Smart Money Tips for College Freshmen from your Credit Union.

Posted on: July 2nd, 2015 by PowerCU |

emma student checkingOpen a checking account at home.

Banking where your parents do is a good thing. Linking your accounts allows your parents to help you out with cash now and then even though you’ve got your own account. Nationwide free ATM networks and online/mobile banking from your phone means that you won’t need to worry about relocating your banking when you leave for college or return home. Click here to get information about ESCU’s free Student Checking.

Avoid the checking account offers on campus.

Everyone needs a good universally-accepted credit card, but the offers you get on campus won’t be the kinds of cards you’ll want for the long-term. They’re created to take advantage of you with fees and high interest rates. A smarter choice is the fixed-rate Visa from ESCU. Your card will be protected from higher rates that cost money. Focus on making one or two small transactions on your card each month and pay the entire balance off monthly. Don’t rely on your card for daily spending and you’ll leave college without the burden of credit card debt.

Keep your student debt to a minimum.

Student loans might be necessary even if you have scholarships and grants. There are plenty of good options for student loans including your credit union. Check the options for beginning to make small payments now instead of deferring them until graduation. You’ll save thousands in the long run on your loans. See ESCU’s Student Loan options through Sallie Mae Bank here.

Take advantage of financial technology.

Using text alerts form your online banking helps you keep tabs on your balance daily, which means you can avoid any interruptions to your cash flow. Mobile Deposits lets you deposit any paper checks you get free from your mobile device at your credit union. Use the credit union’s Mobile App to give you shortcuts to your accounts. Mobile Banking, Mobile Deposit and Bill Payment are all there, along with search tools to help you find a free ATM near you or a credit union nearby that shares branches with ESCU. Check out the shared branches and ATMs in your college town available to you free.

Be financially realistic.

Your friends may appear to have more money than you. Don’t be tempted to keep up with others financially. Set your monthly spending goals and check in with them occasionally to make sure you’re on track. Your credit history may be part of a future employer’s background check and your financial responsibility now may help you step ahead of others when you’re looking to start your career.

Safer Credit and Debit Transactions? Yes, Please.

Posted on: December 22nd, 2014 by PowerCU |

teal credit card digits close-upWill your credit and debit cards really be safer?


These days, it would be hard to find someone who hasn’t heard about hackers, data breaches, and stolen credit card data. You may even have been a victim of it yourself. Target and Home Depot’s breaches made compromised credit card data a daily discussion on the news. A much larger amount of time was spent at ESCU discussing ways to keep our members account accessible while protecting them from retailers’ lack of data security protocol. Some added security measures are on the horizon, that may help, and we think credit and debit card transaction will be safer.

What’s coming our way in the plastic card enhancement department is called EMV, which stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa. These three largest credit and debit transaction processors are leading the way for a more secure authentication process called “tokenization”. Much like a one-time use password, tokenization would prevent hackers from obtaining the genuine card authentication data, making illegally obtained card information virtually useless. Combined with the new embedded chip technology, tokenization will help reduce card fraud dramatically. (more…)