Personal Finance Manager

 

Demo | More InformationRegister

Personal Finance Manager

 

Demo | More InformationRegister

Education Center & Information

Education is the foundation of University Credit Union. At UCU we are committed to providing our members with financial education that will help them obtain personal financial success. Click here to go to UCU's Fraud Protection Center.


Credit or Debit?

If you have a UCU checking account, chances are you also have a VISA Debit card. This convenient way to pay has rapidly become one of our most requested services. It makes shopping so much easier and
safer because there are no worries about carrying cash or a checkbook. UCU members aren’t the only ones
enjoying this product - merchants prefer this method of payment for the same reason members do – convenience. But when you get to the cash register a question blinks on the screen: “Credit” or “Debit?”

What’s the difference? When you select debit, you enter your PIN and the funds are deducted from your account immediately. When you select credit, the transaction requires a signature, and is processed by the Credit Union. The funds may or may not be immediately deducted from your account, depending on how the retailer handles their transactions. Some stores “batch” their credit transactions and send them in at the end of the day. Your immediate response is probably “debit” because it’s a “debit” check card. It makes sense – but take a closer look. There are certain benefits to selecting “credit” to make the purchase. When you use this card for purchases the money comes directly from your checking account, just as if you were writing a check. You have probably noticed that some merchants (gas stations, grocery stores, etc.) instruct you to enter your Personal Identification Number (PIN), the same one you use for ATM withdrawals, when you use your card.

Although the card is referred to as a debit check card, you should select credit when making a payment. Here’s why – whether you use the ATM/debit option, which requires you to enter your four digit code, or the credit option, which requires you to actually sign the receipt, the money comes from your checking account the same way. However, if you use the debit option (and enter your PIN), it actually costs the Credit Union to process the transaction and could expose you to some risk. When you select the signature-based option, the Credit Union earns a small fee from the merchant and you eliminate the chance of somebody watching your PIN.

Your Security If someone should steal your card and use it with your PIN, you have a maximum potential liability of $50. The more closely you guard your number the less likely that is to occur. With a signature-based transaction, you are protected against disputed purchases and payments and you have no liability if your card is stolen and used with a forged signature. This may all sound confusing, but it matters in the long-run. The small fee that the Credit Union earns from the merchant on the signature-based transaction helps us offer many other services at no cost or a fee that is much lower than that of our competitors. Remember, even though it’s a “debit” check card, please select the “credit” feature for payment.
That way you and the Credit Union both benefit.


Personal Economic Recovery Plan

In uncertain times, everyone could use a little personal economic recovery. Whether you are concerned about the inability to reduce your current debt, high interest rates or just making your monthly payments, UCU can customize a plan to fit your needs.

From restructuring debt to establishing an emergency savings account, a UCU loan representative will work with you to find the best possible solution to ease your concerns and get you back on the road to financial success.

So if you have a few minutes, UCU has a plan! Simply complete the Personal Economic Recovery Worksheet and then contact a UCU representative to schedule an appointment.


Understanding Your Credit Score

Keeping a watchful eye on your credit score is an important item on your financial to-do list, especially in today's uncertain economy. Simply watching your credit score isn't enough. You have to understand how credit scores work and how using your credit can affect your score. UCU can provide you with information to better understand your credit score.
Articles
Understanding How Credit Works
5 Steps for Healthy Credit

Tools
Credit Karma - Free Credit Reports & More!
Annual Credit Report
Credit Score Simulator - See how different actions can affect your credit score


Managing Debt

If you have a lot of debt, you're not alone. More and more Americans are troubled with credit card and loan payments. Whether you are trying to improve your money management, having difficulty making ends meet, want to lower your monthly loan payments or just can't seem to keep up with all of your credit card bills, you may be looking for a way to make debt repayment easier. UCU can provide you with some useful information to make your monthly obligations a little more manageable.

Articles
Budgeting Basics
Debt Consolidation

Tools
Debt in Focus - Personal Debt Assessment Tool


Financial Success at Every Stage of Life

Every stage of life has important financial considerations. Whether you're figuring out how to pay for college, starting your 401(k), budgeting for a growing household or looking to retire, UCU can provide you with the information and tools you need to enjoy today and plan for tomorrow.

Other Resources


Going Green While Saving Green

Learn more about the top 10 ways to make your UCU relationship a little greener.


Debt in Focus

Foreign Currency Exchange

Young & Free Maine

Online Safety Guide