Month: October 2019

AFCU Provides Tips on How to Avoid Being Haunted By Credit Card Debt

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

AFCU Provides Tips on How to Avoid Being Haunted By Credit Card Debt

 

Riverdale, UT – Oct 17, 2019 – Ghosts and ghouls may not be the only thing haunting this Halloween. Poor financial decisions, including credit card debt, may also be rising from the grave. Utahns/Nevadans have an average credit card balance of $5,961/$6,401 and during the upcoming holiday season will rack up an average of $1,054 in additional debt.

“It’s easy to become buried by credit card debt and the thought of clawing your way out can be paralyzing for many,” said America First Credit Union vice president of credit, Susan Chadwick. “One of the best things you can do to take the first step in getting rid of debt is to have a mindset change. Focus on the positive reasons you want to get out of debt whether it’s to be less stressed, improve your credit score so you’re able to buy a new home or car, or achieving financial freedom.”

While there is no one best practice for banishing credit card debt, these pay-down tips and strategies can help cast away debt:

  1. Pay off the balance with the highest APR first – Look at each balance and interest rates for each card, and whichever has the highest annual percentage rate (APR) is the one that should be focused on first while still making minimum payments on other cards. Once that card is entirely paid off, move on to the one that has the next highest APR.
  2. Pay off the card with the lowest balance first – Another strategy that people can take is increasing payments on the credit card with the lowest balance while continuing to make the minimum payment on other cards. It’s quicker and easier to pay a $500 balance down to zero than a $2,500 balance. And it feels good to pay a credit card bill in full, no matter what the balance was to begin with.
  3. Consolidate your debt to a single card or loan – By consolidating credit card debt to a single card or a debt consolidation loan, there will only be a single payment each month rather than four or five. While all the debt has been transferred to one place, it doesn’t mean it went away. Be sure to still focus on paying this debt off, so it’s a good idea to pay more than the minimum due each month.
  4. Consult with a financial advisor – A financial advisor can help examine incoming and outgoing expenses. They can help determine a personalized plan that can help determine which strategy will be most effective as well as establish a workable, realistic budget and savings plan.

To learn more financial tips, watch AFCU’s video series, FUNDamentals, at americafirst.com/learn. Topics include good versus bad spending, loan basics and demystifying mortgages.

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ABOUT AMERICA FIRST CREDIT UNION

Proudly celebrating 80 years of servicing members and a long-standing history, America First has become one of the largest, most stable and most progressive credit unions in the country, and has remained a member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative financial institution. Today, America First has 128 locations, and is the 9th largest credit union in assets in the United States with over $11.5 billion, and the sixth largest credit union in membership in America with more than 1,062,000 members.

Jump$tart and AFCU Awarding Students for Financial Literacy Proficiency

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Nicole Cypers
America First Credit Union
801.827.8655
ncypers@americafirst.com

Kelsey Richardson
R&R Partners
801.913.9454
Kelsey.richardson@rrpartners.com

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Jump$tart and AFCU Awarding Students for Financial Literacy Proficiency

Riverdale, UT – Oct 15, 2019 – The Utah Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy (UJ$C) and America First Credit Union (AFCU) are now accepting applications for Fall 2019 Scholarships. The first round of the Utah Jump$tart Scholarship Competition will be open thru November 30. Utah high school seniors who have completed a financial literacy course can enter to win one of three $1,250 college scholarships provided by AFCU.

“When it comes to finances, education is one of the most powerful tools which is why we encourage all students to take a financial literacy course,” said AFCU president and CEO, John Lund. “We want to set our high school seniors up for success as they prepare for post-secondary education and teach them important financial principles that will help keep their college debt to a minimum and set them up for financial success in the future.”

Student debt and financial independence are a concern for many millennials and young adults with 54% of millennials expressing worry that they would not be able to pay back student loans, and only 16% of Americans between ages 18 to 26 being very optimistic about their financial future.

The scholarship program is designed to recognize students who have taken a financial literacy course and can demonstrate a solid understanding of financial literacy concepts and are pursuing a post-secondary education either at a university, college, trade school or similar institution of higher learning. To be eligible for the scholarship, students can submit a 90-second YouTube video addressing the question: “How can students prepare to pay for college?”

To learn more about the scholarship, or to apply, students can visit utahjumpstart.org/scholarship.

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ABOUT AMERICA FIRST CREDIT UNION

Proudly celebrating 80 years of servicing members and a long-standing history, America First has become one of the largest, most stable and most progressive credit unions in the country, and has remained a member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative financial institution. Today, America First has 128 locations, and is the 9th largest credit union in assets in the United States with over $11.5 billion, and the sixth largest credit union in membership in America with more than 1,062,000 members.

ABOUT UTAH JUMP$TART COALITION

The Utah Jump$tart Coalition is a statewide, 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to improving the financial literacy of Utah’s youth by promoting the teaching of personal finance from kindergarten to twelfth grade. Visit them at www.utahjumpstart.org.

plasma donation

The Value of Blood—Donating Plasma

If you need to make some extra money and you enjoy helping others, donating plasma could be a good option. Plasma is made up of the water, enzymes, proteins and antibodies in your blood. Companies process plasma to create medicines and to use in therapies. Since it can’t be created synthetically, and donated plasma does not go directly into the body of another person, businesses are willing to compensate donors for their time. If you’re considering a plasma donation, here are some things you should know:

  • You need to be between 16 and 69 years old.
  • You must weigh more than 110 pounds.
  • You must be in good health and free of infectious diseases.
  • You’ll have to pass a basic physical examination.
  • You should bring a valid photo ID and have proof of your Social Security number.
  • Some medications can prevent you from donating plasma.
  • Recent body piercings or tattoos may also prevent you from donating.
  • Some donation centers use promotions or coupons to draw in donors.
  • Search online for local plasma donation centers—make sure the one you choose is IQPP-certified, such as BioLife, CSL Plasma, Grifols, and Octapharma.
  • Drink lots of fluids before you go, as this will help your blood flow faster.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol within 24 hours of donation, as these can affect your blood pressure and hydration levels.
  • Pump your fist (e.g. use a stress ball) to help increase the rate of circulation.
  • You can expect somewhere between $20 to $50 per visit, depending on the company.
  • Some companies will pay you more for repeat donations.
  • Payment is usually distributed in the form of a prepaid debit card.
  • How much plasma you can give is dependent on your weight—the more you can donate, the more you can earn.
  • Plasmapheresis, or the process of separating the plasma from the red blood cells, takes usually around 60-90 minutes.
  • Your first donation will take longer than subsequent visits, because of the medical screening.
  • Normally, you may only make two donations in a seven-day time period.
  • Generally, you must wait 48 hours between visits.

Please check the official websites of the companies for specific details regarding rules and compensation regarding donating plasma.

AFCU Named as One of Credit Union Journal’s 2019 Best Credit Unions to Work For

MEDIA CONTACT:
Nicole Cypers
America First Credit Union
801.827.8655
ncypers@americafirst.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

AFCU Named as One of Credit Union Journal’s 2019 Best Credit Unions to Work For

Riverdale, Utah – OCT.8, 2019 – America First Credit Union (AFCU) has been named one of the 2019 Best Credit Unions to Work For. Credit Union Journal has partnered with Best Companies Group to identify companies that have excelled in creating quality workplaces for employees.

“It’s an honor to be named alongside many incredible credit unions for the fourth consecutive year,” said AFCU President and CEO John Lund. “We believe in taking care of our employees both professionally and personally because they are the number one reason we’ve been able to continue growing and being successful.”

This survey and awards program is designed to identify, recognize and honor the best credit unions. The 2019 list is made up of 50 credit unions—as of September 2019, there were more than 6,000 Credit Unions in the United States. The full Best Credit Unions to Work For list is featured at CUJournal.com.

“Credit unions, deservedly, are recognized for their commitment to the communities they serve,” said Aaron Passman, Editor in Chief of Credit Union Journal. “Our annual ranking recognizes those that go above and beyond in terms of their employees’ job satisfaction, career development and personal growth.”

Determining the Best Credit Unions to Work For involved a two-step process. The first consisted of evaluating each participating credit union’s workplace policies, practices, and demographics. This part of the process was worth approximately 25% of the total evaluation. The second consisted of employee surveys aimed at assessing the experiences and attitudes of individual employees with respect to their workplace. This part of the process was worth approximately 75% of the total evaluation. The combined scores determined the final ranking.

To be considered for participation, credit unions had to have at least 25 employees working in the U.S. and been in business a minimum of one year. Best Companies Group managed the registration and survey process and also analyzed the data and to determine the final ranking.

For more information on the Best Credit Unions to Work For program, visit www.BestCreditUnionstoWorkFor.com.

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ABOUT AMERICA FIRST CREDIT UNION

Proudly celebrating 80 years of servicing members and a long-standing history, America First has become one of the largest, most stable and most progressive credit unions in the country, and has remained a member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative financial institution. Today, America First has 128 locations, and is the 9th largest credit union in assets in the United States with over $11.5 billion, and the sixth largest credit union in membership in America with more than 1,062,000 members.

Prevention is Essential to Deal with Identity Theft and Fraud

By John B. Lund, President & Chief Executive Officer

Data breaches and fraud are, unfortunately, becoming far too commonplace. In fact, identity theft reportedly occurs every two seconds. Capital One recently suffered a compromise that affected over 100 million people. Numerous large-scale retailers, as well as sophisticated technology companies, have fallen victim to hackers and online criminals. Indeed, most of us have felt the impact of a breach or identity theft in one form or another.

It’s important we all take steps to protect our information and identity. To follow are some simple suggestions for preventing fraud:

  1. Don’t offer sensitive info, including your Social Security number, to an unknown person or business. Oftentimes fraud perpetrators will claim to represent merchants, government agencies, or financial institutions. If you’re suspicious, hang up or log off. And remember, America First Credit Union will never contact you and ask for a PIN or password.
  2. Never click email hyperlinks or enter personal data—unless you sent the initial message or you’re confident about the company or individual with whom you’re doing business. Scammers are experts at making these communications appear legitimate. Delete anything that raises red flags.
  3. Refuse requests to wire strangers money. Although sometimes intriguing and convincing, such a story is probably a hoax.
  4. Create complex passwords, avoiding common names and sequential numbers. Make them at least eight characters long, mixing lower & uppercase letters, numbers, and special punctuation marks. Consider a program such as RoboForm, LastPass or SplashID to track different unique passwords, and use two-factor authentication when it’s offered.
  5. Install antivirus and spyware protection on your devices, then enable the auto-updating features.
  6. Resist the urge to download software from pop-up windows.
  7. Regularly monitor your statements and account activity. Report potentially fraudulent charges immediately.
  8. Use Card Guard® mobile security. This app gives you complete control of how, when & where your Visa® credit and debit cards are used.
  9. Identity theft recovery services are a free benefit for members with America First Visa credit cards. You’ll gain additional peace of mind, as the coverage applies to all accounts held by you and your dependents still living at home. This also provides significant savings, as comparable recovery services are $25 to $50 per month if purchased from other sources.

Remaining vigilant in monitoring your finances, safeguarding your resources, and selecting trusted partners is essential in achieving financial health. We’re proud you’ve chosen America First. We appreciate the opportunity to serve and look forward to a lifelong relationship.