What’s the deal with ATM’s?

You guys know about ATM’s of course, all the convenience and whatnot. Yeah yeah yeah, highly desired. Anyways, most ATM’s come with a fee as you all know, and that fee is usually anywhere between $2.50 and $3.50….. Great, so I am paying to get my OWN money out of an ATM. Why? Well, an ATM is a service, and they require regular maintenance. It’s our way of contributing to someone else’s job. BUT, what some of you may not know, is that there is a way to get cash back without a fee & without having to go to your financial institution or find an ATM supplied by your F.I. All you have to do is swipe your card at a merchant and process it as a debit purchase, if the merchant supports cash back (which most do), you will be able to get cash back from them. It is usually limited to no more than $100, but hey, getting even $20.00 without a fee is better than paying $23.00. At SMW we currently have a checking account that offers refunds on ATM transactions too, very helpful!

Enrolling in Online Banking

Let’s refresh a couple of the perks of being able to do your banking in the palm of your hand! I know, it's weird. The amount of freedom we’re given when it comes to our finances, it seems a little odd, right? Can you imagine if we still lived in a world where there have been no technological advances? It might be a lot way easier to keep up, but we wouldn’t be thriving like we are now., Having the ability to be able to do basic functions by myself while my financial institution isn’t open, is definitely a relief. The accessibility, convenience, and ease is definitely not something I’m taking for granted. But there is still the question “how can online banking help me?” or “why use online banking when I can just call my financial institution?”. I get it, sometimes dealing with the hassle of cellphones/tablets/computers is just downright annoying…….. especially when they malfunction, and if you’re like me-the opposite of tech-savvy- you understand the struggle. BUT I am here to tell you that online banking is a GOOD thing. The ability to transfer your own funds, deposit checks, send money to others, etc., are just a few things that make the weekends a little better. Not having to worry about when you have time to make it to the bank and whatnot. You feel me? Good, NOW this is the annoying part. Getting enrolled in online banking. Yes, we all hate it too. It’s a process we wish we only had to do once, but in some instances, that just doesn’t happen. I’ll give you a little walkthrough of what to expect when enrolling in SMW’s online banking because everyone should be able to do it without a hassle, so here we go:

Step 1: Go to SMW’s homepage, on the left-hand side there is a login area, and directly underneath there is an ENROLL button, Click on it.

Step 2: Now we’re agreeing to all sorts of terms, that we probably aren’t reading, but we should be. I promise it’s secure. Agree to the terms and hit continue.

Step 3: You’ll be choosing your username now, make sure you are following the guidelines that are displayed to the right of the box you’re typing in. If not, well you know what happens- TRY AGAIN. Same goes for your password.

Step 4: The e-mail activation code. If you notice your email is incorrect, call the Credit Union (651-747-1500) and we will change it for you. Open a new tab in your web browser, then go to your email to access the activation code. If you do not open a new tab, you will lose all the information you have previously typed in, and have to start over.

So by now, it’s making sense right? If not, PLEASE feel free to call the credit union and we can walk you through whichever step you’re stuck on. Once you get enrolled officially, take a look around the dashboard. Click on things, get your transfers set up, so on and so forth.

Alright, so online banking is cool and all right? Now, what are you supposed to do if you get stuck in a situation where you are unable to do something yourself and your financial institution is closed? We have after-hours #’s on our website. But, take a few minutes one day and just call your financial institution and speak to a representative about any questions you may have if a situation like an inability to help yourself ever evolves. We will be more than happy to chat about what to do’s and how to do’s whenever. There are always going to be situations in which we don’t allow you to do something by yourself, and that is usually just for your protection. Ok, I will stop rambling on about banking now. Because let's face it, if you don’t read the terms and condition son anything, you’re probably not going to read this. BUT, I hope that you do take a couple of minutes to read this over, and once you get to the bottom of this paragraph, I will be right there cheering you on. See, here I am- GO YOU!!!!

Credit, credit, credit…….

When I was 20, I wanted nothing more than to have my own nice vehicle! Of course I will forever be thankful for the care I received when I was 16 from my parents, it gave me the ability to drive to school and go to work and hang out with friends whenever I wanted to, but I think we can all relate when I say there’s nothing like your first nice car! So, I saved up some money and I told my mom I wanted to start car shopping and all she said was Ok. So, in my head, I’m thinking ”wow, that was easy”…… well it wasn’t. I did my research and I found the cars I liked, and I looked up reviews on both cars and dealerships, I also did research on warranties and coverage for vehicles, because after all, you want the most coverage you can get without breaking the bank. So, 8 months after the first conversation about wanting a new car, my mom and I went to a dealership to test drive a vehicle, and the whole time I was thinking, “I’m not leaving here without this car!” I loved it! We sat down with the finance manager, and he talked about some options that I had to take into consideration, and one of them was that I had absolutely no credit. I was 20, young, hadn’t established any yet, you know what I’m saying? So I instantly got a little saddened thinking I was not going to be able to get myself a new car. My mom could tell I was getting a little antsy and as soon as the finance manager got up, I told her I wanted to go home, I was mad. He came back and sat down and said that he had an idea, but my mom would need to be on board…… Long story short, she ended up purchasing the vehicle in her name, and I co-signed on it. This gave me the opportunity to have a car partly in my name, make my own monthly payments, and at the same time establish credit. I was ecstatic. It felt like 15 minutes later that I was signing anything and everything and then all of a sudden he handed me the keys and I was driving home in my NEW CAR! YAY!  My takeaway from this entire situation, don’t get discouraged. There are always options, and in this specific situation, my mom came to my rescue. If you’re feeling stressed or discouraged in any way regarding credit or lack of, call your local bank or credit union and have them talk to you about potential options depending on your goal. There’s nothing more satisfactory than being able to help someone, so feel free to reach out.

Online & Mobile Payments/Deposits!

There’s just something about the convenience that puts a sparkle in peoples eyes. You mean I don’t have to go to the bank just to make a deposit, or to pay a loan, or to withdraw money? STOP! That’s nuts! The world of accessibility has become more and more diverse within the last decade. The advancements made daily are almost unfathomable. When it comes to making payments on loans, convenience is key, especially for people that may lead an extremely busy life and sometimes things just fall through the cracks. Online banking gives you the opportunity to make loan payments online by going to the webpage and entering in your information during the registration process, generating an online account for you and allowing you to make payments each month, however, be cautious of any convenience fees that are attached to luxuries like these. You can also enroll in Bill Pay, which is a big item for individuals these days, you can set up an account that will automatically send a check each month to deposit or pay on a loan. But, if you like to keep things very neutral and not get technology involved, you can always send checks via mail, or stop into the branches (this is always fun because the employees love seeing their members faces). There are many options these days that sometimes don’t get utilized and that is mainly because people don’t know about them, so it’s part of our job to make sure we can let people know all of the options they have so that they can pick which one directly suits their needs.

Go paperless!

Did you know that going paperless can actually save you money? A lot of financial institutions are offering incentives to people if they’re enrolled in e-statements because it’s saving them money, so in return, they want to reward you! Crazy right? I don’t know about you, but that’s the easiest way to save money if you ask me. Signing up for E-Statements is simple, you can either tell the credit union when you are opening your account or call/stop in at any time and request to be moved to e-statements, OR you can also enroll via online banking if you have already set up your registration. There are some financial institutions that actually require it to earn the highest interest on specific products, so that’s something to ask about too. I think at this day in age, there is so much going on in the cyber world, that people are feeling more inclined to go paperless. BUT, you absolutely don’t have to either. If you’re one of those people that still love getting your monthly statement in the mail, keep it! Nobody ever said you had to be like everybody else, so keep doing what makes you happy, even if it’s just paper!