Monday, December 30, 2013

A Message for Members about Account Security


The recent data breach announced by Target at its stores in the U.S. between November 27 and December 15 has created a high number of inquiries from Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union members regarding the security of their credit and debit card accounts.

We want to assure members that your accounts with us are monitored 24/7 by an experienced team of security professionals for any suspicious or potentially fraudulent activity. Mid- Minnesota employs the most advanced fraud detection and prevention technology to guard members’ credit and debit accounts against unauthorized access and use.

Here’s a quick update for your peace of mind:

· We are aware of the accounts that are known to have been used at Target stores on the dates noted above and we are watching the activity on these accounts closely; affected members have been contacted by mail on Dec. 27, 2013.

· Unless you see any suspect transactions on your Mid-Minnesota credit or debit accounts, there is no need to call.

· If our security team observes any unusual activity on member accounts, we will contact members immediately to determine whether the transaction activity is legitimate and authorized.

· It is also a good practice for members to keep a watchful eye on their accounts and transactions and look for any unauthorized activity or purchases.

We will continue to monitor all members’ accounts for suspicious activity. Thank you for being a valued member of Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union.

We're with you all the way!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Setting Financials Goals for 2014!


New Years is just around the corner! Have you had time to set your personal finance goals for 2014? Here are our 4 tips to successfully achieve your new years resolutions:

1. Create a Financial Plan

Determine your overall goal. Generate a list of your short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals that are realistic and specific. Once you know how much you need to save and how long it will take to save it, you can set a specific monthly savings goal.

2. Set Specific Savings Goals

Make a budget- plan where you are going to spend your money and stick with it! You should be saving 10% of your income each month, this money will add up quickly. Before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to reaching your overall goal!

3. Get out of Debt
Make a list of your debts and sort them by annual interest rate. Debt with the highest interest rate should be the one you begin to pay off first. Pay as much over the minimum payment as you can. Pay off debt faster by increasing your income or reducing your expenses.

4. Get Control of Your Spending

Write down what you make and spend for two months. Look carefully at how you’re spending money and lose the items that are preventing you from reaching your overall financial goals. Use personal finance programs that have money management features- these will help you organize your finances and track where your money is going.





Credit Card Security


As many of us may have heard, the news is reporting a possible debit/credit card security compromise at Target stores. Target has been made aware of a possible compromise on debit & credit cards used in their brick and mortar stores (not online purchases) between the dates of 11/29-12/15.

As of now, MMFCU is unaware of any MMFCU cardholders that have been affected by the Target Security compromise. However, we thought this would be a good opportunity to bring up the best practices regarding credit card security. Below are our recommendations:

1. Monitor your credit and debit cards from all financial institutions. If you see unusual activity, contact the credit union or the financial institution issuing the card immediately.

2. Watch your credit report via www.annualcreditreport.com for future account openings. This is a FREE service to review your credit report annually.

3. To deactivate a MMFCU credit or debit card during non-business hours call, 1-866-820-3862.

4. Be aware of credit scams. MMFCU will not ask for any personal information via phone or e-mail that you the member has not initiated. If you are unsure if the call or e-mail is legitimate, call your local MMFCU branch at a phone number you retrieve from mmfcu.org or local phone book. Do not return calls via a phone number provided by the "in-question" call or e-mail.

5. Review Questions & Answers from VISA and best practices regarding card security.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

7 Holiday Money Saving Tips

Is the financial stress of the holiday season giving you a few reasons to be less than cheerful? You shouldn’t have to start the New Year off with a pile of debt. Your local Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union has a few opportunities and helpful tips to give yourself a gift, and some piece of mind this holiday season:

Decide How Much You Can Spend


Most people begin their holiday shopping by coming up with a list of people to buy for. Instead, think about how much you are willing to spend first, and remember to include all the little extras that come along with the holidays (cards, postage, food, travel, etc.)

Make a List. Check it Twice (at least) 

Free Printable!

Once you have a budget worked out, make a list of those you want to shop for, then go over the list and decide how much you can spend on each person. Once you set a dollar amount, don’t go over it. If you can’t afford the sweater little Suzie wants this year, get her something else- focus on the amount to spend, not what to buy.

Pay Cash


Once you have a budget, take cash out. Once that money is gone, you’re done. Using cash while you are shopping puts into perspective how much you are spending at a time better than credit or debit cards.

Skip-a-Payment


Sounds irresponsible, right? Our skip-a-payment program lets you skip up to two payments this holiday season on a variety of MMFCU loans. It’s a fast and convenient way to get a little extra cash for holiday spending. Apply online or over the phone.

Don’t Overlook the Value of Intangibles


Do you want to give someone a gift but don't have the money? If you're already baking cookies for your family, bake another batch for co-workers or neighbors. Offer to babysit for a friend, walk the dog, or take an elderly relative for an outing. The gift may be free, but the meaning is priceless.

Holiday Cash Loans 


MMFCU has Holiday Cash loans available November 1 through December 24, 2013 with a minimum of $500 and a maximum of $1,000 per individual (or up to $2,000 jointly) with rates as low as 2.99%. The best part is you have up to ten months to pay it back! With any loan, certain restrictions apply and you will need credit approval.

Say NO to Toy Lust


With children so into technology these days, some of the items on their gift list can be pretty astronomical. Teach your children to set real-world wish lists with financial boundaries. Not only are you saving money in the end, but you can teach your child about real world limits and the value of a dollar.

Don’t let money get in the way of holiday spirit and time spent with family and friends. Take advantage of some of these simple tips and you won’t have to worry about paying off this year’s holiday merriment next year!