Author Archive for Heather Lau

Steps to Help You Through the Mortgage Process

With today’s low rates, are you thinking about buying your first home or refinancing your current one? Follow these steps to help you through the mortgage process:

  1. Complete an online application using this link: https://audreyspencer.zipforhome.com/
  2. Be responsive and stay in touch with your lender – Extra documents are normally required—be sure to promptly get any required documents back to your lender to keep the process moving forward
  3. Get your pre-approval and start shopping for what you can afford
  4. Be sure to have homeowner’s insurance lined up – Proof of insurance will be required before final approval
  5. Do not take out an additional debt – During the mortgage process you will want to avoid taking out any additional debt as this can change your debt to income ratio and affect your approval
  6. Do not change jobs without consulting with your lender first
  7. Be open and ask any questions you have during the process

Phishing: What is it and how can you keep yourself protected?

Phishing: What is it and how can you keep yourself protected?

Phishing is fraud that is done through phone calls, text messages, email, websites and even social media. The cybercriminal poses as someone from a legitimate business trying to get individuals to give personal identifying information, passwords, credit card information or bank account information.

Warning signs to watch out for:

  • Too Good to be True
    • An eye-catching offer like winning a phone, tablet, lottery or other expensive prizes are meant to grab your attention. These offers sound nice but are usually too good to be true. Do not click on any suspicious emails or links.
  • Short Deadlines
    • Sometimes the scammer will threaten you with a short deadline in order to get you to act fast in order to not give you a chance to really question what you are doing.
  • Spelling & Grammar Errors
    • If you receive an email from a place of business with spelling or grammatical errors, take extra caution if they are requesting any information.
  • Odd Friend Requests
    • Generally speaking, you do not want to accept any friend requests on social media from anyone you don’t actually know.
  • Web Pages Look Odd
    • If something seems off about the webpage you are using, look for spelling errors. If an unusual pop up comes up asking for information—do not enter it.

 

The bottom line: Take caution when answering phone calls from numbers you don’t recognize, opening emails from people or places you don’t know or opening webpages and links that seem odd or you aren’t familiar with.

 

https://www.phishing.org/what-is-phishing

https://usa.visa.com/dam/VCOM/regional/na/us/partner-with-us/documents/tax-fraud-awareness-infographic.pdf?elqTrackId=2d990f6814524358a51fa9a85f49d5f5&elq=81fc78f1a61941cd86229438785749e4&elqaid=4923&elqat=1&elqCampaignId=2685

Mobile Deposit – What is it and how does it work?

In today’s world, most people have their payroll directly deposited into their checking accounts or use cash apps like Venmo or PayPal. On the off chance that you end up with a paper check, did you know you can deposit it into your account with just a few pictures with your smartphone?

Welcome to the world of Mobile Deposit, or Remote Deposit Capture as some institutions call it. Mobile Deposit is so convenient and easy to use. It takes just a few minutes to complete, which sure beats taking a trip out to the Credit Union—especially in these uncertain times.

According to Statista, 75% of Americans use their mobile banking services from their couch, and 47% check their account from their bed. That sounds like a good deal to me!

Tips for using mobile banking:

  • Checks can only be deposited into a checking account—don’t have one? No problem, we can open one today by applying here: https://www.midlandcu.org/accounts/
  • Make sure the photo quality is as clear as possible—be in a well-lit space and do NOT use the flash
  • Set the check on a flat contrasting surface

Learn more about our mobile banking services here: https://www.midlandcu.org/e-services/mobile-banking/

3 Tips for Fraud Stress Prevention – Online Shopping

It can be stressful when you look at your account and are surprised by the amount available. You then look at your transactions and see that there was a charge from a state 500 miles away from where you’re at. You panic and call your financial institution right away and they tell you that they will start a case. You’re stressed because your bills are due tomorrow and you don’t know when you’ll get your money back.

Prevention is key, and here are some tips for shopping online safely:

Consider Using Your Credit Card
Dispute your charges and still pay your bills. If your credit card is compromised, at least you can still pay your rent. Credit card merchants can usually work more quickly on dispute cases than debit card dispute cases, so you’ll get your credit back quicker! Just be sure to pay off your credit card every month to avoid finance charges.

Use Secure Wi-Fi Networks & Websites
Always be cautious while using public Wi-Fi. Public Wi-Fi networks are usually shared, so the information you send while you’re on that network is not encrypted. If you’re wanting to do any personal business on a public network, it is safer to use your cellular data network. The “S” in https means secure. Check the URL of the website, does it say “https:” or does “http:”?

Read the Fine Print
Before entering in your card information into a website that you have not used before, be sure to read the fine print. The product companies that suggest you will be receiving a “free gift” and you would just be paying for the shipping, are usually those that say in the very fine print “you are authorizing a $59.99/mo. subscription”.

Things happen, and sometimes they are out of your control. Use these tips to prevent a stressful situation for yourself.

If you don’t have a credit card and are interested in getting one, check out Midland Credit Union’s low credit card rate: https://www.midlandcu.org/all-loans/credit-card/

 

Sources:

https://www.allconnect.com/blog/is-public-wifi-safe

https://www.cuinsight.com/consumer-best-practices-for-online-shopping.html?u=mindyc@midlandcu.org&utm_source=CUinsight+Email+List&utm_campaign=05b4ddae36-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_02_28_12_15&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_601789497f-05b4ddae36-307244229

 

3 Tips: Increase your Credit Score Using a Credit Card

3 Tips – Increase your Credit Score using a Credit Card

Your credit score is important, especially if you’re wanting to purchase a large ticket item such as a vehicle or a home in the future. It’s simple, have a higher credit score, pay less money when you need to borrow money. Your credit score is like renovating your home, it’s not going to improve overnight, but an easy starting point is to get a credit card! If you’re planning to get a credit card, here are some tips:

    1. Have a high credit limit, with a low balance: Prove you can use your credit responsibly. It shows that you’re not living beyond your means and you’re able to re-pay.
    2. Utilize apps: Check your balance daily and make payments to ensure you’re below that 50% balance at the time your institution reports to the credit bureau.
    3. Start your credit history early: Long term open credit cards show on your report, and it makes you look good.

 

Apply today for our Midland Credit Union Credit card!

https://www.midlandcu.org/loans/credit-card/