News, events, and useful financial information from APCO Employees Credit Union.

Archive for category: Blog

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Thank you to everyone who supported this year’s APCO Credit Union For Kids Charity Golf Tournament benefitting Children’s of Alabama!

Your generous support and donations resulted in a donation of $25,000 to Children’s of Alabama, which ties last year’s record high donation for the golf tournament.

The tournament, now in its 10th year, was held Monday, October 13, 2014, at the Grayson Valley Country Club in Birmingham.

APCO Employees Credit Union has worked with Children’s of Alabama through Credit Unions For Kids for more than 17 years.

See more pictures from the charity golf tournament on our Facebook page.

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More than 40 employees of Alabama Power attended a Social Security “Lunch and Learn” today.

The seminar, hosted by APCO Employees Credit Union, was held in the Parkside Conference Room in Building 42 at Southern Company offices in Inverness.

Mike Lewallen, Financial Advisor for APCO Investment Services, presented information to the attendees about Social Security.

For more information about Mike and the services offered through APCO Investment Services, visit apcocu.org/advice.

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Holiday Notice – All Credit Union offices will be closed Tuesday, November 11 for Veterans Day. All offices will also be closed November 27 & 28 for Thanksgiving, December 24 & 25 for Christmas, and January 1 for New Year’s Day.

Your Credit Union is closely monitoring the Home Depot data breach that affected 56 million cardholders nationwide. Home Depot is offering free identity protection services for some of their customers. You can learn more at www.homedepot.com or by calling Home Depot at 1-800-466-3337.

Daylight Saving Time ends Sunday, November 2. Be sure to set your clocks back one hour.

Opening or adding to your APCO IRA is a great way to take control of your financial future. Call or stop by and talk with one of our IRA experts today.

Giving cash for Christmas? Free gift envelopes will be available to members at all of our offices during the holidays.

Beginning in 2015, all Christmas Club funds will automatically be deposited into your Share account. If you prefer a check, please call our Call Center at 205-226-6800 or 1-800-249-2726.

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Shopping for your new set of wheels can be overwhelming and maybe even intimidating. And, that’s understandable. Car salesmen sell six cars a week while you may only shop for six cars in your lifetime. With the right tools, preparation and sharp negotiating skills, you can place yourself in the right position to get a bargain.

Your Credit Union offers fast, friendly service and our rates are the best around. Get a new car rate of 1.9% APR and low a used car rate of 2.9% APR. Let us pre-approve you for a vehicle loan so you can shop for your next vehicle from a position of authority.

Get Pre-Approved

Whether you buy a new car or one that’s new to you, put yourself in the best negotiating position by getting pre-approved for the loan. You should request that any factory incentives be applied to the purchase price. Once you have your “bottom line” price, call or contact the Credit Union and you’ll have your check in hand usually that same day or within 24 hours.

Auto Smart Info Available

CUDL Auto Smart gives you easy access to a one stop resource to research and shop for your next vehicle. The website offers user friendly navigation, vehicle research capabilities, and an unmatched library of automobile shopping resources, including the latest car reviews, helpful articles, and buying tips.

Go to our website and click on Auto Buying Info under Quicklinks.

Smart Approval Now Available

With CUDL SMART Approval, your Credit Union will change the way you think of auto financing by making the experience painless and simple. By easily getting pre-approved financing from your Credit Union’s website, you will save time, money and are given peace-of-mind that you have your loan waiting for you at the dealership.

Once financing is in place, it’s time to shop. Here are a few tips to help put you in charge of the deal-making process.

1. Try not to let your purchase be an impulse or emotional one. You can find a lot of information on the internet, but the key is to find what will really help you. Pricing, safety, and cost of ownership are a few things that can help with the final decision.

2. Know how much the dealer paid for the vehicle. Be a savvy negotiator. Know the invoice price (what the dealer paid for the vehicle) on a new vehicle or wholesale and retail on a used vehicle plus any charges for clean up and destination. It will help in negotiation.

3. Don’t be fooled by 0% or low-interest rate financing. We have the best rates and you can often finance at the dealership and still have them send the paperwork to us.

4. The dealer may ask you about various extras to protect your vehicle. Your Credit Union recommends you pay special attention to the following two:

-GAP Guaranteed Auto Protection – GAP protects you from the difference between what your insurance company pays on a total loss and what you actually owe the lender.

-Extended Warranty – Service contracts are accepted almost everywhere. The more dependable a car you choose the cheaper the warranty. The Manufacturers Standard Warranty won’t always cover everything that could break down on your vehicle.

To begin the process of applying for an auto loan or for more information about auto loans, please visit apcocu.org.

*A lower credit score may cause a higher loan rate.

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Start managing your accounts with your Credit Union’s free online services.

You’ll be on your way to uncomplicated money management with the added bonus of convenience! These free online services include online banking, e-statements, bill pay and My Virtual StrongBox.

• Online Banking – Check your balances. Track your account activity 24/7. Transfer funds between accounts. Sign up today!

• E-statements – The quick and secure way to receive your monthly statement. You’ll be able to view your statement on the first business day of every month and access up to 18 months of your statement history.

• Bill Pay – No more stamps, writing checks, or worrying about late or lost mail. Set up your account online and get ready to pay your bills with ease.

• My Virtual Strongbox – This service lets you store important documents online and access them where you want, when you want. My Virtual StrongBox is an online safe deposit box and it’s FREE to members.

You can also keep up to date with your Credit Union on social media. Follow us
on Facebook, Twitter and here on apconews.com to learn about the ways your Credit Union can save you time and money. Because you’re busy living.

holiday-shopping

Is this your holiday season to stick to a budget? You can with a holiday loan from your Credit Union. Here’s how: First, make a list of all gifts and other holiday items you plan to purchase. Don’t forget to include extra expenses for holiday foods, party clothes, holiday decorations, and postage.

Then, borrow the amount you’ve decided to spend. With a low-interest holiday loan from the Credit Union, you can pay cash and avoid being easily lured into overspending by using your credit cards. You’ll save money and stay out of debt.

Let us help this holiday. Call or stop by for an APCO holiday loan today!

retirement-savings

What’s your retirement vision? Where will you live? How will you spend your time there?

Retirement marks the decluttering phase of life. Our need and desire to maintain our homes and all the things we own may change. We also reach a point where we have more time than money, which is the opposite of what we experience through most of our working lives.

Here are a few questions to help frame your retirement vision.

1. Can you afford to maintain your current home? Consider if downsizing your home might provide more resources to support your monthly budget, changing needs and new interests you have for retirement.

2. Do you want to physically maintain your current home? Have you talked through options with your family about what you want to do someday if taking care of your home is no longer an option?

3. Are you considering relocating? Ask yourself a few questions before finalizing a big move. Do you want to start over in a new place? What will this move mean for your retirement budget? Can you afford traveling to visit family and friends throughout your retirement? What will your support network be if health issues arise?

4. Can you benefit – financially or in other ways – from cutting some of the clutter? It can be hard to give up things we’ve enjoyed over the years. Downsizing some of your stuff might be a good idea, regardless of where you choose to live.

For more information on this and other financial topics, or for a complimentary financial consultation contact Mike Lewallen at 205.226.6866.

Securities sold, advisory services offered through CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. (CBSI), member FINRA/SIPC. Not NCUA/NCUSIF/ FDIC insured. May Lose Value, No Financial Institution Guarantee. Not a deposit of any financial institution.

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Check out these simple changes that can save you both time and money.

1. Sign Up for direct deposit. Skip the payday trip to the Credit Union – you’ll avoid the line and begin drawing dividends immediately.

2. Switch to a low fixed rate credit card. What’s the interest rate and fees on your current card? Keep it simple with the APCO Platinum Visa with 1% cash back.

3. Open an APCO IRA. It’s never too early to start your lifetime IRA.

4. Get an APCO checking account. Our checking accounts are free and they’re yours for the asking. A convenient APCO debit card with rewards is available and all you pay for are your checks. Checks are free to members at least 55 years of age.

5. Teach your children financial responsibility. By age five, start young ones on an allowance without ties for chores or behavior. Include older children in family financial decisions, so they can learn by example.

6. Always check Credit Union rates before borrowing elsewhere. If you find a lower rate, there may be a catch.

7. Send in your family. APCO membership is open to your family and relatives by blood or marriage. They can enjoy the same great rates and services you do.

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International Credit Union Day, which will be observed Thursday, October 16, 2014, provides an opportunity for credit unions around the world to look to the future and renew their commitment to credit union ideals.

This year’s theme is “Local Service. Global Good.”

Credit unions allow more than 200 million people worldwide to achieve their goals through savings and the wise use of credit. To learn more, please visit woccu.org.

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Apple Pay On The Way?

Apple’s recent announcement and release of their newest smartphones, the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus, and their smartwatch, the Apple Watch, is certainly exciting news. However, the Apple announcement that is causing the most buzz with consumers and in a number of sectors is Apple Pay.

Apple Pay utilizes near field communication (NFC) technology that allows consumers to load their credit or debit card information on their Apple smartphone or smartwatch. The consumer can then use their phone or watch to tap and go at the register to pay for their purchases. Of course, the merchant must have a reader that is NFC enabled in order to use Apple Pay. And, this is where it is still a bit murky.

While Apple has lined up an impressive list on the card issuer side (Visa, Mastercard, Amex, etc.), not much has been done on getting merchants to sign up and install NFC readers at their checkout lines. NFC readers are currently being used by less than 10% of merchants. Not knowing the level of consumer acceptance for Apple Pay at this time and at a price of $300 to $500 per device, there will be resistance from the merchants.

To add to the complexity of the problem for Apple Pay, a recent survey showed that fully two-thirds of Americans expressed little or no interest in making payments by tapping their phone or watch at a register. I always say, “never say never” and this survey result reminds me of a personal experience a number of years ago. When asked if I would be interested in a card reader on a gas pump so I could just swipe, pump, and go, I did not think I would be interested. I was comfortable with my routine of trying to get someone to turn on the gas pump, pumping my gas, going into the store, standing in line, and giving my card to an overworked clerk. Seems quaint, doesn’t it?

People’s attitudes do change and consumer resistance to the tap and go technology may melt away once the benefits are more fully understood. One of the benefits Apple is noting with Apple Pay is that it is more secure than plastic cards. Once the payment card information is entered on the iPhone or Apple Watch, the device creates a 16 digit encrypted “token”. Apple says this token is walled off from the rest of the device and uses both technology and math to make your transaction more secure. With ongoing merchant card breaches, this could turn out to be an important feature for Apple Pay.

Anyway, whatever the future of payments holds, your Credit Union will be ready. Your Credit Union is a card issuer (credit and debit) on the Visa network and we are working with Visa to make sure our members have access to their APCO account in the most desired and convenient way possible, including Apple Pay. Stay tuned.

Thank you for being an APCO member.

V. Merrill Mann, CCUE
President/CEO