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Jan 9

2014

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It’s a new year! There is always something exciting about having a fresh start. Typically resolutions usually involve getting in shape, either physically or financially. Although I can’t really help with your health and wellness goals, I can helps with your savings goal. Here are four tips to help achieve your goals.

 

Set a Target
Instead of resolving to “save money in 2014,” quantify it with a concrete objective. For example, “save $250 a month in 2014.” Setting a target helps you establish an expectation, work towards your goal and, most importantly, know when you’ve achieved it.

 

Choose One Major Objective
One major objective for the year increases your ability to focus. Make your goal easy to articulate in a short sentence. If your New Year’s resolution is to save money, lose weight and get a promotion, your end goal gets a little lost in the clutter. Focus on one resolution at a time. After you’ve built the habit of saving money each month, you can build on your success next year and add a new goal.

 

Automate
Automate your money management when you can. Use direct deposit, automated transfers, bill pay and more – you can set it and forget it. You may be more successful when your extra money is out of sight. Open a second savings account in BranchLine using the “Open Account” tab. Then, automatically transfer money each month to your vacation fund, a holiday stash – even a child’s account!

 

Be Realistic
Ultimately, resolutions fail because people give up. If you fall short of your intended target one month, that’s okay. Keep your motivation to try again next month or reevaluate and adjust your goal to make it attainable. Continue to strive for your goal throughout the year. Routines become habit.

 

Sticking to a New Year’s resolution isn’t always easy – but it can be rewarding! Good luck for a successful 2014.

 

Happy New Year!

by Kristin, Vice President, Marketing

Oct 8

2013

Jenna, Vice President, Operations

As a non-profit financial institution, we strive to offer you convenient, low-cost options to manage your money. Overdrawing your account can result in two types of fees: Courtesy Pay or Non-Sufficient Funds (NSF).

 

Non-Sufficient Funds (NSF) Fee
Overdrafts without free overdraft protection or overdrafts that extend beyond your courtesy pay limit will be assessed a per-item, non-sufficient funds fee. The item will be returned, unpaid, to the payee.

 

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

 

Courtesy pay protection for your checks, electronic payments (ACH) and bill pay transactions is included with your account. You must, however, elect to receive courtesy pay coverage for your ATM and debit card transactions. Visit us online to sign up for this additional layer of protection.

 

We understand that mistakes happen; however, using these convenient services as “short-term loans” can be a more costly form of credit than other options we offer. Here are three tips to achieving responsible money management and avoiding or limiting fees.

 

1. Monitor Accounts
Good account management is the best way to avoid courtesy pay or non-sufficient funds fees. Closely monitor your available account balance using services like BranchLine online banking, mobile banking or free account alerts. Don’t forget to take into account pending transactions, like checks or recurring and automatic payments. You can setup account alerts in BranchLine to send you an email notification when your balance drops below a specified amount.

 

2. Overdraft Protection Transfers
As an alternative to courtesy pay, you can designate another Pacific Service CU account to be used in the event of an overdraft. If your checking account is overdrawn, we will automatically transfer funds from an established savings, money market, Visa or other checking account overdraft source. There is no fee for this service.

 

You can rely on multiple forms of overdraft protection. First, setup your overdraft protection transfer account. In the event that funds are unavailable in your overdraft protection account, we can still offer courtesy pay protection.

 

3. Resolution
If you do overdraw your account, it’s important to deposit or transfer money into the account as soon as possible to cover the overdraft amount, plus any fees associated with the overdraft. A quick deposit or transfer can help you avoid additional overdrafts and fees.

 

Read more in our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) or for help determining which services best suit you, call a member service representative at (888) 858-6878.

 

You may also be interested in:

What is Courtesy Pay?

4 Steps to Living Debt Free

Credit or Debit?

Feb 20

2013

Your employer or the government agency that issues your payroll checks is responsible for establishing direct deposit on your behalf. Typically, you’ll complete a form providing relevant information from your financial institution and they’ll do the rest.

 

To initiate Direct Deposit to your Checking Account, you’ll need two things:

Routing/ABA number
The MICR number from one of your checks

 

To initiate Direct Deposit to your Savings Account, you’ll need three things:
Routing/ABA number
Your member account number
The suffix of the deposit account

 

 

1. Routing/ABA Number
The Routing/ABA number is comprised of the first number series at the bottom of your personal check, as indicated above. Our Routing/ABA number is 121181743.

 

2. Account Number
Your account number is the 5-7 digit number that you use to identify your account when you call a member service representative or login to BranchLine.

 

3. MICR Number
Your checking account MICR number (pronounced “micker”) is a cross-reference number that identifies your checking account to processors. The MICR is used for enhanced security so that your account number is not printed on your checks. The MICR is the second set of numbers following the four leading zeros. In the example above, the MICR is 0000076. You can omit the leading zeros when using this number.

 

4. Suffix
The suffix is a two-digit number following your account number. It is unique to each account type you have with us. You can find the suffix in BranchLine, on your statement, or by calling us.

 

If you don’t have personal checks, or you need additional help determining your direct deposit information, call a member service representative at (888) 858-6878. We answer the phone within 30 seconds and we’re always happy to help.

by Anne, Phone Center Manager

Nov 6

2012

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Our 2011 blog, Top 10 Ways to Save Money, continues to be one of our most popular posts.  If you haven’t read it, check it out here.  If you already read it, back by popular demand, here are 10 more ways to save.

 

Couponing
Member Irene commented on our last blog about couponing.  Coupons can be a great way to save money.  By devoting a couple of hours per week, you can “clip” coupons, search online for deals, and organize your savings for easy use.  Often, making trips to multiple stores can add up to even bigger rewards.

 

Bulk Shopping
Shopping for items in bulk can also help you save.  The question to ask yourself is:  will you use it before it goes bad?  Buying meat in bulk can be a big savings, if you have a large enough freezer.  Package the meat in serving size freezer bags prior to storing and write “use by” dates on the bags to prioritize usage.  Other valuable bulk purchases are toiletries and household supplies, such as paper towels.

 

Discount Shopping
Member Karen commented that she shops at thrift stores for some items.  Great idea Karen!  Other options are garage sales, dollar stores and discount stores like Ross and Marshalls.

 

Gardening
Planting a garden is a great activity for families and supplies a bounty for the kitchen.  If you don’t think you have the space, containers are great for tomatoes, green beans, strawberries and more.  Buy starter plants to make it easier and don’t hesitate to ask questions at the nursery.

 

Split It
When you’re out with family or friends, how about splitting an entrée or sharing a couple appetizers and a dessert instead of a large and expensive meal?  It can trim your bill – plus, it’s fun!

 

Stick to Water
Improve your health and your wallet by cutting the extra juices, sodas, coffees, teas and sports drinks from your diet.  The high prices and high calories make it an easy way to tighten your belt.

 

Annual Household Expense Assessment
Investing time to analyze your spending is an important part of budgeting.  You could be spending more than you need to on bills like home insurance, car insurance, home phone service and cell phone.  Call your provider to ask for specials, discounts and to see if you’re still in the most appropriate plan for you.  They can assess your current situation and usage to see if they can save you money.

 

Save as You Go
Instead of being hit with those large expenses, try saving throughout the year.  You can setup multiple savings accounts in BranchLine using the “Open an Account” button.  Create one for property taxes, one for a vacation fund, one for a holiday fund – the possibilities are endless.  Setting up automatic transfers, payroll deduction or direct deposit to those accounts will help your savings grow effortlessly.

 

Keep a List
Shopping with a list can help keep you organized and curb impulse spending.  There are even phone applications that can help.  An app like Cozi Family Organizer lets your whole family share a list, so you’re never guessing, which can lead to overbuying.

 

Watch those Fees!
Avoid overdraft fees by being aware of your checking account balance.  You can setup overdraft protection and account alerts to notify you if your balance drops below a particular threshold.

 

Avoid ATM fees by using an ATM within your financial institution’s network – those $3 fees add up quickly.  With Pacific Service Credit Union, we have more than 30,000 free ATMs through the Co-op network and other participating partners.  Better yet, our Relationship Checking account reimburses fees from out-of-network institutions.

 

Avoid credit card annual fees.  Always read the credit card disclosure box prior to opening a card.  (Here are my tips on how to decipher those overwhelming disclosures.)  There are still cards out there with no annual fee, like our Visa Platinum Card.  Even our Visa Platinum Rewards card $25 annual fee is waived if you have our Relationship Checking account.

 

Those are my latest tips; share yours in the comments.  Good luck with your savings plan!

 

by Kristin, Vice President, Marketing

Oct 9

2012

Steve Punch, President and CEO, Pacific Service Credit Union

The elimination of free checking at big banks continues to make headlines, as in last week’s Wall Street Journal article.  According to the WSJ article, Wells Fargo is eliminating the last of their free checking accounts and Bank of America is considering a new fee strategy to replace lost income.  According to a Bankrate survey, only 39% of checking accounts are free to all customers, down from 76% in 2009.
Federal restrictions on debit cards and overdraft policies has lowered the profitability on checking accounts.  As revenue drops, big banks are looking for ways to replace that profit.  The solution comes in the form of additional fees, account restrictions and relationship requirements.

 

As a credit union, our mission is to offer superior and affordable financial services to our community.  Pacific Service Credit Union is proud to offer an honest checking account.

 

Our Free Checking account does not require a minimum balance, minimum transactions, direct deposit or a monthly fee.  It is truly free and will continue to be free.

 

Our partnerships with the CO-OP ATM network and shared branch network give you more convenience than any of the big banks.  You can use over 6,500 shared branches and over 30,000 free ATMs nationwide.

 

If you want even more value, simply bring us your direct deposit and opt for our Relationship Checking account.  While big banks charge you to access your money at other financial institution ATMs, our Relationship Checking actually reimburses fees assessed from other institutions.

 

I know that switching checking accounts is not easy.  I also know that with a little time and effort you can take advantage of one of the few truly free checking accounts available.  My message to you to take a few minutes and make the switch to a better checking account.  Let our team of service experts show you how easy it can be to enjoy the benefits of free checking at Pacific Service CU.

 
   
 
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