Choosing a Checking Account
Use this Checklist to Choose a Checking Account
When looking for a checking account, take this checklist with you. Below are the types of checking accounts and some questions that will help you choose the checking account that is right for you. When you are finished, you will be able to compare what each account has to offer with your needs.
What to Take With You
Remember you will generally need three things when you open your checking account:
- Picture identification,
- Social Security number,
- Money to put in the account.
Print Checklist Worksheet
The checklist worksheet is in Adobe Acrobat® (PDF) format. If you do not have Acrobat Reader installed, please click on the icon for a free download. PDFs will open in a new window. You may need to temporarily disable pop-up blockers to open the PDFs.
Tips for Building Your Credit History
How to Build Your Credit:
Remember, if you have a problematic credit history, building credit can take some time. Here are some steps to help you build your credit.
- Get a copy of your credit report and review it for errors. Take action to address any errors you find. (To see a sample dispute letter, look under “Credit Reporting” in the Information Booth.)
- Apply for a small loan at the bank, thrift, or credit union where you have checking and savings accounts.
- Apply for credit with a local store, such as a department store. They typically have a lower credit limit and a higher annual percentage rate (APR), but are generally more willing to lend you money. There is usually no fee for department store cards.
- Make a large down payment on a purchase and negotiate credit payments for the balance. If you do not have a credit history but have a large down payment, there is less risk you will not make the payments. For example, if you are buying a used car for $5,000 and have enough cash, you might consider making a down payment of $1,000-$3,000. Although the loan will be very small, it can prove you make your payments on time.
- You might ask a friend or relative with an established credit history to be a cosigner for you. A cosigner promises to repay the loan if you don’t. The lender should report the payment information for both you and the cosigner to the credit reporting agencies.
- Pay your bills on time. This will help establish a good credit history, so you can get credit in the future.
- You might ask the lender to review your history of making rent and utility payments to demonstrate your ability to pay.
- Make regular deposits into a savings account. This is another way to show the lender that you can make payments every month, even if you are making the payments to yourself.
Car Loan Shopping Guide
In order to ensure you get the best price for your car, follow these steps:
- Shop around for auto financing before going to the dealer. Get pre-approved for a loan.
- Compare APRs from local banks, thrifts, and credit unions, websites, and newspapers.
- Order a copy of your credit report and correct any errors a few months before shopping for a car.
- Make the largest downpayment that you can. Beware of a low downpayment or long repayment plans. The more you borrow and the longer you take to pay the loan, the more interest you pay and the more your car will cost you in the end. Additionally, if you have to sell your car in the first few years, you could owe the lender more than the car is worth.
- Consider paying for the tags, title search, and taxes separately, rather than financing them. This can reduce the amount of interest that you will pay.
- If you are going to apply for a loan at the dealership, make sure you first negotiate the best price on the car. Beware of dealers who insist on asking you how much you can afford every month. These dealers might be interested in making you stretch out the term of the loan to make the loan sound more affordable. However, by extending the length of the loan, your total cost will increase.
- Be aware of penalties. Some lenders might charge you for paying off your loan early.
- If you need to give the dealer a deposit, make sure you know whether you will get the money back if you change your mind. It is best to get this in writing.
- Service contracts, credit insurance, extended warranties, and other options are not required and can be costly over the term of the loan.
- Be wary of ads that promise loans for people with bad credit. These deals often require a higher downpayment or have a very high APR.
Recovering from ID Theft
- Contact all creditors, utilities and financial institutions.
- File a report with the local police; obtain a copy of the report.
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at 877-ID Theft.
- Contact the Social Security Administration.
- Contact any one of the three major credit reporting agencies to issue a fraud alert.
- A fraud alert is displayed by each national credit reporting agency to all lenders or other users that access your credit reports in the future.
- The three credit bureaus have made it easier to report identity theft. Just call one of the three bureaus and they'll notify the others.
- Fill out the FTC's ID Theft Affidavit, a voluntary form for filing a report with law enforcement, and disputes with credit reporting agencies and creditors about identity theft related problems. Visit ftc.gov/idtheft.gov to use a secure online version that you can print for your records.
Warning: Phishing and E-Mail Scams
- Phishing is an internet scam in the form of an e-mail or pop-up box that links to sites resembling well-known, legitimate businesses and asking you to provide or confirm personal, financial or password information. Beware of these links, because they may ask you to :
- Click on a hyperlink to complete a client form
- Claim to need updated personal information on your account.
- Click on an embedded link in the e-mail.
Warning: Do Not Respond to E-Mail Fraud
Beware any e-mail claiming to be from Cy-Co Federal Credit Union that has a link to a web page asking you to provide login information, passwords and/or security questions/answers. Cy-Co Federal Credit Union will NEVER ask for confidential information through the internet. Phishing is an internet scam in the form of an e-mail or pop-up box that link to sites resembling well-known, legitimate businesses and asking you to provide or confirm personal, financial or password information.