Binge Banking Bundles

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There’s nothing better than sitting down and binge-watching your favorite series on Netflix, right? You know that feeling – there’s nothing to think about; you just choose the show you want to watch. Best of all, at the end, the credits skip and the next episode begins mere seconds later. That is the very definition of convenience.

Netflix’s model is nothing short of brilliant – they take massive amounts of content and group it in a way that not only makes sense, but it’s catered to the viewer’s unique needs. In fact, one of the first options you see when you open Netflix is, “recommended for you.” They make it easy for their customers to sit back and enjoy what they have to offer, simply by basing the material on the viewing patterns of their users. More and more, we are searching for this same level of ease in our everyday lives.

So, why can’t everything be this easy? Can’t we use the Netflix model and simplify something as complex as banking? Do you ever find yourself completely bewildered with banking options? You don’t know what product is the “right” one for your situation, or even worse, you might not even know what your financial institution offers.

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In this post, I am going to take a cue from Netflix and streamline our products and services to make them more digestible. We are going to sift through the jargon and get to know some of the more common features in an up-close and personal way. To make it easier, I am bundling these products together based on common financial goals that our members have. This will be our version of a “recommended for you” section.

I can only speak for our products, but most financial institutions will offer similar product types – it’s up to you to comparison shop to find the best bang for your buck.

Save-Me-A-Bundle

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Overview: Perfect for long-term savers. These products offer the account holder the chance to start saving as much as possible. You might look at these if you are opening accounts for young children, or if you are looking to take advantage of higher return dividends commonly found in a share certificate.       

Share Savings

As a member of a credit union, you will always have a share savings account as that is what signifies your ownership in the institution. You’ll remember from this post about how credit unions take a different approach to membership than the banks do. These accounts will have a dividend return, but it typically is not as high of a rate as a long-term product, like a certificate.

 

Share Certificate

If you don’t mind your money hanging out in an account for a bit, then a Share Certificate may be the perfect thing for you. Certificates, or CD’s as the banks call them, are long-term accounts with a higher yield. Your money is essentially placed on hold for a pre-determined period of time, and in return for that, the institution pays you a higher dividend rate. Depending on the institution, you may open a certificate for just a few short months, or upwards of five years; the dividend rate will be determined by the term. So, the longer your certificate takes to mature, the higher your dividend rate will be. For instance, the rate on our 66 Month Certificate is 3.10% APY*, while the six-month certificate rate is 0.25% APY*.

 

One other interesting note about certificates is that there is a minimum contribution to get started. Each institution is going to have its own requirements, so this is where research pays off. Our Share Certificates for adults are all set at a minimum of $1,000 to open one. If you are looking for a great place to park money for your children, however, a Youth Certificate is perfect because it only requires $100 to start. This is a great incentive to save because $100 doesn’t sound as intimidating to young savers as $1,000. Remember – saving money doesn’t always come as second nature to everyone. Developing those savings habits early on is key to a secure financial future. If you need some additional tips on how to get your kids to start saving money, you might want to take a look at this post.

 

Bonus tip: If you want even more savings options, look into an IRA, IRA Certificate or a Money Market – all three offer unique approaches to saving.

*APY = Annual Percentage Yield. Dividends are paid from current income and available earnings, after required transfers to reserves, at the end of the dividend period. All deposit rates and terms are subject to change without notice. A penalty may be imposed for early withdrawal, and fees could reduce earnings.


Special Savings

This is one of my very favorite products! What I love about it is that it’s a separate savings account that you can use for whatever you want. I originally set mine up to plan for Christmas (sort of like a Club account, but without the automatic transfer), but its purpose shifted as I began using it. Now, I use it as a holding pen for my bills. I split up the amount for each bill per pay period and contribute to the Special Savings throughout the month. As my due dates approach, I transfer out the exact amount owed and pay them from my checking account. For me, personally, I am able to easily track what I have to save, what’s set aside for upcoming bills, and what I have as discretionary income for everything else. It works well for me, but you can use the Special Savings however it works best for you.

 

Bonus tip: If a traditional Club account is more your style, we do have Custom Clubs and Winter Holiday Clubs which can transfer funds at a set time. Club accounts do have an early withdrawal fee, though, so plan wisely.

 

E-statements

You read that right, I did include E-statements in with the savings products, but hear me out. I always like to encourage our members to monitor their money. Like, there is no such thing as too much when it comes to tracking your account. Signing up for E-Statements allows you to easily track your balance on your terms, or for forgetful types, we will send you a reminder email telling you when it’s ready each month. It’s good to get in the habit of knowing exactly what’s in your account at all times not only for general spending but also to stay on top of fraud.

 

Speaking of fraud…

Head on over to this page and sign up for FREE Fraud Alerts and VISA Purchase Alerts to stop fraud in its tracks.


Spend-A-Bit Bundle

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Overview: Just because you have to spend money doesn’t mean you can’t earn some too. These are our products that put more in your pocket and make spending easier and more convenient than ever before.

Ultimate Checking

This product is our baby. We’ve been known for our high-yield checking account for a long time, and with good reason. This is one of the few checking accounts that are free to use and it pays dividends – to the tune of 2.00% APY*. There are a few requirements to earn that 2.00% APY*, but unlike the big banks, there is no fee or penalty if you miss a month. You can do some digging into the fine print right here.

 

I know I told you all to shop around (really, we won’t judge you if you have more than one credit union, promise!) – But, you will definitely want to have this checking account.

*APY = Annual Percentage Yield. Rates subject to change without notice. Certain terms and conditions may apply. Dividends are computed on the daily balance method. Fees may reduce earnings. Rate tiers are as follows: 2.00% APY applies to the portion of the balance from $0.01 to $10,000.00. The portion of the balance from $10,000.01 to $15,000.00 will earn 0.10% APY. The portion of the balance over $15,000.00 will earn 0% APY. If qualifications are not met, 0.10% APY will be earned on balances up to $15,000. Dividends earned will be deposited into the member’s prime savings account. 

Overdraft Line of Credit

No one ever wants to overdraw their account, but sometimes life happens. A line of credit can protect your checking account so your purchase won’t be declined at the register. Now, you’llstill have to pay interest, but you can move forward with your purchase up to the amount that you have available on your Line of Credit.

 

Courtesy Pay

Opting in to this service will allow us to authorize transactions even without the proper funds in your checking account. You’ll still have to pay an overdraft fee, but you won’t have the stress of being declined for a purchase. There are some limitations to the types of transactions we will cover, but in a pinch, this handy tool is perfect for those unexpected curve balls that life has a way of throwing at you. You’ll just need to remember to bring the account back up as soon as possible so it doesn’t remain in the negative.

 

VISA Rewards Credit Card

You know how parents always say that they love their children equally and couldn’t possibly choose a favorite? Think of our VISA Rewards Credit Card (and the Young Adult VISA Rewards Credit Card) as the sibling to the Ultimate Checking account. I love, love, love this card. While we don’t have the celebrity spokesperson (Samuel L. Jackson – I’m looking at you…), we do have amazing perks.

 

This card earns rewards points – which translates to cash back for you – on EVERY Single Purchase. Want to fill up your gas tank? Cool, you’ll earn four points per dollar; how about lunch on the way home? You’ll earn three points per dollar there. Picking up groceries for dinner? How do two points per dollar sound? Everything else will earn one point per dollar.

 

You can redeem these points for just about anything. We have a warehouse full of merchandise, gift cards, or travel points if that’s your thing, but I prefer cash. Whenever I reach 5,000 points, I just log into my account and request my cash deposit into my account, or a statement credit if I have a balance on my card.

 

The best part is, since we are a credit union, we decided to charge more affordable interest rates than the big guys with the celebrity spokespeople, and did I mention that there is no balance transfer fee?

 

The bottom line is, if you don’t have a rewards credit card, I highly encourage you to get ours. It will help build your credit, save you money and help you earn some too.

 

*Stepping off of my soapbox*

 

Mobile App

Consumers want a mobile app with convenient access to their money and accessibility to do the things they want with it on their own terms. One great way to do that is with a mobile app. With our app, you can transfer funds (internally and externally), pay bills, check your balance, manage cards, apply for loans, update your information and more. Again, this service is all about convenience and not so much about making money – but making it easier for you to use your money.

 

E-Wallets

This is one of our newer features – you can register any InFirst credit or debit card and use your phone to pay at the register. Most people have Apple Pay or Google Pay, but we are also enrolled with Samsung Pay, Garmin, and FitBit. This is another one of the features that don’t help you to earn money, but it does make using your money easier and convenient. This form of “frictionless payment” is a banking trend that is becoming more popular to customers looking for the convenience of carrying on everyday activities as seamlessly as possible – to include making purchases. Plus, it’s fun to use.

 

E-Statements

I know we already covered this service, but let’s talk a little more about it. In terms of spending, E-Statements are not only convenient, but they’re also a money maker. Remember the requirements to earn that 2.00% APY* on our Ultimate Checking? This is one of them. Simply having E-Statements will meet one of the three qualifications.

 

*APY = Annual Percentage Yield. Rates subject to change without notice. Certain terms and conditions may apply. Dividends are computed on the daily balance method. Fees may reduce earnings. Rate tiers are as follows: 2.00% APY applies to the portion of the balance from $0.01 to $10,000.00. The portion of the balance from $10,000.01 to $15,000.00 will earn 0.10% APY. The portion of the balance over $15,000.00 will earn 0% APY. If qualifications are not met, 0.10% APY will be earned on balances up to $15,000. Dividends earned will be deposited into the member’s prime savings account. 

 

So, that was a pretty thorough look into our most common product types. What’s your goal? Are you looking to save? Need to spend? A little of both, perhaps? We might not have as many products as Netflix has shows, but we definitely have something for everyone. Now, I’m off to binge watch The Office, while it’s still available.

 

Let me know your thoughts.  Did I cover all of the products YOU wanted to learn about? Post a comment or email me. Subscribe to this blog so you never miss a post.

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Krista Kyte is a personal finance blogger and personal banker with over 17 years of experience in the financial industry. Krista is passionate about helping our members understand their financial situations. She writes tips that will help consumers reach and maintain financial security, and start living the life they’ve always wanted.





Christine SparksComment