ride your bike

Ride Your Bike & Save Some Bucks

When you ride your bike instead of driving to work, school or the store, you gain a lot of benefits. Biking is both aerobic and anaerobic exercise, improves cardiovascular fitness, strengthens bones and prevents disease. Bike riding is also good for the environment as pollution-free transportation–and it’s great for your wallet.

According to AAA, the average yearly cost for owning and operating a personal vehicle is $8,558, approximately 15% of the median household income. This equates to over $700 a month or 57 cents per mile. And while regularly riding a bicycle won’t cut out all auto-related expenses, it can significantly decrease the amount you spend annually on your car or truck.

Less gasoline

First and foremost, you’ll save on fuel. Gasoline’s average cost has decreased significantly in the last five years (from $3.87 per gallon to $2.34 a gallon), but it’s still more expensive than a breakfast smoothie or granola bar—the fuel of a cyclist. And when gas prices start to rise again, which they probably will, you won’t have as much anxiety.

Less maintenance

It costs a lot less to maintain a bike than a car. By not driving as often, you’ll decreased maintenance expenses, which average almost $800 annually. You won’t have to change your oil as frequently or replace your tires as quickly. Plus, with less wear and tear on your vehicle, it will be on the road longer.

Other advantages

Some companies will reimburse employees who bike to work $20 per month, tax-free, because of the Bicycle Commuter Act. This is intended to cover related expenses, such as accessories, repairs, improvements & storage. Check with your employer to see if it’s offered. Additionally, select insurance companies will lower your premiums if they learn you’re no longer driving to work each day.

Finally, there are incidentals such as parking. Most bike racks are free of charge and, as an added perk, are usually close to the building. Plus, you won’t pay as much for the gym. After all, when you ride your bike, you’re getting plenty of exercise. And all that physical activity can mean less trips to the doctor.

As you can see, there are many benefits to commuting via bicycle. Besides becoming healthier and environmentally friendly, you’ll also be spending less on fuel, maintenance and insurance. In fact, when you ride your bike regularly, the only thing you may miss is the morning traffic.

Security Update: ‘Inventive’ Scams that Rob Resources

Creating a new product or service is exciting. And one of the primary reasons for this is that you’re eager to produce sales and get it on the market. So getting trademark protection certainly makes, but watch out for mailings & information that looks official but is really just a scam to get your money.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and Federal Trade Commission are alerting consumers that there are companies pretending to be these government agencies or their partners—and they’re tricking people into paying them fees.

Such enterprises send patent & trademark holders solicitations that offer to do things like renew registrations, provide monitoring services, record marks with government agencies, or list them on a private registry. In almost all cases, what’s offered is overpriced, unnecessary, or outright fraud.

The names and emblems these imposters use on their forms help them seem like they’re connected with the U.S. government. Some have paid them hundreds or even thousands, mistakenly thinking they were responsible for legitimate registration & maintenance costs.

Read any notice about your patent or trademark carefully. Official mail comes from the United States Patent & Trademark Office in Alexandria, Virginia. If you get an authentic email, the domain will be @uspto.gov. And if you’ve experienced this or other scams, file a report here.

Currency Exchange Services Available at Select Branches

If you’re heading abroad, whether it’s for business or it’s finally time for that dream vacation, we provide foreign currency exchange services to help you make the most of your journey.

America First offers low fees, competitive rates, overnight delivery & more. Some details are:

  • $5,000 per-transaction limit
  • Purchases by cash or collected account funds only
  • Two-day pickups requested (orders are returned after five days)
  • $10 per transaction (buying or selling)
  • Additional $10 for orders under $300 U.S.
  • $15 for FedEx Priority Express (available by noon the next business day)

It’s available at select branches—click here to find one near you.

 

Don’t Wait Until Next Year!

The RV you’ve always dreamed of owning can become a reality with a low-rate loan from America First.

We offer:

  • 12-year fixed terms
  • 20-year balloon payments
  • Flexible options, unmatched service & more

Choose your credit union for the freedom to finance your getaways.

Apply today.

Guest Commentary: Protecting & Enhancing Your Financial Health

By Rex Rollo, Executive Vice President/Chief Financial Officer

I recently had the pleasure of appearing on a KSL Newsradio program to provide commentary regarding our financial environment and how it affects us. We discussed an article in a major publication that indicated the average American had increased his or her checking account balance by $2,000 over the last few years.

The host asked if I thought this was an indication of consumers across the country improving their financial health, and if the same were true for America First members. Although I could only speak in general terms about conditions nationally, I did verify that our membership has been taking steps to enhance their finances. Not only are checking account balances rising, we have also seen double-digit growth in a variety of our savings vehicles.

The America First mission statement relates that we are committed to providing superior services to the members/owners and that our chief concern is their financial well-being. Therefore, we work to ensure the financial health of our members because it guarantees the well-being of the credit union.

Through the first six months of 2017, there have been clear indications of our health and strength, including members and loans both demonstrating gains in the double digits. Our ever-increasing membership—now totaling more than 891,000—generates the necessary resources to provide services and deliver them in the manner members choose. Whether it’s through our expanding branch network, call centers, or free online & mobile banking, your credit union is always there to assist, how and when it’s most convenient for you. Additionally, our dedication to innovation and technology allows us to complete millions of transactions without compromising the security of your information.

I am happy to report that the financial health of America First is strong and continues to improve. Our assets have reached $8.9 billion—over a billion more than we held at the same time last year. Reserves are at their highest levels in years. More and more members are enjoying 24/7 access to their accounts and information via our mobile app. But the most important measurement I am proud to provide is the advancement in the financial health of our members. After all, you are the true capital of America First Credit Union.

monitoring

Fraud Prevention: Monitoring Your Account

Preventing fraud is sometimes as easy as keeping an eye on your money. Regular account monitoring can help protect your identity and keep your hard-earned funds safe. Many credit unions, banks and credit card companies will send a monthly statement, which you should always look over, but being proactive in your financial surveillance will give you an extra layer of protection.

Logging in

Online banking gives you anytime, anywhere access and that means you don’t have to wait for a statement. Some people make logging in and going through account activity part of their morning routine. As you check in, you’ll see pending charges, when checks clear, when deposits are made, and more. Also, looking at your account daily facilitates better budgeting.

The main things to watch for when monitoring your account are unexpected ATM withdrawals, unusual point-of-sale purchases and other unauthorized transactions on your Visa® cards. America First also offers free check images so you can verify that there haven’t been any alterations to cleared checks. Moreover, if you authorize specific withdrawals, such as those from a utility company, make sure the names and amounts match your expectations.

Setting up alerts

America First offers free account alerts that will trigger emails when specific actions occur. You choose what kind to get and when they’re sent. These could include notifications about withdrawals over a certain amount, when you’re approaching your credit limit, or when your paychecks arrive. Enabling and customizing alerts will allow you to stay on top of your finances.

Downloading more benefits

Card Guard® from America First is a free mobile app that gives you complete control of your Visa and ATM cards. For example, you can use it to disable your debit card outside your current geographic location or specify that your Visa credit card can only be used at restaurants. Or, you prohibit any ATM withdrawals. Card Guard® can also send instant notifications to your mobile device whenever your card is used. Plus, if you lose your card, you can immediately disable it.

Regardless of how you’re monitoring, if you notice any unauthorized purchases or suspect any fraudulent activity, notify us immediately. America First members will generally not be held liable for fraud when it’s reported in a timely manner. But being vigilant is always part of a good defense.

charitable accounts

In Lieu of Flowers—Donating to Memorial & Charitable Accounts

When hardships & losses affect you or someone you care about, there are always financial implications and many wish to offer monetary contributions to a family or cause. There are many different crowdfunding options online, such as Go Fund Me and You Caring, that can collect funds. But they charge fees or payment processing costs, which take a cut out of the proceeds. By contrast, when you use America First memorial and charitable accounts, the recipient gets every cent raised. Plus, the money is safe in a financial institution you know and trust.

Setting it Up

The main difference between charitable and memorial accounts is that the former is created for living persons, whereas the latter honors someone who passed away. Other than that, these two savings accounts function in the same manner. Anyone who qualifies for America First membership can open an account and whoever is established as the owner has access to the funds.

Many people use these types of accounts to help with medical bills, support a family after the death of the primary breadwinner, and in similar ways. Charitable accounts can also act as the collector of a 5K run’s proceeds or a donation box for the new roof of a local business. They can be open as long as needed, but keep in mind that they do earn interest. Since the owner’s Social Security number is attached, he or she would have to claim that as income.

Chipping In

Anyone can donate to America First charitable accounts. All that is needed is the account name and/or number. People can use their financial institution’s bill paying feature to transfer funds, contribute in-person at any of branch, send a check in the mail, or call 1-800-999‐3961.

We offer donation receipts for the contributor and the recipient. However, please note that America First doesn’t monitor where the money goes after it’s collected. We only receive the deposits and hold them for the beneficiary. Account owners are responsible for managing the funds.

It’s important to be cautious when you contribute to any charitable cause. Do your research before donating, get a receipt when possible, and monitor when the money’s debited from your account. Being vigilant can help you aid people in need monetarily without putting yourself in financial danger.

Avoid Cyber Attacks & Fraud

You are more likely to be a victim of fraud during summer months! Reduce your chances of being vulnerable to cyber attacks by following tips from America First Credit Union.

This segment is sponsored by America First Credit Union.

Source

summer vacation

Stay & Save on Your Summer Vacation

Your summer vacation doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, you can always get away without going far, enjoying events & entertainment without extensive travel expenses or costly hotel stays. Plus, when you use your Visa® from America First, you’ll get additional savings at several local venues, such as:

Lagoon

Although it’s over 130 years old, this amusement park in Farmington, Utah is constantly growing, improving and inventing new ways to thrill. It features over 50 rides for both children and adults including Cannibal, Colossus — The Fire Dragon, Jet Star 2, Wild Mouse and Wicked. Also, be sure to step into the past at Pioneer Village, and beat the heat at the Lagoon-A-Beach water park.

America First Visa perk: $8 off general admission every Wednesday in July

Megaplex

Since 1999, Larry H. Miller’s Megaplex Theaters have revolutionized the movie-going experience. With almost 20 locations and 200 screens in Utah and Nevada, this popular chain showcases the latest films using cutting-edge technology. While you’re watching a movie in IMAX® 3D at the Megaplex, you can get a deluxe meal from the in-house food court.

America First Visa perk: Matinee pricing every Monday night at the ticket counter

SeaQuest Interactive Aquarium

At SeaQuest, visitors are encouraged to interact with the animals. You can swim with the stingrays or dip your feet into the exfoliating fish spa. And it’s more than just sea life. You can also pet iguanas, feed macaws & talk with mermaids. Take the whole family to SeaQuest in Layton, Utah or Las Vegas, Nevada locations.

America First Visa perk: $7 off single-ticket discounts on Tuesdays & half-price annual passes

Cowabunga Bay

Bring the beach directly to your family. Located in Draper, Utah and Las Vegas, Nevada, Cowabunga Bay gives you a variety of intertwining waterslides and hundreds of interactive water toys. You can even let your kids splash around as you relax with food and drinks delivered directly to your private cabana.

America First Visa perk: $5 discount in Draper or $15 discount in Vegas on general or military admission

Cherry Hill

Cherry Hill combines every summer activity into one park in Kaysville, Utah. Work up a sweat climbing on The Rock or putting around the miniature golf course, then cool off on the Double Dragons waterslides or Grant’s Gulch lazy river. Then, when you’re all tuckered out, you can climb in your RV or set up a tent and camp on one of 180 sites.

America First Visa perk: $5 off the all-access King of the Hill pass

These are only a few of the ways you can save during your summer vacation. Check out our Visa benefits page to see more discounts and offers you’ll get for using your America First Visa credit & debit cards.