Store Cards: Seldom the Better Deal

With offers of an additional 10% off your purchase or free merchandise, it’s tempting to apply for credit cards from your favorite retail stores. Think twice, however, before signing up. If you don’t pay the bill in full at the end of each month, you could end up paying much more than you originally would have saved.

That’s because interest rates on retail cards average about ten percentage points higher than credit union credit cards.

Store cards usually offer special incentives for cardholders to increase loyalty and encourage them to spend more. The average household has about seven store-issued credit cards.

If you plan to buy a car or house in the near future, it can hurt your chances to get a loan at a favorable rate if you have many recently opened lines of credit. It’s usually better to have one major credit card that you can use for all items you wish to charge.

Hopewell Federal Credit Union offers credit cards at great rates.  Visit www.hopewellfcu.org to learn more.

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Credit Unions Join Forces to Support Breast Cancer Awareness cause

Hopewell Federal and Cardinal Federal Support Volley for the Cure

Hopewell Federal Credit Union (HFCU) recently partnered with Cardinal Federal Credit Union (CFCU) to support Volley for the Cure.   Volley for the Cure is a volleyball match during regular season high school volleyball designated as a awareness and fundraising match.  Fundraising efforts support the Susan G. Komen for the Cure®.  HFCU and CFCU purchased Volley for the Cure t-shirts to assist in fundraising supporting this cause.

In an effort to further breast cancer awareness and the Volley for the Cure program, Hopewell Federal and Cardinal Federal wore Volley for the Cure shirts each Friday in October.  Credit Unions have long been known for being strong supporters of community initiatives and people helping people.   This initiative supports that mission and reminds people that early detection saves lives in the fight against breast cancer.

About Hopewell Federal Credit Union (HFCU):

Hopewell Federal Credit Union, one of the leading credit unions serving Licking County, is a not-for-profit financial cooperative that is owned by its members. They provide a full range of financial services including savings and checking accounts, loan products and business accounts.  HFCU operates with the mission of helping its members get ahead financially and serves anyone who lives, works or worships in Licking County.

About Cardinal Federal Credit Union (CFCU):

Cardinal Federal Credit Union serves school employees in Licking County.  In addition, they offer membership to all persons who live, work, worship, or attend school in Licking County, Ohio. Volunteers in Licking County and family members of current members can also join the Credit Union. CFCU offers its members checking, savings, low interest loans and a variety of convenience services.

Don’t Get Sloshed By a Storm-Damaged Vehicle

Think about all those waterlogged vehicles shown on the news during hurricanes, floods, and other intense storms. Those cars and trucks could end up on a dealer lot near you—even if you live nowhere near the areas affected by the storm.

Flood-damaged vehicles can appear on lots all over the country, often priced very low but with no disclosure from sellers about storm damage. You might think you’ve found a great deal but, without a critical eye, you could drive off the lot with vehicle problems waiting to happen.

Take precautions before you buy a used vehicle:

* Get the history. Obtain a vehicle history report through a service like Carfax. You also can use the vehicle identification number (VIN) to check the vehicle’s status through the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s VINCheck tool.

* Check the vehicle. Look for soot, grime, and other signs of water damage. On the flip side, if a vehicle looks unusually clean–particularly under the hood–it should be another red flag.

* Trust your nose. Damage from water and sewage can create a musty odor. Sellers may try to mask it, so if you smell strong deodorizer or air freshener, it could be the scent of trouble.

* Drive it. Pay attention to the way the car handles and sounds during a test drive. Squeaking or grinding is a bad sign.

* Get hands-on. Feel all surfaces for dampness and dirt.

* Consult a mechanic. A professional can detect problems you wouldn’t necessarily notice.

Once you find a car that checks out, head to Hopewell Federal Credit Union for your financing. Speak to a loan specialist today to learn more about our affordable rates.

What to Look for in Credit Union Checking

Check out this informative article from Fox Business.

by Heather Larson  /  Published August 20, 2012  /  Bankrate.com

 

Direct Deposit Offers Financial Convenience

Payday is great—but finding time to deposit your paycheck? Not so great.

Fortunately, there’s a convenient, secure solution that can help you save time and gain access to your funds more quickly. Say hello to Hopewell Federal Credit Union direct deposit feature.

Here’s why you should make the switch:

* Convenience. According to NACHA, The Electronic Payments Association, Herndon, Va., you can save three work days a year by not spending time depositing checks in person.

* Security. Direct deposit eliminates risk of fraud and identity theft and assures safety with no loss of convenience.

* Timeliness. With direct deposit, your money is consistently deposited on time, even if you’re not at work on payday.

* Accessibility. Direct deposited funds clear automatically.

* Earnings. With direct deposit, your check earns dividends as soon as possible if it’s deposited into an interest-bearing account.

Direct deposit also can help you save more. According to the results of a NACHA survey, people who use direct deposit save $390 a month, $90 more than those saving manually.

Pairing direct deposit with automated transfers from checking to savings can help you make real savings progress. In a survey conducted by the Consumer Federation of America, Washington, D.C., 75% of respondents ranked automatic transfers from checking to savings or investments as an important savings strategy; 48% ranked automatic transfers as very important.

It’s simple to switch to direct deposit: Hopewell Federal Credit Union easily can help you set it up. Ask for our nine-digit routing and transit number before you request direct deposit from anyone issuing checks to you regularly. Next, fill out an authorization form from your employer, or other check issuer, to have your funds deposited directly into your account.

Contact Hopewell Federal Credit Union at 740.522.8311 about making the move to direct deposit today.

Rent-to-Own: The Costly Allure of Low Weekly Payments

Digital Vision/Thinkstock (r)

Initially, the offer in the rent-to-own ad sounds like a deal. You take home a 55-inch LED high-definition television set for a low weekly payment of $40.

What’s the catch? After 128 weeks, interest charges alone total twice the purchase price at a reputable retail store. Bottom line: That $1,800 TV set just cost you $5,120. Now it doesn’t seem like such a deal after all.

Who’s targeted and at what cost?

The allure of low weekly payments is enticing if you don’t have the cash to pay full purchase price, don’t think you have financing options, and you want immediate use of the product. Frequent targets of this high-priced financing include low-income consumers, college students, and military families.

The benefits of rent-to-own financing rarely outweigh the costs. Often, the total cost to rent an item may be two to four times the cash price or even what you would have paid on conventional credit. In testimony before the House Committee on Financial Services, an attorney for the National Consumer Law Center explained that some rent-to-own APRs (annual percentage rates) could be 400% or more.

The rent-to-own trade association boasts that it’s a $5 billion a year industry serving more than three million customers a year. However, a Federal Trade Commission survey found that 19% of rent-to-own customers were dissatisfied with their experience, and most cited high price as the reason. Consumer advocates cite several additional problems, including misleading information from salespeople, penalties for returning items and for stopping payments, additional fees hidden in small print in the contract, and finding out that an item is used.

What questions should you ask?

Before signing on the dotted line of a rent-to-own agreement, ask several questions:

· Does the contract jibe with what the salesperson said? Do the math. Multiply the weekly (or monthly) cost by the number of payments.

· How does the cost of rent-to-own compare with the cost of purchasing the item at a reputable retail store?

· Is there a penalty or late fee for missing a payment? Will the rent-to-own store take away the item?

· Has the item been rented by anyone else?

· Are there charges for delivery, returning merchandise, or repairs? Who is responsible for making repairs?

What are alternatives to rent-to-own?

Saving for the purchase is one option. For example, if you deposited $150 a month for 12 months into a savings vehicle at your credit union, you could pay cash.

A credit card is another option. Let’s return to the example of the 55-inch LED high-definition television. If you financed the TV on your credit union credit card with an interest rate of 14% and make the minimum payments for seven years and eight months, you’d pay about $840 in interest. (And remember, if you make other charges on the card, you extend payment and interest cost even more.) That $1,800 TV now costs $3,190. If you decide to purchase the item with a credit card, make sure it’s a low-rate card and you pay more than the minimum payment monthly.

If you can’t save up to pay the cash price, the least expensive alternative may be to finance the item with a personal loan from Hopewell Federal Credit Union. Our affordable rates are easy on the wallet, and they far outweigh the costly allure of rent-to-own.

Barbecue Tips for Independence Day

Try some great barbecue recipes this holiday  by learning about what the Top 500 restaurants are doing.

via Barbecue Tips for Independence Day.