Summer looks different for everyone. After a long and challenging school year, students, parents, and teachers are likely looking forward to summer weather, activities, and a much-deserved break from the grind of academic pursuits. For others, summer might mean starting a new job or just living your life as usual. Regardless of your situation, these financial survival and safety tips are sure to come in handy for the summer and beyond.
1. Prepay your bills or set up Internet Bill Pay.
If you're going on vacation or are a teacher who received a lump sum summer paycheck at the end of the school year, consider prepaying your bills. Vacation-goers will enjoy the reward of not having to worry about unpaid bills during their holiday and benefit from knowing just how much they can comfortably spend on vacation without going over budget. If you're a teacher, paying bills ahead of time means you'll have fewer bills to worry about and be in a better position to effectively budget and manage your finances for the rest of the summer.
If you can't commit to prepaying your bills ahead of time and don't want to forget to pay a bill while you're on vacation, set up Members First Credit Union of Florida's Internet Bill Pay. Bill Pay gives you the flexibility you need to pay your bills online and on-time. Send payments throughout the United States, schedule payments ahead of time or set recurring payments, and set reminders to notify you when your next bill is due. Bill pay is a useful tool to manage your finances all year long.
2. Open a savings just for summer spending.
Whether you're saving for summer fun or are a school employee without a paycheck during the summer, setting up and contributing towards a savings account for your summer needs can help keep your finances in check. Ensure you have sufficient funds, are not overspending, or dipping into your emergency savings by contributing to a separate savings account throughout the year.
Members First Credit Union of Florida offers a Summer Savings account built just for this. Our Summer Savings has no minimum balance or opening deposit requirements and allows you to stash funds and prepare for your summer expenses, whether your summer savings is for bills or a much-needed retreat.
3. Use gift cards.
If you receive gift cards for stores, restaurants, gas stations, or general everyday purchases, it's a good idea to set them aside for summer purchases, especially if you aren't getting a paycheck during the summer months.
Parents with kids going to summer camp or a holiday trip with friends or relatives can benefit from purchasing a gift card for their child's expenses. Visa® gift cards can be purchased at any Members First Credit Union of Florida branch location. Visa gift cards can be used anywhere in the United States where Visa is accepted, are secure, and ensures your child is taken care of and stays within budget while they are away from home.
4. Easily manage your finances with Internet Banking or Mobile Banking.
Summer travel or your daily schedule can leave you with little to no time for a trip to the credit union. Manage your finances from your computer or mobile device anytime, anywhere with Internet or Mobile Banking. If you aren't already enrolled in Internet Banking, now is the perfect time to get started.
Within Members First Credit Union of Florida's Internet Banking platform, you can review your account history, check your balance(s), make loan payments, pay bills, transfer funds within your accounts or to other Members First Credit Union of Florida members. You can also set notifications to alert you when a specific amount is deposited or withdrawn from your account or if your account balance falls below a certain amount.
Once you're enrolled in Internet Banking, download the Members First Credit Union of Florida Mobile Banking app to help you stay on top of your accounts while you're on the go. You can even remotely deposit paper checks from your smartphone within the mobile app — saving you a trip to the branch.
5. Take control of your debit card with CardValet®.
With the CardValet app, you can save time and rest easy by controlling your Members First Credit Union of Florida debit card with the phone in your pocket. Instantly lock (and unlock) your debit card if it goes missing, set and remove spending limits, get purchase alerts in real time, and limit transactions to a certain area using your phone's GPS.
6. Manage your credit card with SecurLOCK Equip®.
With the SecurLOCK Equip app, you can take control of your Members First Credit Union of Florida credit card with your smartphone. With the app, you can receive real-time alerts for all card activity, switch your credit card on and off, set spending limits, and limit card activity by location. For example, keeping your card active only around you (the card holder) or limiting card usage to a region on the map.
7. Notify your financial institution of your travel plans.
If you're planning to use your debit or credit card for purchases during your summer travels, let your financial institution know when you're traveling and where. If you're driving or have any layovers during your flight, let your credit union or bank know the places you plan to stop along the way. Due to increased fraud activity throughout the world, your payment card may get blocked from usage if suspicious activity is detected. While it may seem like an inconvenience to you, it's for your protection. Notifying your financial institution of your travel plans will help ensure your credit or debit cards continue to work during your travels.
At Members First Credit Union of Florida, your financial security is a top priority. Let us know before you travel out of state or country to ensure your payment card(s) continue to work without interruption. Complete a travel notification form online or speak to a Members First representative at (850) 434-2211 or one of our branch locations.
8. Carry multiple forms of payment.
Have you ever swiped your debit or credit card to pay for a purchase and felt panic set in when you're notified that your card was declined? You know you have the funds available, but through no fault of your own, you find out that your payment card's system is having technical difficulties. Needing a different form of payment unexpectedly when you're in your hometown can be stressful, but when you're traveling, it can be more of a nightmare. To ensure you're not stuck out of state or country without any means of payment, bring multiple forms of payment with you (at least three to be safe). Keep two with you and the third in a safe place in case one or the other is lost or stolen.
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