The Credit Union Difference: A Look At Loan Interest Rates

As a member of Destinations CU, you enjoy the many benefits we offer, including woman showing calculator results to a couplepersonalized service; convenience; a voice in the way your credit union operates; and higher general earnings on your savings.

One of the most significant advantages we offer our members is lower interest rates on loans. Our loans offer you the best of both worlds, with an easy application and qualification process, plus a quick turnaround from beginning to end. Most importantly, though, when you take out a loan through Destinations CU, you’ll enjoy more savings on the interest rates throughout the life of the loan. That means your loans cost you less.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular loan categories and how the interest rates at credit unions differ from the industry average. (All data has been pulled from the NCUA’s annual analysis of credit union and bank interest rates.)

Auto Loans
Looking for a new set of wheels? Look no further than Destinations CU! You won’t be under pressure to overspend or make a rash decision like you might be at the dealer’s lot. Instead, speak with one of our representatives who will be delighted to help you identify how much you can truly afford while in a relaxed and pressure-free environment. You’ll be working directly with the lender, so you won’t get duped into a deal that includes inflated rates that go directly toward someone’s commission. Most importantly, with rates that fall far below the industry average, you can sign with confidence, knowing you’re getting a fantastic deal.

Used Car Loan, 48 months:
Average industry rate: 5.55%APR (Annual Percentage Rate)
Average credit union rate: 3.75%APR

Used Car Loan, 36 months:
Average industry rate: 5.50% APR
Average credit union rate: 3.61% APR

New Car Loan, 60 months:
Average industry rate: 5.22% APR
Average credit union rate: 3.69% APR

New Car Loan, 48 months:
Average industry rate: 5.10% APR
Average credit union rate: 3.57% APR

Here at Destinations CU, we offer new or used car loans beginning at 2.99% APR*.  Apply online or call to speak to a Loan Officer.

*Monthly payment per $1,000 borrowed at 2.99% APR is $17.97 for 60 months and $22.14 for 48 Months.

Credit Cards
Why pay steep interest rates on a new credit card when you can get one at Destinations CU at a rate that’s nearly two points lower than the national average?

Average industry rate on new credit cards: 13.61% APR
Average credit union rate on new credit cards: 11.80% APR
Here at Destinations CU, we offer credit cards for our members with an interest rate as low as 9.50% APR. See full disclosures here.

Home Equity Lines of Credit
Are you looking to fund a home renovation or expansion? Or, do you want to tap into your home’s equity and take out a secured loan you can use any way you’d like? Consider taking out a home equity line of credit (HELOC) at Destinations CU. Check current rates here.

Home Loans
When you apply for a home loan at Destinations CU, you’ll enjoy personalized attention throughout the loan process, quick, professional service, and interest rates that beat the industry average no matter what kind of mortgage you choose. Visit our First Mortgage Center to check current rates and borrowing options.

According to a report by CUNA, the closing fees for mortgages taken out through credit unions average $200 less than those taken out through banks. That’s $200 in your pocket at a time when you’ll need to cover all kinds of moving-related expenses, from new furniture, light fixtures and touch-ups on your new home to moving costs.

Personal/Unsecured loans
When you need a bit of extra cash for a reason that doesn’t fit neatly into any other category, consider a personal loan at Destinations CU. The application process is quick and easy, and you can use the extra money any way you please, from funding a dream vacation to paying for wedding expenses to covering the costs of adopting a child. With modest interest rates, you’ll enjoy an affordable payback plan throughout the life of the loan.

Average industry interest rate on fixed 36-month personal loans: 10.31% APR
Average credit union interest rate on fixed 36-month personal/unsecured: 9.46% APR

You’ll always benefit when you choose Destinations CU. As a not-for-profit, member-owned cooperative, our only goal is your financial wellness. Speak to a Loan Officer today about taking out a low-interest loan of any kind.

Your Turn: Which low-interest loans are you currently enjoying from Destinations CU? Tell us about it in the comments.

6 Ways To Spot A Payday Loan Scam 

Payday loan scams may seem like old news, but they’re more common than ever. In fact,payday loans sign in 2018, the FTC paid a total of $505 million to more than one million victims of payday loan scams.

In this scam, a caller claiming to represent a collection agency who is acting on behalf of a loan company tells victims they must pay their outstanding balance on a payday loan. They’ll ask victims to confirm identifying details, such as their date of birth or even their Social Security number. They claim they need it as proof that they’ve seen the victim’s loan application and actually do represent the company. Unfortunately, the caller is actually a scammer trying to rip off victims or steal their identity.

In many payday loan scams, victims may have applied for a payday loan but not yet completed the application, or they may have submitted the application but not yet received the funds. In these scenarios, the victim has unknowingly applied for a loan with an illegitimate company which proceeds to sell the victim’s information to a third party. This way, the caller can appear to be an authentic loan collector because they know lots of information about the victim.

If you’ve applied for a payday loan, be on the lookout for these six red flags, any of which should alert you to the fact that you’re being scammed:

You’ve never received a payday loan

While these scams usually target people who have filled out an application for a payday loan, fraudsters often go after victims who haven’t completed one or who have done so but have not yet been granted the loan. Obviously, you can’t be late paying back a loan you never received.

If you haven’t completed your application or you haven’t yet received an answer from the loan company you applied to, you’re talking to a scammer.

The caller demands you pay under threat of arrest

Scammers often dishonestly align themselves with law enforcement agencies to coerce victims into cooperating. A legitimate loan company will never threaten you with immediate arrest.

The caller refuses to divulge the name of his collection agency.

If the caller actually represents a collection agency, they should have no problem identifying this agency by name. If they refuse to do so, you may be looking at a scam.

You can’t find any information about the agency the caller allegedly represents.

The caller is sometimes willing to name the agency, but the company is completely bogus. If you’re suspicious about the call, do a quick Google search to see what the internet has to say about this company. If you can’t find any proof of the company’s existence, such as a web page, phone number or physical address; or the search turns up evidence of previous scams, hang up.

You have not received a validation notice in the mail.

By law, anyone representing a collection agency and attempting to collect on an outstanding debt must send a validation letter to the debtor. This letter will inform the borrower that they can dispute the debt within 30 days. It will also detail the amount of money owed and the party to whom it must be paid.

If you have not received any such letter in the mail before the alleged debt collector calls, you’re probably looking at a scam.

The caller only accepts immediate payment over the phone.

If the caller was reaching out to you on behalf of a legitimate collections agency, they’d be happy to work out a payment plan with you, and provide you with an address to which you can mail your payments. When a “collector” insists that you pay in full over the phone and refuses to furnish an address to which you can mail your payments, you’re likely talking to a scammer who is only interested in getting your financial information and your money.

If you find yourself struggling to survive financially between paychecks, call, click or stop by Destinations Credit Union today. We’ll be happy to help you learn how to keep your finances it optimum health.

Your Turn: Have you ever been targeted by a payday loan scam or a similar con? Share your experience with us in the comments.

SOURCES:
https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2018/09/505-million-refunds-sent-payday-loan-customers

https://lendedu.com/blog/watch-out-for-payday-loan-collection-scams/
https://www.scam-detector.com/article/payday-loans
https://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/how-to-spot-a-payday-loan-collection-scam

6 Ways You Can Use A Personal Loan this Summer

Summer is a time for fun and excitement, but it can also be super expensive. people at a picnicSummertime can be a season of major life changes like household moves and weddings; purchasing that boat you’ve been eyeing and let’s not forget those dream vacations!

Before you start swiping the plastic for everything under the sun, Destinations Credit Union recommends considering a personal loan to stay within your budget.

At, Destinations Credit Union, the application process is smooth and quick, and, as a member, you don’t need flawless credit to qualify for a great rate. We also offer fantastic terms, with low interest rates. When you use a personal loan instead of racking up credit card debt, you are making a responsible choice that can positively impact your finances for years to come.

To help you accomplish this, we have outlined seven ways to responsibly use a personal loan this summer.

1. Getting married

According to Brides.com, the average wedding in 2018 cost more than $44,000. That’s a whole lot of money you may not have sitting around.

If you’re tying the knot this summer, consider taking out a personal loan to help cover your wedding costs. Use your loan to fund the larger expenses, such as your rings, wedding dress and venue, or to cover the smaller costs like the flowers, travel arrangements and photographer.

2. Moving to new home

Since the kids are out of school, summer is the most popular time of year for household moves. Whether you’re moving a few blocks or a few states away, moving costs can be prohibitive. You’ll need to consider the expense of moving supplies; paying the mover; plus the cost of new furniture and other household items to help turn your new residence into a home. Taking out a personal loan to help you cover these expenses can make a household move a lot less stressful.

3. Consolidating debt

Summer is all about freedom and what better way to feel free than getting rid of that nagging credit card and student loan debt?

Paying off multiple loans and credit card bills each month can make you feel like you’re fighting an uphill battle thanks to skyrocketing interest rates. Wouldn’t life be simpler if you only had one debt with a nominal interest rate? A personal loan can make that happen.

A personal loan can be used to pay off all your credit card and other outstanding debt, and with a single loan to pay off with a manageable interest rate, you’ll be able to make steady progress toward living a debt-free life.

4. Taking a dream vacation

Perhaps the road trip you take every summer is getting stale and you’re ready for something bigger, like a luxury cruise or trip abroad. You might be celebrating a milestone anniversary or college graduation, or maybe you want to cross something off your bucket list; however, your budget is not equipped for the tens of thousands of dollars you need for your dream getaway.

A personal loan can help you fund the trip of your dreams with a payment plan you can afford so you won’t need a vacation from debt when you return.

5. Renovating your home

When the weather warms up, homeowners want to upgrade their homes. Whether it’s installing a swimming pool, giving your kitchen a complete makeover or turning your garage into a guest suite this summer, a personal loan can make it possible. Personal loans may be a better option for homeowners who don’t have a great deal of equity in their homes and consequently would not be a good candidate for a fixed Home Equity Loan, or a HELOC.

6. Funding medical expenses

If there are medical procedures you’ve been putting off because they’re not covered by your health insurance plan, a personal loan can help you look and feel great this summer. A personal loan can help borrowers fund elective cosmetic surgery, dental work, fertility treatments and consulting with alternative practitioners about chronic health conditions.

Apply Online, stop by Destinations Credit Union or give us a call at 410-663-2500 to ask how you can get started. We’re always here to help make your summer dreams come true.

Your Turn: What are your summer plans and how are you going to pay for them? Share it with us in the comments.

SOURCES:
https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/what-can-a-personal-loan-be-used-for/

https://www.thebalance.com/reasons-to-get-a-personal-loan-4684106
https://www.bankrate.com/loans/personal-loans/top-reasons-to-apply-for-personal-loan/amp/

What’s The Best Way To Finance A Home Renovation?

Q: I’m doing some home renovations this summer and I’m not sure how to finance this couple picking paint colorsexpense. There are so many loan options, but which one makes the most sense?

A: Whether you’re gutting your entire kitchen or turning your basement into a home theater, we’ve got you covered! As a Destinations Credit Union member, you have several choices when it comes to funding a home renovation. And we want to help you find the right one for your specific needs.

First, let’s take a look at some common choices and why they’re not the best idea for financing a home renovation project:

1.) Home Equity Loans

A home equity loan is a loan that’s secured by your home’s value. Home equity loans allow you to borrow a fixed amount of cash, which you receive in one lump sum. Most home equity loans have a fixed interest rate, a fixed term and a fixed monthly payment.

Cons:

  • Taking out a home equity loan can mean paying several fees.
  • Receiving all the funds in one shot can push you into spending more than you actually should.
  • You may find that the amount you borrowed is not enough.

2.) Credit cards

You may already have your credit cards open and won’t need to apply for a new loan, so you may be thinking, why not use this available credit to fund my renovations?

If you’re only doing some minor touch-ups on your home and you can afford to repay the charge within the next year or two, a credit card could work.

For bigger projects, though, funding them through your credit cards can have devastating effects on your financial health.

Cons:

  • You may be stuck paying higher interest rates until you pay off the balance on your card. This means your remodeling project will cost you a lot more than necessary.
  • Your credit score will likely be negatively affected by the large, unpaid balance on your card by pushing your balance to total available credit ratio well above 30%.
  • You might send yourself spinning into a cycle of debt once you already owe so much money on your card.

3.) Personal loans

Personal loans are short-term loans that may or may not be secured by some form of collateral (like a car or other titled good). They typically need to be repaid within 24-60 months.

Cons:

  • Upfront costs and interest rates on personal loans can be relatively high.
  • Like a home equity loan, you’ll receive all the money you borrow in one lump sum. This can compel you to spend it all, even if you don’t need to do so.

4.) Retail credit cards

Retail stores often lure customers into opening a credit card with the promise of being granted automatic savings when using the card for future store purchases. Some retailers, especially home-improvement shops, may encourage you to finance a large renovation project on their card. However, this is usually not a good idea.

Cons:

  • Retail credit cards tend to have exorbitant interest rates of up to 30%.
  • With so much credit available, the urge to splurge and go all out with your renovations will be that much stronger.

5.) Merchant loan

A merchant loan, or a merchant cash advance, is a loan that’s taken out against a business’s anticipated revenue. If you are a business owner, a merchant loan will need to be repaid with a predetermined percentage of your future revenue.

Cons:

  • Merchant loans usually come with high interest rates.
  • The percentage of your sales that you’ll need to pay is fixed. This means that, if your sales spike, you’ll be paying more and putting yourself and your business at a disadvantage.

There are so many loan options and so many strings attached! How can you fund that home renovation?

Enter the home equity line of credit (HELOC).

A HELOC is an open credit line that is secured by your home’s value. HELOCs have adjustable interest rates and have a “draw” period in which you can access the funds, ranging from 5-10 years. When the draw period ends, the loan will have to be repaid, either immediately or within the next 15-20 years.

If you’re approved for a HELOC, you can spend the funds however you choose. Some plans may require that you borrow a minimum amount at each draw, keep a predetermined amount outstanding (balance), or withdraw an initial advance when the line of credit is first established (initial draw/advance).

When looking for a way to pay for home improvement projects, we recommend a HELOC. And for good reason.

Here are just a few benefits of choosing a HELOC over another loan type:

You’ll save money

HELOCs help you stick to your budget. Instead of walking out with a huge amount of cash when you open the loan, you’ll have access to a line to use as needed. This credit will only be available to you for a specified amount of time and it will have a fixed amount as your maximum draw. You’ll withdraw money in the amount and at the time you need. Plus, you’ll only pay interest on this amount (not the whole line). This aspect of HELOCs makes them especially convenient if you don’t know exactly how much your project will cost.

Upfront costs for HELOCs also tend to be lower than those of other loans.

Flexible terms

Most HELOCs have fluctuating interest rates, but some lenders allow for the possibility of converting large withdrawals into fixed-rate loans.

Repayment of HELOCs is also flexible. When the draw period ends, you may be allowed to renew your credit line and continue withdrawing funds as needed.

Monthly payments also vary. However, many lenders only require borrowers to make payments toward the interest of their loan during the draw period. Once that time is over, the borrower will need to pay back the entire principle of the loan immediately, or over the course of 10-15 years. This is especially beneficial if you don’t have the funds to pay back the loan now, but you anticipate an improvement in your financial situation over the next few years.

Also, because you’re only paying interest on the money you withdraw, you’ll have the freedom to take out a larger line of credit and decide how much of it to use later on.

You May Be Able To Deduct the Interest on Your Taxes*

While the new tax laws for 2018 have limited the deductions for HELOCs, they have not been eliminated entirely.  Generally, if you are using the funds to remodel or improve the infrastructure of your home, you can still deduct the interest – up to certain limitations.  To read more, visit the IRS website.

*Please consult a tax advisor.

You’re improving your home’s value

It makes perfect sense to borrow against your home’s equity for adding to its value. If you plan on selling your home within the next 10 years, it is very possible for a HELOC to pay for itself, and then some.

Are you ready to get those renovation plans rolling? Call, click or stop by Destinations Credit Union today to get started on your HELOC application!

Your Turn: How did you fund your home renovation project? Share your choice with us in the comments!

SOURCES:
https://mtgprofessor.com/A%20-%20Second%20Mortgages/what_is_a_heloc.htm

https://www.google.com/amp/www.csmonitor.com/layout/set/amphtml/Business/Saving-Money/2017/0219/Why-a-home-equity-loan-is-a-smart-choice-as-rates-rise
https://www.bankrate.com/finance/topic/heloc.aspx
https://www.bankrate.com/finance/home-equity/home-equity-loan-heloc-or-cash-out-refi.aspx
http://blog.mechanics-coop.com/when-is-a-heloc-the-best-choice
https://www.thebalance.com/should-i-use-a-store-credit-card-2385754
https://www.cubefunder.com/blog/what-is-a-merchant-loan/

How To Fund An Emergency

Q: Help! I’ve been hit with a financial emergency and I don’t know how to pay for it! Woman standing in flooded houseWhat are my options?

A: Ideally, you’ll want to have an emergency fund in place for this very reason. If you don’t, or the money you have set aside isn’t enough, you have several options to consider.

We’ve listed some ideas below. Be sure to review the pros and cons of each before determining which option(s) will work best for you.

1.) Credit cards

For many people, when faced with staggering and unexpected bills, the default option is to pull out their plastic. Unfortunately, following this trend can put you on the fast track toward a lifetime of debt and playing catch-up because of this one-time emergency.

Credit cards offer incredible convenience. With your card in hand, you don’t have to wait for approval, take on another source of debt, or even think about how you’ll pay for it all until later.

When you borrow with a credit card, though, you’ll get more than you bargained for. With interest rates that can soar (in some cases, to an astronomical 30%), you’ll end up paying a lot more money than what you initially borrowed.

To make it worse, credit cards are designed to keep you in debt. They make it easy to push off paying what you owe by only requiring a minimum monthly payment. With accrued interest, paying only the minimum each month means you’ll hardly be making headway on that debt at all and will end up carrying it for a lot longer than planned.  (Please note: Destinations Credit Union has a fixed-rate credit card so you will know in advance if rates ever change.)

2.) 401(k) loans

You may not have an adequate emergency fund on hand, but what you may have is funds sitting in your retirement fund. But, should you crack open a 401(k) to pay for a financial emergency?

Borrowing money from a retirement fund should only be used as a last resort. It’s really advisable only for those whose credit has been shot and won’t qualify for another loan. 401(k) loans have a low interest rate, but will affect your future financial stability in ways other loans will not. For this reason, experts only recommend borrowing from a 401(k) if you are completely secure in your job and the money will be used for a sound investment. Using this money to fund a medical emergency or household repair is not such an investment.

Also, payments for the loan will be taken out of your future paychecks, so be sure you can afford less regular income before borrowing from a 401(k).

3.) Friends and family

For many, friends and family are the obvious answer when you need someone to bail you out during a rough time.

But is this solution really so obvious?

For some, it may very well be the case. Borrowing from friends and family means borrowing without interest and being granted generous loan terms. However, it can also get sticky, fast.

Only borrow from people you know and love with these guidelines in place:

  • Have a clear repayment plan in place and be sure you can stick to the set timeline. Don’t accept any offers of “pay me back in 10 years,” or that debt will be haunting you for a very long time.
  • Write down the loan terms and create a shared contract detailing all of the terms and the repayment plan.
  • Consider having a third party witness the loan and sign the contract.
  • Keep your financial and personal relationship separate. As long as you’re making your payments on time, there’s no reason to discuss the loan every time you speak.

Borrowing from those you hold most dear means putting a cherished relationship in jeopardy. Do not go this route unless you are confident your relationship can stand up to the test and you are absolutely sure you can repay on time.

4.) Personal loans

Personal loans exist for reasons like these. Since they have no explicit purpose, you won’t need to give any lengthy explanations for why you need the money and you should have the funds in hand rather quickly.

Unfortunately, though, personal loans are unsecured and most of them come with high interest rates and fees. You’ll also need to have decent credit to qualify. As a member of [credit union], though, you have access to personal loans with affordable rates. They may just be your way out of a financial bind!

If you think a personal loan might be right for you, call, click or stop by Destinations Credit Union today to learn all about our rates and payment options. We’re always here to help you out!

Setting up an emergency fund

It might be too late right now, but it’s never too early to start thinking about the future. Start setting up your emergency fund today so you’re never stuck in a tight spot again.

Here’s how to make it happen in five simple steps:

  • Create a goal for your fund. Ideally, an emergency fund should have enough cash to cover your living expenses for 3-6 months.
  • Review your monthly budget to find places to cut back. Alternately, look for ways to boost your income.
  • Determine how long it will take you to reach your goal by allocating the saved or earned money to your emergency fund.
  • Open a savings account specifically for this purpose.
  • Set up automatic monthly transfers from your checking account to your emergency fund.

Now you can sit back and watch your emergency fund build itself into something substantial that will help you sleep better at night. From here on, unexpected expenses or setbacks won’t throw you for a loop. You’ll be prepared for anything!

Your Turn: Do you have a secure plan in place for emergencies?

SOURCES:
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.forbes.com/sites/peterlazaroff/2017/09/23-how-to-set-up-your-emergency-fund/amp/  

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bankrate.com/retirement/4-reasons-to-take-out-a-401k-loan/amp/  
http://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-borrow-money-from-friends-family-2013-1  
https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/loans/personal-loan-why-should-i-get/  
https://www.thebalance.com/why-using-your-credit-card-for-emergencies-is-risky-960992