Advice & Planning


POSTED: Mar 21, 2017
MCU’s Tips to Avoiding Common Home Buying Mistakes

For many, buying a home is more than just a financial achievement, it’s a life-long dream. As our economic climate continues to change, the housing market, home-buying experience and mortgage financing options will as well. If you’re looking to take the leap to buy in 2017, you may just be nick of time to get a great deal before mortgage rates and home prices continue to inch up. While the timing may be right, common mistakes during the home buying process may end up costing you time and money. To help prepare and avoid these missteps, check out our tips below!

Mistake: Not knowing your credit score. Some people do not realize their credit score is too poor for them to buy a home and obtain a mortgage. Others may just assume they have poor credit and do not realize their credit is good enough for them to obtain a mortgage at a good rate.

Tip: Don’t just know your credit score; understand what that means regarding your potential as a home-owner. Educations classes (such as MCU’s Home Buyer’s Seminar) are a great way to better understand how your score affects you in the home buying process.

Mistake: Assuming your down payment is the only upfront cost associated with buying a home. There are many fees and closing costs that need to be paid along with the down payment.

Tip: Know your budget when shopping for your home, and make sure to include additional costs when budgeting for your home purchase. Shop around when looking for your mortgage. In some instances, financial institutions will waive some closing costs and fees to help keep your initial payment low.

Mistake: Not knowing about all costs of home ownership in the neighborhood(s) where you are looking to buy. The cost of your home is more than just the price of your house.

Tip: Do research and find out the cost of property taxes, Homeowners Association Fee, Plan Unit development fees, homeowner’s insurance, and other costs that will affect how much you can actually afford.

Mistake: Having an unrealistic view of the mortgage process timeline. The process usually takes 30-45 days to close after receiving necessary documentation, not 30-45 days from the initial contact with the loan officer.

Tip: Plan effectively. Know that the process is just that, a process. Understand that your financial activity during this time period can affect your credit, which can affect your capacity to be a homeowner in the lender’s eyes.

Mistake: Choosing to delay the home buying process in anticipation of lower interest rates. While rates have increased slightly since 2016, buying a home is still financially attainable. However, experts agree that the Federal Reserve can be expected to raise rates further and waiting years or even just months could put you at risk of an even higher mortgage interest rate.

Tip: Start today. By locking in an interest rate before they inch up again. You could save yourself hundreds of dollars a month!

POSTED: Mar 17, 2017
An MCU Scam Roundup - Spring 2017

Consumers are getting smarter about fraud, but unfortunately thieves are too. According to a recent study released by Javelin Strategy & Research, found that $16 billion was stolen from 15.4 million U.S. consumers in 2016, compared with $15.3 billion and 13.1 million victims a year earlier. Additionally, In the past six years, identity thieves have stolen over $107 billion.

Criminals are defrauding many victims by combining new technology with old tricks to gain access to their money and personal information. Being informed is the first step to keeping your money and personal information safe. Check out these recent scams reported by the Better Business Bureau that are currently plaguing hardworking people everywhere.

1. The “You’ve Reached Your Storage Limit” Phishing Scam

This scam looks like just another email message from your company’s IT department. It’s so mundane or routine, these messages are easy to click on without thinking. However, a new scam should have you checking your email twice.

The reported version of this scam reads: “[name]@[] update required” and appears to come from According to the message, your email has reached the storage limit, and “you will be blocked from sending and receiving messages.” The message instructs you to click a link to validate your account and add storage. In a clever move, the scammers even made the link look like your email address. But in the version Better Business Bureau received, the link really points to a website with an overseas domain name.

Clicking the link takes you to a login form that asks you to enter your email address and password. But don’t believe it or fill it out! The form is a fraud and a phishing scam. It’s really a way to steal your email password, which opens you up to identify theft.

No matter what format it comes in, the Better Business Bureau recommends these tips to identify a phishing scam:

• Be wary of unexpected emails that contain links or attachments. Do not click on links or open files in unfamiliar emails.

• Don't believe what you see. Just because an email looks real, doesn't mean it is. Scammers can fake anything from a company logo to the "Sent" email address.

• Check your company's IT department or internet service provider. If something sounds suspicious, confirm it first. Contact them directly from a number you know is accurate. DON'T click on any links in the message you suspect is a scam.

• Be cautious of generic emails. Scammers try to cast a wide net by including little or no specific information in their fake emails. Always be wary of messages that don't contain your name, last digits of your account number, or other personalizing information. Pay attention to the ways in which your IT department normally addresses concerns and be cautious of any new method.

•Use unique passwords: Use different passwords for each account you create. This is the simple way to reduce your risk if one password falls into the hands of scammers.

2. Beware of Video Game Account Scams

Gaming is a multibillion dollar industry but it isn’t immune to scammers. If you’re a gamer currently stuck on certain level, buying an account from another player may seem like a fast, easy way to move forward in a game. However, not only is this practice forbidden by most game manufacturers, it leaves you vulnerable to scammers.

Scammers will often log into message boards and post they have an account to sell. Once they find a buyer, the transaction seems easy. The victim will pay the seller, and in exchange, the scammer provides the account information.

It all seems legitimate but these transactions often don’t go as planned when the seller/scammer provides incomplete or fake account details. Before the buyer notices, the scammer files a support ticket with the game manufacturer to change the account details. Other times, the scammer sells the account to multiple players and provides them all with the correct account information. However, when multiple users attempt to change the credentials at the same time, the manufacture realizes the account has been compromised and shuts it down.

While this practice is already forbidden among gaming companies, gamers can use these additional practices to keep their keep their online game account secure:

• Don’t share account information with others. Choose a secure password and don’t share your account information with anyone, including friends.

• Don’t pay users to play for you: Ignore offers from users who play for pay, putting in the hours you need to level up. You will need to share your username and password with these players, compromising your account. If your credit card is attached to your account, these users can go on a shopping spree.

• Don't share personal details in games. Other players may ask you about yourself, but sharing personal details such as your full name, address, birthday, etc. can open you up to the risk of identity theft.

• Use unique passwords: Use different passwords for each account you create. If your password falls into the hands of scammers, your other accounts won’t be compromised.

3. The Hazard of Online Cigarette Sales Ploys

As if you didn’t need another reason to quit smoking, new scams have been popping up encouraging consumers to purchase cigarettes from online international sellers.

While the vendor website may look legitimate and includes big brand names with great pricing, consumers can easily spot trouble when they go to check-out, the seller will not accept credit cards and insists on payment via wire transfer or prepaid debit card.

Don’t do it! The seller will take your money and confirm the order shipped - but the cigarettes will never arrive.

This scam is a cautionary tale for many other fraudulent retail operations. To spot an online sales scam, keep an eye out for the following before making a purchase:

• Be wary if the price is significantly lower than on similar sites. If a deal seems too good to be true, it almost certainly is.

• Avoid all retail websites that insist on a wire transfer or prepaid debit card transaction as a form of payment.

• Check for contact information and social media presence: Look for a real address and telephone number in the site’s contact information. Check out the company’s social media presence to verify their activity and search verifiable websites for consumer reviews.

• Use This website can help you check the domain name to see if it is registered in the country where the business claims to be located.

• Make sure websites are secure and authenticated: Before you purchase an item online. Look for "https" before the web address and online seals that ensure your credit card and/or banking information is secure.

POSTED: Mar 15, 2017
MCU’s Tips for Talking to Kids About Money

Talking to kids about money can help them develop positive habits that will stay with them throughout their entire lives. According to the National Standards for Financial Literacy, young people who learn about money early on are more inclined to make positive financial decisions, and better understand the trade-offs in the financial choices they make.

While it’s important to talk to kids about money early on, it can also be a challenge. To get started, check out our tips below.

Budgeting: Show and Tell

An allowance can help to introduce children to money but discussing a budget can help further their understanding of its importance.

By discussing expenses like the cost of new school clothes or favorite toys, kids can have a better idea what a dollar is worth and how important it is to plan on how to spend their money. These budgets can also help children to understand the importance of long-term saving for larger expenses they may want.

Depending on your level of comfort, parents can also invite their children to help plan the family budget to help them consider larger and more complex goals, such as monthly bills, groceries and saving for college.

Play money- themed games

Kids learn in many different ways. For many, this is through doing activities and having fun while they’re at it.

In addition to talking about a real-life budget, age-appropriate games, apps and toys can engage children and help them to think about the value of money and financial strategies. Games like Monopoly, Pay Day and the Game of Life may be classics but are still a great place to start.

Open a Youth Savings Account

A youth savings account is a great interactive way to get kids on their way to financial literacy. Taking children on trips to your credit union to complete to make a deposit and sitting down to review monthly statements are not only opportunities to spend time together, but to also teach basic banking skills and the importance of saving for the future.

MCU’s Smart Apple Savers and Future Investors accounts offer our young members features and benefits to make saving easy including:

• Minimum opening deposit of $10

• Earned share dividend rates

• Quarterly statements

• Dividends compounded and credited quarterly

• No minimum balance requirements, changes or fees

POSTED: Mar 03, 2017
Shared Secured Loans

If you’ve struggled with your credit history, you’re certainly not alone. According to a recent study, more than 68 million Americans have a poor credit score of 600 or lower. Whether an individual has demonstrated poor long-term financial habits or has simply dealt with an unexpected expense, a low credit score can have many repercussions. This may include difficulty being approved for loans, higher interest rates, more expensive insurance premiums and even being passed over for a job.

For many looking to get back on track with their finances, a shared secured loan is an important financial product that can not only help rebuild credit but also offer a means to a line of credit at a lower interest rate. This is because it uses funds in a savings account — either a share account, share certificate account or money market account — as collateral for your loan.

The Benefits of a shared secured loan may include:

• The funds borrowed can be used for virtually anything

• The collateral from your share account qualifies you for a lower rate than an unsecured loan

• The maximum amount of money loaned is based on your deposit

• You continue to earn dividends on the full balance in your account

• As payments are made to the principal of the loan, funds are released back into your savings.

• Direct deposit or payroll deduction are available

While the benefits of a shared secured loan are significant, borrowers should also know:

• Shared secured loans do not boost your credit score as significantly as an unsecured loan.

• A shared secured loan on your record may demonstrated to lenders that you did not qualify for any other loan based on your income or credit.

• Like an unsecured loan, late payments on a shared secured will result in consequences.

Like all financial products, shared secured loans may vary on a case by case basis. To learn more about how an MCU Shared Secured Loan may work for you, visit today!

POSTED: Jan 12, 2017
The Benefit of Direct Deposit For Your Tax Refund

Still getting your tax refund by mail? Try direct deposit and receive it earlier! Without having to visit a branch location, your refund will be made available quickly and easily as it is automatically electronically deposited into your checking or savings (share) account! According to the IRS, eight out of 10 taxpayers have already jumped on board with this method of receiving their refund and it’s easy to understand why – at no cost to you, your refund can be safely and securely deposited into up to three separate accounts.

To receive your tax refund through direct deposit, simply select it as your refund method through your tax software and type in the account number and routing number (you can even select this option when filing your taxes on paper!) or let your tax preparer know you want your refund delivered via direct deposit. To help avoid any errors, be sure to double check your entry to avoid errors.

If you’re not sure what your routing and account numbers are, you can locate them easily on your personal checks.

To learn more about using direct deposit to receive your tax refund, visit today!

POSTED: Dec 29, 2016
What to Know About Debt Consolidation

Even in the best of situations, managing debt is stressful and it can quickly become increasingly complicated as individuals struggle to manage multiple overdue balances and work with different creditors. As accounts become difficult to keep track of and interest continues to compound on unpaid bills, it can be easy to feel like the situation is out of control. Fortunately, options such as debt consolidation can help individuals regain control and begin the path to being debt-free.

Know Your Options

There are a few different methods to consolidate debt, in order to make the best decision for your circumstances, it is always best to be informed.

One of the most popular ways to consolidate debt is to transfer the balances of several higher-rate credit cards to a card with lower fees and (ideally) a zero percent APR introductory rate and a lower, more favorable rate after that. Borrowers can take advantage of this grace period to take advantage of paying down the principle of their debt.

A second common form of debt consolidation is to take out a loan large enough to pay off multiple creditors at once. Once your multiple bills have been consolidated into just one monthly payment, a borrower will not only have a much easier time keeping track of payments but could potentially save hundreds or thousands of dollars in interest. A loan may be obtained from your financial institution in the form of a personal loan or Home Equity Line of Credit or can be provided through debt relief companies.

Always Remember to be Mindful

While debt consolidation is a smart solution for many, it’s not for everybody. For example, it is primarily for those who have unsecured debts, such as credit or retail cards. If most of your debt and liabilities include tax debt, unpaid child support or old parking tickets these plans won't help. Borrowers should also be sure that they will be able to make the payments on the new card balance or loan they have taken out – this includes reviewing the details of the product agreement and interest rates. To help combat high interest rates, choose your lender wisely. Working with a financial institution you already have a relationship with can help ensure a more favorable loan agreement.

Debt consolidation also is not the end-all-be-all to financial troubles. As you consolidate debt, the credit cards and store cards that you’ve paid off could still remain open, which makes it easy for to run up new bills, on top of your consolidation loan debt. Consolidating debt also does not address underlying spending and financial problems. Because of this, those considering consolidation should also seek financial counseling for long-term success.

POSTED: Dec 29, 2016
The Benefits of Bill Pay

Consumers are on the go and they’re taking their financial institutions with them. According to a 2016 report from the Federal Reserve, 53 percent of smartphone users with a credit union or bank account have used a mobile banking app within the last 12 months. Unsurprisingly, more than half of these users had used Bill Pay to make mobile payments with their smartphones to take care of bills and make payments, both to businesses and to friends and family.

Not convinced that Bill Pay is for you? Check out the benefits below!

1. It’s Fast and Convenient

Bill Pay not only allows you to handle all of your payments in one location, but because it’s accessed through online or mobile banking, it allows you to do so whenever and wherever you’d like!

Bill Pay also makes it easier to manage your money and stay on track of payments by allowing you to track payments, search payment history and search for specific payments. You can even schedule and automate some payments to be paid as soon as the next business day or months in advance. Just set it and forget it, we’ll take it from there.

2. It’s Secure

Online Bill Pay can eliminate the downsides that come with mailing payments, which can leave you at risk of a mail thief or misplaced checks. It is also important to note that because Bill Pay is kept behind online banking platforms, this payment method is distinctively secure and effective in protecting your information.

3. It's Green

Looking to make a small change that can go towards a big cause? Bill Pay can help eliminate paper waste with checks, envelopes and even stamps that go towards sending payments out to companies. While Bill Pay can work for bills received both in the mail and electronically, you can take your conservation efforts to the next level by requesting ebills as well.

4. It's friendly to your Social Life

There’s nothing worse than trying to split a bill multiple ways or telling a friend that you’ll have to pay them back late. Luckily, with MCU’s new PayItNow Bill Pay feature, members can now make payments to their friends and family, which will clear within just 24 hours or the next business day. All you’ll need is an email address and mobile phone number to complete your payment!

POSTED: Dec 29, 2016
An MCU Scam Alert Update

An estimated 11 percent of adults in the United States lose money each year because of criminal activity – that’s 25.6 million people! Consumers are getting smarter about fraud, but unfortunately thieves are too. Criminals are defrauding many victims by combining new technology with old tricks to gain access to their money and personal information.

Being informed is the first step to keeping your money and personal information safe. Check out these recent scams plaguing hardworking people everywhere.

1. Don’t Get Hooked by Text Phishing

Consumers have become accustomed to phishing scams via email so thieves have switched it up by using text messages or SMS. Usually posing as a government agency or financial institution, identity thieves and scam artists will panic victims with a message that implies a sense of urgency and a immediate response in order for them to quickly turn over personal and account information. Text phishing – or smishing – scams typically ask consumers to provide usernames and passwords, credit and debit card numbers, PINs, or other sensitive information that scam artists can use to commit fraud. However, it is important to remember that credit unions, banks and government agencies will never reach out for sensitive information through these means.

Never open links in unsolicited text messages, as they may infect your mobile device with malware that will steal the financial information stored on the device. It is also important to not call any phone numbers provided in suspicious text messages. Instead, be sure to contact any financial information, government, agency, or company identified in the text message by using the information in your records or listed on the official website.

2. Download Apps with Caution

Because of the recent holiday season, new phony retail apps have popped up in both Apple and Android app stores. It’s important to keep an eye out for these apps, which typically have names and logos very similar to those of legitimate companies and popular digital shopping platforms.

It’s good practice to always be careful when downloading any new apps. While most fake apps are fairly harmless and are used to simply delivery spam-like advertising, others may require the user to enter their credit card information or personal information. If this information is shared, it could leave users at risk of fraud.

To help ensure that an app is secure and user-friendly, check to see how often and well the app has been reviewed.

3. There’s a New Tax Bill Scam on the Block

While consumers are becoming increasingly savvy in recognizing tax bills scams, fraudsters aren’t giving up. The IRS has recently reported that fake documents designed to look like real CP2000 notices have come into circulation. CP2000 notices are typically sent out by the IRS to notify a person that information it receives about their income doesn’t match the information reported on their tax return. In this instance, the counterfeit document are targeting victims be claiming that taxpayers owe money for the previous tax year under the Affordable Care Act.

The idea of getting a letter from the IRS can cause people to panic and act quickly without realizing they they’ve been scammed. Luckily, there are some easy to spot warnings that can help you avoid becoming a victim.

For example, the IRS will never:

• Initiate contact with you by email or through social media.

• Ask you to pay using a gift card, pre-paid debit card, or wire transfer.

• Request personal or financial information by email, texts, or social media.

• Threaten to immediately have you arrested or deported for not paying.

POSTED: Dec 29, 2016
Money Saving Last Minute Travel Tips

If you’ve found yourself wishing you could escape the New York deep freeze, it’s not too late to book a much needed getaway from icy sidewalks and icier wind chills. The best part? You won’t have to break the bank to make it happen.

Check out our money-saving last minute travel tips below!

1. Sign up for last-minute travel email lists

In order to fill empty seats and rooms, airlines, hotels, and cruise ships will often offer great discounts two weeks in advance. Travel websites and some airlines will offer weekly e-newsletters that share these great deals, which can be perfect for anybody who has a flexible schedule or can take time off quickly and easily.

2. Consider off-peak deals

Because airlines and hotels are less crowded on weekdays, mid-week vacations will offer you the best deals and the most options for your budget if you’re looking to book a trip last minute. The mid-week is also the best time to plan your trip. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are known to be the best days for booking last-minute travel, as prices tend to climb as the weekend approaches.

3. Negotiate for a rental home

A rental homeowner will almost certainly prefer to have their property occupied at a lower price compared to not at all. This will give you some leverage in a last-minute rental home negotiation, allowing you to get a deal within your budget. It is also worth considering a rental home in a town next to your destination?the available properties may be easier to find and more affordable.

POSTED: Nov 10, 2016
MCU’s Winter Energy Saver Tips

As the leaves change and sweaters come out of storage, it’s undeniable that the cold weather is quickly approaching and pumpkin spiced lattes won’t be enough to keep you warm for long – meaning things can get expensive fast. In fact, according to the Energy Information Administration, around 42% of all home energy costs are directly related to heating and cooling. As New Yorkers dig deep into their bank accounts to keep warm from another long winter and anticipated Polar Vortex, there are a few easy steps you can take to stay comfortable – both at home and with your heating bill!

Air seal and insulate your home

Noticed a draft lately? Air that leaks through your home's envelopes - the outer walls, windows, doors, and other openings – allows heat to easily escape, which wastes a lot of energy and increases your utility costs. A well-sealed envelope, coupled with the right amount of insulation, can help keep heat sealed into your home and make a real difference on your utility bills. To get started, cover up any openings under doors, around windows and close the fireplace damper when not in use, which is the same as an open window.

In addition to improving your energy costs, Sealing leaks and adding insulation come with the added benefits of reducing noise pollution and improving humidity control.

Invest in a Programmable Thermostat

According to the U. S Department of Energy, lowering the thermostat 10-15 degrees while at work, asleep or away from your home can make a significant impact on your energy bill – reducing it by nearly 10 percent!

A programmable thermostat can help you easily get into this money-saving practice by automatically adjusting the temperature of your home based on your work and sleep habits. It can also greatly improve your general comfort levels by already beginning to bring the temperature back up before you return home or wake up.

Open the Curtains During the Day, Close them at Night

Opening your curtains and letting the sun in is not only a great way to not only brighten up your living space, it also helps your home receive free heat receive free heat. By allowing the sun to shine in, you are saving money by not powering your lights, and by keeping your home a bit warmer. Close your curtains when the sun is going down to keep the heat inside.

Move Furniture Away from Vents

You may not know it but it may be time to rearrange your furniture. No, we’re not talking about making your living room Feng Shui friendly. Take a look around your home and try to spot any large pieces of furniture that may be blocking the heating vents. Moving these pieces may help to alleviate any air pressure issues in a home that have force-air central heating.

POSTED: Oct 26, 2016
MCU’s Identity Protection Tips for Online Holiday Shopping

With crowded stores and long lines, it’s no secret why millions of Americans are ditching their shopping carts in favor of the internet during the holidays. In fact, according to the National Retail Federation, nearly half of all holiday shopping was done online in 2015 – and more people are expected to take to their laptops and smartphones to check off items on their shopping lists this year.

While online shopping is a great way to save time and find great deals, it can also make your personal and card information more vulnerable to hackers and identity thieves. To help keep the happy in “Happy Holidays,” check out these easy ways to stay safe while online shopping this season.

1. Stick to Just One Credit Card

When it comes to shopping online, your credit card can be a safer way to make online purchases, compared to other means of payment. Credit Cards provide valuable protection when doing holiday shopping since they have systems in place to handle fraud issues more expediently and don't leave you waiting for lost funds to be reclaimed.

Additionally, sticking to just one credit card can be beneficial while shopping during the holiday season both on and offline. Doing this will not only help you to stay on budget but will also help you to more easily keep an eye out for potential identity theft or fraud.

2. Be Wary of Public WiFi hotspots

Saving your data is great but think twice before logging into a public WiFi hotspot to shop online –your information may not be safe. These networks are unsecured connections that hackers can easily access and steal any personal information you may be putting out during the time you are connected.

3. Stick to Secure Sites

When visiting a website that asks for sensitive information such as credit card numbers, it’s important to make sure that the website is encrypted over a secure connection. Otherwise, your information could easily fall into the hands of hackers.

To ensure that you’re using a secured website, check out the URL – it should begin with “https” rather than “http”. The “s” at the end of “http” stands for secure and is using an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) connection. You can also check for the “Lock” icon that is displayed somewhere in the window of your web browser.

POSTED: Sep 26, 2016
Scams to look for in 2016

According to the Federal Trade Commission, an estimated 11 percent of adults in the United States lose money each year because of criminal activity – that’s 25.6 million people! Criminals defraud many of these people by combining new technology with old tricks to gain access to their money and personal information.

Consumers are getting smarter about fraud, but unfortunately thieves are too. To help keep your information safe, check out these popular scams and schemes circulating in 2016.

1. Scholars Beware – The Federal Student Tax Doesn’t Exist

Imposters posing as IRS agents are trying to trick college students into paying a “federal student tax” – a tax that doesn’t even exist.

This year, many college students have reported that they have received phone calls from somebody claiming to be an IRS agent, informing them they owe a “federal student tax,” and often has some piece of information that makes the call seem legit. Sometimes it’s the name of your school, or another piece of information about you. The caller then demands that the money be wired immediately by untraceable methods such as MoneyGram.

Similar to other scams regarding the IRS, the caller can be persistent or even aggressive – they may threaten to call the police or even make follow-up calls with spoofed caller-ID information. So, while caller ID might say it’s 911 or the U.S. Government calling, it’s not. It’s all fake. If you do actually owe money to the IRS, you will receive a letter first.

2. Don’t Cash That Unsolicited Check!

It’s always nice to get a check in the mail, especially when you aren’t expecting it. It may only be a small amount that appears as a rebate or a refund but think twice before you cash something like this – it could cost you much more than the check you took to the bank .

By endorsing a check, you are signing a legally binding contract. This could mean you have unwittingly authorized a switch in your long-distance telephone service provider; or you could find yourself owing on a high-interest loan or on a program membership you never requested.

Cancellation of these memberships can be very difficult. They usually have a very short cancellation rights period, and your monthly fee could be much more than the small amount that you cashed or deposited.

3. Don’t Get Punished by the Good Citizen Scam

It’s often difficult to detect this type of scam but if you’re somebody who often files your taxes early, you could be at risk.

Scammers posing as IRS agents—either through phone calls, emails, or even postal mailers—claim that you are entitled to additional funds as the government’s way of thanking you for filing on time.

Even if there is some truth to government award programs, no one will contact you and ask for your personal identifiable information in order to “process” this reward, as the real IRS already has all of your information, including where you work and how much money you made last year.

4. Avoid Festival Fraud

Ordering tickets to festivals and other events online is an easy way to get a great deal but party-goers should be cautious. While many events advertised online are legitimate, some people have fallen victim to false event advertisements. After paying for their tickets in advance, they show up to the venue and find nothing there but other victims.

Luckily, it can be easy to save yourself the trouble that comes with with scams like these. Before providing any of your personal or credit card information, conduct an online search of the name of the event or its promoters along with words such as “scam,” or “fraud.” Check for online reviews of the event if it had taken place previously or in other locations or see if rickets for the event are being sold on legitimate third party vendors like Viator – sites like these also typically come with user reviews and ratings. It is also helpful to check for contact information on the website and be sure it actually works.

POSTED: Sep 20, 2016
Financial Tips for a Stress-Free Vacation

Planning a getaway? Whether it’s a brief weekend out of town or a trip around the world, these money tips can help keep your vacation stress-free. After all, that’s what a vacation is all about!

1. Let us know you’re traveling!

Our priority is protecting your money and personal information. One way that we do this is by keeping an eye on card transactions in order to spot irregular activity and detect fraud. If you’re traveling, your card activity is almost certainly going to look abnormal and may result in a hold being placed on your card or account for security purposes. This is especially true if you’re traveling abroad or a significant distance from your home.

While this could surely put a hitch in your vacation, it’s also very easy to avoid. Just let us know your plans to travel! Give us a call at (212) 693-4900 or visit your local MCU Branch to speak with a member of our team. We recommend giving us at least two days notice before you begin your trip.

2. Sign up for MCU Online Banking and download our mobile app

Downloading our mobile banking app means you can take a break from snapping photos on your phone and log into your accounts quickly and easily. This can help you manage your money when there isn’t a branch nearby or when taking the time to call into our contact center may be inconvenient.

A great vacation tool for staying on top of your accounts for day-to-day transactions and handle emergency situations? We think yes.

3. Preorder tickets and excursions

Looking to take a museum tour or see a show? Preordering your tickets can help you stay on a predetermined budget made before you start your travels and minimize the amount of spontaneous credit and debit card transactions made while you’re away.

The more you plan ahead, the less there is to think about on your trip – financially and otherwise!

4. Be mindful of important documents and currency

Before traveling, be sure to make copies of important documents including your passport, credit cards and drivers license. Leave one copy with a friend or relative at home and bring the other copy with you. If you can, keep these documents in a hotel room safe. Do not carry them with you – it will leave you especially vulnerable if you lose your wallet or bag or fall victim to a pickpocket.

If you are planning to mostly use cash on your trip, you can save yourself stress and aggravation by ordering foreign currency ahead of time. For the same reasons that you must be mindful of your documents, don’t carry large amounts of cash at once.

5. Plan Ahead With a Vacation Club Account

The best way to have a financially stress-free vacation? Plan ahead.

Opening an MCU Vacation Club Account means putting away a little bit each month in an easy and convenient Check out the benefits below:

• Open your MCU Vacation Club Account with as little as a $5 deposit.

• Add to the account like any other savings account, through direct deposit or automatic payroll deduction, and watch your account balance grow.

• During the first week of May, the money you have accumulated in your Vacation Club Account will automatically be deposited into your FasTrackChecking Account or Share Account for you to access.

• Save for an even bigger vacation in the future by rolling over your funds right back into your Vacation Club Account.

POSTED: Aug 05, 2016
Financial Conversations to Have Before Getting Married

Money can’t buy happiness but being on the same page about finances with your partner can make for a happy relationship. If you’re looking to tie the knot soon, these conversations about money help both get your marriage off on the right foot and remain successful throughout the years to come.


There’s no way around it – if you’re going to be spending your life with somebody, you should have an understanding of how you’ll be spending your money together too. It is important to know how your partner prioritizes saving money in relation to traveling, expensive goods, entertainment, etc. While knowing these preferences is important, talking about how closely you each stick to a budget right now is important as well to help create an understanding about how money will be managed.

You may not agree on everything but a conversation can help you avoid surprises and help to create a spending plan. This is important because without a budget and spending plan, it’ll be nearly impossible to work as a team as to not find yourselves coming up short each month – or, even worse, find yourself with a mountain of debt.

Joint or Personal Accounts?

While marriage means living together, some people don’t believe in keeping their money together. A conversation about holding joint or personal accounts will help a couple to talk about the financial benefits of marriage and if they are comfortable sharing all of their new responsibilities and expenses. This topic can get especially tricky when one party sees sharing money as a marker of commitment more than the other but it is beneficial to have in helping to set expectations.

This conversation may also lead to the topic of a prenuptial agreement and how both parties feel about keeping their money together or separate in all instances. There are also cases where it’s advisable to have a prenuptial agreement – for instance, when one partner is substantially wealthier than the other and has other heirs to consider. It will also save you a ton of time and money in the event that you divorce and go your separate ways.

Financial Obligations

As mentioned above, couples should communicate their expenses and responsibilities before getting married. Oftentimes, this conversation will include any financial obligations or debts that each person is currently responsible for. Putting these expenses on the table will help in both setting an effective budget and creating trust between both parties, as it eliminates surprises that may arise once you’re married.


Marriage is for the long run so talking about the far-off future before walking down the aisle isn’t farfetched. Retirement savings and planning, as well as life insurance policies, will eventually be an important factor in the household income. To prepare for that time, talk about whether you participate in a retirement plan at work or contribute to an IRA. You could also make a plan to change the beneficiary information on any currently existing insurance policies.

Back Up Plans

There’s a reason why many couples include the phrase “for richer or poorer” in their vows – life can come with hard knocks. When money gets tight, fear or frustration can cause couples to fight. The best way the weather these stormy times is to plan ahead by discussing the importance of creating and growing an emergency fund. Important questions to discuss include what the ideal amount of savings is and what the rules are for withdrawing funds from this back up account.

POSTED: Aug 05, 2016
Co-ops Vs Condos: Know the difference

In New York City, co-ops and condos are among some of the most common kinds of real estate available to potential homebuyers. While there may not seem to be much of a difference in these homes as you flip through photo galleries on real estate websites, we’ve put together some key differences between the two that you may want to keep in mind as you go about your search!

1. Ownership

While co-ops are typically much more affordable than condos, there is a difference in the type of ownership between the two. Legally, condos are considered to be real property and co-ops are personal property.

Sound strange? Here’s why:

When you purchase a co-op, you’re purchasing stock in a privately-held corporation that owns the building. As a stockholder, you’re given a proprietary lease for a specific apartment.

Share allocation is not as simple as saying that if there are ten apartments, each owns 10% of the corporation. Shares are allocated based on the number of apartments, square footage, number of rooms and outdoor space.

On the other hand, a condo has much more straight forward form of ownership, in which owning a condo is like owning any other kind of home.

2. Board Approval

While both co-ops and condos have boards, which help to make sure the complex runs smoothly, Co-op boards are notoriously strict and have a greater say in what tenants can and cannot do.

In a co-op, the board can come up with rules regarding how you renovate your apartment, keep pets, and much more. In extreme cases, the co-op board can even evict a shareholder that it deems disruptive.

When buying a co-op, you must go before the board and submit to a potentially arduous approval process. The board will go over your finances and credit, and review your debt-to-income ratio, which they usually expect to be between 25% and 30%. This process involves a great deal of paperwork, which may often require the assistance of an attorney to prepare.

3. Subletting

If you think you may want to use your new home as a source of income at some point, you’ll want to consider the difference in subletting policies between co-ops and condos. As mentioned before, co-op boards can be very strict in the policies they enforce for co-op owners and this includes whether or not owners can sublet their units and if so, for how long. Condos, on the other hand, do not enforce subletting limitations.

4. Monthly Expenses and Taxes

Both condos and co-ops have monthly charges, which are respectively referred to as common charges and maintenance fees. These charges go towards the maintenance and operation of the overall building and its common areas. These fees can vary with the size of the building, number of units and types of amenities offered.

The main difference between a condo’s common charges and a co-op’s maintenance fees is that the maintenance fees include charges for a percentage of the building’s property tax, calculated according to the number of shares you own. If you own a condo, you are responsible for paying your unit’s property taxes directly to the government, which will likely cause your overall monthly costs to be greater than they would be for a similarly sized co-op.

It is important to note that both types of properties can also charge assessment fees for building renovation projects, such as the installation of a new elevator.

POSTED: Jul 05, 2016
Recognizing the Signs of Identity Theft

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2014 more than 17.6 million Americans age 16 and over became victims of identity theft. Once stolen, a thief can use your identity and personal information to empty your bank accounts, make purchases online, use your medical insurance and open new credit card and utility accounts. While there are a lot of tips as to how you can help protect yourself from identity theft out there, it’s equally important to know the signs that you’ve become a victim so that you can take the necessary steps as soon as possible.

Your security is important to MCU and your other financial institutions, and as we monitor your accounts for fraud, you should keep an eye out as well. According to the Federal Trade Commission , key warning signs of identity theft include:

> Unexplained withdrawals from your bank account

> You don’t get your bills or other mail.

> Merchants refuse your checks.

> Debt collectors call you about debts that aren’t yours.

> You find unfamiliar accounts or charges on your credit report.

> Medical providers bill you for services you didn’t use.

> Your health plan rejects your legitimate medical claim because the records show you’ve reached your benefits limit.

> A health plan won’t cover you because your medical records show a condition you don’t have.

> The IRS notifies you that more than one tax return was filed in your name, or that you have income from an employer you don’t work for.

> You get notice that your information was compromised by a data breach at a company where you do business or have an account.

POSTED: Jun 21, 2016
2016 Is the Year to Buy a Home

Thinking about making the leap from renting to buying? Check out why 2016 is the year of the Homebuyer!

1. Rental Rates Continue to Rise

With the ongoing low supply and high demand of rental units throughout the New York area, the cost of renting is expected to continue to rise in 2016. According to, 88 percent of property managers throughout the United States raised their rent prices in 2015 and 68 percent of property managers predict their rental rates will rise again in 2016, with prices expected to increase as much as eight percent.

2. Interest Rates are Historically Low, But Maybe Not for Long

While rental prices have been on the rise, persistently low interest rates have made buying a home more affordable in recent years. However, after seven years of near-zero interest rates, the Federal Reserve has announced a plan to lift its benchmark short-term interest rate gradually over the next three years. Officials expect the fed-funds rate to creep up to 1.375% by the end of 2016, according to the median projection of 17 officials, to 2.375% by the end of 2017, and to 3.25% in three years.

3. It’s a Buyer’s Market

As interest rates increase, a slump in home prices may prompt more owners to list their homes. According to Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors, more than 5.4 million existing single-family homes will be sold in 2016, up from an estimated 5.3 million homes sold in 2015. With more homes on the market, bidding wars will become less common and prices could come down even more.

Think you’re ready to start your search? Don’t forget to check your credit score first!

According to a 2015 Bankrate survey, only 46 percent of Americans have checked their credit score in the past year—but staying on top of it is easy. Simply request a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—once each year at

You’re also entitled to another free copy of your credit report within a 12 month period if you are on welfare, unemployed or have been denied credit within the last 60 days. If you spot an error on any of these reports, it’s important to request a dispute form from the agency within 30 days of receiving it.

POSTED: Jun 21, 2016
Four Things to Do When You Lose Your Wallet

1. Contact Your Financial Institutions or Debit or Credit Card Issuers

According to the Federal Trade Commission, if you report the loss of a debit card before someone illegally uses it, you’re not responsible for those unauthorized transactions. Similarly, under the Fair Credit Billing Act, credit cardholders aren’t liable for any expense incurred if their credit card information is stolen and used to make purchases as long as they have reported the card lost or stolen ahead of time. | To report a lost or stolen credit card to MCU, call (800) 449-7728. To report your MCU Debit Card lost or stolen, call (212) 693-4900.

2. Replace Your Driver’s License or ID

Losing your license or photo ID can be extremely stressful and inconvenient. However, replacing this personal document can be easy, as the DMV now allows New Yorkers to apply for a replacement license, ID or learner’s permit online, in person or through the mail. If you’re worried that your ID was stolen, you can help protect your personal identity by filing a report with your local police department. In some instances, this may even come with the added benefit of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) waiving your replacement fee. For more information on how to replace a New York State Driver’s License or Photo ID or on the steps you can take to report this document stolen, visit

3. Pull Your Credit Scores

Even though your old debit and credit cards will no longer work after you’ve reported them lost, they can still be used to steal your identity and open lines of credit in your name. In an effort to protect your identity and credit, 1 2 3 4 set up a fraud alert with one of the three major credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax or TransUnion. It’s also important to check for any strange activity throughout the year, even after the 90-day fraud alert expires.

4. Social Security Card Missing Too?

If an identity thief gains access to your social security information, he or she can easily open credit accounts in your name. If your social security card went missing with the rest of your wallet, look into applying for a credit freeze, which will prevent anyone from applying for credit under your name using this information. Using a credit freeze as precaution will come with a small fee, depending on the state you live in. However, it’s free to replace your social security card up to three times a year.

POSTED: May 23, 2016
At a Glance: EMV Chip Card Technology and Fraud Protection

Received a new credit card this year? The new EMV Chip Cards don’t jut change the way you make purchases (you’re probably swiping your card a lot less these days) while using a card reader, chip technology works to reduce counterfeit fraud, which represents the biggest category of payment card fraud in the U.S.!

So how does EMV Chip technology protect you better than a swipe card?

1. They’re hard to clone

Unlike magnetic-stripe cards, the data on chip cards is constantly changing, making it extremely hard to isolate and extract. To do this, someone would have to get into the physical chip circuit and manipulate things to get your card information. Not only is this extremely complex and difficult, but it also requires a set of high-tech equipment that can cost north of $1 million. That’s a whole lot more than a $20.00 card skimmer, which can lift the static information off of a magnetic-stripe card.

2. They Keep Information Heavily Encrypted

Magnetic-stripe cards broadcast bank information into the payment terminal, which is then encrypted as soon as it’s received. EMV Chip cards are different in that they have sophisticated encryption built right into the chip. When you dip a chip card, it communicates with the payment terminal to authenticate that it’s actually you who’s making a purchase.

3. Each Purchase Goes through a Special Verification and Authorization Process

Unlike all transactions made with a magnetic stripe card, an EMV Chip card takes steps to verify that the individual making the purchase is actually the rightful cardholder by requiring they use a PIN or signature. EMV Chip cards also go through an authorization process when a card reader is offline or having trouble communing with EMV technology. This system of verification and authorization is just one more way EMV Chip cards help to protect you from identity and card theft!

Want to learn more? Get all the facts about EMV Chip Card technology here!

POSTED: Apr 17, 2015
5 Things to Know About Budgeting

According to the 2013 Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households report, more than 43% of households in the United States are in debt. And debt doesn’t just affect your wallet; the stress associated with financial struggles can cause problems with blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, obesity and more.

The best way to combat debt? Creating and sticking to a budget. It may be a tedious task, but budgeting is the only practical way to reign in unnecessary spending, make sure that your money is going to the right places, and help you set funds aside for long-term plans and projects.

Need help getting started? Check out these tips below!

1. Know What You’re Spending

Figuring out your expenses means making an effort to stay organized and keep track of your bank statements, receipts and financial files. Because not all expenses, like insurance payments, are monthly, you’ll get the best idea of your financial situation if you calculate your average expenses for the year and then determine the monthly average.

Remember, being thorough when you list your expenses is an important step when creating a realistic budget. Surprises and unexpected bills will always pop up. To account for these expenses, add an extra 10% to 15% to what you’ve calculated.

Don’t forget that keeping track of your expenses isn’t just a one-time exercise to determine your spending habits – it’s a lifelong practice that will help you stay accountable for what you’re spending. Having to keep track of expenses may cause you to think twice before splurging, and it’s especially satisfying and motivating to record when you’ve met a savings goal.

2. Determine Your Income

It’s not just your salary that you’ll need to consider. When figuring out your annual income, include any extra funds that come your way throughout the year like alimony, child support, interest, dividends and rental income. Like your expenses, your income will change from year-to-year, so don’t forget to factor in raises and other extra funds that come in over the course of a year!

3. Remember the goal is to Save, Save, Save!

Income – Expenses = Your Savings. It seems like a simple enough idea, but for many of us seeing a little extra green in our bank account only tempts us to spend. Your savings are an important tool to help you achieve your short and long term goals. They will help you make important purchases like a new car or a new home , and will help you prepare for things with a longer timeline, like retirement. Having adequate savings also provides peace of mind in the event of an unexpected emergency like a job loss or illness.

Think carefully before dipping into your savings. If there’s anything special outside of your normal expenses that you really want, a helpful trick is to commit to saving two times more than the price of the item. By the time you have saved enough, you may decide that you don’t want the item after all. At the very least, you will have added to your savings account.

4. Use Credit Cards Wisely

For some people, using credit cards makes it too easy to spend more money than they originally intended. According to, people tend to spend 12-18% more when they pay with a credit card instead of cash. When paying with a credit card, consider your purchases carefully and strive to stay on budget.

5. Be Realistic

Setting unrealistic goals will only cause you to get frustrated and give up on saving. It’s best to think of budgeting as more of a lifestyle than a short term way to reach your goals.

Occasionally treating yourself is a great way to stay on track. By rewarding your efforts, you will not feel like you are being deprived.

POSTED: Nov 05, 2014
Five Helpful Tips: Buying a Used Car.

* Shop around. Comparing similar makes and models can help ensure that's you're getting a fair deal.

* Research the vehicle's history. This includes past owners, use, and maintenance and if the car has been involved in any accidents or natural disasters. Running the vehicle identification number (VIN) will help confirm the car's history.

* Check the warranty. Contact manufacturers to confirm that you can use the coverage.

* Ask about the dealer's return policy. Get it in writing and read it carefully.

* Have the car inspected by your mechanic.

And don't forget to know your financing options! When it comes time to make your purchase, MCU members have access to exceptionally competitive auto loans, including:

* Up to 125% financing available

* Low interest rates

* Flexible terms

* Auto Refinance loans

POSTED: Nov 05, 2014
USA Patriot Act Notice.


To help the government fight the funding of terrorism and money laundering activities, Federal law requires all financial institutions to obtain, verify, and record information that identifies each person who opens an account.

What this means for you: When you open an account, we will ask for your name, address, date of birth, Security Number and other information that will allow us to identify you. We may also ask to see your driver's license or other identifying documents.

POSTED: Nov 05, 2014
Common Home Buying Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Obtaining a mortgage is perhaps one of the most complex decisions of your life: nevertheless, it is also one of the most important. With the length of time it takes to buy a home, and all of the different steps you need to complete throughout the process, many mistakes are made by potential homebuyers. Here are some of the most common mistakes made during the home buying process, as well as some tips to avoid these costly errors.

Mistake: Not knowing your credit score. Some people do not realize their credit score is too poor for them to buy a home and obtain a mortgage. In other instances, some people just assume they have poor credit and do not realize their credit is good enough for them to obtain a mortgage at a good rate.

Tip: Don’t just know your credit score; understand what that means regarding your potential as a home-owner. Educations classes (such as MCU’s First Time Home Buyer’s Seminar) are a great way to better understand how your score affects you in the home buying process.

Mistake: Assuming your down payment is the only upfront cost associated with buying a home. There are many fees and closing costs that need to be paid along with the down payment.

Tip: Know your budget when shopping for your home, and make sure to include additional costs when budgeting for your home purchase. Shop around when looking for your mortgage. In some instances, financial institutions will waive some closing costs and fees to help keep your initial payment low.

Mistake: Not knowing about all costs of home ownership in the neighborhood(s) where you are looking to buy. The cost of your home is more than just the price of your house.

Tip: Do research and find out the cost of property taxes, Homeowners Association Fee, Plan Unit development fees, homeowner’s insurance, and other costs that will affect how much you can actually afford.

Mistake: Having an unrealistic view of the mortgage process timeline. The process usually takes 30-45 days to close after receiving necessary documentation, not 30-45 days from the initial contact with the loan officer.

Tip: Plan effectively. Know that the process is just that, a process. Understand that your financial activity during this time period can affect your credit, which can affect your capacity to be a homeowner in the lender’s eyes.

Mistake: Taking referrals from your Real Estate Agent for banks/loan officers, attorneys and other important people in the home buying process. This likely means the real estate agent has a working relationship with these people, which could mean higher costs for you.

Tip: Find a family member or friend who recently purchased a home, and ask them for the financial institution and attorney they worked with. Always make sure you trust the people you are working with.

If you have other questions about obtaining a mortgage, call the MCU Mortgage Hotline at 212-238-3521 and speak with a Loan Originator today.

POSTED: Nov 05, 2014
When it Pays to Refinance Your Mortgage

With interest rates hovering at record lows, now may just be perfect time to consider refinancing your mortgage. However, while this financial move can save you thousands of dollars over time, it’s not the right decision for everybody and homeowners must take their personal circumstances into consideration.

A Good Rule of Thumb: Calculate Your Break-Even Period

Refinancing your mortgage becomes worth it when homeowners commit to staying in their homes longer than the break-even period, or the number of months you need to own your home after refinancing in order to recover the costs.

For example, if you pay $2,000 in closing costs to refinance and you lower your monthly payments by $100, it would take 20 months to reach the break-even point if you were to calculate it on a straight-line basis ($2,000/$100).

If you are interested in learning more about refinancing with MCU, contact the MCU Mortgage team at 212-238-3521.

POSTED: Nov 05, 2014
Simplifying Your Financial Life – Download the NYMCU® Mobile Banking App

When you download the NYMCU® Mobile Banking app, you get the ability to securely manage your account using a tablet or smartphone. The mobile banking app is made specifically for mobile devices. Secure access to your account through our mobile app gives you the ability to:

> Deposit checks using our Mobile Deposit feature*

> View account balances

> See your transaction history

> Pay bills online with MCU BillPay

> Find the closest branches in the and ATMs in MCU’s network

> Transfer funds between accounts

> Transfer funds to other members

> View copies of cleared checks

Downloan on the App Store

Android app on Google Play

*Restrictions apply

POSTED: Nov 05, 2014
Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

Buying a home is an exciting milestone in a person’s life. However, for first-time homebuyers, the process can be confusing and understanding the expenses involved and how to obtain a mortgage can be overwhelming. Luckily, there are some easy steps and tips you can follow to make your dream of becoming a homeowner an easier and more enjoyable experience.

1. Never underestimate your ability to become a homeowner. Many people do not know what their credit profile needs to look like to qualify for a mortgage, and because of this do not inquire about ownership. However, getting educated on both the mortgage application and homebuying processes will help you understand that your credit score is not the only key to mortgage approval and homeownership success. There are many free seminars and classes that are provided to first-time homebuyers, such as the seminars MCU offers its members.

2. Know the Requirements. Many first time homebuyers don’t realize the necessary steps and requirements that are involved within the process of having a mortgage application reviewed and approved, which can cause for frustration. Any institution that considers giving a borrower a mortgage will check his or her credit and employment history; current income; and assets, including bank accounts, stocks, mutual funds and retirement accounts.

3. Understand all of the expenses. Beyond the expense of a down payment, prospective homebuyers should know the additional costs associated with purchasing a home. This means anticipating to separately pay and having reserve funds for 3-6 months of housing expenses. It is also important to research the neighborhoods you are interested in. Where you choose to live will make the difference in expenses associated with property taxes, Homeowners Association fees, Plan Unit Development fees, homeowners insurance and private mortgage insurance, which will affect the overall cost of your mortgage.

4. Have Patience. It is important to know that this process and can generally take anywhere between 30 – 60 days to close after receiving all the necessary documentation. Most borrowers believe the process officially begins on the first conversation with the loan officer. However, this is a common misconception and the process of receiving a mortgage can only begin once you’ve submitted all of the necessary documentation.

The key to homeownership is keeping a realistic outlook in terms of the home-buying experience. To learn more about how you can become a homeowner and how to obtain a mortgage, call (212) 238-3521 to speak with a representative or visit the mortgage section today!

POSTED: Nov 05, 2014
Credit Score FAQ

What Is a Credit Score?

A credit score is a number between 300 and 850 that is calculated from an individual’s credit report and can play a significant role in how lenders determine credit-worthiness for a loan or credit card. Your score will not only play a part in whether or not you are approved, but will also affect the interest rate you are charged.

What Makes Up a Credit Score?

Personal information like age, income, ethnicity and marital status don’t influence your credit score. However, there are five factors that will affect your score to varying degrees. They are:

> Payment history: (35 percent): This includes any late bill payments and delinquencies

> Amount owed: (30 percent) - How much you owe on your accounts and the amount of available credit used on your revolving accounts.

> Length of Credit History: (15 percent) – How long accounts have been opened the length of time since credit cards were last used.

> Types of credit used: (10 percent) -- The mix of accounts you have, such as revolving and installment.

> New credit: (10 percent) -- Your pursuit of new credit, including credit inquiries and number of recently opened accounts.

What are the Benefits of a Good Credit Score?

A very good credit score would be considered 720 or higher while a poor credit score would be considered below 620. Having a good score is very important and will give borrowers access to benefits, including:

> Increased credit card limits

> Competitive mortgage and refinancing rates

> Lower financing rates for loans and insurance

> Excellent credit card deals

> Leverage when negotiating with lenders

How Can I improve my Credit Score?

> Reduce your amount of debt. While this can prove to be difficult, it’s not impossible. Freezing your credit cards or using them only in emergencies is the first step. Then, setting up a plan in which you can put a large piece of your budget towards your highest interest credit cards, while maintaining your other minimum payments will be the most effective step to minimizing your debt, and repairing your credit score.

> Get a credit card if you don't have one. Having and using a credit card can help to build your scores, even when you don’t carry a balance. If you don’t qualify for a traditional credit card, consider a secured credit card like the MCU Secured Credit Card, where you can obtain a credit line equal to the deposit you make, helping you to steadily rebuild your credit score.

> Setup automatic payments. Making payments on time will help to build a strong credit score. By setting up automatic payments for fixed monthly bills, like cell phones or cable, will make paying your bills as easy as possible. If you are unable to set up an automatic payment, setting a reminder for when bills are due can also help.

How Can I Check My Credit Score?

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, individuals should check their credit reports once every 12 months in order to check for mistakes that may hurt their ability to obtain a line of credit, protect against identity thieves and to be sure that all personal information is up to date and accurate. The only authorized site source under federal law that provides free credit reports is There are other websites that offer to check your credit score for you as well. However, these resources will eventually charge you for other services and products you may not necessarily need.

POSTED: Nov 05, 2014
How Can I Build, Improve or Re-establish My Credit?

Good credit is a very important component of your financial life. Today, credit scores are used for so many things in your day-to-day life. For example:

> Employers use them for pre-employment background checks

> Landlords check your credit when you apply to rent an apartment

> Credit Unions and banks use them when you apply for a loan or credit card

> Utilities, like gas and electric, check your credit when you want to get service turned on

> Many cell phone carriers check your credit when you want to sign up for service

A strong credit history says to potential employers, utility companies, financial institutions, landlords and cell phone carriers that you are a responsible person who pays their bills on time.

If you don’t have a credit history or you have experienced financial problems, there are several things you can do to build, improve or re-establish your credit and raise your credit score:

> Pay down your current debt

> Don’t run up big balances on your credit card

> Make payments on time

> Establish a responsible payment history

For a Secured VISA® Credit Card. A secured credit card requires a cash collateral deposit that becomes the credit line for that account. You can charge on the card only up to the amount you have on deposit.

Borrow against your savings with a Share Secured Loan, which allows you to borrow against funds you have on deposit.

The key to a good credit score is that you don’t have excessive amounts of debt and you have a history that demonstrates you are conscientious about paying your bills on time. It takes patience, but with time, you can build, improve or re-establish credit.

POSTED: Nov 05, 2014
How Do I Qualify for a Loan at MCU?

When you are looking to apply for a consumer loan, you may be wondering if there are any specific qualifications you need to meet. At Municipal Credit Union, we look at the entire financial picture of each applicant, and each application is looked at individually. Since no two individual's financial situations are alike, any questions you may have about qualifying for a consumer loan can be best answered by contacting our Loan Center at 800-LOAN-MCU or by visiting a local branch.

Here are some things to keep in mind about qualifying for a consumer loan at MCU:

> MCU looks at the whole picture of each applicant, rather than at one particular detail.

> There is no minimum credit score or length of employment requirement for obtaining a consumer loan.

> Your debt to income ratio will be considered when applying for a consumer loan.

> A debt to income ratio is calculated by dividing your total monthly obligations including mortgage, rent, installment loan and credit card payments by your gross monthly income (monthly payments/total income = DTI). When you borrow, your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) is important. Generally, a lower DTI ratio makes it more that a loan will be approved.

How much should you borrow?

You want a loan you can comfortably afford, not the largest amount you could possibly receive. Know your budget reality and find a loan that fits well with it.

What's the Qualification Process Like?

You can apply for a loan online, over the phone, or at any one of our local branches. You do not need to be a member to apply, but membership is required to receive a loan. Applying takes approximately 5 minutes, but could take longer if more information is needed. You will need to have your personal information handy, including but not limited to: your social security number, employment (if currently employed), income, and residency information to apply.

Pre-approval is usually immediate, but can take longer in special circumstances. If you apply online or over the phone, pre-approval will be given by phone. If you apply online and we cannot reach you by phone, we will attempt to contact you via email. After you are approved, you have options to finalize your loan including e-Sign or visiting one of our branches to complete your paperwork. If you're not currently a member, we'll sign you up during your visit.

POSTED: Nov 05, 2014
Simplifying Your Financial Life – Enroll in Online Banking

When you enroll in NYMCU Online Banking, you get the ability to manage your account when and where you want. Instead of having to go to a branch, you can conduct your banking 24 hours a day/seven days a week, wherever you have a secure computer connection.

Secure access to your account gives you the ability to:

> View account balances

> Pay bills online with MCU BillPay

> Use the NYMCU® Mobile Banking app

> Sign up for Text Banking

> Enroll in eStatements and view 24 months of statements

> Manage your VISA® Card

> Transfer funds between accounts

> Sign up for account alerts that help you stay on top of your account activity

> Open new accounts

> Apply for a loan or credit card

Enrolling in online banking is simple. Just go to the home page of , click on “Enroll Now” in the Login box and follow the instructions to complete the process.

POSTED: Nov 05, 2014
Simplifying Your Financial Life – Switch To eStatements

An easy way to simplify and organize your financial life is to sign up for eStatements.

With eStatements you can:

> Securely view your statement each month through NYMCU Online Banking

> Go paperless and reduce clutter by eliminating paper you need to store or file

> Conveniently access and view 24 months of electronic statements

> Protect yourself from identity theft by avoiding the possibility of your statements getting lost in the mail or falling into the wrong hands

> Go Green and reduce your consumption of paper

Here’s how to sign up for eStatements:

1. Login to Online Banking

2. Click on “eStatements” in the left menu

3. Follow the instructions on the screen to complete the process

POSTED: Nov 05, 2014
Simplifying Your Financial Life – Sign Up for Email and Text Alerts

On payday, do you call MCU or go to a branch or ATM to confirm that your check has been deposited into your account? Do you sometimes bounce a check or overdraw your account because you didn’t realize your balance was low? Did you know you can set up email and text message> alerts for these and other situations and be automatically notified when certain activity occurs within your account?

You can set up alerts for:

> Electronic Deposits: Receive an alert every time an electronic deposit, like your paycheck direct deposit, is received on the selected account

> Debit Card Purchases: Get an alert every time your debit or check card is used for a purchase

> Account Activity Summary: Receive an alert every morning with a total amount of the prior day’s deposits, withdrawals and ending balance.

> Account Balance Change: Get notified every time the balance on the selected account is over or below the set amount

> Any Deposit: Get an alert whenever a deposit is made to your account

> Withdrawal Notification: Receive an alert every time a withdrawal over the specified amount is recorded on the selected account

> Check Stop Payment Expiration: Get an alert 10 days before the stop payment request expires and a second and final notification on the day the stop payment becomes void

> Custom Message: Set up a one-time customized message to be delivered on a specific date and time

Here’s how to sign up for Account Alerts:

1. Login to Online Banking

2. Click on “Account Alerts” in the left menu

3. Go to the “Email Setup” tab and enter the email address or cell phone number you want the alert sent to. Click “Submit”. You can enter up to five email addresses or cell phone numbers.

4. Go to the “Add Alerts” tab. Select the type of alert you want to set up, and click “Submit”.

5. Select the account you want to receive alerts about and the email address and cell number you want the alert sent to and click “Submit”.

When you sign up for alerts, you can get notified at home, at work, or on-the-go.

>Standard text messages rates apply according to your plan. Delivery of alerts may be delayed for various reasons.

POSTED: Nov 05, 2014
Talk to Your Kids about Finances!

For many young people, hard work won’t be the only key to a college diploma. According to, 60 percent of college students attending a public university in New York will graduate with student loans. In 2014, the average total debt incurred was $ 25,537! The cost of education can be daunting but you can give your loved one a head start to a lifetime of financial security just by starting the conversation on banking and financial literacy!

According to the 2014 MoneyMatters survey, young people who have knowledge of financial literacy and hold a checking account are:

> More responsible with loans and credit

> More financially cautious

> Less accepting of debt as a necessity

> Less fixated on possessions

> More adverse to incurring debt

Whether your child or family member has just begun the application process this fall or is well on their way to higher education, start the conversation today.

POSTED: Nov 05, 2014
What is a Credit Score and How Does it Affect my Loan Application?

A credit score is a numerical figure representing your credit rating based upon your credit history. Your credit score can help us determine your eligibility for a loan, your interest rate, and your loan terms. Generally, a higher credit score makes it more likely a borrower will qualify for a loan and get a better interest rate. Your credit score is only one part of your total financial picture, however, and any specific questions you have about your eligibility for a loan can be best answered by contacting our Loan Center at 800-LOAN-MCU, or by visiting a branch.

What Factors Influence my Credit Score?

Credit scoring systems will look at each account on your credit file and review it through a proprietary algorithm that uses the information alone and in relation to the other information on your credit file. Each credit bureau uses a slightly different algorithm.

Factors that influence your score include:

> Current or late payments

> How late the payments are

> The number of open accounts you have

> How much credit you are using in relation to how much credit you have available

> If there are serious delinquencies on your file such as bankruptcy, liens, and charge off accounts

> The length of your credit history

> The amount of credit inquiries, or requests by a lender for a copy of your credit report, you have

> The mix of types of credit you use

Where Can I Find my Credit Score?

You may go to and request a copy of your credit report. This central site allows you to request a free credit disclosure, commonly called a credit report, once every 12 months from each of the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies: , Experian, and TransUnion. You will be given an opportunity to purchase a credit score from any of the nationwide credit reporting agencies after you receive your free annual credit report from them in response to a request made through

POSTED: Nov 05, 2014
Don’t Retire from MCU

If you leave or retire from the job that qualified you for membership in MCU, that doesn’t mean you have to leave the credit union. In fact, if you are living on a fixed income, that’s the time you should really take a close look at the benefits you get at MCU, like our higher than average share account savings rates and our lower than average loan and VISA® card rates. And even if you’ve left your position for another job in another field, that’s still no reason to give up one of the best financial service benefits available to you.

Once a member always a member, as long as you maintain a share account with a qualifying balance.

So don’t retire from the fine financial services MCU offers you – use them to your advantage.

POSTED: Nov 05, 2014
MCU and You - Why a Joining a Credit Union is a Good Choice

Credit Unions are full service, member owned financial institutions. They are not-for-profit, so the focus is on serving the financial needs of their members and not on making a profit. Earnings go back to members in the form of more favorable rates and fewer and lower fees for products and services.

To join a credit union, you must belong to the “field of membership” that it serves. The field of membership is the common link that all members of a credit union share. It can be based on employer, geographic location, family, or membership in a group.

Federally insured credit unions are regulated by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) and are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government.

Municipal Credit Union has been serving members since 1916 and is the oldest credit union in New York State. With branches in New York City, Westchester and Long Island, members have access to the credit union’s large and growing ATM network. MCU is an equal opportunity lender and offers loan products like Auto Loans, Mortgages, Personal Loans and Credit Cards, as well as deposit products like checking and savings accounts, CDs, and IRAs. Members can securely access their account information 24/7 through NYMCU® Online Banking, the NYMCU® Mobile Banking app, and NYMCU® Text Banking. Visit for more information.

POSTED: Nov 05, 2014
Five Things to Know: Protecting Your Online Security

More than 13.1 million people became victims of identity theft in 2013*. That’s a new victim every two seconds! Don’t put yourself at risk. Knowing these tips can help protect your information on the web.

1. Frequently change and diversify your passwords. This is the easiest way to keep hackers from accessing online banking and other important web portals with information stolen from less secure sites, such as social media platforms.

2. Keep software up-to-date. Updating your mobile apps and computer programs regularly can help eliminate bugs and prevent potential glitches.

3. Beware of unsecured networks. These networks often offer users free wifi in public places but can also leave you vulnerable to attacks. Always refrain from making online purchases or any other transaction involving your personal or financial information while using one of these networks.

4. Secure your email account by using a two-step verification process. This extra layer of security will make it even more difficult for hackers to gain access to your account.

5. Use Secure websites. Be sure to check for an encrypted connection, especially for emails, banking and online payments. A secure website is indicated by 'https' before the URL, rather than 'http,' A padlock symbol on the top or bottom of the screen is also a good sign.

*According to the 2014 Identity Fraud Study released by Javelin Strategy & Research.Javelin Strategy & Research, a Greenwich Associates LLC company, provides strategic insights into customer transactions, increasing sustainable profits for financial institutions, government, payment companies, merchants, and other technology providers.

Today’s Rates

Auto Loan1.45%
Personal Loan5.95%
30 Year Fixed4.183%
IRA 18-Month Variable0.30%
CD 36-Month0.60%
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