Good Things Utah

What parents need to know about opening a bank account kids

People in a broadcast - Kid's Bank Accounts

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

People in a broadcast - 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

Protect yourself from online fraudAside 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

People in a broadcast

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-Rayâ„¢ 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?

People in a broadcast

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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4 tools to protect yourself from fraud

Good Cents

The back-to-school season is here and while parents have been frantically planning to complete the shopping for new clothes and supplies, America First Credit Union is focusing on a special offer for university students. Here today is Nicole Cypers, PR and community manager, to share more.

America First Credit Union is holding orientation events at USU, WSU, UVU, DSU and SUU. Plus, your college student can get a pair of university-branded socks when they open a savings and checking account (with a free debit card) and download the America First mobile app. Offer valid until September 30 for U of U and BYU students.

Nicole also answered the following:

1. What is the easiest way to track your spending?

  • Identify how much money is coming in and going out and where that money is going
  • America First offers free Online Banking & Mobile Banking budgeting tools, including Money Manager, which will allow you to track spending, easily budget, manage debt and create a financial roadmap

2. What’s the best way to protect myself from fraud?

It’s important to know about free tools available to keep your personal information safe. Some things to keep in mind:

  • Create smart, strong passwords.
    • Incorporate capital letters, numbers and symbols.
  • 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.
  • Shop safely.
    • If ordering online, be sure the site is secure.
  • 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.

For more information or to find a branch near you, visit www.americafirst.com.

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The sweet deal you don’t want to miss out on

People in a broadcast - Sweet Deal

The summer season is officially underway and at America First Credit Union, they’re celebrating with low-rate auto loans all season long with their “The Sweet Taste of Summer†campaign.

Nicole Cyprus joined us to explain what makes this campaign so “sweet”:

  • They’re offering 60 days of no payments on all new auto loans and giving members a chance to win loan payments up to $300 and interest-free auto loans with daily drawings.
  • The contest runs now through August 31, 2017. Members can receive one entry for every $1,000 financed through the campaign dates. Winners will be selected daily, excluding Saturdays,
  • Sundays and holidays. (Visit an America First branch to be financed and entered to win).
  • They will be helping members in the community cool down in the summer sun by having their newly-branded ice cream truck on-site at various community events throughout Utah and celebrating “The Sweet Taste of Summer†with popsicle treats for attendees.
  • It’s a great time of year to become a member with America First for those that aren’t already and take advantage of their low interest percentages and affordable monthly payments.

For more information about “The Sweet Taste of Summer,†visit americafirst.com.

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New app makes banking easy

People in a broadcast - New App

America First always strives to be a leader in adopting technology to help members meet their financial needs. They say that by updating the application, America First differentiates themselves from other financial institutions in the industry, while also providing members with the tools to achieve their financial goals and create a customized user experience. The app has all of the great features as old versions, as well as some very noteworthy new ones. Members will still be able to take advantage of Mobile Deposit, Popmoney, Transfers, ABC Deals, Bill Pay, and Loans. Mobile Banking now supports Touch ID/Fingerprint Authentication for logging in. Members will also have the ability to add accounts from other financial institutions and stay on top of their finances with Net Worth, Budgets and Spending.

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