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Oct 2

2013

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Courtesy pay is a service we provide to protect our members from inadvertently overdrawing a checking account. Even if there is a shortage of funds in your account, courtesy pay may cover your transaction and prevent the hassle of declined transactions or bounced checks. It also helps avoid costly returned item fees charged by merchants and retailers.

 

We understand that mistakes happen, that’s why we offer courtesy pay protection. The fee for this service is $25 per transaction. We don’t think, however, that you should pay $25 for your morning cup of coffee in the event that you accidentally overdraw your account. As a non-profit financial institution, we want to offer you the most convenient, least expensive option to manage your money. That’s why we’ve adjusted the fee to allow our members a complimentary $5 overdraw amount.

 

That means, if you overdraw your account for an amount of $5 or less, we will cover that amount and won’t charge you a fee. We think that is part of the credit union difference and we hope you agree.

 

Read more about courtesy pay in our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) or call a member service representative at (888) 858-6878.

 

by Jenna, Vice President, Operations

Sep 12

2013

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Great news! We’ve enhanced our checking accounts by adding courtesy pay protection for your ATM and debit card transactions. Add this new protection to your checking account today with two simple clicks. Or, keep reading for more information.

 

Currently, your Pacific Service CU checking account offers peace of mind by protecting you from accidental overdrafts for checks, electronic payments and bill pay transactions. Our new debit card courtesy pay protection will help you avoid the embarrassment and hassle of a declined transaction for your ATM and debit card.

 

In the event that there’s not enough money in your account to cover a transaction, we will pay the transaction for a nominal fee. If your account is $5 or less overdrawn, the service is free. If your account is $5.01 or more overdrawn, a $25 fee will apply.

 

You must opt-in to receive the additional convenience of ATM and debit card courtesy pay. Sign up today. You’re only two clicks away.

 

Read more about our Courtesy Pay program in our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) or call a member service representative at (888) 858-6878.

 

We hope you enjoy the enhancement of ATM and debit card courtesy pay.

 

by Jenna, Vice President, Operations

Jul 24

2013

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Rising home prices, low-rate mortgage loans and shrinking inventory are contributing to a rapidly improving housing market. People are starting to see their homes as an asset again, one whose value may improve over time instead of decline. If you’re a homeowner who has stayed in your home, you may be asking yourself, ‘Is it time for home improvements?’

 

After several years of decline, the money you’ll likely recoup on home improvement projects is finally on the rise. While not a guaranteed profit generator, home improvement projects can make life easier, improve the value of your home, and make it more marketable.

 

Are you going?
If your goal is to increase your home’s value for resale, above all, be sure your improvement correctly mimics your community. A very high-end kitchen remodel, for example, may only pay off in an expensive neighborhood. Over building or choosing projects that aren’t universally valuable can actually harm your return on investment.

 

Conversely, if you’re the smallest house on your block, an additional bedroom and/or bathroom, especially if it doesn’t overcrowd your lot, could help you compete with other houses for sale in your area.

 

When making improvements to a home that you don’t plan to stay in over the long term, you should consider the concept of mid-range remodeling. Overspending can diminish the return on your investment; however, affordable improvements can add up to big value increases. For example, modest improvements like new counter tops, flooring or appliances can make a vast difference in the appearance of a kitchen, without adding up to big costs.

 

Are you staying?
If you’re planning to stay in your home for a long time, you may not be as concerned about fully recouping the money you spend. You may want to make improvements that are valuable to your family, like a new addition or a gourmet kitchen. Or, maybe you’ve always wanted a pool or an outdoor entertainment area. Now is a good time to invest in your home, your lifestyle or your family without worrying about the resale implications years down the road.

 

If you need to finance your home improvements, you may need to demonstrate your home’s value with a home appraisal. Typically, financial institutions lend up to 80% of your home’s value minus your first mortgage balance.

 

You can start by estimating your property with a home value estimator, like Zillow.com. We often find these estimates are a little off; however, they are a good start. Divide your mortgage balance by your estimated value and multiply by 100. If that number is less than 80%, your value may qualify for a home equity loan or line of credit.

 

If you don’t have sufficient equity for a home equity loan and have much needed home repairs to get done, you may consider a personal loan.

 

For more information, call one of our real estate specialists. We’re happy to help.

 

You may also be interested in:
Pay off your mortgage (and build equity) faster
Top 10 Ways to Save Money
A Buyer’s Market (**)
by Hemlata, AVP, Real Estate

May 16

2013

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Most consumers are familiar with mortgage loan refinancing. However, members often tell us they didn’t know they could refinance their auto loan.

 

Vehicle loans are typically established with 4-6 year terms.  During the loan period, economic and financial situations can change.  You may be able to proactively respond to these changes with an auto loan refinance.  Improvements in market rates, your credit score or your income can add up to big savings.

 

Rates Change
Annual percentage rates periodically change.  In a rate environment like we are in today, rates have been declining.  If you purchased a car more than a year ago, it is possible that your current interest rate is higher than what is being offered today.  Refinancing could lower your monthly payment while keeping the same term.  Or, refinancing to a lower interest rate and keeping the monthly payment the same could reduce the amount of time it takes to pay off the loan.

Credit Improves
Multiple factors are used in calculating credit scores, including payment history.  After a year or more of timely repayments, a credit score may improve.  A higher credit score may qualify for a lower rate.  Lower rates not only reduce the monthly payment, they also reduce the amount of interest paid over the life of the loan.

Income Changes
If your income has increased, you may want to consider refinancing to a lower interest rate and shortening your term.  Both actions will save finance charges and increase your equity in your vehicle.

Conversely, if your income has decreased and overextended your monthly budget, you may prefer to extend the loan term and lower your payment to help pay other expenses.

 

To find out if an auto loan refinance is right for you, try our online Loan Saver calculator.  Or, if you prefer the personal touch, with a phone call and a few minutes, we can determine if we can save you money.

 

You may also be interested in:

4 Ways We Can Help With Your Car
Your home can save you money – on your car
4 Steps to Living Debt Free

 

by Chris, Vice President, Lending

 

A $200 fee applies to reduce the rate of an existing PSCU loan.

 

Mar 21

2013

.Current law allows consumers one free credit report each year.  We encourage members, like you, to review your credit report annually.  When accessing your report, however, you may find it complicated and not easily understandable.  Here’s what you should look for and what it means to your credit.

 

Accuracy
Your credit report can help you gauge your financial picture from a lender’s perspective.  However, more importantly, you should review the entire report for general accuracy.  If you see any accounts that you didn’t open or any errors with existing accounts, you should contact the credit bureau to initiate the process to correct them.

 

Inquiries
Your credit report will show who has been accessing your credit report.  These inquiries are categorized as “soft” or “hard.”  Soft inquiries are when someone reviews your credit, but hasn’t asked for credit.  For example, it’s considered a soft inquiry when you review your credit report annually or a lender receives a change in your credit status in relation to a credit card account.  Soft inquiries do not affect your credit score.

 

Hard inquiries occur when a business has accessed your credit report with the intent to offer credit.  For example, you’ll receive a hard inquiry on your report when you apply for a credit card or auto loan.  Infrequent hard inquiries don’t normally affect your credit score that much.  However, frequent hard inquiries indicate an increasing desire for credit and can adversely affect your credit score.  If you see any hard inquiries that you don’t recognize, it may be an indicator that someone is trying to use your credit score or is committing identity theft.  In that event, report the inquiry to the credit bureau.

 

Late Payments
Delinquent payments heavily influence your credit score.  If you see that your bills have been paid 30, 60, 90 or 120 days late, that can be very damaging to your score and your future ability to get a loan.  The greater the payment delinquency, the more it damages your credit score.

 

Timing also can be a decisive factor with late payments.  For example, how long ago was the late payment?  Was the late payment an exception?  Have late payments been a regular occurrence?  Over time, late payments will become less damaging, providing your recent payment history is consistently satisfactory.

 

Credit Utilization Ratios and Open Credit Card Accounts
Credit scoring programs also consider your debt-to-credit limit ratio, or utilization of available credit.  This ratio compares your existing balances with your available credit limit.  The ratio demonstrates to lenders whether or not you are living within your means.  Generally a lower ratio has a more beneficial impact on your score.  In addition, an excessive number of credit cards and available credit can lower your score.  Lenders and credit bureaus want to see responsible spending to show that you can have the available credit, but not necessarily use it.

 

Collection
Accounts that have gone to collection departments or have been written off as a bad debt can stay on your credit report for up to seven years.  Lenders will be more reluctant to give a loan to someone who has caused a loss.

 

Typically, members are aware of adverse credit experiences on their credit report and many are making efforts to pay the obligation through workout agreements or legal proceedings.  It is not uncommon, though, for consumers  to be unaware of low level or inactive collection activity, for example, a forgotten insurance deductible with an old medical bill.  You can start to remedy this type of situation by contacting the creditor.

 

It’s also increasingly common to see a collection entry on a debt that is not yours.  Should you encounter that situation, you must contact the credit bureau and have the entry removed from your report.  Unfortunately, identity theft is a growing problem for consumers and makes the need for reviewing your credit report even more important.

 

Judgments, Liens, Bankruptcies
You’ll find these listings in the public records section of your credit report.  These types of events are extremely damaging to your score and can stay on your credit report for up to 10 years.  For further information, read more in “What is Bankruptcy?”

 

You can access your credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com to get started.

 

If you’re having difficulties repaying a debt or obligation, we recommend speaking to your creditor(s) as soon as possible.

 

by Chris, Vice President, Lending

 
   
 
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