a note and you’ll score major points.

 

The Valentine’s Day Fund.
Start a savings account with some seed money and schedule regular contributions to celebrate your love in another way.  You may save enough for a weekend getaway or a dinner at your favorite spot.

 

Remember that the holiday isn’t about spending money – it’s about being with the people you love.  You can still be the romantic at heart and the mastermind of your budget.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

by Kristin, Vice President, Marketing

Dec 11

2012

 

It’s the time of year for reflection on the past year and resolutions for the upcoming year. It’s also the time for top 10 lists!

 

These are the Top 10 Pacific Service CU blogs of 2012, in order of number of views.

 

Buying a Car – What You Should Pay

 

We’re Moving

 

4 Steps to Living Debt Free

 

What is a Share Secured Loan?

 

4 Ways We Can Help With Your Car

 

5 Homeownership Missteps to Avoid

 

Making the Minimum Credit Card Payment

 

What is Skip Pay?

 

Buying a Car – The Trade-In

 

Top 10 Ways to Save Money

 

Thank you for your readership. Our goal is to continue to provide educational and informative articles to our membership. If you have a topic you’d like us to address, submit it in the comment section below or email us.

 

We’ve had a good year at Pacific Service CU and we wish you the very best for a prosperous 2013. Happy New Year!

 

by Kristin, Vice President, Marketing

Jun 26

2012

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Skip-a-Loan Payment is a service offered by some financial institutions that allows customers to defer a loan payment to help manage their household budgets.  Some institutions offer the option seasonally, for example around the holidays, and some let you take advantage of the service anytime during the year.  Most limit the service to once or twice a year.

 

Pacific Service CU offers the skip-a-loan-payment option because we think members appreciate the flexibility it offers.  We understand sometimes you need to stretch your budget for unforeseen expenses like a broken water pipe, new tires or property taxes.  As a courtesy to members with loans in good standing, this option let’s you skip a loan or Visa payment up to twice a year.  It’s only $25 and it doesn’t affect your credit rating.

 

We don’t recommend that you routinely take advantage of the skip pay option because it’s not a free ride.  Skipping a payment extends the term of your loan by a month and interest does continue to accrue until your next payment is made.  It can, however, help with budgeting when you need it most.

 

You can arrange skip a payment online by logging into BranchLine, clicking on Skip-a-Loan Payment and selecting any eligible loan.  For more information, call our Loan by Phone center at (888) 858-6878.

 

by Hemlata, AVP, Lending

 
   
 
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