08 Jan

Contactless Payments are the Safer Way to Pay

Contactless Payments

If you’ve been thinking about making the switch to contactless payments, the time is now. Many of us have probably heard about Apple, Samsung, and Android Pay but have always questioned their security. We are here to discuss why contactless payments are the safer way to pay and why you should start utilizing them ASAP.

What is a Contactless Payment?

First things first – what is a contactless payment? It is a quickly growing mobile payment service that was first introduced in 2014 that makes it possible to pay for goods and services with your smartphone. It uses a near field communication (NFC) antenna in your device to transfer funds from your account to a retailer when tapped against their contactless payment terminal. You simply store your debit or credit card information in your device, then authorize a transfer at the time of payment and wa-la – transaction complete.

Is it Safe?

People are skeptical about contactless payment methods mostly due to uncertainty about their security. Allow us to set your mind at ease. Your card and account details are never shared with merchants or even stored on your device. Instead, when you complete a transaction, contactless payment systems represent your account with a random transaction code, not your actual card information. This not only prevents fraud, but if the retailer happens to be the victim of a breach, it is much less likely that your information will be acquired.

Is There Added Security?

When utilizing contactless payment services, it is important to take all precautionary measures, even though the system itself is extremely safe. This can be done a number of ways. Ensure that your device’s lock screen is password protected, with either a pin, pattern, or fingerprint scan. This ensures that if your device gets lost or stolen, no one else can unlock your device and have access to your information. In addition to the lock screen precautions, your contactless payment app also requires a fingerprint scan or password to open and complete transactions, adding another layer of security to payments.

When you weigh the option of paying with a credit card or contactless payment service, it really comes down to security and ease. By not sharing your actual card information with merchants, you greatly decrease your risk of fraud and, since we all have our smartphones on us 99% of the time, paying with them is very convenient.

To learn more about device-specific contactless payments and find some helpful links, check out our website!

 

28 Nov

How to Create a Budget

Have you ever felt like you consistently spend more than you earn in income each month? If so, a budget is a great solution. By creating a plan for your money and allocating spending limits, you can start having more control over where your income goes and how much of it you allow yourself to spend. Coming up with a plan is not always easy though, and that’s why RMLEFCU is here to show you how to create a budget, no matter what your income is.

Step 1: Determine Income

Determining income may be easier for some people than others. If you are on a salaried pay scale or get consistently similar paychecks, you can easily calculate your monthly income. For those who work hourly jobs where income is unpredictable or sporadic, this may be a bit more difficult. In this case, it is best to determine your average monthly income by calculating the average of the last 6 to 12 months of recurring income. This will give you the best estimate of what you earn, on average, per month and allow you to budget accordingly.

Step 2: Establish Wants vs. Needs

Establishing the difference between expenses that are a want and a need is a very important step. In total, these expenses should add up to about 80% of your monthly paycheck – 50% going toward essential costs, and 30% to “fun” costs.

A needed expense usually falls into one of four main categories: housing, utilities, groceries, and transportation. If you find yourself spending more that 50% of your monthly income here, then it might be time to scale back in one or more of the categories. For example, not buying all organic produce from Whole Foods every week, or trading in your luxury apartment for something a bit more affordable.

The “wants”, or fun expenses, include everything from eating out to buying concert tickets. These are the costs that can be easily reduced if you feel you’re cutting it too close to going over your budget near the end of the month and can ultimately help you realize what you truly can and cannot afford. For example, if you go completely over the allocated 30% of your income one month and realize you saw 4 movies in the theaters, that might be a good place to look at cutting costs for the future.

Step 3: Save Some Money

While it might be tempting to spend all of your excess money on entertainment, that is not how you set yourself up for future success. If you’re not sure how much you should be saving, a general rule of thumb is to allocate 20% of your monthly income to savings. This will give you an extra financial cushion should an emergency occur, or simply be a place for you to stash your money away for a much needed vacation. We know it can be difficult to transfer funds from your checking directly to a savings account, so to make it easier, we offer an automatic transfer system that will automatically deduct a certain amount from your direct paycheck deposits and put it right into your savings account. If you don’t see the money in the first place, you won’t even miss it!

Step 4: Make Adjustments and Track Your Progress

After tracking your spending for a few months, you’ll be able to easily see how much of your money goes where. If any areas seem to be off, it might be time to reevaluate your spending and see if you can cut some costs in order to save more. Priorities, income, and expenses will all change over time, and budgets have the flexibility to accommodate any and all of these changes. It is ultimately up to you to determine what you think you can reasonably afford and what is out of your means for the time being.

In the beginning, making a budget might seem like a difficult task, but in the end, it will not only make you more aware of your spending habits, but also help you understand the importance of saving. You can’t use the “not knowing how to create a budget” excuse anymore, so what are you waiting for? Visit our website and get started with a savings account today and utilize our online banking budgeting tool.

26 Nov

Kasasa Protect Video

With all the security and information breaches happening lately, it’s more important than ever to protect your identity and finances. In this video, Jon discusses Kasasa Protect and how its many benefits can prevent identity theft from happening to you. Whether you’ve recently had your identity or finances compromised, or if you just want to take a few precautionary measures, Kasasa Protect is for you. This comprehensive identity protection and restoration solution includes 24/7 credit monitoring, annual credit reports, lost wallet protection, and dark web monitoring services – just to name a few. Check out our past blog posts to learn more about Kasasa Protect and get some helpful tips to protecting your identity. If you think Kasasa Protect is for you, give us a call at (303) 458-6660 or visit our website to enroll.

16 Nov

HELOC vs Home Equity Loan Video

HELOCs and home equity loans may sound very similar, but in reality, they act very differently.  In this video, Cary discusses the differences between HELOCs and Home Equity Loans, their typical terms, and what they are commonly used for. For more information, check out past blog posts on what a HELOC is and how to use it to pay off debt. If you think you could benefit from a HELOC or home equity loan, give us a call at (303) 458-6660 or visit our website to learn more and apply today!

22 Sep

Things Worth Saving Up for and Splurging On

Things Worth Saving up For

As much as we all like saving money wherever we can, there are a few things in life that people, for the most part, agree are worth spending the extra money on. Whether it’s an experience you’ll never forget or an item that you’ll use every day; some things are worth a bit of a splurge. While everyone’s priorities and opinions are different, this list of things worth saving up for and splurging on seems to be pretty consistent across the board.

Mattress

Fun fact, you spend about a third of your life sleeping, so the real question here is why wouldn’t you splurge on a great mattress? Not only will you get a better night’s sleep, but your productivity and energy will increase too.

Sheets

This goes hand in hand with the quality mattress point. Anyone who’s slept on scratchy sheets can attest that great bedding can make all the difference in getting a good night’s sleep. Now, we’re not saying to go out and buy 1,800 thread count, Egyptian cotton bedding, but spending a little extra money on better sheets can really impact the quality of your shut eye.

Phone and Computer

It’s 2017 and most of us use one, if not both, of these items all day, every day. Investing in a quality product, whichever brand you may be loyal to, will not only last longer, but have less technical issues in the long run than its cheap counterpart.

Running Shoes

Anyone who’s ever ran more than a mile in subpar shoes knows what we’re talking about. While paying $100+ every 200-500 miles may seem like a lot, the injuries that you’ll prevent in the long run make it completely worth it; especially if you consider yourself an avid runner.

Vacations

Are you going to remember that one week in May 2018 when you went to work every day like normal, or when you took a trip somewhere new and made unforgettable memories? People are always saying how they regret not having more experiences and making the most of life when they had the chance. Don’t let that be you.

Now, while you can plan a vacation on the cheap, there are some things you should not go for the cheapest option on. Generally speaking, hotels and sleeping accommodations are the best example of “you get what you pay for.” Depending on where you’re vacationing, paying a little more per night for a room in a safer and more comfortable place, could make or break your whole trip.

Quality Toilet Paper

Not that this one needs very much explaining, but you’ll end up spending the same amount, if not more, for more roles of the cheap, thin stuff than for the nicer brands. Give yourself a break and go for luxury here.

 

While not splurging on some of these items may be fine with some, a good rule of thumb is that if you use something every single day, it’s worth spending a little extra money on to ensure it is of great quality. While it may take some time to save up the money to splurge on these items, it is usually worth it in the long run.

Making a budget and investing in a good savings account are some great first steps to ensuring you have the money for things worth saving up for and splurging on. Lucky for you, RMLEFCU has the people and resources to help with both! Visit our website or give us a call at (303) 458-6660 to find out how we can help you start saving today.

Do you agree or disagree with anything on this list or have anything to add? Let us know in the comments!

12 Jul

Coming Soon: A New Look for Online Banking!

We’re keeping members first with this summer’s upgrade

This summer, our internet and mobile banking interfaces are getting an overhaul, but it’s not just a pretty facelift. By August, you’ll find slicker, smoother banking online. “It’s important for us to stay in step with leading technologies,” says Christine Wiley, RMLEFCU President/CEO. “In implementing the proven tools in the update, and keeping pace with continuing development, we continue to offer a ‘Best in Class’ interface to all our members.”

Internet and Mobile Banking Upgrades include:

  • Member-centric interface, rather than account centric. Members will have a unique username, and once registered in the new system, will have access to all their accounts. We are moving from the account centric system, where all you can see is the account you are signed into, to a member centric platform which shows all account relationships tied to the user. You can even add external bank accounts into your RMLEFCU login!
  • Person-to-person transfers (P2P). P2P Payment is an online technology that allows members to transfer funds from their bank account, debit or credit card to another person’s account via the internet or mobile phone.
  • Wire transfers. Members will be able to transfer funds to and from other institutions to or from their credit union accounts.
  • Interactive budgeting app. An app that helps you stay on track with your spending.
  • Enhancements to Bill Pay.
  • Customizable screens so you see only what you need.

And Phase II will offer even more!

As the late-summer implementation approaches, we’ll keep you abreast of the coming changes. The transition will be a smooth one, as the tools are already well-proven in the financial industry. And don’t worry: the RMLEFCU staff will be ready to answer your questions or concerns.