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LEARNING CENTER

Welcome to our new Learning Center . Our goal is to provide you with practical financial tips that will aide you in the security and planning of your personal finances.

The topics covered in this Learning Center are broad and ongoing.

 
HOW TO PREVENT CREDIT CARD THEFT?

Please read this and make a copy for your files in case you need to refer to it someday.

  1. The next time you order checks have only your initials (instead of first name) and last name put on them. If someone takes your checkbook, they will not know if you sign your checks with just your initials or your first name, but your bank will know how you sign your checks.
  2. Important! Sign the back of your credit cards.
  3. When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the “For” line. Instead, just put the last four numbers. The credit card company knows the rest of the number, and anyone who might be handling your check as it passes through all the check processing channels won’t have access to it.
  4. Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine. Do both sides of each license, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel. Keep the photocopy in a safe place. Also, carry a photocopy of your passport when you travel either here or abroad. We’ve all heard horror stories about fraud that’s committed on us in stealing a name, address, Social Security number, credit cards.

Here’s some critical information to limit the damage in case this happens to you or someone you know:

  1. We have been told we should cancel our credit cards immediately. But the key is having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know whom to call. Keep those where you can find them.
  2. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where your credit cards, etc., were stolen. This proves to credit providers you were diligent, and this is a first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one).
  3. Call the 3 national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and Social Security number. The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen, and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit.

It is important that you contact the following businesses to report your lost or stolen social security number, credit cards, or any other personal information that may be used by others for fraudulent purposes.  

1) Equifax: 1-800-525-6285

2) Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742

3) Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289

4) Social Security Administration (fraud line): 1-800-269-0271

SHOULD YOU CO-SIGN?

Most people do not want to ignore a family member or friend in need, but co-signing comes with risks that make many people nervous to sign on the dotted line. So, should you do it? There are many factors to consider before making a decision.

What are the risks?

You may incur risk if the primary applicant makes late payment or no payment at all. Late or non-payments may be recorded on your credit report, which can lower your credit score. You could also start to experience collection activity, such as phone calls from the creditor. If you do not have the money to make the payments if the primary borrower stops paying, co-signing may not be a good idea.

Why is the person’s credit score low?

A low credit score may be an indicator that the person had credit problems in the past. It can also be seen as a sign that the person may not repay the debt. A person who had credit problems, but corrected them, is probably less of a risk than someone who continues to experience difficulties or exhibit poor financial habits.

What are you being asked to co-sign for?

Ask yourself if the person can do without what he or she is asking you to co-sign for. It may not make sense to put yourself at risk if what you are co-signing for is not a necessity.

RAISING MONEY-SMART KIDS

Every year, American children receive over $15 billion in allowance, gifts and wages - reason enough to start teaching children money management and consumer skills at a young age.

The following tips can make the difference between a child who grows up to be financially secure - and one who doesn’t.

Teach by example: The best way to instill good financial habits is by “walking the talk.” For instance, when you go shopping, include your kids in the process - planning, budgeting, and comparing prices and quality. If they urge you to buy something that is over budget, explain that spending more on the item you’re purchasing today is not as important as saving up for something else you need or want in the future.

Live within your means: Children who learn to prioritize their spending learn the most valuable money management lesson: to live within their means. Reinforce the message by not jumping for the credit cards or giving extra money just because your children ask. When kids want an expensive “status” item, like hundred-dollar athletic shoes, consider having them pay the portion of the price that exceeds what you think is reasonable. They’ll appreciate the item more and may think twice about paying that much when they outgrow this pair in six months. If you choose, go ahead and lend money, but treat it like a bank loan. Charge reasonable interest and set a time frame for repayment - it will teach them how loans and credit in the real world truly work.

Encourage savings: For your sake and theirs, encourage your children to make saving a fixed category in their spending plan. Discuss goals and calculate how much should be put away each month. Break down savings into long-term, for college or a car, and short-term, for a new bike or a senior trip to Europe. If you see your children about to make a mistake in spending their allowance, let them. Better to learn on a small scale now, than lose money with big mistakes later.

It’s never too early (or too late) to develop healthy financial habits. The rewards of wise money management are the same for adults and children alike - a greater appreciation of what you have, a sense of empowerment when you reach your goals, and long-term financial security.

Why not open a membership for your child today and start building their future? Setting up an account is easy. A minimum of $10 balance is required to start a savings account. As a member, your child will develop a long-term relationship with the Credit Union which will help them with their future financial needs.

Three easy ways to apply for membership:

1) Online using the Membership Application

2) By phone. Call us in Eugene at (800) 452-6021.

3) In person. Click here to find your nearest branch.