We're in the process of issuing debit chip cards featuring a tiny microprocessor in the card. When using your new chip card in a chip-enabled terminal, that little chip provides an extra layer of protection for your account.
A postcard will be mailed to you prior to your current USEFCU debit card expiring with information regarding your new chip card. You will automatically receive the Red/Blue card design (below), but if you prefer a different style, upon receiving your postcard notification please call (405) 685-6200 ext. 652 or email your name and card style choice (below) to firstname.lastname@example.org. Ordering your card early may result in a fee of $5.00.
Easy to use
Simply insert your chip card into the slot at the bottom of a chip-enabled terminal. Leave the card in the terminal until the transaction is approved and completed. Then make sure to remove your card and take it with you. You can use your debit chip card for signature or PIN debit transactions.
Questions? Contact our Card Department at (405) 685-6200 ext. 652.
Certificates of deposit, or CDs, are not the most exciting investments, but they are among the safest. They make perfect sense for the risk-averse or for people just looking to park some cash over a specific period of time.
The ABCs of CDs
CDs differ from traditional savings accounts in that you are committing to keep a sum of money put for a set period of time. Known as the “term length,” these periods generally range from as short as three months to up to 10 years.
In return for your commitment, you should get a higher interest rate than you would by keeping the money in a standard checking or savings account. Generally speaking, the longer the term, the higher your interest rate. The amount you deposit also has a bearing on the rate you will receive.
CDs are protected at financial institutions that have federal backing. For banks, that's the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.; for credit unions, it's the National Credit Union Administration. Some state-chartered credit unions may operate with private insurance. In the event your bank or credit union fails, your CD deposit is insured for up to $250,000.
Again, this is a commitment between you and the bank or credit union, and if you break it by withdrawing money from a CD before the end of the term, it will cost you. The penalty may be a flat fee, a specified number of months' worth of interest or some combination of the two. If you think you might need the money before your three-month, one-year or five-year term is up, best not to put it into a CD. Any extra interest you earn might be canceled out by the early withdrawal penalty.
The CD menu
Most CDs offer a fixed rate for a fixed term, but some institutions offer variations. Here are some common types:
- Variable-rate CDs: These may be tied to a market index, or they may let you take advantage of future rate increases.
- Low/no penalty for early withdrawal: Also called liquid CDs, these allow greater access to your money, but as a trade-off usually come with lower interest rates and may require you to maintain a minimum balance.
- Callable CDs: These allow the bank or credit union to shorten the terms as they wish.
- Jumbo CDs: Basically the same as a regular CD, but with the reward of even higher rates in exchange for even higher minimum deposits, typically on the order of $100,000 or more.
- IRA CDs: These are held in a tax-advantaged individual retirement account, or IRA.
The ladder principle is built on the idea of climbing to higher earnings by depositing money into multiple CDs that come due, or mature, at different times. This approach might appeal to the consumer with, say, $10,000 in savings who (a) wants to earn more than she would from a traditional savings account and (b) doesn't want to lock it all up for five years.
So instead of putting it all in a five-year CD, you could split it among five different CDs, with maturity dates of one, two, three, four and five years. As each certificate matures, you reinvest the money in a new five-year CD. You're enjoying the highest possible interest rate, and you're still freeing up some money every year.
Overall, CDs are a safe form of savings that keep things simple, with the caveat you have to keep your hands off your funds for some amount of time. You could call them a comfort investment to reduce the drama of personal finances.
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Credit cards are often associated with rewards, but some checking accounts offer them, too. Some 300 U.S. financial institutions offer Kasasa accounts, which provide returns above the national rate along with various perks.
Here's an overview of how they work and what to know about getting one.
What is Kasasa?
Kasasa, a technology services and marketing company based in Austin, Texas, introduced its branded bank accounts to help community banks and credit unions attract more members and build loyalty.
These financial institutions can adopt the nationally recognized Kasasa accounts and promote them as high-yield checking and savings alternatives to services from big national banks. In this way, the smaller institutions can compete against bigger rivals for deposit accounts, which help keep them healthy. This is especially important when you consider that 60% of all small business loans come from community banks or those with less than $10 billion in assets, according to the Independent Community Bankers of America.
What types of accounts are available?
There are three Kasasa brand checking accounts, and all are free: Kasasa Cash, Kasasa Cash Back and Kasasa Tunes. Free checking means that these don't have a monthly service fee, and you don't need a minimum balance to qualify for rewards. Each account also offers its own perk:
- Kasasa Cash: This has a high rate of return on balances up to a certain amount, such as $7,500 or $20,000. The rate and maximum amount varies by financial institution.
- Kasasa Cash Back: You can earn a percentage of debit-card purchases back as cash.
- Kasasa Tunes: This account offers monthly refunds on iTunes and Amazon purchases up to a specified amount, such as $5 or $10.
You can link any of these checking accounts to a Kasasa Saver account, which can offer a yield that rivals some online-only checking accounts. The exact rates and rewards for each can vary by the financial institution that offers them.
Who should consider a Kasasa account?
To open an account, you have to be a customer of a financial institution that offers Kasasa brand accounts. However, these products may not be a good fit for everyone. Consider the following advantages and disadvantages as you decide:
- No monthly maintenance fees.
- Refunds for ATM fees nationwide.
- Various rewards depending on account.
- Qualifications must be met to earn rewards, including making a minimum number of debit card transactions a month, opting for e-statements and setting up digital transfers.
If you're not comfortable with receiving electronic bank statements or setting up at least one automatic transfer, this type of account may not be for you. But for those who are tech-savvy and use a debit card frequently, a Kasasa account can give you some rewarding perks.
Knowing the ins and outs of Kasasa brand products can help you decide whether to take advantage of rewards that big national banks don't offer. As long as you meet the monthly requirements, you can enjoy a free account with perks that stand out.
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