Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Safety Tips to Reduce Card Fraud

FICO recently distributed a good list of tips for card holders to reduce the exposure to possible fraud. These are the highlights;
F - Figure out your balance. Keep close tabs on the balances of any financial account that is accessible by a plastic payment card. Identifying a dramatic change in one of your accounts is the best early warning system a consumer can have.
R - Respond to contact by unknown persons with extreme caution. It's ok to hang up and call back! Do not trust text messages, emails, or direct telephone calls from persons unknown to you especially if they identify themselves as an employee of the financial institution. NEVER call a telephone number that is provided to you by unknown persons. Obtain the financial institution phone number on your own and call them immediately to verify your account status.
A - ATM Safety. Never approach an ATM if anyone is lingering nearby. Never engage in conversations with strangers around an ATM. Never use an ATM if you see loose or wobbly parts attached to the face of the ATM or notice a dramatic change in the appearance of the ATM since your last visit.
U - Unreported incidents can hurt you. If your plastic card is captured inside of an ATM call your card issuer immediately to report the card capture. Sometimes you may think that your card was captured when in reality it was later retrieved by a criminal who staged its capture.
D - Don't hesitate. Ask your card issuer for a new number if you suspect that your card has been compromised at a merchant, restaurant or ATM. It is important to change both your card number and your PIN whenever you experience a potential theft of personal information.
Visit FICO on the web at www.fico.com.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pictures with Santa - December 4th

North Alabama Educators Credit Union is once again hosting our "Pictures with Santa" event on Saturday, December 4th at the main office location on Whitesburg Drive. Pictures will be available from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM for a cost of $10.00 that includes a professional 4X6 photo and a Christmas stocking filled with goodies.
This was a popular event last year and was well received by the members and children who participated in the event. Our employees had a fun time with the day as well.
All of the proceeds for the pictures will benefit our Breast Cancer Awareness fund.
We strongly encourage appointments if at all possible to avoid lengthy waits for photos. (Smaller children don't always have much patience, especially when Santa is around!). Please RSVP Laura Simpson at loanclerk@naecu.org or call 256-534-2423 to schedule an appointment time.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

USA Today Article: End of Free Checking?

Several weeks ago USA Today posted an article on the probable demise of free checking accounts by large banks as a result of lost revenue from recent regulatory changes. The Wall Street Journal had also posted a similar story back in July of this year. The large banks are no longer earning the same amount of fee income on services like overdrafts and credit cards. The largest source of fee income, checking account overdrafts, has been reduced due to "opt-in" provisions now in effect that require a consumer's prior authorization to allow debit card transactions to post on insufficient balances, causing an overdraft fee in the process.

The good news is that North Alabama Educators Credit Union has no plans for adding a monthly service fee on checking accounts. We have not lost fee income from the various new regulations because we were not charging the fees in the first place. Now that there is an "opt-in" provision required for allowing overdrafts on debit cards, we are looking at allowing debit card overdrafts for those members who have specifically authorized us in advance to do so. Members are always advised to spend money within their means and to avoid unnecessary fees, but emergencies can occur that require access to additional funds for a reasonable fee.

Here is a link to the USA Today article: http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/banking/2010-10-23-free-checking-accounts_N.htm

Monday, November 1, 2010

Over 28,000 ATM's and Counting

There was a Wells Fargo/Wachovia commercial the other day that bragged about having a network of 12,000 ATM's available for their customers.

That might seem impressive until you realize that members of North Alabama Educators Credit Union have over 28,000 Surcharge Free ATM's available nationwide for cash withdrawals through the
CO-OP ATM network. How can a credit union like North Alabama Educators Credit Union with $75 million in total assets have more than twice as many free ATM's than a multi-billion dollar financial institution like Wells Fargo? Cooperation is the key difference. Credit unions work with each other to provide free ATM access to other credit union members. Banks rarely if ever work together on providing shared resources to other banks.

Members are encouraged to visit http://www.co-opfs.org/public/locators/ATMlocator/index.cfm for a variety of different methods to locate surcharge free ATM's. This link is also posted on our web site home page.

Members can locate surcharge free ATM's online, by iPhone application, text messaging, or by a GPS system. These options are included on the CO-OP ATM locator link listed above. There are numerous surcharge free ATM locations in the Tennessee valley area. All Publix grocery store ATM's provide free ATM withdrawals as an example.

While we do not have an internal fee for withdrawals at CO-OP Network ATM's, the credit union does have a internal fee of $0.50 for balance inquiries and $1.00 for balance transfers when performed at an ATM not owned by North Alabama Educators Credit Union. Keep in mind that balance transfers and balance inquiries can both be performed free of charge 24-hours a day through home banking or audio response.