Good Things Utah

Save Money with America First Credit Union

With technology flourishing, we are in an era where pretty much everything has gone digital, including your bank apps.

Nicole Cypers from America First is here today to tell you how you can save money by switching to their credit union. Right now, they have an offer through the end of February for a 3% balance transfer.

This allows you to transition all your debt to a Visa card and get up to 3% back, drawing your debt down. There are many other benefits, such as card customization, free Card Guard® mobile security, member perks and so much more!

For more information, visit: americafirst.com.

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The benefits of savings accounts for children

Nicole Cypers from America First Credit Union joined us to follow up on their 24th annual ‘Warm the Soles’ program. More than 1,800 pairs of gift-wrapped shoes were delivered to children in need throughout the month of December. The program was funded by America First member donations and their ‘Skip a Payment’ program.

America First Credit Union aims to help children not only through programs like ‘Warm the Soles’ but through promotions that benefit them as well. For only a few more days, when you open a new youth account for minors (17 and under), America First Credit Union will match up to $25 of the initial deposit.

When your children start saving young, you can help them learn and establish sound savings habits that will pay off. Youth savings accounts at America First Credit Union also have no annual fees or minimum-deposit levels, competitive dividends, flexible terms and free online access, making it the perfect starting account for a young individual.

Nicole explained that as an added benefit for all current, new and non-members, they will also be giving away ten $250 dedicated savings accounts for your child. For every $25 you deposit into your account, you will gain one entry for this drawing. They will randomly select the winners and complete the fulfillment by January 31.

Visit americafirst.com for more information and to find a branch near you.

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How college students can get rewards for being financially responsible

Nicole Cypers from America First stopped by to help support college students as they head back to school.

According to Cypers, “education is very important at America First Credit Union, and we want to not only help you prepare financially while in college, but also welcome you back to school in style.”

That’s why, from August 17th to September 30th, new members attending participating universities: USU, WSU, UVU, DSU, SUU, U of U or BYU, will receive a game day t-shirt when they open a Savings and Checking with a free debit card, and download the America First mobile app.

But they’re not leaving out current student members! They can score a shirt by simply acquiring two of the following:
– Direct Deposit, Online Statements, download our mobile app and make a transfer, download Card Guard and register.

“We love supporting local universities, but even more we want to support students with local financial solutions customized to their needs,” says Cypers. “At America First we believe it is important to start developing healthy spending and saving habits early on. Many students are so young and are not aware of how dangerous debt can be, and we want to assist them and make sure they’re making the best decisions for their future.”

For more information head to Americafirst.com. The website offers handy college planning calculators to determine what you’ll need for college, how much you should save and what loan products from America First might be able to help you.

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Tips to opening a bank account for your teen

Nicea visited America First Credit Union to help her daughter Natalie get set up with her first checking account!

It only takes 15 minutes to create an account. All you need is at least one dollar and a valid form of identification. If you want to create an account visit your local America First Credit Union Branch. To find a branch near you visit americafirst.com.

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How you fund your fun this summer

Nicole Cypers, from America First Credit Union joined us to help you FUND your FUN this summer!
If you’re thinking about getting something like a boat, RV or UTV for the entire family to enjoy, interest rates are still low and their quick and easy loan process can get you out there having fun in no time!

If you are wanting to enjoy some fun in the sun without the stress visit www.americafirst.com to get started on the loan process!

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What parents need to know about opening a bank account kids

If you think your child is ready to take the next step from their piggy bank, to their own bank account, there are a couple things you need to know. 

Nicole Cypers from America First Credit Union joined us to explain the process and what parents need to know when opening up an account for their child. 

The process isn’t much different than what adults go through when they become a member at America First. Nicole explained that their youth savings accounts feature no annual fees or minimum-deposit levels, competitive dividends, flexible terms and free online access. They also provide youth funds cards along with a debit register to keep track of their spending or saving.

She said the key thing is to be a guide for your children and be part of the process. Make it fun for them to learn about managing their money.

Nicole explained that benefits and perks for their members and Visa or Debit card holders all over Utah and Nevada include Cupcake Friday and discounts to places like SeaQuest and Lagoon. Another partner is Megaplex Theaters where America First not only offers a Matinee Monday discount each week, but also runs a premiere night promotion as well.

The next premiere night contest just opened on their Facebook page for Solo: A Star Wars Story. Premiere night event takes place on Friday, May 25.

America First is also on the verge of another exciting contest to recognize mothers out there who deserve a fun afternoon off. Starting Wednesday, May 2, people can visit their Facebook page and enter nominations.

For more information visit americafirst.com and find them on Facebook: @americafirstfb.

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The financial steps to take to start your business

Nicole Cypers from America First Credit Union answers another viewer question about finances today. 

“If I’m starting my own business, are there steps I need to take financially to get ready?”

First, congratulations on starting your own business. It’s certainly an exciting time and, although it can also be stressful, it doesn’t have to be.

First, I would recommend exploring your options for funding your business. It’s common that a new business may need financial support. Sometimes that can be accomplished by borrowing from friends and family or finding investors but a safe and secure option is to explore options for business loans with your financial institution. At America First we offer both commercial and small business loans. You want to look for something with competitive rates and flexible terms to meet your unique business needs. You might also benefit from a business line of credit or vehicle and equipment loans.

You’ll also want to set up a business bank account. This will be a key financial tool you use to manage your business finances. Keep in mind, you’ll need your business documents (formation documents, ownerships documents and/or business licenses in order) to open an account. Starting a business is hard enough which is why our business checking accounts are free and we also offer business remote deposit.

A business credit card may be beneficial as well. Not only does it help to keep track of your expenses, but it helps your business to establish its own credit identity. This may require some work on your end, in advance, to improve your own personal credit score but will serve you well in the end.

Again, opening a business can be a stressful time but it doesn’t have to be. At America First, our Business Services team helps you find the perfect solution based on your needs so you can stay focused on the success of your business.

Nicole also explains why now is a great time to refinance your home. The improving economy is a good thing but it also means interest rates are set to rise which makes now the perfect time to build, buy or refinance your home. 

If you’re ready to buy a home, they offer loans with little or no down payments and have options with no closing costs. They also  offer online consultations with no obligation. Plus, get a free review and get preapproved with no obligations. 

For more information call or visit americafirst.com

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4 tips to protecting yourself from online fraud

Aside from the interest rate, what are the most important things to look at when evaluating choices for a credit card?

When choosing a credit card, you need to consider the following:

  1. Interest Rates: Low interest rates that help you minimize the amount on interest you pay each month.
  2. Cash Back and Rewards Incentives: Whether it’s cash back or rewards points, getting rewarded is crucial to making your credit card work for you. Getting rewarded for your transactions is a must.
  3. Added benefits: Looking for those extra perks? Look no further because with every America First Credit Card you get the benefits of top notch card security through Card Guard, great deals and discounts with ABC Deals, and Identity Theft Recovery….which are all free!

How do I protect myself from the risk of fraud or ID theft when shopping online?

Fraud is something we need to be aware of these days, unfortunately. It’s important to know about free tools available to keep your personal information safe. Some things to keep in mind:

  1. Create smart, strong passwords. Incorporate capital letters, numbers and symbols.
  2. E-mail wisely. Be cautious about what you’re disclosing in e-mail messages. Never send your credit card information, social security number of other private data via e-mail.
  3. Shop safely. If ordering online, be sure the site is secure.
  4. Take advantage of online tools. America First holds member security as its upmost priority and offers services like Card Guard, which allow you to turn your card on and off and of course Apple and Android Pay

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5 tips to help you stick to a budget

America First recently concluded its 13th Annual Community Food Drive. The food drive, held at all branch locations throughout Utah and southern Nevada, collected 18,400 pounds of food. This equates to over 15,000 meals for those in need. Nicole Cypers from America First Credit Union talks more about it:

Our employees loaded all food donations into trucks which were then distributed to local food pantries and food banks. Thanks to all the America First Credit Union employees that participated.

The holidays are upon us and as Utah’s largest credit union, they know the importance of giving back to others. They’ve recently launched their Skip a Payment program, which is a great opportunity for members to skip a loan payment during the holiday months and simultaneously provide shoes for children in need.

The annual Skip a Loan Payment program offers members the opportunity to skip monthly loan payments from November 2017 – January 2018 for $25. America First will then donate a portion of the fee to purchase shoes and ‘warm the soles’ of children.

To learn more about donating through the Skip a Loan Payment program, call 1-800-999-3961, visit one of America First’s 124 branches or visit www.americafirst.com

Tips for Sticking to a Budget:

  1. Calculate expenses. Your first order of business is finding out exactly how much you’re spending each month.
  2. Determine your income.
  3. Set savings and debt payoff goals.
  4. Record spending and track progress.
  5. Be realistic.

America First has great free budgeting tools in our online banking and mobile banking applications. This is a great tool to track and manage your spending.

Viewer Question: Is it smart to use my credit card just to get the points/rewards if I’m paying it off every month?

If you are paying your credit card off each month, then yes it is smart to use your card for the points/rewards. You earn one point* for every dollar you spend, and with Visa Rewards you can redeem your points for a variety of rewards including:

  • Gift cards for restaurants and merchants
  • Merchandise such as iPods and Blu-Ray™ players
  • Tickets to events
  • Activities like amusement park visits, spa excursions, sightseeing & outdoor adventures

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Answering your money questions: When Should I Refinance My Car?

The season of giving is upon us and America First has recently launched its 13th Annual Community Food Drive. As a credit union, their philosophy is “people helping people” and it’s important to them that they serve others – not just during the holidays, but throughout the year.

Through Saturday, Oct. 21, all branch locations throughout Utah will accept donations of non-perishable food items to distribute to local food pantries and food banks. Since its inception in 2004, the annual community food drive has collected more than 150,000 pounds of food.

According to the Utah Food Bank, one in six Utahans and one in five Utah children live in poverty and are unsure of when they’ll have their next meal, and about 423,000 Utahns risk missing a meal each day.

America First Credit Union is always working with local organizations and businesses to find creative ways to save their members money on fun, family-friendly things to do in the community.

For the month of October, members who use an America First Credit Union debit or credit card will receive $5 off a single day admission to the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium.

Today’s Viewer Question:

If you have a car loan, should you refinance after a certain amount of time with the goal of getting a better interest rate? If so, does it cost? And at what point in the loan should you refinance?

There are several situations in which it may be beneficial to refinance your car loan. One is if you’re trying to take advantage of lower interest rates. For example, if you purchased your car several years ago back when rates were higher, you may want to consider refinancing in order to get a better rate. Doing so will lower your payment, but most importantly, it will decrease the amount of interest you have to pay on the loan.

It’s also a good idea to consider if your credit situation has improved substantially compared to when you bought the car. If you’ve improved your credit enough, your interest rate is likely to go down, and that means you’ll make a lower monthly payment and you’ll pay out less money in interest.

Another reason you might want to refinance is to get a shorter loan term. This especially applies to drivers who have had major changes in their financial situation. For instance, if you’ve earned a promotion at work or you got a new job that pays better than before, you may want to consider refinancing your long-term car loan to a shorter term. Your payments will be higher, but you’ll pay the car off sooner, and you’ll pay less money over time in interest.

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