The future may seem a long way off, but starting to save early has many advantages. Planning and obtaining advice now on the financial basics will allow you to plan and build strong financial management practices now and throughout your life.
How Do I Begin?
First, you will want to ensure you have the right mix of basic financial services to meet your personal needs and easy access to those services. Some basic financial services utilized for managing money include:
- Checking account/current account
- Debit or ATM card
- Savings account
- Direct deposit
Keep Your Financial Priorities on Track
Paying your monthly living expenses should be your first financial priority. Once your living expenses have been paid:
- Pay off your debt — such as your credit card balances — first, then
- Set up an emergency fund. Once your fund is established,
- Open a savings account to make the most of your money.
Use your checkbook register to maintain a record of what you spend while having easy access to your checking account at ATMs and retail locations around the world with your debit or ATM card. Members have the everyday convenience of using their ChequeMate™ debit card and/or ATM card for easy access to cash - seven days a week, 24 hours a day at over 600,000 ATMs throughout the world.
How can I Start Saving?
If you want your money to grow, start by putting some money in a savings account each month. Savings accounts vary and so do the dividends associated with them. Some savings dividends are based on balance and/or term (i.e.- 3, 6, 12, 24 months). The balance will grow not only from your regular deposits, but also from the dividend your money earns. Shop around for the best dividend rate, but verify how often the dividend is compounded (when it is added to the balance and begins earning more)-daily, monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually. The more frequently it is compounded, the more money you will earn.
We offer a variety of savings accounts including basic savings accounts, share certificates, club accounts, money market accounts and individual retirement accounts.
Be worry free with easy and convenient direct deposit
No more standing at teller lines to deposit your funds. With direct deposit your money is automatically deposited to the account(s) of your choosing through an electronic transfer. All you need to do is provide your participating employer your financial institution's Routing/Transit Numbers and your account number.
Are Checking Accounts all the Same?
No — all checking accounts are not the same. Many financial institutions offer a variety of checking accounts each with varying features. Many of these institutions charge a fee for each feature selected. Look for features such as no minimum balance requirements, no limit on the number of checks you can write, free personalized checks and no service charges. Some checking accounts even earn a dividend in which the rate is usually less than that of a typical savings account. Having both your checking and savings accounts at the same place facilitates the transfer of money between accounts and allows for convenience.
The UNFCU checking account is much more than a basic checking account:
- It is FREE!
- Dividend earnings from the day-of-deposit to the day-of-withdrawal
- No minimum balance requirement
- No limit on the number of checks you can write
- Surcharge-free non-UNFCU ATMs within the CO-OP and AllPoint Networks
- National Credit Union Association "NCUA" share insurance protection
Why a Debit Card?
A debit card provides you immediate access to your checking account with no hassle. Think of it as a reusable check with the money deducted directly from your account. But instead of having to physically write a check and show identification to pay for goods and services, you simply swipe your card on a reader at checkout. You may also use this combination debit/ATM card to withdraw cash from an ATM using a personal identification number which is a secret password known only to you. Be sure to maintain your receipts so you can reconcile with your checkbook register.
The UNFCU ChequeMate™ Debit Card offers access to quick cash where you need it and most importantly when you need it. ChequeMate™ debit cardholders have the everyday easy access to cash - seven days a week, 24 hours a day at over 600,000 ATMs throughout the world. Your ChequeMate™ debit card is more than an ATM card. Wherever VISA is accepted, you can:
- Make purchases without writing checks - funds are automatically debited from your checking account
- With MasterCard SecureCode you will have added security while shopping online at participating merchants.
Build Good Credit
Why it is important.
Financial institutions view your credit history as a measure of how financially trustworthy you are. In the United States, a credit score is a number based on your credit history, including your payment habits, how much credit you already have, and your income. While a credit score might not exist in many countries, some-for example, in Europe-do make evaluations based on a consumer's credit history. A good credit rating results in greater ease of applying for loans with lower interest rates. A poor credit rating can lead to higher interest rates and difficulty qualifying for loans. In addition, it may also hinder your ability to rent an apartment or acquire other contracts.
That is why it is important to make careful decisions concerning your credit. The better your credit is, the easier it is to get credit when you need it. Be especially careful with paying money back on time, and with the amounts you owe.
Where to start
As a starting point, it is a good decision to open a savings and/or checking account. Having these accounts show that you are financially responsible and have a method of making payments. More tips about managing your credit. Want to Repair Your Credit? Click here for more information.
Borrow to build credit
You may want to establish some credit by taking a small loan, like a UNFCU Signature Loan or VISA Credit Card. When borrowing, it is important to ensure you can afford the monthly payments and that you always pay on time.
With credit cards, be careful not to charge more than you can afford to pay back the following month. Remember that your credit affects your financial opportunities. Being wise about your credit will help ensure a financially secure future.