The Credit Union Difference Part II – What’s In A Membership?

As a member of Destinations Credit Union, you are uniquely positioned to manage yourteller counting money to customer finances and watch your money grow on the best possible terms. Like the member of an elite club, you are entitled to exclusive privileges and individualized service, courtesy of your credit union.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the benefits you can enjoy as a member of Destinations Credit Union.

1.) Highly personalized service

Credit unions are well known for the highly personalized and attentive service they provide to members. A 2017 American Customer Satisfaction Index Finance and Insurance Report found that members rate credit unions with better service than banks, scoring an average of 82 out of 100. It’s part of what makes credit unions unique.

When you step through the door of Destinations Credit Union, you know you’ll always be welcomed by familiar faces, warm smiles and friendly greetings. There are no aloof tellers who don’t know you or your financial situation  – just our helpful service representatives who treat you like family. No matter your age or stage, our Member Service Representatives are happy to guide you through any monetary challenge and assist you in reaching your financial goals.

At Destinations Credit Union, our outstanding member service means we’re personally invested in your financial well-being and only want to see your success. To that end, we’ll grant you a loan quicker than most big banks, graciously looking past some tarnished credit history and skipping the overly thorough background check. We also host financial education seminars for our members and the larger community throughout the year, enabling you to broaden your money knowledge and to learn how to make smarter financial choices.

2.) Increased value for your money

As a not-for-profit cooperative, your credit union has modest overhead and marketing expenses. Destinations Credit Union is proud to pass these savings on to you in the form of low or no account fees, better loan terms and higher dividend payments on your savings.

According to a report by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) that studied credit unions in Maryland from March of 2017 through March of 2018, Destinations Credit Union provided average financial benefits that were equivalent to $95 per member and $203 per household. Another 2018 study performed by Bankrate found that 84 percent of the nation’s 50 largest credit unions offered their members checking accounts with no monthly maintenance fee. Here at Destinations Credit Union we’re proud to offer our members the same; our Checking Accounts are completely cost-free, and we pay interest on some accounts.

At Destinations Credit Union, we don’t have to answer to outside investors. This enables us to be more attuned to your needs without worrying about increasing our own worth. Our not-for-profit status frees us to offer you optimal terms on Share Certificates, Savings Accounts and more. It’s more money in your pocket just for being a member of Destinations Credit Union.

3.) A voice in how the credit union operates

As mentioned, your credit union does not need to answer to stockholders. Instead, Destinations Credit Union is member-owned, operating with only your best interests in mind.

As a full-fledged member of Destinations Credit Union, you have a voice in how your credit union runs. You are invited to cast your ballot in our [annual] elections in which we vote on a volunteer board of directors. The board is then charged with oversight of the credit union and forming all official decisions regarding the way the credit union operates. Our board is comprised of members of the credit union, just like you. This means the decisions they make will always be advantageous to our membership and to the general community instead of trying to pander to outside stockholders. We’re all about doing what’s best for our members.

4.) A chance to give back to the community

Here at Destinations Credit Union, we’re strong believers in giving back to the community. We support many community initiatives and organizations, and we are committed to making decisions that benefit the entire community. We are especially invested Operation HOPE, a cause that is dear to our hearts. Anyone in the community can get no-cost access to a financial well-being counselor.

When you choose Destinations Credit Union, you’re choosing to give back to the community, too.

As a member of Destinations Credit Union, you are entitled to enjoy all of these benefits and so much more. Whatever your particular needs are, we’re here to help you manage your finances every step of the way. Call, click, or stop by [credit union,] today to learn how to make your membership work for you in the best way possible.

Experience the credit union difference.

Your Turn: What does your credit union membership mean to you? Tell us all about it in the comments.

SOURCES:
https://www.creditkarma.com/advice/i/difference-between-credit-union-and-bank/%3Famp

https://www.thestreet.com/amp/personal-finance/credit-unions-vs-banks-14626262
https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/banking/credit-unions-vs-banks/

The Credit Union Difference Part 1: The History Of Credit Unions

As a member of Destinations Credit Union, you know that credit unions are always blackboard with columns for banks and credit union pros and consstriving to serve their members and community in as many ways as possible. We value each member’s input as an equal owner in the credit union, and offer flexible loan terms as well as low-cost accounts. We also reward our members with higher dividends, and proudly donate our time and our resources to community initiatives and organizations.

This article is the first in a series celebrating the history, contributions and benefits of credit unions.

Both credit unions and banks provide those they serve with a broad range of financial services and products. However, there are multiple distinctions between the two institutions. The primary credit union difference lies at its core: Banks are created to generate profit for their owners; credit unions are created to provide members with a place to manage their finances at the best possible terms.

The noble goal of putting members first is deeply rooted in the rich history of the credit union movement. Let’s take a quick look at the backstory of credit unions and how they came to be the thriving financial institutions we know today.

The first credit union was established in 1864 by Friedrich Raiffeisen in rural southern Germany. Raiffeisen believed his neighbors and friends could enjoy an enhanced standard of living if only they had access to common funds. He proposed that all community members pool their resources so individuals in need of loans could easily access the necessary funds. Raiffeisen’s idea was well received by his community, and the first credit union model was soon established.

In 1909, the credit union movement crossed the ocean to reach American shores. With Edward Filene serving as its pioneer, the movement gained momentum and continued its growth. In 1920, Edward hired attorney Roy F. Bergengren to assist him in generating the movement’s expansion. Roy soon created a more systemized concept for the credit union model we know and love today.

Credit unions were gaining popularity and popping up all over America, but it was only in the 1930s that the credit union movement achieved federal recognition and national acceptance.

When President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Federal Credit Union Act into law in 1934, federally chartered credit unions in every state became legally authorized to create a system of not-for-profit cooperatives to promote thrift and sound financial practices.

The Federal Credit Union Act enhanced the public’s confidence in the credit union movement, and it continued to spread across the country. In 1970, that sense of security grew stronger when the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) was established. Credit union deposits gained federal insurance that functions much in the way the FDIC insures bank deposits. Your money is always safe at Destinations Credit Union!

With the credit union movement growing at its most rapid pace, prospective members flocked to join the new member-owned financial institutions being established all over the U.S. In fact, between 1970 and 1979, credit union assets in America tripled.

In 1977, another credit union-friendly regulation was signed into law, empowering credit unions to offer more services and products to their membership, most notably mortgage lending and share certificates (which function much like CDs).

Today, the credit union movement continues to thrive in the path charted by its predecessors and is backed by the “full faith and credit of the United States Government.” These not-for-profit institutions serve their 103 million+ members by always putting their members’ needs first and helping them achieve their personal goals through sound financial practices and targeted advice.

Here at Destinations Credit Union, we’re proud to be a part of the collective institutions dedicated to the credit union mission. At the core of our values is an unwavering commitment to creating mutual benefits for members and the larger community. To that end, we are always here to help our members and enable them to optimize their savings or manage finances as smoothly as possible. Our innovative banking solutions, low fees and high dividend rates, along with personalized service, helps members achieve and maintain financial wellness no matter the financial goals they have. As a member-owned institution, our only objective is your satisfaction and your success.

Credit union history is still in the making. Be a part of it by calling, clicking or stopping by Destinations Credit Union today to learn about our exceptional financial products and to benefit from our highly personalized service.

Experience the credit union difference!

Your Turn: How does the core credit union value impact your finances in a positive way? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.

SOURCES:
https://www.mycreditunion.gov/about-credit-unions/historical-timeline

https://www.thebalance.com/national-credit-union-share-insurance-fund-ncusif-315404
https://www.creditkarma.com/advice/i/difference-between-credit-union-and-bank/%3Famp
https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/banking/credit-unions-vs-banks/

What’s Up With WhatsApp?

A cybersecurity breach in Facebook’s WhatsApp app last month left users vulnerable to WhatsApp Iconspyware attacks via voice calls. An undetermined number of the 1.5 billion users of the popular messaging app may have had malicious spyware installed on their devices.

Let’s take a closer look at the security breach and the steps you can take to protect yourself, both now and in the future.

What happened?

Security breaches are old news in the app world, but a breach of extremely high magnitude and reach is something new and fairly frightening. The fact that the breach hit WhatsApp is especially alarming. WhatsApp utilizes strong encryption for both voice and text messaging and is used as a communication platform for government and security officials around the world.

Here’s how it went down: A government-grade intelligence collection tool was employed to target WhatsApp users via voice calls. The spyware has been endowed with the ability to seize control of the affected smartphones and to access any private information stored on the device.

The spyware utilized in the attack was allegedly created by the NSO Group, an Israeli cyber surveillance company that has developed this advanced technology for the express purpose of allowing government agencies to infiltrate terrorist groups and to fight crime.

Unfortunately, when the spyware fell into the wrong hands, it helped scammers pull off one of the greatest cybersecurity breaches of all time.

The Financial Times reported that the WhatsApp breach was made possible because of a loophole in the app’s code that allowed hackers to transmit spyware onto smartphones by calling targets through the app. The malicious code could be injected into the device whether the user picked up the call or ignored it.

According to WhatsApp, the cyber breach was first discovered in early May and had been used to target an undisclosed number of WhatsApp users. The Facebook-owned messaging company claimed it briefed human rights organizations about the breach and also asked U.S. law enforcement agencies to assist it in conducting an investigation. When WhatsApp had more definite information, it notified the public about the breach.

Who was affected?

It doesn’t matter what kind of phone you have; the security vulnerability affects both iPhone and Android devices. The good news is that not every version of WhatsApp was affected. To check whether the version you have on your phone was part of those impacted by the breach, check out Facebook’s official advisory confirming the vulnerability, which outlines which versions were affected.

The messaging giant has not confirmed a specific number of targeted victims. Rather, it has only shared that a “select number of users were targeted through this vulnerability by an advanced cyber actor.”

What do I need to do now?

Since the vulnerability that caused the breach lies in the makeup of the app and not in an unsafe or negligent practice in the hands of a user, there is no way you could have prevented your device from being affected. However, now that the facts are on the table, you can take the recommended steps to keep your device safe from this vulnerability.

Since the breach was discovered, WhatsApp engineers have been working hard to close the app’s security vulnerability. The company has started installing a fix to servers and to private customers. It has also created an updated, safer version of the app that it has urged all users to employ on their devices as soon as possible.

Here’s a quick guide for updating your WhatsApp.

For iPhone users: Open the App Store, choose updates, select WhatsApp and then click Update.

For Android users: Open the Play Store, click the three lines in the upper left-hand corner, choose My Apps & Games, select WhatsApp and then hit Update.

If you haven’t yet updated your device, do it now. It only takes a few seconds of your time to make sure your WhatsApp is operating at its safest level.

You never know when those scammers are going to hit next. Practice safe measures by always using the latest version of any application or operating system, keeping yourself in the know about recent security breaches and never sharing sensitive information online.

Stay safe!

Your Turn: How do you keep yourself safe from security breaches? Share your tips with us in the comments.

SOURCES:
https://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/gauteng/consumerwatch-what-you-should-know-about-whatsapp-breach-23607175

https://www.people.com/human-interest/whatsapp-security-breach-update-app/amp/
https://www.forbes.com/sites/zakdoffman/2019/05/14/whatsapps-cybersecurity-breach-phones-hit-with-israeli-spyware-over-voice-calls/amp/

7 Money Myths You Need To Stop Believing Now

We all grow up hearing the same financial advice: Spend less, save more and invest piggy banks in bubbles with a sky backgroundearly. While most of these words of wisdom ring true, there are lots of widespread money management tips that are actually false.

Read on for 7 money myths that might be causing you more financial stress than benefit.

Myth #1: Debit is always better than credit.

Do you automatically reach for your debit card when making a purchase? While it’s true that paying for your expenses with money you already have in your account is often the best choice, there is a time and a place for credit cards as well.

The real deal: Credit cards get a bad rap for the debt trap they represent, but they should be your payment method of choice on occasion. First, many credit cards offer rewards in the form of travel miles, cash-back systems and other bonuses. Second, building and maintaining a strong credit history is crucial for your financial wellness; the only way to achieve this is by using your credit cards and paying your bills on time. Finally, lots of credit cards offer purchase protection, which makes them the smarter payment method for big-ticket items.

Destinations Credit Union offers both debit cards and credit cards.

Myth #2: Buy a home at all costs.

It’s part of the American Dream: Go to college, land the perfect job, get married and buy a house, complete with white picket fence and two cars in the driveway.

Unfortunately, though, too many people are fixed on that dream without realizing that owning a home might not be in their best financial interests.

The real deal: For many people, including those who are not yet ready to put down roots or who anticipate a career change that necessitates moving across state lines, renting a home or apartment might be the better choice. It can also be a financially expedient option if you live in a super-expensive area.

If you are in the market for a home loan, visit Destinations Credit Union.

Myth #3: Investing is only for rich people.

Investing is for people who drive luxury vehicles and have homes in three different states.

Or is it?

The real deal: Anyone with a small pile of money squirreled away can get a foothold in the stock market. A smart investment strategy can be the best way to let your money grow and put you on the track to financial independence. If you’re a beginning investor, look into passively managed index funds for an easy way to start building your wealth.

Myth #4: My partner manages our finances, so I don’t need to think about money at all.

Are you living in blissful financial oblivion, confident that your partner is managing your money?

The real deal: Every adult should have a handle on their family’s finances, regardless of their partner’s involvement. While it is fine for one partner to actively manage their money, it is crucial for both partners to be aware of the state of the family finances and to be capable of managing the household expenses and investments if something happens to their partner.

Myth #5: Credit cards will get me through any financial crisis.

Why would I need an emergency fund? I have credit cards!

The real deal: Depending on credit cards to get you through a financial emergency is the perfect way to dig yourself into a deep pit of debt. Thanks to interest, you’ll be paying back a lot more than you spend. You’re also more likely to overspend when you pay with plastic.

Credit cards should not be relied upon for a real financial emergency, such as a job loss, divorce or illness. It’s best to build an emergency fund consisting of three to six months’ worth of living expenses so you’re completely covered for the unexpected.

Myth #6: I’m so young; I don’t need to think about retirement.

Who can think about retirement when it’s so far down the road because they’re just starting a career? Besides, who can afford to save for retirement when they’re bogged down with more pressing expenses, like saving for a house and putting kids through college?

The real deal: There’s no better time to start planning and saving for your retirement than right now. The younger you start building your retirement fund, the less you’ll have to put away each month, and the more you’ll save by the time you’re ready to retire. Gift yourself with a comfortable, stress-free retirement by maxing out your 401K contributions, and/or opening an IRA or another retirement fund. Start today and let compound interest work its magic!

Myth #7: I have enough in my account to cover my expenses so I don’t need to budget.

Budgeting is for people who are barely squeaking through the month. I have enough money; so why budget?

The real deal: Budgeting is for everyone. Without a realistic budget in place, someone pulling in a salary in the high six digits can easily spend their way into debt. A budget will force you to make responsible money choices and to be fully aware of the state of your finances at all times.

Your Turn: Which money myths have you bought into in the past? Tell us all about it in the comments.

SOURCES:
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.thenest.com/content/amphtml/money-myths

https://www.listenmoneymatters.com/top-10-money-myths/
https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/foolish-money-myths
https://www.fidelity.com/viewpoints/personal-finance/6-money-myths

4 Parking Lot Scams To Watch For This Spring

The buds are sprouting-and so are the scams. Watch out for these common parking lotWords "Scam Alert" on asphalt next to double yellow line scams as you attend baseball games, outdoor concerts and other events this spring and summer.

1.) The bogus parking attendant

In this scam, you arrive at an event where an attendant points you to a nearby lot. You pull in, pay for your parking spot and get a payment stub as proof of purchase. But, when the event is over, you look for the attendant who took your payment and they’re gone. And, unfortunately, so is your car.

How it went down: The attendant was no attendant. A clever scammer, who might look like the genuine article thanks to a bogus uniform, simply collected your money and then ran off. Your car was parked illegally in the lot, and the lot’s real owner had it towed.

The fix: Only entrust your car to a parking lot attendant with an official logo, a real sign and a contact number. If you’re suspicious, do a quick search on the company.

Also, be sure to examine the “payment stub” before leaving the lot to attend the event. It should appear authentic, and at the very least contain some information about the parking service as well as actual proof that you paid.

2.) The trick-it ticket

This scam starts much like the other. You’ll attend an event, pay for parking and return to your car when the event is over. Only this time, instead of finding that your car has been removed, you’ll find a ticket stuck on your windshield for illegal parking. You’ll also find a helpful note informing you about a lawyer who can help you lower the ticket, or about an online site through which you can pay the fee.

How it went down: Sometimes, the ticket you find on your windshield may be authentic. However, it’s sometimes just a slip of paper that was stuck on by scammers. In both scenarios, though, the helpful note about a lawyer or an online platform for paying the ticket is bogus. The “lawyer” is usually a scammer hoping to milk you for some cash and the online site is riddled with malware, which can infect your computer.

The fix: Avoid tickets by only using official parking lots. Look for real signs instead of just a “Park Here” notice slapped onto a pole.

If you’re ticketed, look for an official police department logo along with contact information. If you’re still in doubt, you can check the authenticity with your local police department.

If you need the assistance of a lawyer, contact one on your own. Skilled lawyers won’t need to beg you for their business, and those sticking notes on your cars are either scammers or incompetent.

Finally, never share your personal information on a random site. Only pay a ticket online if you’re absolutely sure it’s a police site.

3.) The phony mechanic

In this scam, you’ll return to your car after an event only to find that the car won’t start. A “helpful” bystander will offer their assistance-for a price. They may even claim to be a mechanic or an expert in cars. After extorting you for an enormous amount of cash, they’ll gladly pop open your hood and “fix” your car.

How it went down: The “mechanic” knows enough about cars to disable your vehicle without popping the hood while you were gone. They’ve immobilized your vehicle in an easy-to-fix way, like disconnecting the distributor or an electrical cable. This way, they can appear to “fix” it in seconds.

The fix: If your car suddenly won’t start and some super-helpful mechanics just happen to be passing by, refuse their offer for “help.” Call AAA or another auto service instead.

4) False accidents

You’re backing out of a parking space, careful to check your rearview mirror and backup camera to make sure the coast is clear before you hit the gas, when there’s a sudden, sickening bump. You’ve hit someone. You rush out of your car and find that you’ve hit a pedestrian who promises to make an insurance claim against you unless you pay them off.

How it went down: The accident “victim” was hiding out of your line of vision and then leaped behind your car as soon as you started driving.

The fix: If this happens to you, look for a closed-circuit video camera and ask the lot’s security guard if you can review the tape. With any luck, you’ll see the con artist pulling their ruse and then you can turn the tables and threaten to press charges if the scammer doesn’t scram.

If you’re in a deserted area without no surveillance nearby, don’t pay any fees until a doctor examines the “victim’s” injuries.

Your Turn: Have you ever been targeted by a parking lot scam? Tell us all about it in the comments.

SOURCES:
https://scambusters.org/parkinglotscam.html

https://www.tmj4.com/call4action/stay-alert-for-springtime-scams
https://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-02-2011/spring-scams.html

How To Enjoy A Busy Wedding Season Without Going Broke

It’s the season of gauzy canopies, lacy gowns and stiff penguin suits. That being the case, guests tossing flowers at wedding coupleand with wedding invitations flooding your mailbox, you might already be booking your weekends with weddings through the end of August.

Celebrating a new marriage together with your friends is great fun, but all those wedding invites can put a real strain on your budget. Between wedding attire, travel costs and gifts, each wedding can add up to a pretty penny. In fact, according to the most recent research by Express Spending & Saving Tracker, the average wedding guest is out $673 for each wedding they attend. That’s enough to make you go broke by the time wedding season is through!

If these numbers are scaring you, take a deep breath and relax. You don’t need to go into debt just to attend your friends’ weddings. Just follow these hacks for simple ways to celebrate in style-and within budget.

1.) Save on airfare

Get the best deal on your flight with these hacks:

  • Clear your browser cache before searching for a flight so airlines don’t target you with high-priced flights.
  • Get the lowest prices by booking your ticket for mid-week and/or taking a red-eye flight.
  • Shop on a Tuesday about six weeks before you’re needing to fly out to score the best deals.
  • Use apps like Kayak, Hipmunk and Hopper to help you find the best-priced tickets. Some apps will even send you alerts when tickets on a flight you’ve looked at go down in price.

If your destination is within driving distance, you can also choose to hop on a train, board a bus or rent a car with some friends and turn the drive into a fun road trip.

2.) Think outside the registry

Jump off the registry bandwagon and get creative instead! You can gift the couple with a more personalized gift, like a themed breakfast basket for the morning after, tickets and reservations for a dream date night or a customized kitchen package complete with quirky mugs and whimsical gadgets. No one has to know how much (or how little) you spent. But, your gift is sure to be memorable and treasured by the couple.

If you’re part of a bunch of friends who are attending the wedding together, you can also choose to purchase a group gift. Do some detective work to find out the couple’s secret luxury gift wish, like a top-of-the-line grill or a leather sectional sofa, and then let each friend contribute to a pot until you have the full amount. You’ll save on your gift costs and you’ll know you’ve given your friends a wedding present they’ll be thrilled to receive.

3.) Don’t buy a gown

Don’t feel pressured to spend hundreds of dollars on the dress you’ll wear to your friends’ weddings. Chances are, you won’t want to wear the same gown twice in a season. Also, the dress that perfectly matches one wedding color can horribly clash with the décor at next weekend’s wedding. Instead of dropping a ton of money on a dress you might wear once, rent a gown for a fraction of the price from rental services like Rent the Runway. You can also borrow from a friend or purchase a gently used gown on sites like OnceWed.com or PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com.

4.) Invest in a good suit

Tux rentals can run you up to $150, so if you’re looking at several weekends of weddings over the next few months, it might be worthwhile to invest in a staple suit or tux you can wear again and again. Make sure the suit is of decent quality and will make it through hours on the dance floor with its seams and buttons intact. Once you’ve got your suit in the closet, you can change up the outfit to match different wedding colors and themes by swapping the shirt and tie or the cummerbund and bowtie.

5.) Use AirBNB instead of booking a hotel

You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on a hotel stay for every destination wedding you attend. Instead, check out AirBNB for affordable lodgings in the area. You can save even more by booking a full apartment or an entire house with a couple of friends and splitting the cost.

6.) Don’t be afraid to say no

Members of the wedding party inevitably end up outspending everyone else thanks to the wedding attire, shoes and the pre-wedding parties they’re required to attend. Most of these costs are dictated by the bride and groom. If you’re asked to be a bridesmaid or an usher and you know you can’t afford the associated costs, don’t be afraid to explain your position to your soon-to-be-married friends. They’ll likely understand, and either accept your declination or make some adjustment to their plans so you can be part of the wedding party.

Here’s to a season of affordable and joyous wedding celebrations from all of us here at Destinations Credit Union!

Your Turn: How do you save money on wedding expenses? Share your best ideas with us!

SOURCES:
https://lover.ly/planning/news-tips/guest-guide/sneakiest-ways-save-money-attending-wedding/

https://www.moneycrashers.com/tips-save-attending-wedding-guest/
https://lover.ly/planning/news-tips/wedding-101/why-youre-about-to-spend-700-on-every-wedding-this-season-ouch/
https://www.theknot.com/content/amphtml/save-money-as-wedding-guest