DoverPhila Presents Master Your Money Series with Area Organizations

DoverPhila Federal Credit Union is partnering with OhioMeansJobs Tuscarawas County and the United Way of Tuscarawas County, Inc. to host “Master Your Money: Four-Part Series.”

“Master Your Money” is a financial workshop that focuses on introducing easy, straightforward methods to help individuals reach their financial goals. The workshop is scheduled for August and September at OhioMeansJobs Tuscarawas County at 1260 Monroe Street in New Philadelphia.    

SERIES SCHEDULE (view flyer)
Budgeting 101

Thursday, August 15th
10:00AM – 11:00AM

Tackling Debt
Thursday, August 29th
10:00AM – 11:00AM

Understanding Credit
Thursday, September 5th
10:00AM – 11:00AM

Learning Money Hacks & Avoiding Scams
Thursday, September 12th
10:00AM – 11:00AM

Attendance is not mandatory for all four sessions. Please call OhioMeansJobs Tuscarawas County at 330-364-9777 for further details. Click here to visit this program’s Facebook page.

Debit Card Safety

How do you pay for your purchases? It may be instinct for you to pull out any piece of plastic without thinking, but your random card of choice might not be the safest way to pay. Let’s explore when and how to use your debit card. 

Credit and debit: How are they different? 
Appearances aside, your credit and debit cards have very little in common. Credit cards allow you to choose your purchases now and pay for them weeks, months or even years later. A balance that grows over time will be charged interest, but if you make timely payments, you’ll have yourself a small loan that usually costs you little to nothing. Credit cards also offer rewards, purchase protection and the ability to back out of a purchase you’ve decided against. You can also contest fraudulent charges on your account, or freeze your credit on a compromised card.  

Debit card payments, on the other hand, will take the money right out of your checking account as soon as you swipe. There’s no interest here, but there also may be less purchase protection. Debit cards are great for helping you stick to your budget and steer clear of debt. However, because they may offer little recourse in case of fraud, credit cards can be the better choice in vulnerable situations. 

Here’s where you may not want to use your debit card: 

  • At the pump. Card skimmers at gas stations are on the rise. By using your credit card instead of your debit card at the pump, you’ll have an added layer of protection against fraud. You can also choose to use cash and avoid the risk of getting skimmed altogether. 
  • At an isolated ATM. Isolated ATMs in locations with very little security and sparse foot traffic are prime targets for hackers.
  • In an unfamiliar location. When on vacation, think before you swipe. You don’t know the area and you can’t be certain which clerks are to be trusted. You’re better off paying with a credit card or with cash so your purchases are protected against fraud. 
  • For large purchases. If you’re springing for a big-ticket item, use your credit card. It’ll offer you dispute rights in case the product doesn’t turn out as you expected. 
  • Restaurants. When you hand a restaurant server your debit card at the end of a meal, they have more than enough time to also swipe your card info! 

Look out for skimmers.
DoverPhila Federal Credit Union encourages its members to use their debit or credit card with caution. It is always good practice to check the payment processor for anything that looks out-of-place, such as a newer keypad on an older machine or a hard-to-use slot for cards.

Stay ahead of hackers.
The credit union offers the My Mobile Money App, a mobile app that helps you control and monitor debit card usage anywhere and at any time using your smartphone, for free! Download the app and take control for your debit card by clicking here.

How Do Merchant Data Breaches Affect Your Identity?

Every year millions of Americans become victims of fraud due to merchant data breaches. And, with the recent Equifax breach, which affected 145.5 million people, chances are your information has been compromised. 

Although most consumers have probably only heard about a few breaches, more than 1,100 data security breaches have occurred thus far this year exposing more than 171 million data records, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center. Many credit unions are working hard to implement debit and credit card chip technology, but they do not prevent online merchant transaction fraud. As cybersecurity threats continue to evolve in both sophistication and scale, the need to safeguard your data has never been more critical.

Credit unions work hard to protect their members' data security including blocking and re-issuing cards as needed. When fraud occurs, they work with members to remove the fraudulent charges and help members keep their hard-earned money. When the merchants cause a data breach, they pass along the costs of their poor security to credit unions and banks. Expenses like this are making it harder for credit unions to offer credit cards with low interest rates and free debit cards with checking accounts. With more and more merchant data breaches occurring each year consumer identity fraud will only continue to increase, placing your private information into the hands of criminals.

So, what do you do if your identity is compromised? Here are some tips and resources to help:

  • Verify fraud. If unauthorized account transactions occur, contact your financial institution or company where fraud has occurred to report unknown charges.
  • Update your passwords. Once fraud is confirmed, change account logins and passwords. Passwords should be robust with multiple types of characters (upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols).
  • Take control. To avoid additional compromises place an initial fraud alert by calling one of the three national credit reporting companies (Equifax: 800-525-6285; Experian: 888-397-3742; TransUnion: 800-680-7289).
  • Report theft. To begin an identity recovery plan report your theft to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) online at IdentityTheft.gov or by phone at 1-877-438-4338.

To learn more about how merchant data breaches are affecting your credit union visit www.stopthedatabreaches.com.

Six Rules for Managing Credit Card Debt

If you want to be the master of your credit card debt load, follow these key rules: 

1. Take inventory. How many credit cards do you have? What's the balance and minimum monthly payment on each? What's the total balance? If it is more than you thought or can afford, then it is time to cut down.

2. Check out the cost of your credit cards. What is the interest rate on each card? What is the annual fee? Does your card offer a grace period? If the card does not have a grace period, or if you carry over a balance, or take a cash advance, then you are usually charged interest right away.

3. Get one low-fee or lower-interest card and use it wisely. Make DoverPhila Federal Credit Union your first stop when starting your search. Check to see if you can transfer existing debt from your various credit cards to your new lower-interest credit card.

4. Make the largest monthly payment you can afford. Even though you may not be able to pay your balance in full, paying the monthly minimum may do little more than cover the accrued interest.

5. Watch out for "teaser rates." Your mailbox may be brimming with unsolicited credit card offers that promise attractive low-interest rates. But if you read the fine print, you will see that after six months or so the issuer may double the low introductory rate. 

6. If you get in over your head, do not bury it in the sand. If you are having trouble making your monthly payments, then contact your creditors before they contact you. If you are already screening calls from bill collectors or refusing to open your mail, then you need help. 

Contact Fred Weingarth at DoverPhila Federal Credit Union. He can help you get your finances back on track.