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Providing financial education embodies the movement’s ‘people-helping-people’ philosophy. The theme for this year’s Youth Month is “Be a Credit Union Saver and Your Savings Will Never Go Extinct.” Together, we’re encouraging our youngest members to open their own savings account (with a parent or guardian’s help), begin a habit of putting money into that account regularly, and learn how compound interest helps their account to grow.
As more Americans seek financial guidance and more credit unions begin to offer services like financial counseling, it’s essential to consider initiatives that also educate young members. If parents have trouble managing money, you can imagine that it’s going to be even more challenging for them to have conversations about money with their kids. Omaha Federal Credit Union can serve as an important ally for parents in their mission to teach their kids to be financially responsible. Providing this kind of support and education can help build long-term member loyalty.
If you have been wondering how to empower youth to save for their future, National Credit Union Youth Month is a great opportunity to start or boost your youth initiatives! Join us this April as credit unions across the country focus on educating youth about financial health. This year’s kid-friendly theme emphasizes the benefits of wise saving habits using fun dinosaur characters. This celebration is a great time to engage kids at Omaha Federal Credit Union and within your community to help them develop healthy money habits.
For more fun, please click here for Kirby Kangaroo and click here for Claim Your Youth.
You can use your OFCU Debit Card with Apple Pay — the easy, secure, and private way to pay. Use Apple Pay with iPhone 6 to pay in stores without swiping your card and within apps without entering payment and contact information. With Apple Pay, instead of using your actual Debit Card numbers when you add your card, a unique Device Account Number is assigned, encrypted and securely stored. And when you make a purchase, the Device Account Number alongside a transaction-specific dynamic security code is used to process your payment. So your actual Debit Card numbers are never shared by Apple with merchants or transmitted with payment. In addition, paying with Apple Pay is private as the cashier never sees your name, card numbers or security code.
Now the things you love about your favorite Visa® Debit Card are right on your Android phone. Getting started with Google Pay is simple:
Download the Google Pay app from Google Play or the App Store
Follow the instructions to add your OFCU Visa® Debit Card
Verify your card if needed. Then you’re all set!
Now the things you love about your favorite Visa® Debit Card are right on your Samsung phone. Getting started with Samsung Pay is simple:
Access your Card from the Samsung Pay app
Add your OFCU Visa® Debit Card
Pay confidently at millions of places around the world with Visa and Samsung Pay.
We spoke with four college students that chose to use a credit union over a bank. Here are the three main findings…
They really cared about credit unions being not-for-profit:
R: “The charitable donations made by credit unions in my area are awesome. I’m from Texas and when Hurricane Harvey hit, the credit unions in the Houston area all came together and pitched in donations and it really left an impact on me at a young age.”
C: “The social impact of everything has definitely become more and more important with each generation. Within the past couple of years, I’ve started to care about which businesses I support, for example if a clothing store is ethical and sustainable. In my eyes, this was a huge selling point for my local credit union as they worked with local businesses that believed in the same things I did.”
They saw the membership benefits to credit unions as favorable to banks:
D: “One of the best things that my credit union offered was lots of scholarships for high school and college students. I was able to get a $500 scholarship myself. Nationwide banks do offer scholarships but literally a million people are applying for them so it doesn’t seem very accessible, but when it’s in your community you know you it’s more attainable.”
T: “I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that credit unions offer better rates on loans and care about returning money back to members. As part of Gen Z, my financial situation was at the forefront of my concerns, particularly as I was about to move out of my family’s home for the first time. I was keen to both save and grow my money and my local credit union offered the tools to help with both.”
After they learned about credit unions and what they do for the communities, there was no second choice for them. They said the only hurdle is getting the credit union message out to young people (a recent study by Zogo Finance found that 76% of students didn’t know what the function of a credit union was*):
R: “Growing up I just always found banks more intimidating than credit unions. I was just starting to learn about personal finance and credit unions seemed like they were really willing to explain everything and help me out. I needed that.”
C: “As mentioned before, the fact that my credit union worked with local and sustainable businesses was a big selling point. However, this fact can get lost due to lack of awareness. I only knew about the community initiatives of my local credit union because my parents also used the same credit union, but I know a lot of my friends have no idea that credit unions are so invested in social change. I think we need to make sure young people know about this.”
With nearly two-thirds of Americans feeling financial strain due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s an important time to take an active role in our finances. Making financial plans can feel demotivating if money is tight, but understanding your goals is the key to making productive financial decisions. There are typically two key areas of focus when creating a financial plan: growth and protection. Growth isn’t possible for many people right now given the rise in unemployment and reductions in work hours. However, even if your income is unstable, there are still steps you can take to protect your credit health.
Know where you stand
According to week eight of TransUnion’s Consumer Financial Hardship Study, 36% of Americans think it’s very important to monitor their credit score during the current health crisis. They’re absolutely right. Checking your credit scores and reports helps you baseline your credit health and enables you to keep track of any changes to your credit history, which may in turn affect your score.
Accessing and monitoring your credit information is an important part of managing your credit health during COVID-19, so the credit reporting agencies (TransUnion, Equifax and Experian) are offering all Americans free weekly credit reports online at annualcreditreport.com through April 20, 2022.
Now that you have weekly access to your reports, try to schedule a consistent time to check them. Lenders typically report updates to accounts each month, but different lenders may update at different times. It’s important that you make a habit of monitoring your credit regularly.
When reviewing your credit reports, look for any updates you’re anticipating or unexpected changes that may need closer review. Your credit report is a representation of your data identity, and you should manage it as a valuable asset. Just like you, the credit reporting agencies want to be sure all your information is accurate and up to date. This ensures the credit reporting system is fair for everyone. Check your personal information, and go through the open credit accounts listed to make sure you recognize all of them. Review account balances and payment histories to be sure they’re accurate. You may also want to note the contact information for each of your lenders. If you have a question about a specific item on your report, it may be a good idea to contact your lender directly to get more information. You can also submit a dispute with the credit reporting agency that issued the credit report to request an investigation of anything you believe is inaccurate.
Continue making payments
Your payment history is such an important factor in calculating your credit score, so making on time payments consistently, if you’re able, is a good way to protect your credit health. If you think you may struggle to pay, talk to the company you have the account with as soon as you can, before you miss the payment. We’ve seen a positive trend in companies reaching out to their customers to provide guidance during COVID-19. In fact, TransUnion’s Consumer Financial Hardship study shows that 69% of financially impacted Americans say that companies they have accounts with have contacted them about payment accommodations. But you don’t need to wait for your lender to contact you — almost half of all financially impacted Americans have already reached out to their lenders to discuss payment options. Be proactive if you’re having financial difficulties. COVID-19 is affecting people in many different ways, but everyone knows people are struggling. There are options and resources available to help provide support.
If you do plan to enroll in forbearance or deferment programs with your lenders, ask questions to be sure you understand all the terms. Good questions to ask might include whether the lender will still assess fees, how interest is calculated, and how the lender will report your account to the credit reporting agencies while it is in the hardship program. Then, try to develop a plan for when the accommodations end. There are guidelines for federally backed loans like mortgages and student loans thanks to the CARES Act, but relief options provided by private lenders may vary. Be sure to get all agreements in writing so you have the information you need to build a plan for restarting postponed payments later.
Guard against fraud
With new and sometimes confusing information out there about stimulus checks and small business loans, the environment is ripe with opportunity for fraudsters. The TransUnion Consumer Financial Hardship study found that a quarter of Americans know they’ve been targets of digital fraud schemes related to COVID-19. If someone gets access to important information like your Social Security number, they can wreak havoc on your finances and credit health. Be especially cautious right now with communications related to the CARES Act and stimulus checks. Remember, no government organization will ask you to share sensitive information over phone, email or text message. Only use official government websites when submitting information online.
If you don’t plan to apply for new credit anytime soon, you may want to consider freezing your credit. This helps prevent fraudsters from opening new accounts in your name, as a freeze prevents lenders from accessing your credit report after they receive a new credit application. Credit freezes are free, don’t affect your credit score and can be easily lifted whenever you need to do so. You will need to place a credit freeze with each of the three credit reporting agencies separately if you want the most protection.
You also can add a free fraud alert to your credit report if you think you may have been a victim of fraud. A fraud alert does not block potential lenders entirely, but notifies them to take extra steps to verify your identity before extending new credit. If you add a fraud alert to your report at one credit reporting agency, the other two are notified automatically to add one to your report as well.
It’s completely natural to feel frustrated about a lack of progress with your finances, especially if you’ve made sacrifices to build your wealth and credit history. And it’s understandable that many people may feel like all they can do is sit back and wait for the economy to improve. But you don’t have to. You can take proactive action to protect what you’ve built. Establishing consistent, protective habits now can pay off later when we’re all better able to concentrate on growth.
Skip your June 2021 loan payment and have more cash for the summer!
Your loan(s) must be on the credit union books for at least 6 months. Deferrals will NOT be offered on 1st Mortgage, Home Equity Line of Credit, Business loans or any Real Estate secured loans. Other excluded loans include Overdraft Protection, Visa Platinum and Visa Classic. You may only defer the same loan payment ONE TIME during the Skip-A-Payment promotion. Deferrals will NOT be offered on any loans that have been delinquent or are delinquent now. All requests are subject to Omaha Federal Credit Union approval. Must meet credit requirements. $30.00 fee per loan.
By participating in Omaha Federal Credit Union’s (OFCU) Skip-A-Payment program, you request that OFCU defer your loan payment(s) as indicated. You agree and understand that 1) Finance charges will continue to accrue at the rate provided in your original loan agreement, during and after this time 2) Deferring your payment will result in your having to pay higher total finance charges than if you made your payments as originally scheduled 3) The payment deferral will extend the term of your loan(s) for one month beyond contracted maturity date 4) You will be required to resume your payment(s) the following month 5) If you elected GAP or life and/or disability insurance, the coverage will not be extended beyond the original maturity date.