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Help Credit Unions donate $100,000 to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. #VoteForMiracles So Kids Can Get Better.

Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals has launched a nationwide “Vote for Miracles” campaign celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Credit Unions for Kids program.

Beginning on “Giving Tuesday,” Nov. 29 through Dec. 20, credit unions and the general public are invited to cast their votes to support their favorite CMN Hospital. At the conclusion of the promotion, the top five hospitals will be awarded a total of $100,000 on behalf of America’s credit unions, compliments of CO-OP Financial Services.

Individuals can vote once a day over the course of the three-week campaign at VoteForMiracles.org. The hospital with the most votes will win $50,000. Second through fifth place will receive $20,000, $15,000, $10,000 and $5,000, respectively. Cook Children’s Medical Center, our local CMN hospital, is one of the voting choices!

Voters also have the option to choose their credit union. The credit union responsible for the most votes in each of the winning markets will be invited to participate in the check presentation for the top hospital. Be sure to choose EECU each time you vote!

Vote every day at VoteForMiracles.org to make a difference for kids in our community. Help your local children’s hospital when you share #VoteForMiracles and encourage friends and family to vote too. Voting begins on November 29, “Giving Tuesday,” and ends on December 20.

Visit VoteForMiracles.org for full details and promotion rules.

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Thanks to EECU employees and members, underprivileged Fort Worth children from 80 elementary schools will be celebrating the holidays with presents. Starting Thanksgiving week, please stop by the Fort Worth branch at 1617 W. 7th Street in Fort Worth to pick an “angel” from the lobby Christmas tree.  All the angels have been identified by their school counselors as disadvantaged.

Some important program details:

  • All gifts should be returned to the Fort Worth Branch at 1617 W. 7th Street by December 15
  • Gifts should be wrapped and tagged with the angel’s number that is on the tag you choose from the tree. Please be sure to log your name and phone number on the form in the Angel Tree book next to the Christmas tree
  • And, finally it is nice to provide articles of clothing and a few toys – remembering this may be the only Christmas gift your angel might get!

If you can’t make it into the branch to select your angel, please contact Donna Thomas at 817-882-0160 or donna.thomas@eecu.org and she will be glad to find an angel for you.

EECU has been a Christmas angel for Fort Worth Independent School District children via this program for 25 years.  Thank you for brightening the lives of our neighbors in need.

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EECU is now accepting applications for the Glenn Mandeville Memorial Scholarship program for high school seniors. If you, your child or someone you know is preparing for graduation this year and meets the criteria below, download an application and submit it by January 31, 2017, at any EECU office or by mail.

In order to be considered:

  • Applicant must be a high school senior
  • Applicant must be a member in good standing with EECU or parent/legal guardian must be a member in good standing with EECU
  • Applicant must express on their application their intended course of study
  • Recipient of scholarship funds must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.5 to receive annual distribution of funds
  • The scholarship must be used for the purpose of study at an accredited college or university
  • Academic achievement, character, leadership and personal recommendations will be considered in the selection of scholarship recipients
  • Applicant must include all required documentation and transcripts

The scholarship committee will select six recipients – three who are seeking a career in education and three who are pursuing other areas of study – to receive $5,000 in funds. See application for full details and instructions.

If you’re new to budgeting, figuring out how to manage your money each month can feel overwhelming. Not only do you need to organize, but you also have to make difficult decisions about how to spend your cash. Relying on the experiences of others can help only so much, because your income and expenses are unique. Someone may be able to spend $2,000 per month on rent in Arlington, VA, but that kind of spending may not work for you.

But there’s good news: You don’t need complicated spreadsheets with countless spending categories, and you don’t need to be a financial expert to understand how much money you can spend. You simply need to follow the 50-20-30 Rule.

What is the 50-20-30 Rule?

The 50-20-30 Rule helps you build a budget by using three spending categories:

  • 50% of your income should go to living expenses and essentials. This includes your rent, utilities, and things like groceries and transportation for work.
  • 20% of your income should go to financial goals, meaning your savings, investments, and debt-reduction payments (if you have debt, such as credit card payments).
  • 30% of your income should be used for flexible spending. This is everything you buy that you want but don’t necessarily need (like money spent on movies and travel).

Keep in mind that the percentages for essentials and flexible spending are the maximum you should spend. Falling under those guidelines can leave more money for other financial goals.

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How to start a 50-20-30 budget

Figure out what’s currently happening with your finances. First, look at your pay stubs to determine exactly how much money you bring home each month. That’s your income and what you’ll base your 50-20-30 split on. (If you’re self-employed, be careful to track your earnings and understand your average income per month so you can budget accordingly.)

Next, track your spending. Yes, that means keeping up with every last cent, from the big stuff such as rent to the coffee that you grab on the way to work. Then divide your spending into one of the three categories: essentials, financial goals, and flexible spending. From here, adjust your spending to ensure you’re falling into the 50-20-30 parameters. If you’re overspending on stuff you want but don’t need, it’s time to cut back to save more.

Why the 50-20-30 Rule works

It keeps your personal finances simple so you can pay your bills, add to your savings, and have the freedom to use some money just for fun. It’s also a good starting point for the budgeting novice. There’s no uncertainty, your action steps are clear, and it even provides for savings, investments, and other financial goals. This makes it much more likely that you’ll stay the course over time, ultimately reaching your desired financial stability.

The 50-20-30 Rule also offers some flexibility. You can bend it a bit by altering the percentages to make it work better for you. “It’s not about the exact percentage breakdown, because all budgets will be slightly different,” says Eric Roberge, a financial planner who specializes in helping professionals and entrepreneurs at Beyond Your Hammock. “The key is to take action and use a system to help you stay consistent in managing your money every month, and making sure you’re covering your expenses, being responsible by saving for tomorrow, and giving yourself some room to enjoy life today.”

– Published by Forbes on June 11, 2016

Phishing is a technique that involves tricking users into thinking they’re at confidential site in order to steal the user’s confidential information, passwords, etc.

Recently we have been made aware that consumers (not necessarily members of EECU) have received emails purporting to be from EECU. The return address of the email is a btconnect.com address, and the email reads:

You have received this email because you or someone have tried to access your account from different locations.

In order to safeguard your account, we require that you confirm your EECU Credit Union online account details.

As a precaution, we have limited access to your EECU Credit Union account in order to protect against future unauthorized transactions.

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If this is not completed by September 26, 2016, we will be forced to close your account.

We thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

EECU Credit Union Service

If you receive a similar email, DO NOT click on the link or provide any of your personal information. This is a phishing attempt and the linked site could potentially contain malware.

If you have received the email, clicked the link and provided your personal information, please contact us immediately at 817-882-0800 or visit your nearest branch so we can take appropriate action on your account.

As a reminder, EECU will never send you an email that requires you to enter personal information. Whether you access eecu.org using a link or by typing eecu.org into the browser, you should always verify that you are on a legitimate site by looking for https://www.eecu.org in the address bar and verifying the security of the site.

 

9 Tips to Prevent Phishing Attacks

Phishing is a technique that involves tricking the user into thinking you are a confidential site to steal confidential information, passwords, etc.

So far hackers have used emails to launch this type of attack, but with the widespread use of social media networks and smartphones with internet access, the types of attacks are multiplying.

These emails include a link that takes the user to site known to have a confidential website, but they’re mere mimics with zero confidentiality. Often, the links are to sites with domain names that are slightly different, but very close to, the domain of a known site (e.g. www.sitename.com vs. wwwsitename.com)

Thus, overconfident users who do not have adequate antivirus protection or who are not aware of the slight changes in the domain name of included links, could be involved in attacks that are aimed to steal personal data.

And because of the economic crisis which is unfortunately affecting several countries, phishing attacks are attracting people with the promise of a great job or an easy way to get money.

The question is … How can we prevent this type of phishing attack? 

9 Tips to Prevent Phishing Attacks

1. Learn to Identify Suspected Phishing Emails

There are some qualities that identify an attack through an email:

  • They duplicate the image of a real company.
  • Copy the name of a company or an actual employee of the company.
  • Include sites that are visually similar to a real business.
  • Promote gifts, or the loss of an existing account.
2. Check the Source of Information From Incoming Mail

Your financial institution will never ask you to send your passwords or personal information by email. Never respond to these questions, and if you have the slightest doubt, call your financial institution directly for clarification.

3. Beware of Clicking on Links Included in Emails

Be aware of the destination pages of hyperlinks or links attached in emails you receive. Links could direct you to fraudulent websites. If you’re checking emails on a computer, inspect the links before clicking on them by hovering over the link with your mouse pointer and looking at the destination URL that shows up at the bottom corner of your screen/browser window. If you use an Apple mobile device to check emails, you may be able to inspect the links before following them by pressing and holding your finger on the link – this may bring up an options menu that allows you to view the link destination, and open or copy the link (iOS/Apple devices only).

Typing the financial institution’s known URL (for example, www.eecu.org) directly into your browser or using bookmarks/favorites if you want to get there faster, may be a good idea.

4. Enhance the Security of Your Computer

Common sense and good judgement is as vital as keeping your computer protected with a good antivirus to block many types of attacks.

In addition, you should always have the most recent update on your operating system and web browsers.

5. Enter Your Sensitive Data in Secure Websites Only

In order for a site to be ‘safe’, it must begin with ‘https://’ and your browser should show an icon of a closed lock.

6. Periodically Check Your Accounts

It never hurts to check your bank accounts periodically to be aware of any irregularities in your online transactions.

7. Phishing Doesn’t Only Pertain to Online Banking

Most phishing attacks are against financial institutions, but can also use any popular website to steal personal data such as eBay, Facebook, PayPal, etc.

8. Phishing Knows All Languages

Phishing knows no boundaries, and can reach you in any language. In general, they’re poorly written or translated, so this may be another indicator that something is wrong.

If you never you go to the Spanish website of your financial institution, why should your statements now be in this language?

9. Have the Slightest Doubt, Do Not Risk It

The best way to prevent phishing is to consistently reject any email or news that asks you to provide confidential data.

Delete these emails and call your financial institution to clarify any doubts.

 

 

Originally published by Panda Security, February 21, 2016
Edited and re-published by EECU, August 23, 2016


Winter and the holidays are not only times to come together with family and friends for good food, football, and holiday cheer; they’re also a great opportunity to save on needed items through major holiday sales. During this time, retailers, service providers, and other vendors tend to incentivize potential customers to buy. While the thought of winter sales would normally conjure up images of everything from electronics as holiday gifts to exercise equipment (to reach those New Year’s resolutions), there are also exciting seasonal offerings in the credit world too. More and more providers are offering great deals with low rates and waived fees on a variety of services.

Credit cards and personal loans are typically the first things that come to mind when one is in financial need. Now that need may be as small as family gifts for the holidays or as big as a pool for the kids next summer, but one thing continues to ring true; people are more inclined to spend (and over spend) during the holidays as their mindsets shift from the relaxed freedom of Fall to refocusing on household/family needs. That is why it is smart to look into any credit card companies and local bank branches who may be offering enticing incentives for securing credit or a loan during this time. Remember, back to school specials apply to students in need of financial security too!

For many people, the winter includes driving around town to enjoy the lights and decorations, or traveling to visit family and friends for the holidays. Therefore, it’s only natural that auto insurance and loan vendors choose this time of the year to offer their biggest savings initiatives. People can daydream about one day owning the best car out there, or the one they’ve fantasized about since being a kid, but if it doesn’t include a sound financial partner offering quality service at low rates, a dream car can quickly turn into a nightmare.

A home equity line of credit (HELOC) is a great tool for creating a sense of security. Most rates associated with this type of credit tend to be lower than your average credit card or loan rates; therefore, the potential to decrease current payments through consolidating debt is very strong. Additionally, not only do you pay less interest through a HELOC, the interest that is paid can typically be written off as tax deductible. Unlike personal loans where a lump sum is taken out all at once, credit lines can be drawn from for the exact amounts needed; most people find this method easier to manage as there is only a responsibility to pay back the money required in the moment, without the full weight of a larger amount collecting interest along the way.

An excellent means of acquiring credit assistance is to partner with a trusted organization with the experience and incentives (seasonal or not) that can make a difference amongst the competitive landscape. Here’s a look at the loan deals currently being offered by one of the industry’s leading credit unions.

EECU was recently named top credit union in DFW by Consumer Reports® —and provides an easy way to get access to financial products and services if you live in the Dallas Fort Worth Area. When it comes to credit cards, EECU offers excellent options with no annual fees and no fee balance transfers at 6.9% APR1 for life. EECU’s home equity line of credit provides important financial security at a low intro rate of 2.99% APR2 through January 31, 2017, then a variable rate as low as 4.00%2 APR thereafter. There are currently and no closing costs2 and you will enjoy an expedited closing process2. Additionally, EECU is running a promotion in which they will beat any auto loan by 2%3 when you refinance your current auto loan with them. Also, EECU is offering personal loans with rates as low as 5.99% APR4. EECU’s online applications make it easy to take advantage of these offers.


1 APR = Annual Percentage Rate. Rate is effective as of January 15, 2016. 6.9% APR is only available to qualified members for balance transfers made within 90-days from the anniversary date of account opening. This APR will be non-variable. Balance transfers made 91 days or more from the anniversary date of account opening will be made at the standard Balance Transfer APR (10.24%-17.99%). Rates are subject to change without notice. Membership in EECU is required – membership information available at eecu.org. All loans are subject to credit approval and EECU lending policies. This limited-time offer is subject to change at any time without notice. Cardholder benefits are subject to change without notice. Balance Transfer Information – Balance transfers are not considered purchases, therefore no grace period applies and finance charges will begin on the transaction date. This offer is valid for balances transferred from other institutions only. Please continue making payments on your other credit card and loan account(s) until the balance transfer is confirmed on your other institution’s account statement. By applying, you certify that all information provided by you at the time of acceptance is true, correct, and complete and that you are (a) at least 18 years of age and legally able to enter into a contract for the extension of credit and (b) a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Click for Important Account Terms.

2 The Introductory Annual Percentage Rate (APR) shown for home equity lines of credit is a fixed rate until January 31, 2017. After the introductory period, the APR will be variable and will be based on the Prime Rate as published in The Wall Street Journal Rates Table (the “index”) plus a margin. The minimum APR is 4.00% after the expiration of the introductory period and applies during the draw and repayment periods. The annual percentage rate is subject to change semi-annually after the introductory period. Any change will be effective on the 1st day of January and the 1st day of July.  An increase in the index will result in higher payments.  A decrease in the index will result in lower payments. The APR cannot increase or decrease more than 2% in any 1 year period.  In no event will the APR exceed 18%.  Minimum payments are required during the draw and repayment periods. Offer limited to consumer home equity lines of credit not currently held at EECU. Property insurance required, including flood insurance where applicable. The minimum advance during the draw period is $4,000. No closing costs for loans $174,999 or less. If an appraisal is required to determine property value, you are responsible for the cost of the appraisal. Loan amount may not exceed 50% of your property’s value, with a combined loan to value of 80%, other restrictions may apply. Membership in EECU is required – membership information available at eecu.org. All loans are subject to credit approval and EECU lending policies. In Texas, there is a 12 day cooling off period on all HELOCs. Actual time of funding may differ depending on appraisal, title and other documentation requirements. By applying, you certify that all information provided by you at the time of acceptance is true, correct, and complete and that you are (a) at least 18 years of age and legally able to enter into a contract for the extension of credit and (b) a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Consult your tax advisor regarding the deductibility of interest. Equal Housing Opportunity lender.

3 This offer is to refinance an auto loan from another lender. All loans are subject to credit approval and EECU lending policies. Floor rate is 2.50% Annual Percentage Rate. Membership in EECU is required – membership information available at eecu.org. Offer valid only on loans older than 90 days. Not valid with loans currently financed with EECU. Minimum refinanced auto loan amount is $2,500. Maximum auto loan rate is 18.00% Annual Percentage Rate. 90-day delay of first payment with credit approval. Interest will accrue during the payment deferral period. EECU does not charge application or refinance fees. Vehicle title transfer fees will apply. Vehicle titling fees may differ depending on your county of residence. Additional terms and conditions apply. Offer and rates subject to change without notice. By applying, you certify that all information provided by you at the time of acceptance is true, correct, and complete and that you are (a) at least 18 years of age and legally able to enter into a contract for the extension of credit and (b) a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

4 APR = Annual Percentage Rate. The APR ranges from 5.99% to 16.99%. Membership in EECU is required – membership information available at eecu.org. All loans are subject to credit approval and EECU lending policies. By applying, you certify that all information provided by you at the time of acceptance is true, correct, and complete and that you are (a) at least 18 years of age and legally able to enter into a contract for the extension of credit and (b) a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Must complete and return all required documents within the same business day received in order for money to be deposited into an EECU share or checking account. Same day deposit does not apply for special account requests or EECU direct pay to creditors. Click for loan details.

The FAFSA is Changing This Year

People starting college in the fall of 2017 probably haven’t yet decided where they’re going to school, let alone figured out how much money they’ll need to do it, but it’s almost time to start applying for financial aid. In the past, students and their families could turn in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) starting Jan. 1 of the year they’ll need the aid, but that date has been moved up.

It’s coming up quickly, too. For the 2017-18 academic year, people can turn in the FAFSA as early as Oct. 1, 2016. That’s in less than 3 months.

Why So Early?

Before we get into the specifics of this change, it’s important to point out why you’d want to turn in the FAFSA so early. Figuring out how you’re paying for college is one of those “the sooner, the better” kind of things. Though the application has “federal” in the name, states and schools also use the FAFSA to dole out financial aid, and every state and school has different ways of doing that. Some distribute aid on a first-come, first-served basis, so the longer you wait to turn in your FAFSA, the lower your chances of receiving assistance.

With that sort of pressure, you’d think college-bound people (or their parents) would greet the stroke of midnight with a toast of “Happy New Year! But first, FAFSA.” It doesn’t tend to happen that way, for a few reasons. First, a lot of people don’t realize how important it is in getting financial aid, or they assume they won’t qualify for aid, so they don’t bother with the paperwork. (Insert “you won’t know if you never try” cliche here.) In addition to the common mistakes of not knowing deadlines or underestimating the importance of the FAFSA, people put it off because they think they won’t have all the information they need to complete it until after they’ve filed their taxes.

For example: The FAFSA for the 2016-17 school year required applicants to enter their income information from the 2015 tax year. The deadline for submitting your 2015 income tax return was April 18, 2016. At that point, the FAFSA deadline in many states had passed, or states had already awarded all available aid. How could an application that requires 2015 tax information come due before your 2015 taxes, you ask? You can estimate your financial information on the FAFSA, allowing you to turn in the application before you file your taxes, which is something a lot of people may not realize.

Yes, it’s confusing, which brings us to the new policies coming in a few months.

What Changed?

For the 2017-18 academic year, students and their families will use their financial information from the 2015 tax year to fill out the FAFSA. The idea is that this will make it easier to fill out the form earlier. It also allows more people to take advantage of the IRS Data Retrieval tool. It transfers your tax information to the FAFSA, but because many people have traditionally filled out the FAFSA before completing their taxes, that tool hasn’t been as helpful as it could be.

“This will simplify the FAFSA, cutting about a page of questions from the form,” Mark Kantrowitz, said in an email to Credit.com. Kantrowitz is a financial aid expert and publisher and vice president of strategy at Cappex, an online platform for researching colleges and scholarships. “Also, any data element that is transferred unmodified from the IRS will not be subject to verification … This is especially important for low-income students, who often have difficulty completing verification.”

What You Need to Know Before October

The Education Department recommends filling out the FAFSA online, but you can also fill out a PDF version (you submit that through the mail) or request a paper form be sent to you. You also need a federal student aid ID (FSA ID) to sign your FAFSA, and it can take up to 3 days after registering for your FSA ID before you can use it to sign your application.

You still don’t need to have filed your taxes in order to fill out the FAFSA (though it’s easier that way, with the IRS Data Retrieval tool), and you also don’t have to know where you’re going to school. You can list a college on your FAFSA, if you want them to receive your FAFSA, even if you haven’t yet decided if you’re applying there. Keep in mind you have to fill out the FAFSA every year you’re applying for aid, as well, so for people who have gone through this process before, now you can start it earlier.

“The switch to prior-prior year also increases the amount of time available to apply for financial aid, from 18 months to 21 months,” Kantrowitz said. He said he hoped the earlier availability of the form would lead to more low-income students filing their FAFSAs early, consequently allowing them to qualify for more state aid.

Changes to how people apply for federal student aid hardly solves the burden of rising education costs and the ever-growing student loan debt in the U.S., but they simplify a process that many people find intimidating.

Of course, paying for college goes beyond this single form. Figuring out how much you can afford to spend (and borrow) to get a degree can be really tricky, but it’s important that students and their families consider the future cost of these decisions. Student loans have a significant impact on borrowers’ credit scores (you can see just how much by reviewing two of your free credit scores each month on Credit.com), and falling behind on loan payments can seriously damage your financial stability. You can read more about options for paying for college or repaying student loan debt here.

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Article courtesy of Credit.com, Christine DiGangi – July 19, 2016

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With a personal loan from EECU, you can get a low monthly payment and use the extra money to consolidate debt, fix up the house, take a summer vacation or to cover unexpected expenses! For example, with a rate as low as 5.99% APR, you can get a loan up to $10,000 and pay as little as $194** a month. Terms are flexible and the process is simple. Learn more and apply online today at eecu.org/simplify.

 


*APR=Annual Percentage Rate. The APR ranges from 5.99% to 16.99%.
** Payment estimates are based on an APR of 5.99% for a 60-month term on a $10,000 loan. Your actual loan amount and payment terms may vary. Membership required – membership information available at eecu.org. Subject to credit approval. By applying, you certify that all information provided by you at the time of acceptance is true, correct, and complete and that you are (a) at least 18 years of age and legally able to enter into a contract for the extension of credit and (b) a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Must complete and return all required documents within the same business day received in order for money to be deposited into an EECU share or checking account. Same day deposit does not apply for special account requests or EECU direct pay to creditors.

NAFCU warns about a KrebsOnSecurity report that CiCi’s Pizza, a Texas-based restaurant chain with more than 500 locations in 35 states, has been hit by a credit card data breach.

UPDATE as of July 16, 2016:

Cici’s Pizza, a Coppell, Texas-based fast-casual restaurant chain, today acknowledged a credit card breach at more than 135 locations. The disclosure comes more than a month after KrebsOnSecurity first broke the news of the intrusion, offering readers a sneak peak inside the sprawling cybercrime machine that thieves used to siphon card data from Cici’s customers in real-time.

In a statement released Tuesday evening, Cici’s said that in early March 2016, the company received reports from several of its restaurant locations that point-of-sale systems were not working properly.

“The point-of-sale vendor immediately began an investigation to assess the problem and initiated heightened security measures,” the company said in a press release. “After malware was found on some point-of-sale systems, the company began a restaurant-by-restaurant review and remediation, and retained a third-party cybersecurity firm, 403 Labs, to perform a forensic analysis.”

According to Cici’s, “the vast majority of the intrusions began in March of 2016,” but the company acknowledges that the breach started as early as 2015 at some locations. Cici’s said it was confident the malware has been removed from all stores. A list of affected locations is here (PDF).

Read More>


ORIGINAL article on June 7, 2016:

Krebs said it appears hackers stole credit card data from certain restaurants “by posing as technical support specialists for the company’s point-of-sale provider.” Krebs noted that more than six financial institutions had contacted the blog with concerns about CiCi’s after detecting a pattern of fraud on cards that had been used there during the last few months.

CiCi’s told Krebs that an outside public relations firm is handling “the issue.”

Krebs also followed up a tip that the breach could have been connected to CiCi’s POS provider Datapoint, which denied the connection and said that hackers had posed as specialists from multiple POS providers.

As a reminder, if you purchase food from CiCi’s Pizza using a credit and/or debit card, be sure to monitor your account. If you notice suspicious activity, contact us immediately at 817-882-0800.