Save Hard & Spend Smart Blog
Your Privacy Is Important to Us.
As Congress considers new infrastructure spending, lawmakers are considering unconventional sources of revenue to fund their plans. One proposal under consideration would require financial institutions like Members First Credit Union of Florida to report to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) many activities on accounts with balances over $600.
Such an Unprecedented Grab of Your Personal Financial Data Raises Several Concerns:
- This proposal would violate the personal privacy of consumers like you by forcing credit unions and other financial institutions to provide the government with information that does not reflect taxable activity.
- Financial institutions — particularly those in rural and low-income communities — would face a new and expensive regulatory burden that could make it untenable to serve those consumers already left behind by Wall Street banks.
- The government relies on decades old data systems to store and secure IRS information. These systems have already been compromised in recent years, and the addition of this type of data only increases the likelihood of a future breach of your personal financial information.
What Can You Do?
At Members First Credit Union of Florida, we care about our members and value civic engagement. We believe it’s our duty to inform you when legislation is being discussed that could directly affect you. Please consider lending your voice to this important effort and send an e-mail to your U.S. Representative.
Are you thinking about buying your first home or another property for rental income? Members First is here to lend a helping hand with the home buying process, from advice to helping you finance the purchase of your new home.
You'll need more than cash to purchase your home. So, before you sign on the dotted line and start unpacking your household goods, here's assets you'll need in order to qualify for a home loan with a low interest rate:
- Steady Income
Steady income shows that you are capable of affording monthly mortgage payments. When you apply for a home loan, you may be asked to provide a signed letter from your employer stating your position and salary, two years worth of pay-stubs, or two years of income tax returns.
- Low Debt-to-Income Ratio
Your debt-to-income ratio is the ratio of your monthly debt obligations (student loans, car loan, credit card balances, personal loans, etc.) to your gross monthly income. Carrying a high debt-to-income ratio will make it harder to qualify for a home loan. It is suggested that your debt-to-income ratio is no more than 43% of your total gross income. So, before you begin your house hunt, work to pay off current debts and lower your debt-to-income ratio.
- Good Credit Score
A good credit score is an important way to gauge how you've managed credit, loans, debt in the past, and if you pay your bills on time. Credit scores fall on a scale of 300 to 850. While a score that falls between 670-739 is considered good, a score of 749 or higher will ensure that you get the best rate possible.
You are allowed one free credit report each year from each of the three primary credit reporting agencies (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax). To request your free credit score, visit annualcreditreport.com. So, while you're saving for a down payment on your future home purchase, check your credit score and work to improve it. Pay off debt, pay bills on time, and don't open or close any lines of credit (e.g. store credit card, personal loan, etc.).
- Cash For A Down Payment
The money that you plan to spend as your down payment on your home should be in the form of cold, hard cash in an account that you can easily access (not a CD or account where you pay a fee for the withdrawal). It may be tempting to put all or part of the down payment on a credit card, but doing this will affect your debt-to-income ratio, lowering your creditworthiness.
In order for you to receive the best loan rate and avoid paying PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance) on a conventional loan, you need to save up for a down payment of at least 20%. With other strong elements — like low debt-to-income ratio and excellent credit score — you may be able to put less money down and still get a good rate. However, you'll ultimately be taking out a larger loan and will pay more interest on the larger principal over the life of the loan.
- Cash For Closing Costs
Be sure to also put aside some of the cash you've saved up for paying closing costs. Closing costs include loan origination fee, title search and recording fee, appraisal fee, inspection fee, property taxes, etc. While these costs can vary, they typically fall between 2% - 5% of a home's purchase price.
While you can sometimes roll these costs into your home loan, it's best if you're able to pay them up front with cash, so you can avoid a higher monthly mortgage payment and possibly a higher loan rate. You may also be able to pay these fees with monetary gifts from relatives or by negotiating with the seller to pay the closing costs — especially if they are eager to sell.
Ready to purchase your new home? We're here to lend a helping hand.
All loans are subject to credit approval. Rates and terms are based upon individual credit worthiness. NMLS #405711
Scammers are using voice calls to steal from unsuspecting members. The attackers make it look like calls are coming from a legitimate source or known phone number. During these calls, they ask you to provide a credit card number, PIN, Social Security number, and/or the security codes on the back of the card. Here are a few steps that you can take to protect yourself:
- Be aware of scams. Scammers target you in several different ways. A current scam involves a call from "VISA" or "MasterCard." The caller claims to be calling from the Security & Fraud Department. Much of your information is already available to the caller. At the end of the call the caller asks you to "verify" the 3 digits on the back of your card. These numbers verify that you have the card in your possession and are the authorized owner. Members First will never ask for any part of your card number when we call you. VISA will also never ask for your card number, expiration date, PIN, or 3-digit security code.
- Protect your information. Never provide credit card information or other private information to anyone who calls you.
- Ask questions. If someone is trying to sell you something or asks for your personal information, ask for identification and a call back number. Verify if they are legitimate. Make sure you call the financial institution or company directly. Look at a statement or go online to obtain a valid phone number.
- Register your number with the National Do Not Call Registry. You can do this by going online to donotcall.gov. While this may not stop all unwanted calls, it will cut back on them.
- Monitor Your Accounts. It's always a good idea to log into your accounts daily or at least once a week. View real time information about your Members First credit card, by enrolling at ezcardinfo.com. Also, monitor your credit card with the SecurLOCK Equip app for iPhone and Android users. For more information, visit mfcufl.org/securlock.
If you already have a credit card with Members First, you know that our personal rewards credit cards are equipped with a robust rewards program that gives our cardholders choices. The choice to redeem your points based on what your needs are at any given time is a valuable benefit. Plus, we’re always looking for new, convenient ways for our members to redeem their rewards.
One of these is the NEW Pay with Points or Premium Payback benefit on scorecardrewards.com. With this benefit, you can pay with your rewards points at CVS® and Walgreens® or use it to pay for qualifying online purchases* at millions of PayPal® merchants globally.
- To enroll in Pay with Rewards on PayPal:
- Register your Members First Visa Credit card at scorecardrewards.com or Log in your scorecardrewards.com account
- Sign up for Premium Payback
- Go to hq.scorecardrewards.com/PayPalPaywithRewards and click ‘Link Card’.
- Log in to your PayPal wallet.
- Click the wallet button on the top navigation menu.
- From the left side navigation menu, select the ScoreCard Rewards card button on “Get Started” where it says “Start Spending your ScoreCard Rewards Points”
- Click on “Agree and Link” on the next page.
- Click on “Done” to come back to the main page.
- To pay with your Members First credit card rewards points on PayPal:
- Click on the PayPal button on the merchant checkout page or the merchant app.
- Log in to your PayPal wallet.
- Select your Members First Visa Credit Card
- Select “Use ScoreCard Rewards points”
- The amount is defaulted to either the total purchase amount or your rewards points amount, whichever is lesser.
- You can click on “Change Amount” to change the amount of rewards points that you want to apply toward the purchase.
- Click on “Continue” once you have selected the amount of rewards points you want to apply toward the purchase.
- You will then be taken to merchant to complete the transaction.
- To enroll in Pay with Rewards on PayPal:
*Transactions that are not eligible for Pay with Rewards on PayPal include recurring billing, in-store transactions, non-U.S. dollar transactions, or peer to peer (send money) transactions.
Don’t Have a Credit Card with Members First? Go here to learn more or apply today.
In accordance with government recommendations, we are taking the necessary steps to keep our branch environments safe for our members and staff. Our branches are currently open during normal business hours with limited access. Branches open on Saturday are currently limited to Drive-thru Only. Plexiglass shields are installed at workstations for your wellness and that of our employees, and the floors at each branch are marked for proper distancing.
If you have banking that needs to get done but don’t want to risk exposure, you can decrease your exposure by using our electronic delivery services:
- Drive-thru Services: With our Drive-thru Services, you can get balance inquiries; update/add your ID to your account; make deposits, withdrawals, and transfers; pay your credit card or loan; cash checks; and more.
- Drive-up ATMs: Enjoy this convenient feature that allows you to withdraw cash from your account without having to get out of your car. View a list of our Fee-Free ATM Locations.
- Convenience Drops: Our Night Drops have been converted to Convenience Drops to be checked regularly throughout the day, allowing you to drop off a deposit or make a payment on a loan without coming into the branch.
- Internet Banking: Pay your bills, transfer funds, make loan payments, check your eStatements, and monitor your accounts from your computer whenever it’s convenient for you.
- Internet Bill Pay: Use the free Bill Pay service to set up payees and manage your bills online.
- Mobile & Text Banking: Mobile Banking gives you on-the-go account access. Move money, pay bills, monitor your accounts, and more with your mobile device.
- Mobile Check Deposit: Mobile Check Deposit enables to you deposit paper checks to your accounts via your Members First Mobile App.
- Online Check Ordering: Running low on checks? Order checks online and have them shipped to your home.
- Digital Wallet Services: Our suite of Digital Wallet Services, like Apple Pay™, Android Pay™, and Samsung Pay®, allows you to quickly and securely pay from your mobile device. Also, as part of our Digital Wallet Services, the CardValet® app (for debit cards) and the SecurLOCK Equip® app (for credit cards) give you control of your card(s) online.