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Save on Your Heating Bill With These Tips!12/5/2018

Are you looking to cut costs this holiday season? Or did you just have sticker shock the last time you opened your heating bill? No matter what your reason, you can save money on your monthly heating bill with these tips.

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Lower Your Water Heater

While you may notice if you move the thermostat a few degrees, you probably won’t notice if you lower your hot water heater. Lowering your water heater from 140 degrees to 120 degrees can save you a few bucks every month!

Check for and Fix Drafts

If you suspect your windows or doors are letting in air you can use a candle or match to confirm your suspicions. Light a candle and put it near doorjambs and windows. If smoke blows horizontally, and not vertically, use caulking or weather-stripping to stop hot air from escaping. You could also consider adding more insulation to your home.

Inspect Your Heater

Brave the elements to check your outside unit does not have anything draped over it. Clear the unit of any debris, like dirt, leaves and lawn clippings. These all may have gotten lodged there over the year and will make your heater less effective! Check your indoor unit for any signs of excess water, this could mean the condensate pan and drain are blocked.

Use Your Home’s Heat

Take advantage of activities that generate heat, like cooking a meal or taking a shower. Don’t turn on your kitchen or bath ventilation fan during or after these activities. Instead let the warm air circulate in your home!

The winter and holiday season can be hard on your wallet, but PCU is here to help. Use these tips to save money on your heating bill, and check out some of our other resources on budgeting for the holidays. We also can help with personal loans that can be used for a number of things, like adding insulation to your home, or covering the cost of a new heater!

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Is Debt Consolidation or Forgiveness Right For you?11/28/2018

Are you in debt? You’re not alone. Nearly ¾ of all Americans have debt, including mortgages, student loans, credit card, auto and medical debt. If you’re struggling with debt there may be options available to you. Read on to learn more about debt forgiveness and debt consolidation and see which one is right for you.

Debt Relief

Debt Forgiveness

Debt forgiveness is when a lender forgives some or all the debt you still owe. Depending on what kind of debt you have there are different options. For federal student loan debt, if you work in a certain area like education or public service this may be an option. For credit card debt you can hire a third party to establish a debt management plan on your behalf. This is when you pay unsecured debt in full but often at a reduced interest rate and with waived fees. Federal mortgage debt can also provide some debt forgiveness programs through the Department of Housing and Urban Development. You can also reach out to your mortgage lender directly to ask about available options to you.

Debt Consolidation

Debt consolidation is when you combine several sources of debt, often high-interest, into a single, lower-interest payment. Debt consolidation is a great way to organize bills with different interest rates, due dates, and payments. Debt consolidation also does not typically require a third party to negotiate on your behalf, as some debt forgiveness programs do. The two most popular ways to consolidate debt are to get a 0% interest, balance-transfer credit card or take out a fixed-rate debt consolidation loan.

Drawbacks of Debt Relief

When deciding which option may be right for you, it’s important to remember that if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Make sure to only work with reputable companies that are registered with the Better Business Bureau and can provide a written plan for you. It’s also important to know some of the drawbacks of each option. For debt forgiveness, you may sometimes be required to pay taxes on the amount that is forgiven. A debt management plan can also hurt your credit score, as creditors may initially report you are not paying your debt as originally agreed upon.

Which One is Right for You?

If your debt is less than half your income, you have good enough credit to qualify for a 0% or low interest credit card, and your cash flow consistently covers payment consolidation may be a good choice for you. If your debt is more than half your gross income and you feel you will never be able to pay off your debt it may be time to consider debt forgiveness or create a debt management plan. There is no hard and fast rule as to what type of debt relief would work best for you. It’s important to do your research and understand the consequences of each plan, including interest rates, fees, and more.

If you have debt PCU can help. Our Platinum Rewards Mastercard has a 0% balance transfer offer to help you pay off your debt faster. We also offer student loan consolidation with a .25% interest rate reduction when you enroll in automatic payment. Contact us today to take control of your debt and life today!

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Thanksgiving on a Budget11/16/2018

Thanksgiving may not be known as the most expensive holiday in the winter season, but costs can add up quickly. Between travel, décor, and dinner it’s easy to go ham and overspend. Use these tips from PCU to host a great Thanksgiving on a budget!

Thanksgiving

Set Your Budget

We give this advice a lot, but that’s because it’s good advice! Before you decide pumpkin or pecan pie, sit down and look at your accounts and expenses. Until you know what you can spend it will be hard to make a dinner that works for you.

Stick to Scratch

Stick to ingredients that are not pre-made or boxed. Often, you’re just paying for packaging and branding for items like pre-made pie crusts, spice mixes, or boxed stuffing. Stick to your Thanksgiving budget. Make your dollar go further by buying fresh, canned, or frozen ingredients and making your own dishes.

Prioritize Your Favorite Dishes

You may be tempted to make a large spread, but you don’t really need 15 side dishes. Choose 3-4 crowd pleasers and no one will miss your great-aunt’s squash casserole recipe! You may also have a less stressful day and enjoy more time with family and friends.

Go Potluck

You don’t have to do everything yourself this Thanksgiving. Ask for help and invite your guests to bring a side dish or dessert of their choice. You can take care of the turkey and stuffing, and still split costs!

Split the Grocery Bill

If you’re only cooking for your immediate family, find a friend in the same situation. You can split things like flour, salt, other baking necessities, the turkey and more! If you split groceries, you’ll save costs and won’t have a leftover turkey in your fridge until Christmas!

The holidays can be hard on your wallet, but PCU is here to help. Use these tips, and check out some of our other resources on budgeting for the holidays. We also provide personal loans and holiday club accounts that can help make this the best holiday season yet! 

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Holiday Survival Guide11/8/2018

From worrying about your waistline to your wallet, there are many reasons the holidays can be stressful. Thankfully, we’ve put together a Holiday Survival Guide that gives you weekly action items. So, you can spend more time celebrating with friends and family this holiday season.

Holiday Survival Guide

Four Weeks Out

  • Make a Budget — We have plenty of resources to help you make a budget that works for you. Choose the best budget for you or if you need help with the basics learn how to budget. Don’t forget to include not only gifts and travel in your budget, but small purchases that can add up like a new outfit and an uber for the holiday office party. Leave yourself some wiggle room for unexpected purchases too!
  • Set Limits — Once you know your budget set firm dollar limits for each expense. Create tiers of people you’re giving gifts to, such as family on level 1, friends and co-workers on level 2, and garbage men, teachers, and others on level 3. Assign each level a dollar amount that will work for your budget.
  • Coordinate Travel — If you’re traveling for the holidays, now is the time to finalize those plans. Take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals if you can and avoid booking fees by purchasing plane tickets on airline websites.

Three Weeks Out

  • Start Shopping — Begin making purchases for holiday gifts and pay in cash. Studies have found that people paying with cash will spend less than those paying with card. Buying with cash will also make you appreciate your purchase more! If you do pay with card try shopping online and taking advantage of PCU’s Love to Shop Perks.
  • Get Creative — If you’re crafty or have a special skill, use it to make gifts! Give people a hand-made item, give your services if you’re handy around the house, or offer your time as a babysitter.
  • Shop Around — Once you know who you’re shopping for and what the budget is, compare prices to make sure you’re getting the best deal. And don’t forget to shop around for things like postage and shipping rates, to make sure getting your gifts to their recipients doesn’t blow your budget.

Two Weeks Out

  • Buy in Bulk — Save some money by buying gifts for your kid’s teachers and co-workers in bulk. Crowd pleasers like a bottle of wine can often be discounted when you buy a certain number of bottles from a retailer, and if you’re making gifts, buying in bulk can save you lots!
  • Get What You’re Owed — Don’t forget about any money you may be owed in the end of year rush! This can be from a flexible-spending account, travel and transportation reimbursement from an employer, or even end of year bonuses from insurance providers for doing things like going to the gym. Make a list of any money that may be owed to you and claim it now.
  • Start Shipping — Avoid paying higher fees for last-minute shipping costs by getting your gifts in the mail now. If you wait until the week before the holidays not only will you spend more time in line at the post office, but you risk your gifts not arriving on time too!

One Week Out

  • Last Minute Details — It’s inevitable that there may be some last-minute gifts you forgot or just weren’t expecting to give. This is when the wiggle room in your budget comes in handy. Review your budget this week and see where you stand to make sure you’re not overspending at the finish line.
  • Know When to Stop — Once you’ve gotten a gift for everyone on your list, it’s time to stop shopping. Avoid the mall and other stores where there would be temptation to make another purchase you simply don’t need.
  • Don’t Stress — With the holidays so close it can be easy to get overwhelmed with your to-do list or sticking to your budget. Take some time to do something relaxing for yourself this week and check out our tips to take the stress out of finances.

With help from PCU you can enjoy the holiday season while still maintaining control of your finances. We have lots of options to help you save this holiday season. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you over the holidays!

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Welcome RTCFCU members to Palisades! 10/16/2018

Change is always welcomed at Palisades Credit Union as well as new memberships. In October of 2018, Palisades Credit Union assumed the majority of Radio, Television and Communication Federal Credit Union's assets and all member shares and loans. Palisades Credit Union now services members of Radio and Television Broadcast Engineers Local 1212, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, AFL-CIO, in New York, NY and employees of USA Networks, who work in or are paid from New York, NY. Members’ accounts remain insured by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund. Administered by the NCUA, the Share Insurance Fund insures individual accounts up to $250,000, and member’s interest in all joint accounts combined is insured up to $250,000. The Share Insurance Fund separately protects IRA and KEOGH retirement accounts up to $250,000. The Share Insurance Fund has the backing of the full faith and credit of the United States. To all of our new members, welcome and know that Palisades is dedicated to keeping its members happy with the most innovative and convenient banking. Click here for the full press release.

 

 

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International Credit Union Day: Celebrate Credit Unions with PCU!10/9/2018

October 18, 2018 will mark the 70th anniversary of International Credit Union Day. This year’s theme is “Find Your Platinum Lining.” It combines the traditional gift of platinum for 70th anniversaries with a play on the saying “every cloud has a silver lining.”

ICU Day

Celebrating International Credit Union Day

Credit unions all over the world will be celebrating the history and the success of the “People-not-Profit” philosophy. This year’s theme emphasizes the credit union movement’s loyalty to its members and its mission to provide them financial support and guidance.

Credit Union History

The movement began in the 1840s as a democratic consumer cooperative by weavers in Rochdale, England. Frustrated by bankers who denied them loans simply because they weren’t wealthy, the weavers and workers decided to pool their incomes and loan money to each other. In time, this cooperation put each member on solid financial ground and encouraged their own businesses to flourish.

Palisades Credit Union was started in 1941, by a group of employees at the American Cyanamid Company. Much like the original credit union in Rochdale they wanted to provide financial services at the lowest possible cost. In 1996, the name officially changed to Palisades Federal Credit Union and several years later expanded their services to anyone who lived, worked, worshiped, or attended school in Rockland county. And in 2017, PCU expanded again to allow anyone in Bergen County the same great financial services!

Celebrate with PCU

Come celebrate International Credit Union with us on October 18th. We will be announcing the winner of our Score Big Sweepstakes*, who will win two tickets and a parking pass to the Bills vs. Jets game on November 11th! We want to hear from our members how we have helped you score your first car, purchase a home, or invest in their future. Visit our Facebook page today for more details. 

 

 

 

 

*No purchase necessary. Open only to members of Palisades Federal Credit Union 18 and older. Limit one entry per person per Facebook account per day. Void where prohibited. Sweepstakes ends October 16, 2018 at 11:59PM EST. Visit link for full disclosure http://notimeforsocial.com/pcuscorebigsweepstakes/

                                                

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How to Buy A Used Car9/18/2018

How to Buy A Used Car

Buying a used car can be a confusing or daunting process, especially if you’ve never bought a car before. And with nearly 40 million used cars sold a year, how do you know you’re making the best choice for you? Keep reading to see our tips for buying a used car you’ll love at a price you’ll love!

buy used car

Set Your Budget

Whether you’re buying your used car with cash or taking out a loan, you must know what you can and are willing to spend. If you are paying in cash, this is easy to figure out. Just don’t spend your entire savings! If you want a loan, you should get pre-approved. This will let you know exactly how much you can afford and will give you a competitive edge at the dealership.

Do Your Research

Make a list of what is important to you and what your lifestyle needs from a car. This will help you narrow down what model car will be right for you. From there you’ll want to check out the reliability and ownership costs of a car. You may have your heart set on two-door red coupe, but once you see the insurance for such a vehicle, it could be out of your budget.

Price Out Cars

Once you know what model car you want, you should use pricing guides, like Kelley Blue Book, to figure out what your chosen car is worth. Factors that affect price include mileage, age of the car, and whether it is a manual or automatic car. Knowing the price of the car will ensure you’re not overpaying.

Check the Car

Before committing to a car, you’ll want to check the vehicle history report by using the vehicle identification number (VIN number). If you are buying from a neighbor or other person, you should take the car to a trusted mechanic to be inspected for any potential issues. You should also take the car on a test drive.

Negotiate a Price

If you are buying from a neighbor or off Craigslist, compare the seller’s asking price to the market price you researched. If you have any concerns, like the car needing new tires, bring that up during the negotiation as well. If you’re buying from a used car dealer, you should have a pre-approved loan, so you will be treated as a cash buyer. This way you will negotiate the car’s total price, not the monthly price. Make sure you know of any taxes fees and what they may be, and always discuss the “out-the-door” price which will include these fees and taxes.

Close the Deal

Pay for your car and make sure you get a title and have the seller sign it correctly. You will also need to ensure the car is on your insurance policy. Then you’ll be able to drive off in your new-to-you car!

If you’re interested in buying a car, new or used, PCU has auto loans with rates as low as 2.49% APR*! Get pre-approved quickly and easily online.

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Fact or Fiction: Common Credit Union Myths9/18/2018

Fact or Fiction: Common Credit Union Myths

Credit Unions have been around for over 100 years, but there is still a lot of misinformation surrounding them. Below are seven common credit union myths including PCU and how we prove them wrong! 

 

myth

 

Myth: There are strict eligibility requirements to become a member.

Fact: Eligibility requirements are not strict! At PCU to become a member you have to live, work, worship, volunteer, or got to school in Rockland county, New York or Bergen county, New Jersey.

Myth: I can only use PCU ATMs.

Fact: While we have ATMS at all of our locations, we also participate in Co-Op Financial Services which gives you access to over 30,000 ATMs without a surcharge! With that many ATMs, there is always one near you. 

Myth: Credit unions don’t offer rewards programs.

Fact: As a PCU member, you get to take advantage of all the Palisades Perks including debit and credit card rewards programs, as well as Love to Shop perks, Sprint discounts, and 20% off Rockland Boulders tickets!

Myth: Credit unions are not regulated.

Fact: We are held to the same laws and regulations as banks, and we are insured by the National Credit Union Administration.  

Myth: Credit unions don’t have the same mobile and online options as a bank.

Fact: PCU offers our members both online banking and mobile banking. You can access your accounts, pay bills, transfer money, and deposit checks! 

Myth: They aren’t safe.

Fact: The NCUA offers the same insurance to our members as a bank’s customers!

Myth: They just don’t offer the services I need and want.

Fact: PCU has a variety of services that will work for you no matter what your goal is. We offer the same services as a big bank including checking and savings accounts, mortgages, auto loans, and financial advising services.   

As you can see PCU has a lot to offer! If you’re ready to become a member of a credit union that puts people over profit contact us about opening an account today!

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How Can I Pay Off my Credit Card Debt Faster?9/5/2018

Do you have credit card debt? You’re not alone — 50% of consumers in the U.S. have credit card debt. If you have credit card debt, it can be a monthly burden on you and your family, so here are three tips to help you pay off your credit card debt faster.

Credit Card Debt

Make More Than the Minimum Payment

You’ve probably heard this piece of advice before, but it can make the biggest impact on paying off your credit card debt. When you only make the minimum payments, your balance will continue to grow due to interest. If you have some extra money at the end of the month, putting it toward your credit card bill can make a big difference. If you don’t ever have any extra money, you may need to consider making a budget and prioritize paying off your credit card debt.

Pay Off the Card with the Highest Interest Rate

If you have debt on more than one credit card, look at the interest rates of each card. Whatever account has the highest interest rate should become your “pay off first” card. Similar to making more than the minimum payment, paying off this card first will help stop your balance growing rapidly due to interest.  

 Take Advantage of Balance Transfers

Getting a new credit card may seem like a counter-intuitive way to pay off credit card debt, but it can help! When you get a new card that has a 0% APR* Balance Transfer offer, like the PCU Platinum Rewards Mastercard, you can transfer an existing credit card balance and pay no interest for the duration of the offer. This means any payments you make go towards paying off the principal amount. This can go a long way towards paying off your debt faster!

If you have questions about paying off your credit card debt or want to learn more about our 0% APR* Balance Transfer Offer contact us today!

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Can You Pass Our Financial Literacy Quiz?9/5/2018

Only one-third of Americans can pass a basic financial literacy quiz. Do you think you can do better? Take our financial literacy quiz below and get three or more questions right to pass. Ready to begin…

Quiz

True or False: The best time to shop for a car loan is at the dealership.

Answer: False. The best time to start shopping for a car loan is before you even start searching, so you know how much you can afford. You will also typically get better loan terms at credit unions like PCU than you would at a dealership.

True or False: You can afford to rent an apartment if the cost of rent and all additional expenses align with your financial goals.

Answer: True. When looking to rent a place, you need to include all expenses like utilities, parking or public transportation costs, and the security deposit. If all of these are within your budget, then you can afford it.

Which loan term is best if you want to reduce the total amount you will repay over the life of the loan: 3-year or 10-year?

Answer: 3-year. With a shorter loan, your monthly payments will be higher but you will pay less in interest, meaning you will pay less overall.

Choose the two that loan payments are based on: APR, Interest Rate, or Length of the Loan.

Answer: Interest Rate and the Length of the Loan. The cost of your monthly loan payments is only based on the length of the loan, or how long it will take you to pay it back, and the interest rate. The two factors determine how quickly you will pay off the principal loan, as well as the amount you will pay in interest and how long it will take to pay that off.

True or False: If you have a balance on your credit card, the best way to pay it off is to pay more than the minimum monthly payment on all your credit cards.

Answer: False. The best way to pay off credit card debt is to pay the maximum your budget will allow on the card with the highest interest rate. If you want to know more about paying off credit card debt look out for our blog on the subject later this month.

How did you do? If you want to learn more or need to study some financial basics check out the National Financial Educators Council, where this quiz was adapted from, or contact us today! We are always here to help you reach your financial goals!

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Freshmen Finances: Financial Essentials for First-Time College Students9/5/2018

College is an exciting time where you will be trying and learning many new things. Make sure you learn how to take care of your finances while you’re away from home for the first time! Read on to see what PCU recommends for every college freshman.

College

Make A Budget

It can be all too easy to forgo a budget your freshman year of college, especially if most of your meals come from a pre-paid meal plan. However, creating and sticking to a budget now will help you build good habits for the future. To start, figure out what kind of budget will work best for you, then take stock of your spending habits and how much money is coming in, including part-time jobs, allowances, and loans!

Start Building Credit

It is never too early to start building your credit, especially if you plan to rent an apartment while you’re in school! There are several ways to start building credit, including taking out loans or buying a car in your name. If these are not options, you can open a credit card. Since you won’t have a credit history you will not have a high credit limit, but this is a great way to learn how to make purchases and pay off your balance every month.

Get Smart About Security

 You’re probably meeting lots of new people who will be in and out of your dorm this year. While most of these people will become lifelong friends, you should secure yourself against possible theft or hacking. Make sure to not leave your phone or computer unlocked, especially if you have your banking documents or accounts open. Put a secure password on all your accounts and don’t ever leave your phone, laptop, or wallet laying out, and never share your password or pin numbers with anyone!

Being on your own can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to money, but PCU is here for you! If you are interested in taking out student loans, getting a credit card, or financing a car to build credit, we can help!

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Stay Safe Online: Cyber Security Tips from PCU7/26/2018

Last month Timehop announced it had been the target of a security breach that affected millions of people. It seems that there are more and more security breaches that can compromise your identity and lead to identity theft. Here are some tips to help protect you and your identity online!

Cyber Security

 

1. Keep Software up to Date

Software updates for operating systems often include security updates. You should turn on automatic software updates and use web browsers that are updated often, like Chrome or Firefox. Even keeping browser plug-ins up to date can help keep you safe online.

2. Avoid Phishing scams

Phishing scams can happen to anyone, anywhere! Stay vigilant because cyber criminals will use sophisticated ploys to trick you into giving them personal information like usernames and passwords. Email is the most common phishing scam, but they can be done by text, phone and social networking sites. Remember that credible institutions like PCU will never ask for personal or financial information through email.

3. Enable Two-Factor Authentication

Many sites, apps, and more offer two-factor identification now. This is where upon entering a password, you will be sent a temporary randomized passcode to a number or email only you would have access to. This ensures that even if someone else does get your password they cannot log-on to your accounts and your personal information cannot be compromised.

4. Practice Good Password Management

 Everyone knows not to reuse passwords and to include a mix of letters, number and special characters. It may be tempting to take short-cuts, but this puts your information at risk. Instead use a password management program to help maintain strong passwords and help you remember them. They can also remind you to update your passwords every 90 days.

5. Use Mobile Devices Safely

Phishing scams and other types of scam are becoming more prevalent on mobile devices. Scammers have even made charging your phone in publicly provided USB ports a danger! Keep your mobile devices and your personal info safe by keeping your device locked using a PIN or password, keeping the operating system updated, don’t click on any suspicious emails or texts on your phone. And if you’re on an unsecured wi-fi network, like those provided in public places, don’t transmit personal data!

Keeping your information secure should be your number one priority! PCU makes it a priority too, with secure online and mobile banking, and credit cards that have 24/7 fraud protection services and liability.

 

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College Majors That Pay!7/26/2018

Everyone knows going to college is a great way to make money. A recent study found college graduates earn $1 million more in their lifetime than high school graduates. But some majors earn more money than others. Here are some of the highest paying college majors!

College Majors That Pay

Computer engineering: The median income for computer engineering majors is $87,000. With this degree you can become a computer hardware engineer, software engineer, a computer programmer and more.

Geological and geophysical engineering: The median income for this major is also $87,000. Geological and geophysical engineering majors can become environmental engineers, sustainability consultants, and drilling engineers.

Petroleum engineering: This is the highest earning college major at median income of $136,000. Petroleum engineering majors can seek jobs as drilling engineers, reservoir engineers and production engineers.

Pharmaceutical Sciences: The median income for pharmacy, pharmaceutical sciences and pharmaceutical administration is $113,000. People with this major can become pharmacists, or work as researchers and pharmacologists.

Applied Mathematics: Applied mathematics majors make a median income of $83,000. Career choices for applied mathematics majors include consultants, actuaries, and investment analysts.

Physics: People who major in physics have a median income of $81,000 and they can pursue jobs in education at higher levels, design engineers, and laser engineers.

Economics:  The median income for economic majors is $76,000. Economic majors can get jobs as personal financial advisors, statisticians, and financial analysts.

These majors have major earning power down the line, but you may need help in paying for these degrees now, and PCU can help. We offer student loans that can help you pay for tuition, room and board or any of the costs associated with college. Apply online today.

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Should I Get a Store Credit Card?7/26/2018

You’ve probably been asked when checking out if you would like to save 10, 15, and even 20% off your total, by getting a store credit card. While this discount can be very tempting, are store credit cards worth it in the long run? Read on to find out!

Store Credit Card

Are there pros to a store credit card?

The two pros of a store credit card are the discount when you initially sign up, and then continued discount offers throughout the year. These are also two of the main reasons people sign up for store credit cards, but these pros often do not outweigh the cons of a store credit card.

What are the cons of store credit cards?

Once you begin looking closely at store credit cards the cons can quickly add up. The first starts in the store, while you’re still signing up. Store credit cards have the same agreements and legal documents to go over as regular credit cards, but this information is often not available in checkout lines. Even if it is, you may feel pressured to not read it all or as closely as you should, especially if people are waiting behind you. If you are also signing up for several store credit cards it can damage your credit score. Every time there is an inquiry into your credit your credit score will drop slightly. The biggest con is the high interest rates. These tend to be much higher than interest rates on regular credit cards, even as high as 30% or more. Paired with the typical low credit limits that will raise your debt-to-income ratio, it can be very easy to rack up debt and end up hurting your credit limit.

Are there alternatives to store credit cards?

 Yes! Some people choose to get store credit cards because they are trying to build credit or already have a low credit score, and they’ve heard store credit cards are easy to qualify for. Credit cards from credit unions can also be easier to get, because often credit unions like PCU are willing to work with those who don’t have perfect credit. Credit cards from credit unions also don’t have higher interest rates, and great rewards programs!

Are you looking for a new credit card? Check out the Platinum Rewards Mastercard from PCU! It has no annual fee, theft protection, points on all your purchases! Apply online today!

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Tips for First Time Home Buyers6/29/2018

Becoming a home owner for the first time is a momentous occasion, but it can also be a little intimidating. If you want to become a homeowner but don’t know where to start, here are some tips for making the most of your home search.

1st Time Home Buyer Blog

Do Your Research

When you start looking for a home, not only do you need to know what you want in a home, but what these things will realistically cost in your area. If you have your heart set on a gourmet kitchen and pool, you may be disappointed when you actually begin to tour homes in your budget if you did not research home prices in your area beforehand. Knowing what things cost in your area can help you finalize your must-haves list and set realistic expectations for your home search.

Work with the Right Realtor

Your realtor will be one of the biggest assets while buying a home. Make sure you work with the right realtor though, because you will be spending a lot of time with this person. Conduct several interviews with potential realtors before hiring someone. Ask them if they have experience working with first time home buyers or buying homes in the area you want to move to make sure their personality and experience align with what you are looking for!

Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

This is one of the most important steps to take when beginning your home search! Getting pre-approved for a mortgage serves two huge purposes. The first is for you to know exactly how much you can afford. The second is to show sellers that you’re serious. In a competitive market, this is especially important as you will be able to make an offer quickly.

1st Time Home Buyer Blog

Know When to Compromise

Every home search has compromise. Ideally you will find a home that has all your must-haves and be within your budget, but if you don’t then you will need to be prepared to make compromises to get what matters most to you. The price of the home also doesn’t include things like closing costs or moving expenses, so it is important to stick to your budget, so you are on solid financial ground after you move.

Are you starting your home search this summer? You can get pre-approved online today for a mortgage from Palisades Credit Union! Apply online here.

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Going on Vacation? Use These Tips to Save6/27/2018

Summer vacations are super fun, but they can be expensive! The best way to save money is to plan and save up for it accordingly, but even if you haven’t, you can still save money while on your trip. Use these tips to save while you’re gone and remember to let PCU know where you’re going so there’s no interruption in your service!

Going on Vacation?

Getting Around Town

Renting a car may seem like the most convenient, but it can add up quickly. Instead you should use public transportation like subways and buses. Ride share apps like Uber and Lyft can also be a great way to save money. In many large metropolitan cities, you can participate in bike share systems, and in smaller vacation towns, bike shops will often rent bikes for the day as well.

Seeing the Sights

You can see and experience all the best your vacation has to offer without breaking the bank. Many big cities offer multi-attraction passes or discount cards that allow you to see some of the cities best sights at a great price! You can also do a walking self-tour and make sure to take advantage of free or pay-what-you-want museum days to see world class art and culture. Another great way to live like a local is to check community calendars for free and cheap events.

Find Deals on Food

There are many ways to save money on food while you’re on vacation! Start the day off right by staying at a hotel or hostel that has free continental breakfast to load up and have plenty of energy for sight seeing during the day. If you want to try a nice restaurant you should plan on going at lunch, not dinner! Lunch menus are often less expensive than dinner, but you’ll get the same quality and level of service. Don’t be afraid of street food either, as many food trucks are cheaper than a sit-down restaurant but can be just as delicious!

Your summer vacation doesn’t have to set you back if you plan and get a little creative with your transportation, meals and sight-seeing options. If you do need help with your vacation PCU has personal loans or a Platinum Rewards Mastercard to get you where you’re going! Contact us today to learn more!

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10 Mortgage Terms You Need to Know6/27/2018

Buying a home and getting a mortgage will be one of the biggest financial decisions of your life! Whether this is your first home or you’re a seasoned pro who just needs a refresher, here are the terms you need to know to help you make the most of your mortgage!

10 Mortgage Terms You Need to Know

Appraisal: A report, made by a qualified person that sets forth an objective value of the home and property. This is ordered by the lender to ensure that the amount of money being requested by the borrower is appropriate.

Closing Costs: This is not included in the home price but should be budgeted for when purchasing a home. It includes an origination fee, discount points, appraisal, credit reports, title insurance, attorney’s fees, survey and pre-paid items such as tax and escrow payments.

Conventional Mortgage: A mortgage not obtained under a government insured program such as an FHA or VA loan.

Debt-to-Income Ratio (DTI): The Debt-to-Income ratio is the percentage of your gross income that goes towards paying debts, including credit card debt, car payments and student loans.

Earnest Money: A portion of a down payment delivered with an offer to the seller as evidence of good faith. Also known as a deposit.

Gift Letter: You can be given a gift to help you with a home’s down payment. This should be accompanied with a gift letter, written by the person giving the gift money, that there is no obligation to repay.

Gross Monthly Income: Your total monthly income before taxes and other deductions.

Non-Conforming Loan: Loans not eligible to be sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac due to various reasons.

Origination Fee: The amount charged for services handling the initial application and the loan processing. This is included in closing costs.

PITI: Principal, interest, taxes and insurance that makes up the monthly mortgage payment.

When you’re buying a home make sure you work with a lender that can answer any of your questions and help guide you to make the best choices for you and your family. The mortgage experts at PCU can help you, contact us today to get started!

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Credit Card Dos and Doníts6/27/2018

Credit cards can be a great tool to help you and your finances – if you know how to use them properly. Whether you’ve never had a credit card before or just want to take better care of your credit card, here are our six credit card dos and don’ts to help you!

Credit Card Dos and Don'ts

 

Don’t: Spend too much of your available balance

If you just got a new credit card or a limit increase you may be tempted to spend it all, but beware! You should plan on only spending as much as you can afford to pay off monthly. Spending too much of your available balance can also negatively affect your credit score. Keep your credit utilization ratio — how much you spend versus your total credit line — below 30%.

Do: Take advantage of balance transfers if you’re in debt

If you are trying to pay off debt, balance transfers can be a great tool. Instead of making payments that go mainly towards paying interest, take advantage of a balance transfer that offers a 0% interest rate, like a Platinum Rewards Mastercard with PCU. That way your payments will go toward paying off the debt, not the interest, and will help you get out of debt faster.

Don’t: Close old credit cards

If you have credit cards you don’t use anymore you may want to close them, but this too can negatively affect your credit score. The length of your accounts is considered when calculating your score, so if you close old accounts you will have a shortened credit history. Keep those old cards open, and active, even if it’s just a small monthly payment.

Do: Know your side benefits

 It seems every credit card nowadays has plenty of side benefits, from fraud protection, rewards points and even trip insurance. Make sure you do your research before getting a new credit card and choose one that has benefits that will be best for you. If you already have a card, make sure you know what all your benefits are, or you may be missing out on deals and even rewards!

Credit Card Dos and Don'ts

Don’t: make only the minimum payment

As we’ve already mentioned, often when you have credit card debt your monthly payments only go towards paying off the interest. This is especially true if you’re only making minimum payments a month. You should strive to pay off your balance every month but if you can’t, make sure to pay more than the minimum payment.

Do: Redeem your rewards

Once you know what side benefits you have through your credit card, make sure you take advantage of them. As many as 31% of credit card holders aren’t redeeming their rewards! If you have a Platinum Rewards Mastercard through PCU and you’re not using your rewards points you could be missing out on gift cards, travel and more!

With knowledge and proper use, credit cards can help your credit score and you can use it to help pay down debt and even make your credit card work for you with rewards! Get started with a Platinum Rewards Mastercard from PCU today!

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Traveling Tips6/11/2018

Summer is quickly approaching.  Whether you’re planning a family vacation or just want to escape abroad here are some tips to help prepare to spend money internationally.

  1. Notify your Credit Union of your travel plans
    Let us know if you’re leaving the country so we don’t flag your accounts for fraud. While this can be annoying if it does happen just remember it’s an important security step to protect you!
  2. Use a credit or debit card without foreign transaction fees
    Traveling is expense enough without having to pay foreign transaction fees on every purchase you make.
  3. Enable a pin on your credit card
    A lot of countries in Europe and overseas require you to use a pin number when using a credit card so call us to enable this option. Or just use your debit card which is already pin enabled.
  4. Check your expiration dates
    Make sure your cards won’t expire while you’re abroad. If they will contact your credit union before you go to replace your card.
  5. Make sure your card is activated for foreign use
    Call to make sure your card does not need to be activated to be used internationally.
  6. Make a list of your wallet’s contents
    Include anything that would need to be replaced if lost or stolen, as well as the overseas lost or stolen numbers, as toll free 800 numbers won’t work out of the country. Keep this list separate from your wallet!
  7. Get foreign currency before you go
    Exchange rates at the airport are usually very high. Get enough local currency to get you out of the airport.

With a little preparation and planning before you go on your trip abroad you can make sure that you won’t be stranded in a foreign country without any money. Contact us to get started on your travel to-do list!

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Make the Most of Your First Paycheck6/4/2018

If you just graduated college, congratulations! Like thousands of other recent college alumni, you may be starting your first full-time, salaried job and earning your first paycheck. Here are a couple things you can do now, to make sure you set yourself up for financial success for now and later!

 

1st Paycheck

Start Saving for Retirement Now

It may seem like it’s too early to be thinking about retirement, but the sooner you start saving the better off you will be when you’re ready to retire. If your employer offers 401K with match options, you should take part in that program! You should also try and contribute as much as your employer will match, if you don’t it’s like saying no to free money. If you do not have retirement options through work, you should open an IRA or Individual Retirement Account. Even if you open an IRA and only put in $5,500 now and never touch it again, by the time you’re ready to retire you will have over $90,000 saved!

Spend Wisely

Now that you have a steady source of income, you should make sure to track and budget this money. If you have never budgeted before start by tracking your expenses to see what you spend and where. Once you’ve done this for a few weeks and have a clear picture of what your habits are you can choose a budget that works for you. You should also automate fixed expenses like rent, credit card bills, and other utilities to make sure you stay on track and don’t damage your credit score. You can do all of this with the help of online banking features available to PCU members.

1st Paycheck

Know Your Credit Score

Your credit score will have a huge impact on your financial future so make sure to take care of it. If you had to take out loans for college, had a credit card, or even opened a utility account in your name while you were in school then you were already building credit. Take the time to check your credit score and request your credit reports from the three main credit agencies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You can request one credit report a year for free, and you should to make sure all the information is correct, and your score is not being hurt due to false information. If you were not building credit in college then you can start now by paying back student loans on time and buying a car or opening a credit card in your name. You can also read more about how to build your credit here.

Take control of your finances and set good habits now to help you for the rest of your working life. If you still have questions about saving for retirement, or how online banking can help your budget a representative at Palisades Credit Union can help you! Visit one of our branches or schedule an appointment with a financial advisor today.

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How Much Does College Cost and How Can I Pay For it? 5/25/2018

How Much Does College Cost?

The cost of college has been steadily rising for years, and a four-year degree is no small expense. For the 2017-18 school year the average cost of a bachelor’s degree ranged from $9,970 for an in-state public school to $34,740 for a private school degree. This estimate only covers the cost of tuition, but there are many other expenses to consider when paying for college, like fees, supplies, room and board, and everyday living expenses. For example, for a private college in New York City, they estimate you will have to spend an extra $10,00 - $20,000 a year to cover room and board and all other associated college costs. As you can see, the cost of college can vary greatly, but no matter where you go, college is not cheap. So, how can you pay for college?

Get Creative with Paying for College

No matter how you plan on paying for college you can always get creative. Part-time jobs, or a student-work exchange can help pay for college, just make sure to inquire about this option when you receive your financial aid package. You can also use the equity in your home to help cover the costs through a Home Equity Line of Credit. Cut costs by buying used textbooks and supplies, being a commuter student, and sometimes just asking the financial aid office can yield the results you want! If there are still gaps in your college costs you should consider two popular options — scholarships and loans.

College Scholarships

Scholarships, a grant that does not need to be repaid, are a great way to pay for college and in 2016 nearly half of all students received scholarships. Scholarships can be given for a variety of reasons, from merit-based scholarships to scholarships for exceptional skills. There are corporate scholarships, disability scholarships, and Palisades Credit Union even offers a scholarship for high school seniors! Schools will often provide merit-based scholarships as part of your financial aid package; however, you can apply to as many third-party scholarships as you would like to help cover the cost of college. If you do receive a scholarship from a third party, like PCU, you can use that money not just to cover tuition but for any other cost, like car insurance and gas to get to and from class!

Student Loans

Many students get loans through the federal government and can take out up to $5,500 as freshman. After that private lenders are a popular option, like PCU. Student loans at PCU offer competitive rates to our members and benefits like .25% interest rate reduction when you enroll in automatic payments. You can apply online and receive quick approval, so you can have peace of kind that your education will be covered.

If you need help covering the cost of college PCU is here to help. Our student loans are a great option for any student or you can meet with one of our financial advisors to see what will best meet your needs.

 

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The Best Budget for You5/25/2018

Making and sticking to a budget is one of the most important steps to taking control of your finances and achieving your goals, but many Americans can’t stick with it. Help yourself succeed by choosing a budget that fits your lifestyle! 

Zero-Sum Budgeting

First, take all your available income and decide in advance where you want to spend it. Your categories can be as broad or granular as you’d like. Once you have your categories figured out you’ll set a budget for each category. At the end, your income minus planned expenses should equal zero. If you have income that’s unaccounted for you can increase the budget of a category, like adding it to savings.

Cash Only Budget

First, figure out what transactions you will pay for online, like automated bills or credit card payments. Then, plan on paying for everything else with cash. You’ll withdraw cash and sub-divide it into main spending categories, like dining out, gas, groceries or other regular expenses. Write each category on an envelope and keep your cash there. You’ll be able to see how much you have left after each purchase!

Reverse Budgeting

With this budget there are three categories: fixed expenses, savings goals, and everything else. First calculate how much you will need for fixed expenses, like rent and utilities, and future savings goals. Then you can either automate paying all fixed expenses and future savings goals, or put the money required for those expenses in a separate checking account. Then you’re free to spend the rest as you like!

Survival Budget

This is great for people who are struggling to make ends meet or have never had a budget. First, figure out where your money is going. You can use a banking or budget app or create a spreadsheet. Then you’ll split your expenses into two categories: Must Haves and Everything Else. Then you’ll try and cut areas of everything else to save money, find ways to cut down on existing bills, or get rid of Must Haves that aren’t really must-haves, like cable TV.

Incremental Improvement Budgeting

If you have good habits overall but want to improve here and there, this is a good budget for you. First, figure out how you spend your money, then assess which categories you spend the most on. Once you have that area identified, you’ll take these three action steps: figure out a way to control spending for that category, establish a way to measure spending, and decide where you want the money you’re saving to go. Putting a named goal to the savings will make you more likely to control and measure spending in that category.

Once you have the best budget for your lifestyle chosen, it will be easier to stick to a budget and achieve your goals! No matter what your goals are, PCU can help you get there. We have several savings or investment account options! Talk to one of our financial advisors to find the tools to best fit you and your family’s needs!

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Can You Afford Your Dream Vacation?5/22/2018

Everyone deserves a great vacation occasionally, but it’s no secret that traveling is not cheap. Do you know how much it costs to travel to popular vacation destinations? Keep reading to see what it costs to have a dream vacation, and how you can afford it.

A Tropical Vacation

If you dream of relaxing on a warm beach and crystal-clear water, then a resort in the Caribbean is for you. Jamaica is a popular vacation spot, but a vacation in this beach paradise will cost you. A seven-night stay for two adults at the Sandals Montego Bay resort will cost $3,451.00. The good news is that Sandals, like many resorts in the Caribbean are all inclusive, so all your food and drink is included, and you’re just steps from the white sand beach.

How You Can Afford It Now: Groupon always has deals on all-inclusive Caribbean resorts. Keep an eye on the ever-rotating deals! Right now, you could stay in Montego Bay, Jamaica starting at $599 a person!

A European Vacation

Europe is a large continent, and prices will vary greatly depending on your destination. Eastern Europe, like the Czech Republic, will be much cheaper to visit than places like London or Paris. Rome is one of the most popular destinations in Europe. Flights to Rome for this summer start at $785 a person from New York City, and a four-star hotel in the city center will run around $1,000 for a seven-night stay.

How You Can Afford It Now: Backpacking through Europe is a great way to see several historic cities and sites, and perfect for adventure seekers. This cheaper alternative will have you staying in hostels, but you’ll be more likely to make friends and meet locals!

A U.S. Vacation

You don’t have to go abroad to have a great vacation. There is plenty to see and do in the continental U.S., from the hustle and bustle of cities like L.A. or Miami, to hundreds of national parks. One of the top places to visit in the U.S. is San Francisco, but as one of the most expensive cities in the U.S., the average hotel is $397 a night. You could also rent a car to get around, and to visit the nearby Big Sur and picturesque Highway 1.

How You Can Afford It Now: Stay closer to home! Take a vacation to Philadelphia, the second-best place to visit in the U.S. You can see many historic sites, eat great food, and experience local art like The Magic Gardens. If you have your heart set on going further, the train is still a great option to travel the U.S. — Amtrak has several budget-friendly options!

No matter what your budget, or where your dream vacation is, PCU can help you get there! If you want to take off this summer, we have personal loans, up to $30,000, with competitive rates and flexible terms to fit your lifestyle. Make your dream vacation a reality with a loan from PCU!

 

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Stress Less: Five Tips to Take the Stress out of Finances4/26/2018

For many Americans, money can be of the biggest causes of stress. Since April is Stress Awareness Month, we’re sharing five tips for ways you can take the stress out of your financial planning.

  1. Don’t Ignore the Issue Pretending there is not a problem will only make things worse. When you recognize money is a source of stress, you can talk about it or write down your feelings, which can be the first steps to resolving the issue. After all, you can’t fix a problem if you haven’t acknowledged it.
     
  2. Get the Facts Equip yourself with information on the issue. Often time stress can come from a lack of knowledge on the problem or bad information. If you have student loans that are causing stress, learn how much you owe exactly and the different repayment options available to you. Whatever your source of financial woes, learning more about the problem can help you feel like you are in charge of the situation.
     
  3. Make a Budget Making a budget goes hand in hand with getting the facts! A budget can help you better understand where your money is going and plan where you need it to go. A budget is just a spending plan that will help you get control of your finances.
     
  4. Take Action Making a budget is a great first step in your action plan, but then you’ll need to stick to it! Create a list of goals and write them down to create a financial action plan. You can use our online calculators to help you determine what your goals are or download a mobile app to help you stay on track.
     
  5. Look on the Bright Side It may seem useless at times but staying positive has a huge impact on your stress. Instead of focusing on what you don’t want to happen, envision achieving your goals, which studies have shown can make your goals seem more attainable. You can also stay on the bright side by taking time to do things for yourself, like meditating, going for a relaxing walk, or watching a favorite movie or TV show.

Following these five steps will help ease financial stress. If you need help consolidating debt, paying your school, or starting a savings plan, we can help you get there. Become financially Zen!

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The Best Home Upgrades to Increase Your Home Value4/14/2018

One of the biggest investments you will ever make is the purchase of a home. You want to make the most of your investment, so consider one of these home projects to add value to your home!

Exterior Projects that Add Value
If you’re planning on selling your home, your home exterior is the first thing people see. So, it’s no surprise that exterior projects have some of the highest returns on investment. Some of the most popular exterior projects include:

  • Total Roof Replacement — The roof can account for up to 40% of your home’s curb appeal, and a new roof will help keep your house safe, warm, and dry. Prices can vary from around 5,000 and up but the return on investment was 105%!
     
  • New Windows — New windows not only update your home’s look but increase its energy efficiency, cutting down on heating and cooling costs. The price of new windows can vary greatly but in 2015 the average cost was between $11,100 and $17,400; however the return on investment could be as high as 73%!
     
  • Replace the Garage Door — This project only needs to be done if your garage door is especially old, beat-up, or highly visible from the outside. The national average cost for this project is only $1,500 and saw an 83% return!

Interior Projects Increase Your Home Value
Interior projects are great, even if you’re not thinking of selling your home. Updating your home’s interior can make it more functional and inviting for your own family. Choose interior projects that give you the most bang for your buck and increase the value of your home like these!

  • Complete a Minor Kitchen Remodel — According to Remodeling Magazine, a minor kitchen remodel includes replacing cabinet fronts and new hardware; new energy efficient appliances, upgrading countertops, sink and faucet; and repainting and replacing flooring. This will run you about $18,000 on average but you’ll see an 82% return!
     
  •  Bathroom Remodel — A nice bathroom can add a ton of value to your home and increase your happiness if you have a beautiful and serene escape! The average bathroom remodel cost $16,000 but saw a 74% return on investment.
     
  • Add Square Footage —Any additional square footage will increase value, but the most popular is a two-story addition including a family room, bedroom and bathroom. This renovation clocks in around $155,000. Just make sure you get the right permits and work with professionals to take advantage of the 71% return on value!

How to Pay for Your Home Improvements
When updates can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars, how do you find the money to pay for these remodeling projects? Take advantage of the equity already in your home with a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)! You can finance your home renovation, pay for college, pay down high interest debts or anything else because a HELOC is a revolving form of credit that uses your home as collateral. You can draw out money as you see fit for any projects you’d like for 10 years! Contact us today to learn more about HELOC and how it can help you!

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Are You Prepared for a Rainy Day: How to Build an Emergency Fund4/6/2018

What is an Emergency Fund?
An emergency fund is a savings account that is there for a rainy day. It can help you cover major unexpected expenses like car repairs, medical bills, and even unemployment. You need an emergency fund because it provides a buffer in situations that may otherwise have you take out high interest loans or increase your credit card debt. If you already have those kinds of obligations, or don’t have any savings at all, an emergency fund is essential to your financial health!

How Much Should I Have in my Emergency Fund?
The general rule of thumb is to have enough to cover three to six months of expenses. To calculate how much this would be, track your spending for one month to see about how much you should put away. Once you have your goal, you can start small. Even having a few hundred dollars can get you out of sticky situations.

How Do I Start Saving?
Once you’ve tracked your monthly expenses, set a savings goal and write it down. Then stick to it. Automating savings will help you put money away before you can spend it. Some employers offer an option to put a percentage of your paycheck into a savings account. If this is an option, putting away even 5-10% of every paycheck can add up quickly.

Where Should I Keep my Emergency Fund?
Your emergency fund should be kept somewhere it can be easily accessed. It should not need to be liquidated or moved around before you access them because emergencies are unexpected — you won’t want to wait for the payout. Consider a savings account with a high yield, an account that automates savings, like a free Kasasa Saver account, or a Lucky Savers account where you are entered to win money every time you deposit $25! If you have any questions about setting up a savings account or the types of accounts available to you, don’t hesitate to contact us at 800-438-7415 or palisadesfcu.org. We are here to help you.

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Put All Your Eggs in One Basket3/23/2018

Did you know that one in three Americans has nothing saved for retirement? While it is better to start saving for retirement sooner rather than later, it is never too late to start saving. The best way to begin saving for your retirement is through an Individual Retirement Account or IRA.

What is an IRA?
An IRA account is a savings account that has several large tax breaks, which makes it an ideal way to save for retirement. IRAs are often mistaken for an investment, but this is not true. An IRA is the basket you keep all your retirement assets in. Two of the most popular types of IRA are traditional and Roth, and for both Roth and traditional IRA your money grows tax free. This means that you don’t have to pay taxes on income from interest, dividends, or capital gains that may compound.

What is the Difference Between a Traditional and Roth IRA?
The main difference is when you pay income taxes. With a traditional IRA you don’t pay taxes until you withdraw the money, which can be helpful if you are in a higher tax bracket now than you would be when you retire. In Roth IRAs you pay taxes when you put money in, but that means you don’t have to pay taxes when you take the money out. If you have a generous sum in your Roth IRA, this can save you lots of money!

How Much Can I Put Into an IRA?
The tax breaks on IRAs are only available because the government limits how much money you can put into an IRA annually. The amount changes with inflation but is currently $5,500 a year until you’re 50. Then you can contribute an extra $1,000 a year to “catch-up” if you need to. You don’t have to contribute your entire $5,500 to one IRA a year but can split the money between different IRAs. There is also no minimum to how much you need to put into your account each year.

How Much Money Will my IRA Earn?
How much your IRA will earn is extremely variable, depending on what type of IRA you have, when you open the account, what your annual contribution is, and your age of retirement among other factors. You can use financial calculators to help figure out exactly how much you could save. For example, if you open a Roth IRA when you’re 25 and make your maximum contribution of $5,500 the first year, even if you never make another contribution again, at the age of retirement of 65 your account would be worth $94,293. So, you can see, just opening an account and leaving it alone can yield a large amount of money for retirement.

If you’re ready to open an IRA use an IRA calculator or contact our financial advisors today to figure out what type of IRA makes the most sense for you.

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7 Smart Things to do With Your Tax Refund in 20183/15/2018

You may not look forward to doing your taxes, but you probably look forward to getting your tax refund. But before you start spending your refund on impulse buys, consider putting your refund to good use and ensuring your financial stability for the future. Here are seven smart things to do with your tax refund this year.

  1. Invest in Yourself
    Use your tax refund to learn a new skill that would help you get a raise at work, such as learning basic coding, earning a certification, or going back to school.
     
  2. Open an Investment Account
    If you don’t already have any investment accounts, or you need to diversify your portfolio, you can open accounts that will help you prepare for your future retirement or any other major life change, like a new home or a baby. We have financial advisors you can meet with at no cost or obligation to help you decide if stocks & bonds, mutual funds, or something else would be best for your needs!
     
  3. Make Extra Mortgage Payment
    Making an extra payment on your mortgage can save you money in the long run. Since most of your mortgage payments go towards paying interest, making an extra payment that goes towards your principal amount means you will owe less in the future.
     
  4. Add to Your Emergency Fund
    Most Americans don not have enough money saved up for an emergency or unexpected cost, like a job loss or a flooded basement. It is recommended to have enough money in your emergency fund to cover the cost of three months of living. Putting your tax return to use here can give you peace of mind!
     
  5. Get Out of Debt
    If you have credit card debt or any other debts with a high interest rate, use your refund to pay off some, or all, of that debt. You will save yourself hundreds or even thousands of dollars in interest!
     
  6. Open a Retirement Account
    One in three Americans doesn’t have anything saved for retirement. It’s best to start saving for retirement as soon as you start working full-time, but it’s never too late to start! Opening an IRA and making automatic payments has tax benefits and is part of a healthy retirement fund.
     
  7. Put it Toward Your Next Big Purchase
    If there’s something looming in your future, set the money aside now so you don’t dip into your emergency fund to make it happen. Your tax refund could go toward a new car, paying for a wedding, or your child’s college tuition.

While none of these may seem as fun as a vacation or new piece of expensive technology, you will be thanking yourself in the long run for making good financial choices and saving your future-self money!

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Create and Stick to a Wedding Budget3/6/2018

Spring brings new life, beautiful blooms — and the start of wedding season! Warmer months are the most popular time of the year to get married, and the average wedding cost $35,329 in 2016. You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to have your dream wedding, but you should be prepared no matter what your budget is. Before you start picking out colors and venues, here are our tips to help you create and stay on budget for your big day!

Create a Wedding Budget
The first thing you need to do is establish a wedding budget that both you and your partner are comfortable with. There are plenty of resources to help you plan what you want at your wedding, and how much those things will cost. 

Break Your Savings Goal Down
Once you have a budget you should choose a date and create a timeline. This will help you know how long you have to save, and how much you will need to save each month to reach that goal. You can use a savings calculator to help understand what your monthly contribution would need to be to reach your goal. If the monthly contribution is too high for you to reasonably meet, you may need to adjust your timeline. 

Decide Where to Keep Your Wedding Savings
Once you have your budget and monthly contributions set, open a joint account that has a high-yield and allows you to have cash on hand for deposits and other wedding expenses. A free Kasasa Saver account offers a high rate and connects to your Kasasa Checking Account to make saving easier. You should also discuss spending from this account — will you both need to agree before spending anything or only above a certain amount? 

Automate Your Wedding Savings
The best way to make sure you meet your goals for your wedding budget is to automate your savings. Setting up automatic transfers to your savings account on payday means you don’t have to think about it, and the money doesn’t accidentally get spent on something else. You can also enroll in online banking, which has budget tools, transaction search features, and easy transfers to help you stay on track!
 

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Choose Credit Unions2/9/2018

You may have heard that last month, one of the big banks announced they will no longer offer free checking for customers with low balances. This decision prompted many people to look for alternative ways to bank. Credit Unions, like Palisades CU, are a great option for people who are worried about being charged to bank at big banks or want to bank with people that know and care about them. So, what is a credit union and what advantages do they offer?

A credit union is a non-profit that exists to serve their members. Members are the people who bank at the credit union and are part owners of the institution. To be a member of a credit union you usually must meet some requirements, though they are usually not very strict. For example, to bank with Palisades CU you have to live, work, worship, go to school or volunteer in Rockland or Bergen counties or are a New York State employee who works in the five New York City Boroughs.

Credit Unions offer all the same services as a big bank, like checking and savings accounts, loans, and a wide array of other financial services. Credit unions offer lots of advantages over traditional, big banks. Because credit unions are a non-profit organization they do not have to pay federal income taxes. This means the savings are passed on to you through lower rates and fewer fees. The needs of their members are put first, and at Palisades CU our main focus is our members and the local community.

There are lots of other reasons to bank with a credit union. If you’re ready to choose a credit union, contact us today to open an account!

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Valentine's on a Dime2/3/2018

Flowers. Chocolate. Dinner and a movie?! Expectations may be high on Valentine’s day but that doesn’t mean the bill has to be too! Here are some ideas for any budget to make this a Valentine’s Day to remember.

No Money
You can have a great date without spending any money! You can have a romantic dinner at home, with a meal you prepared and drinks you may already have. Use old twinkle Christmas lights for decoration and cozy up on the couch with a free on-demand movie after. If you are crafty you can try making a DIY gift, or just a heart-felt handwritten card will make your sweetheart smile.
 

$50.00 or less
You can find great deals on activities and classes on sites like Groupon and living Social. Try a new activity like a fencing or dancing class. If you act fast you may be able to get limited deals on higher budget items like massages! If you’d like to do something low-key, you could also grab a slice of pizza and go to a local brewery to get a tour and sample their beer afterwards!
 

$100.00 or less
Check out local restaurants for a prix-fixe menu. Some restaurants have great three or even four course meals for a discounted price on valentine’s Day. Just make sure you call ahead to get a reservation! You could also get a great gift for your significant other using the Love to Shop Perks, where you get cash back on purchases at over 1,500 online retailers.

No matter what your budget is you can have a great Valentine’s Day without breaking the bank or ruining your budget!

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Get Organized with Palisades CU1/17/2018

This year Palisades CU can help you get — and stay — organized! Our online and mobile banking system was designed for people that are always on the go, like you! If you enroll in online banking you will you have less errands to run, less paper cluttering your house, and fewer due dates to remember every month. If you’re ready to have peace of mind when it comes to your finances read more about how online banking and all the services it comes with was made for you!

  1. E-Statements
    If you find yourself buried in a pile of paper statements every month, you can enroll in our e-statements. E-statements have plenty of benefits over paper statements. You can also create budgets, set goals and see real time account balances online! They can help keep your home free of clutter, are more easily searchable with the search function on computers, and they’re also good for the environment!
     
  2. Online Bill Pay
    When you enroll in e-statements, it makes sense to enroll in online bill pay at the same time. When you enroll you’ll be able to pay your bills all from one place, so no more visiting multiple websites or post office trips. This cuts down on the paper statements around your house, keeping track of check books, stamps and envelopes, or remembering to call to pay your bills on their due date every month.
     
  3. Automate Paying Your Bills
    Take your organization one-step further and set-up automatic monthly payments. No more paper statements, no more remembering to schedule your payment, no more penalties! You can have total peace of mind knowing your bills are paid on time every month, with no extra effort on your part. Just set it up once and you’re done!

Have you registered for online banking yet? If not, what are you waiting for? Go to our website and click ‘sign-up for online banking’ right from our homepage to get started!

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10 Ways to Make Your Resolutions Stick1/6/2018

Did you know only 8% of Americans achieve their New Years resolutions? While 40% of Americans make resolutions on January 1st, very few actually stick to them. There are many reasons why resolutions may fail, like they’re too lofty or not being specific. Sometimes 12 months is just too daunting! If you want to be one of the 8% who achieve their goals, here are 10 tips to make your resolution stick this year.

  1. Write it Down
    You’re 42% more likely to achieve a goal if you write it down.
     
  2. Start Small
    Instead of 7 days a week at the gym, start with three or four.
     
  3. Break it Down
    Break your goal down into monthly goals with progress checks so they seem more manageable.
     
  4. Be Specific
    It’s easier to save more money from your paycheck when you have a specific amount you’ve set.
     
  5. Be Accountable
    Hold yourself accountable, or get your family, friends and online community to help and encourage you.
     
  6. Take Responsibility for Your Actions
    Support helps, but ultimately it is up to you! Take responsibility for your actions, do the work and don’t give up on yourself.
     
  7. Talk About Your Resolutions
    Sharing your goals and your progress with others makes you more accountable (see number 5!)
     
  8. Change One Behavior at a Time
    Making too many changes at once makes them harder to stick to, and easier to be discouraged.
     
  9. Reward Yourself for Meeting Smaller Goals
    If you want to run a marathon, reward yourself after your first 5k, 10k, and half marathon!
     
  10. Don’t Beat Yourself Up
    If you make a mistake forgive yourself and start over, slip-ups happen.

If any of your 2018 resolutions are to save money, invest, or pay off debt, PCU is here to help you! You can open a savings account, learn more about investing and options that make sense for you and your family with our financial advisors or we can help you consolidate your student loans to pay them off sooner! Big or small, we can help you achieve any of your goals this year!

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Four Financial Resolutions to Try This Year1/2/2018

Many people think of the New Year as a time to get in shape, but have you ever considered getting your wallet into shape? With the fresh start of a new year, now could be a great time for you to tackle some new resolutions that can help your finances and secure your future! Here are four attainable financial resolutions for you to try in 2018.

  1. Develop an Organization Plan to Stay on Top of Your Finances
    The first step to getting on top of your finances is knowing when, where, and what you spend money on. To do this you have to have an organization system. There are apps for this, you could use a spreadsheet, or make it part of your bullet journal. The important thing is you find an organizational process that works for you so you stick with it.
     
  2. Commit to No-Spend Days
    No-spend days are exactly what they sound like, a day where you spend 0 dollars. Committing to no-spend days once a month or week can help you better understand all the little purchases you make in a day, like bottled water or to-go coffee. Then you can plan ahead so you don’t spend and save some money on your no-spend days too!
     
  3. Fast-track Debt Pay-off Goals
    Instead of saying you will pay off all your debt this year (a lofty goal) instead aim to just increase your payments on a debt pay-off goal you already have in place. Whether you have credit card debt or student loans, just contributing 50 extra dollars a month can make a big difference in how quickly you reach your goals!
     
  4. Check Your Statements Regularly
    Do you know how much is in your account at any given time, or what your credit card balance is at the end of every week? If you’re not checking your statements regularly you could be hurting your chances at financial goal success. If you operate under the “as long as my card isn’t declined I’m good” system, make your 2018 resolution to check your accounts daily. Our mobile banking app makes it easier than ever!

No matter what your financial resolution is for 2018, PCU is here to help you! If you want some help in learning more about investing and options that make sense for you and your family you can talk to one of our financial advisors or we can help you consolidate your student loans to pay them off sooner! Big or small, we can help you achieve any of your goals this year!

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Savings Tips for 40s, 50s and 60s12/27/2017

Our last blog focused on savings in your 20’s and 30’s. This week were giving you some tips on how to save in your 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. Your life can change a lot in these decades, but saving is just as important now as it was earlier in life, and it’s time to get serious about saving for retirement. Read on to see our simple tips to help you save and plan for your future.

In Your 40’s

  • Eliminate debt. If you have any debt, like credit card debt, medical bills, or college loans you should work to pay these off so that you can channel more energy into saving for retirement and other savings goals.
  • Get the most out of your credit card by using it and paying it off every month, while taking advantage of cash back or points for vacations (if you weren’t doing this already).
  • Make sure you have enough insurance for a disaster. You should have enough medical, home, auto and life insurance that your family will be taken care of in an accident or death.

In Your 50’s

  • Map your retirement strategy by looking to see how much you will need in retirement and where you are now. You will be able to see any gaps in your savings and better stick to your plan.
  • Save any extra moneylike holiday bonuses. The most successful savers at this age also saved any raises and banner commissions for their future.
  • Make catch-up contributions on your 401(k). Once you are 50 or over you can add an extra-untaxed 6,000 dollars a year to your 401(k) to help for retirement.

In Your 60’s

  • Pay off your mortgage, if it is possible for you to do so. The people who retire with no debt stress less, so while you’re still working refinance your home or make an extra payment or two in the year to help pay down this debt.
  • Downsize your lifestyle by taking a look at what you really do and don’t need, such as a multi-bedroom house or second car if all your kids have moved out.
  • Make a budget and stick to it! Much like your 20’s you’ll want to make and stick to a budget so that you don’t outlive your money. Seeking the help of a financial planner now will greatly help you plan for the rest of your retirement.

No matter where you are on your savings journey, seeking the advice and counsel of a financial advisor can help you get, or stay, on the right track. Even if you just have a question about any of these tips we can help. Come see one of PCU’s great financial advisors today!

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Savings Tips for People in their 20s and 30s12/21/2017

Saving money is an important step to take to plan for your future and to be financially secure in life. But did you know, the way you save in your 20’s and our 60’s could look completely different? The one thing that will remain the same through out the years is the importance of saving! So no matter where you are in life, it’s never too soon to start your savings journey. Here is the first of two blogs on saving for any age, with some tips to help you start saving.

In Your 20’s

  • Establish, and stick to, a budget. Ideally 50% of your income will go towards non-negotiable items like rent and groceries, 30% towards savings, and 20% towards fun expenses like eating out.
  • Open a 401(k), especially if one with fund-matching is offered at your job. If you start an IRA now, even if you don’t touch it, that money will grow and put you on the right track later in life.
  • Start an emergency fund. Start by saving at least three months worth of expenses for a good sized emergency fund you can rely on in case of medical mishap or unemployment.

In Your 30’s

  • Open an investment account and work with a financial advisor, like the ones at Palisades CU. Investment funds are one of the effective ways to build wealth and opening one now will prepare you for your future, no matter what your goal.
  • Increase your 401(k) contribution or open another retirement account, such as a Roth IRA.
  • Plan for your other savings goals, whether they be buying a home, college for your kids, vacations, or something else. Retirement should always be on the table when saving but you’ll want to plan for those other big expenses as well.

No matter where you are on your savings journey, seeking the advice and counsel of a financial advisor can help you get, or stay, on the right track. Even if you just have a question about any of these tips we can help. Come see one of Palisades CU’s great financial advisors! Stay tuned for our next blog which will focus on saving in your 40’s, 50’s and 60’s!

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Buying A Car For The Holidays?12/11/2017

Many people purchase cars for the holidays for a variety of reasons. Some people give cars as gifts to loved ones and others just take advantage of all the sales and end of year pricing happening on car lots at this time of year. If you are purchasing car this holiday season you’ll want to make sure you walk in prepared to get the best deal, so we’ve put together a list of tips to help you buy a car this holiday season.

  1. Get Pre-Approved
    Dealerships will have their own financing options, but it may not be the best option for you or they not even offer the lowest APR (annual percentages rate). By getting pre-approved by an institution like Palisades Credit Union you will know exactly how much you can afford, and we may be more willing to work with you if you have a lower credit score than a dealership.
     
  2. Do Your Research
    Before you get to the dealership know what kind of car you want, and what features. If you walk on to the lot without an idea of what you want, or don’t want in a car you may end up paying more than you can easily afford, or be talked into buying a lot of features you won’t use. Being prepared will help you stick to your budget.
     
  3. Compare Prices and Warranties
    Once you have a car picked out, don’t just go with the first price you see. You should email or call three dealerships that have the car you want in stock and ask for the total sales price. You can compare these prices and go with the best one, or if you want to, see if your preferred dealer will match the lowest quoted price.  You should also try and choose the dealership that offers the best warranty, and can use the same tactic for getting the lowest price to get a better warranty.

If you do have any questions about financing a new car this holiday season or what you can afford, we’re here to help you. You can come talk to us in person at any of our branch locations, or take advantage of our online auto loan application and get pre-approved for an auto-loan!

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Money Saving Tips for the Holidays11/17/2017

The holidays are a great time to reconnect with friends and family, enjoy time together and are generally considered a time of cheer and good tidings. But for some the holidays can be stressful, due to the amount of money spent around the holidays. The National Retail Federation predicts Americans will spend over 670 million around the holidays in 2017, and in 2016 the average American spent $929 on gifts. Don’t let the spirit of giving get the best of you and your finances. Here are six ways to help you save money on gifts and other expenses this holiday season.

 

  1. Make and Stick to a Budget
    Before you make a list of who you need to buy gifts for, make a budget. Then you can go in and see how much you can afford to spend per person on your list, or shorten your list of gift recipients if you need to. Once you’ve set a dollar amount for each person it’s important to stick to that amount to stay on track.

 

  1. Start Early
    While the official holiday shopping season typically starts on Black Friday, you can begin looking for presents year-round. Even by starting a few weeks early like in October, you will have the opportunity to spend over a longer period and avoid last minute costs like shipping fees or high prices for popular gifts.

 

  1. Make DIY presents
    If you have a special skill or talent that can be a great source of gifts. You can babysit for your friends, teach them how to make your signature dish if you’re a great cook, or take family portraits if you’re a photographer. If you’re crafty you can make gifts like jewelry or a hand knit hat.

 

  1. Pay Cash
    Paying in cash is an easy way to see how much money you are spending and help you stick to that initial budget. It’s also easier to skip those small purchases like a hot chocolate at the mall when you shell out cash instead of swiping your debit or credit card.

 

  1. Create a Gift Exchange for Large Families
    For large families it is costly and impractical to buy a gift for everyone. Instead you can do a White Santa gift exchange or draw names out a hat to see who everyone will buy a gift for. You can also set a budget. Even if the budget is 50 dollars or more, buying one gift at that price instead of smaller gifts for every cousin is still more cost effective.

 

  1. Take Advantage of Love to Shop Rewards
    One of the Palisades Perks you have as a member as a Palisades Credit Union member is access to Love to Shop Rewards. Just register for a Love to Shop account and earn cash back from hundreds of online retailers like Target, Neiman Marcus, The Home Depot and more when you pay with your credit union debit or credit card.
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Start Saving Young11/15/2017

Saving money is an important step to building wealth and having financial security in your future, and it’s never too soon to start teaching your kids good saving habits. Building good habits when they’re young can help ensure your child’s future and will enable them to make sound decisions with their money when they go to college or leave the home. You have a huge part in helping shape these habits, and it’s never too soon to start! Use these six tips to help your kids start building good saving habits now.

  1. Set a Good Example
    You are your kids first example of how to spend and save money. You can have a jar that you put small bills into in a place that your child can easily see, and even make a point of putting money into your savings jar when they are watching. This shows your child that saving is normal and easy to do.

 

  1. Start a Conversation
    Just talking to your kids about how they spend their money can encourage them to save. For younger kids you can ask them about a toy or other item they would like to buy and how savings can help them reach that goal. For older kids you can introduce the idea of interest. The example of doubling pennies everyday can turn into 10 million dollars by day 31.

 

  1. Use See-Through Jars
    A clear jar makes savings visible and accessible for kids. If you provide your child with an allowance give it to them in denominations that encourage savings. For example, if your child gets five dollars a week give it to them in one-dollar bills, that way the money can be split into different jars instead of being spent at once.

 

  1. Look for Good Deals With Them
    You can help your child understand more about money, spending and savings by encouraging them to compare prices or wait for sales to happen. If there is a game or book your child wants at the store you can help them search online for lower priced options. Or you can have your child help you at the grocery store by clipping coupons or comparing prices in the aisle.

 

  1. Open a Youth Account for Them
    Once your child has started to think about saving or has filled a jar or piggy bank at home, it is time to open a savings account for them. Before you open the account have them count the money they already have saved at home, so they know how much they will deposit. Then they can open a savings account with you at your local credit union. At PCU all you need to start a youth account is 5 dollars!
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Now is the Time to Buy a New Home11/13/2017

Winter is not a popular time to move. In fact, most Americans move between May and September. While the idea of moving in the cold months and possibly having to deal with adverse weather conditions may not be appealing, moving during the winter can save you lots of money. Read on to see the three ways starting your new home search now can save you!

  1. Less Competition
    Because so few people want to face the cold and potential snow to move between November and February, there is less competition for everything you need to move. Asking neighbors and friends for their old boxes and packing supplies can be a cost save, and during the winter there will be less people clamoring over these items. There will also be less competition to hire a mover, which means you can get your first choice. And there will be less competition when you put an offer. This can limit the potential of multiple offers, bidding wars, and sellers will be more eager to work with you!
     
  2. Lower Prices
    It is well documented that homes are less expensive in the winter, with closings that happen in January proving to have the most bang for your buck. In 2014 the median price of homes during the summer was 220,000, but prices dropped to below 200,000 in January 2015.  Not only are homes typically priced lower in the winter months, but you can get discounts on movers too. Because less people are moving during winter you can get a deal on a mover, often get your first choice in company, date and van size, and you can sometimes make last minute reservations without penalty.
     
  3. Mortgage Rates May Change
    Mortgage rates don’t always change from year to year but there is always the chance that they will go up in the new year. Mortgage rates are still at historically low prices though, so you should lock in a rate now. PCU offers great rates on mortgages, and with our online application you can know how much you will be approved for quickly. Or you can come into one of our branch locations and talk to someone about your loan options in person. Our staff is ready to help you buy the home of your dreams this winter!
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Palisades CU Assumes Loans, Assets, and Shares10/30/2017

Palisades Credit Union Assumes Loans, Assets, and Shares

 

(Pearl River, NY) – The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) liquidated New York State Employees Federal Credit Union (NYSEFCU) on October 27, 2017. Palisades Credit Union immediately assumed most of New York State Employees Federal Credit Union’s assets and all member shares and loans.

The new Palisades Credit Union members should experience no interruption in services. Members’ accounts remain insured by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund. Administered by the NCUA, the Share Insurance Fund insures individual accounts up to $250,000, and member’s interest in all joint accounts combined is insured up to $250,000. The Share Insurance Fund separately protects IRA and KEOGH retirement accounts up to $250,000. The Share Insurance Fund has the backing of the full faith and credit of the United States.

At the time of liquidation and subsequent purchase by Palisades Credit Union, NYSEFCU served 1,183 members and had assets of approximately $2 million, according to the Credit Union’s most recent Call Report. Chartered in 1935, NYSEFCU served New York State Employees in NYC’s five boroughs.

About Palisades Credit Union

Palisades Credit Union is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1941 with a vision of building valued relationships through a lifetime of financial solutions. It operates three branches and provides a suite of full service banking products and services. Membership to Palisades Credit Union is open to anyone who lives, works, studies, volunteers, or worships in Rockland County, New York or Bergen County, New Jersey.

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New Terms for Home Loans if You Have Student Debt10/24/2017

For many millennials — over 80% in a recent survey — student debt has become a barrier to home ownership. Despite being in their prime years to buy their first home they expect to delay buying a home by seven years. Earlier this year however home lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac changed some of the requirements to debt-to-income (DTI) ratios. Fannie Mae raised the DTI ceiling from 45% to 50%, which may open the door to home-ownership for many new buyers.

To understand these changes, you must know what DTI means. Essentially your debt-to-income ratio compares your gross monthly income to your monthly payment on all debt accounts which can include student loans, car payments, and credit card debt. When applying for a mortgage your DTI will also include projected payments on the mortgage you are seeking. If your DTI was over 43%, which is the safe maximum for the federal “qualified mortgage,” you may have to pay down some of your other debts to be approved, or you would have trouble getting a mortgage loan.

While these changes may make home ownership more available, getting loans through the big mortgage names like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can still have drawbacks. One of these drawbacks can be that their credit score requirements can be more restrictive, so those with a mid FICO score of 600 can still be denied. The interest rates can also be higher at Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac compared to home loans offered at credit unions.

If you have student debt or think you may not be a traditional candidate for a mortgage, a credit union may be your best option. Traditionally credit unions have been much more willing to work with their members to get them into a home. Since credit unions are non-profit organizations they can offer loans at lower fees and with lower mortgage rates. Credit unions also tend to hold their mortgages instead of selling them to third-party servicers. This allows for more flexibility in DTI ratios, credit scores, or even incomes that are harder to verify like contractors or those that are self-employed. All of this means that for people who are not candidates for traditional mortgages with traditional institutions working with a credit union like Palisades Credit Union can help them realize their dream of being a home owner.

If you have questions about the changes to mortgage requirements, the debt-to-income ratio, or just how a credit union can help you with the mortgage process contact us today! We can help you and answer any questions you may have to help you buy your dream home.

Find more tips and information by following Palisades Credit Union! Connect with us on FacebookTwitterInstagram orLinkedIn.

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Dreams Thrive at Palisades CU10/17/2017

If you are like a majority of Americans banking and finances can be a confusing and even stressful topic. However, being financially literate is key to having a successful future and knowing you will be able to take care of you and your family’s needs.

One of the first steps in financial literacy is choosing a banking institution that will help you achieve your goals whether that be saving for a new home, buying a car, or retirement. A credit union like Palisades Credit Union, is different from a bank and can benefit you in a lot of ways.

With International Credit Union Day on October 19, we’d like to share with you how credit unions like Palisades CU, serve as catalysts to make different professions, personal choices and career paths real.

  1. Members Come First. Since credit unions are owned by the people they serve and each member has an account with the credit union, your financial security won’t be jeopardized to please stockholders. The board of directors at a credit union is elected by and from the credit union’s members and positions are voluntarily served. All of this means that any rules or changes made to credit union policy will benefit you, its member.
     
  2. Lower Fees. Most banks make money off fees like overdraft, ATM, and transfer fees. Credit unions can typically offer their members lower fess than banks since credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives. Since they are not operating for profit the savings can be passed on to its members by lessening, or in some cases eliminating, certain fees, saving you money.
     
  3. Better Interest Rates. Since credit unions are not trying to make a profit they can once again pass the savings on to you, in the form of lower interest rates for things like home and auto loans, and higher savings rates. An auto loan at Palisades Credit Union can be as low as 2.49% APR*. Compare that to the 2017 national average for an auto loan at 4.21% APR*!

These are just some of the ways banking with a credit union can benefit you. Other benefits could include increased knowledge about banking since credit unions have a desire to educate their members or credit unions willing to work with you if you have poor credit or were otherwise unable to qualify for a loan. If you have any questions about how a credit union could benefit you and your family contact Palisades Credit Union today! We can answer any questions you may have, and have been serving Rockland County residents since 1941 and today have over $150 million in assets and 11,000 members.

*APR=Annual Percentage Rate.

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Three Apps to Help Your Finances10/10/2017

Sticking to a budget is hard, but it is essential to plan for you and your family’s financial health and future. Thankfully there are dozens of mobile apps that can help you learn more about your spending habits and how to better take care of your finances available. Here’s a list of some of our favorite money apps available to smart phone users, so you can bank smart no matter where you are!

  1. Mint

Mint is one of the highest rated and most widely used money app for the tracking finances. Mint brings together your bank accounts, credit cards, bills and investments to one place for easy to find financial information. It also can show you where and how you spend money, ways you can save, and has bill pay. It is available in the App Store and Google Play.

  1. PocketGuard

PocketGuard connects to all your bank accounts so you can access everything in one place, including transactions and balance. It also tracks your spending so that you can see how much money you currently have and how much you’ve spent. Another great feature is that it will analyze your spending to see what reoccurring things you should plan for, and show charts where and how you spend your money so you can find places to cut back. PocketGuard is available on the App Store, Google Play and works with Apple Watch.

  1. Palisades FCU Mobile

The Palisades FCU mobile app is available to Palisades Credit Union members who have signed up for online banking (which you can do here), and puts Palisades CU right in your pocket so you can take control of your finances. In the app you have access to all your checking and savings accounts to check balances, you can deposit checks on the go, pay bills and transfer money from account to account. And with the latest update you can even apply for a credit card, personal or auto loan!

The Palisades FCU app is available on the App Store here, and is designed for iPad, iPhone and even has an Apple Watch App. If you’re an Android user you can get the Palisades FCU Mobile Banking App here. And if you do not have an Apple or Android product but have an internet enabled mobile device you can always bank online with Palisades FCU!

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Identity Theft and How To Protect Yourself9/11/2017

With data breaches becoming more frequent, it is important to understand how to protect yourself. Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information, without your permission, and pretends to be you to commit fraud. It can be hard to notice that you were a victim of identity theft until you review your reports or statements and see charges you didn't make, or are contacted by a debt collector about a debt you don't recognize. 

The CFPB recommends a few ways to ensure your personal information is safe.

Signs of fraud or identity theft:

  • Incorrect personal information on your credit report
  • Credit inquiries from companies you've never contacted
  • Money is missing from your bank account

There are also some free or inexpensive options that provide additional protection from identity theft:

  • Security Freeze: A security freeze on your credit report generally prevents new credit and accounts from being opened in your name.
  • Fraud Alerts: If you suspect fraud on your account, notify the creditor that you see the fraud on immediately and they will take additional steps to verify your identity first before opening credit in your name.
  • Identity Monitoring Services: Scan personally identifiable information in credit applications, public records, websites, and other places for any unsual activity that could be signs of identity theft. Typically available for a cost. 
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5 Ways To Save In College 9/11/2017

College is quite the expense and tuition is only one part of that. You also need to consider room and board, books, food, and more but don’t let that discourage you! There are plenty of ways to cut costs and save. Keep more money in your wallet by trying these five ways to save in college.

  1. Create A Budget

Creating a budget (and sticking to it!) can allow you to track expenses and see where you’re currently spending your money in order to identify areas you can improve on.

  1. Use Student Discounts

There are a number of businesses that offer student discounts. Students usually have access to discounted software and technology through their university. You can also save on insurance, cell phone plans, movie tickets, retail shops, restaurants, event tickets, and more.

  1. Student Housing

Housing is one of the largest expenses for people of all ages. Be sure to shop around and compare. Most student apartment complexes offer competitive rates and include paid utilities. They also tend to be on the school’s bus route. Look into student housing in your area.

  1. Rent, Don’t Buy Your Textbooks

Books are not cheap. You may spend upwards of $200 on a single book just to use it for one semester. Renting books can be a cost-effective option; use sites like Chegg, Bookrenter, and Amazon to check book availability and compare rental prices.

  1. Watch Out For Bank Fees

Small fees add up over time. According to one recent study, people spend $290 each year on average on bank fees. How can you save? Switch to a local credit union that offers free monthly checking accounts. Credit unions often offer better interest rates on loans and higher interest rates on savings accounts! Click here to learn more about the benefits of joining a credit union.

 

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Beat! Beep! 9/9/2017

Beat! Beep! Watch us beat your rate!

Beep! Beep! Is there a new car in your future? Finding the perfect vehicle can be a daunting task. Lots of questions come up about what style car are you looking for. What make of the car? What model? But the most common thought is: “how much money is this going to cost?”

It can be hard to make a clear-cut decision when a fast-talking car salesman has a hold of you. Palisades CU is here to help!   Whether it’s a new sports car or a reliable used car for family road trips, we have a wide range of loans and services to make this purchase stress free. Being able to have confidence when it comes to car buying can be achieved through us! You can get secure financing through us which can make going into a dealership to negotiate your price, a breeze!

Palisades CU is proud to offer super low auto loan rates. If you already have a loan on your existing vehicle, Beat Beep! Watch us beat your rate! Refinancing your auto loan may be able to save you a significant amount of money each month and may even lower your monthly payment.

Here is a simple example of how much you can save:

Auto Loan Savings Comparison

 

Why pay more in interest than you have to? A lower interest rate on your auto loan can save you a significant amount of money. Interested in seeing how much you can save when we beat your current auto loan rate? Refinancing with us costs no money to apply so get started today by applying online!

 

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New ACH Rules9/6/2017

Beginning September 15, 2017, the National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA) is implementing a Same Day ACH debit program, enabling the same-day processing of virtually any ACH payment. Only international transactions (IATs) and high-value transactions above $25,000 will be excluded from same-day processing. 

ACH items are electronically transmitted debit or credit items that utilize your Palisades Credit Union routing and account number in order to post.

Palisades Credit Union is required to receive same-day ACH payments from payment processing companies. Overdraft fees could be incurred if the funds are not available in your account when the ACH payment is initiated. The best way to prepare is to ensure all funds are available before authorizing or initiating an ACH payment. 

Currently ACH payments take a few business days to process on an account. Please be prepared as Same Day ACH may cause bill payments to debit from accounts much faster. Please contact the merchant or company that the payment is being made through to inquire about their participation in Same Day ACH processing.

For example, you authorize the cable company to withdraw $100.00 for your monthly bill on a Thursday morning, but your account currently isn't actually debited until early Friday morning. With same-day ACH processing, your payment may be debited the same day as your authorization. 

To stay on top of your account we offer 24/7 Online Banking. We also offer our companion Mobile App to access your account on the go: Anytime, Anywhere. For more information please visit, palisadesfcu.org/OnlineBanking.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Wrap Up Summer With Rewards8/28/2017

Wrap Up Summer With Rewards

If you’re looking for a credit card with great benefits, check out our Platinum Rewards MasterCard! Enjoy flexible reward options, security controls, and low rates and fees! Our Platinum Rewards MasterCard has many features that will make you want to pull this card from your wallet first including:

  • No Annual Fee
  • Zero Fraud Liability
  • Price Protection
  • 24/7 Fraud Protection Services
  • Extended Warranty Coverage
  • Mastercard ID Theft Protection
  • Mastercard Global Service
  • Baggage Delay Insurance
  • Trip Cancellation / Trip Interruption
  • Auto Rental Collision
  • Travel Accident Insurance

The Palisades Credit Union Platinum Rewards MasterCard credit card is for anyone who likes paying less but getting more! That’s because our Platinum Rewards MasterCard offers more benefits and more rewards! Almost every card swipe and online purchase earns reward points you can redeem for something special. Points add up fast and can be redeemed for a variety of items such as travel, merchandise, gift cards and cash back on your statements.

Life Just Got More Rewarding

Spend $3,000 on qualifying purchases in the first 90 days and earn an extra 30,000 bonus reward points! Ready to get started? Apply online for your new Palisades Credit Union Platinum Rewards MasterCard today or stop by a local branch for more information.

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Beware: Charging Your Phone In Public May Not Be Safe!8/16/2017

Beware: Charging Your Phone In Public May Not Be Safe!

If you’re like most people, you use your smart phone for everything, everyday! Even if it’s just there in case of emergencies having a charged cellphone can provide a serious sense of security. That’s why when the battery meter starts to tick down, a cold sense of panic rises in your stomach.

Many public places have begun to adapt to this change, and provide USB ports in addition to electrical outlets. Sadly, this wonderful public good has become a playground for thieves. Scammers have hooked tiny computers into some of those ports. When you plug your phone in, they can install malicious programs on your phone. These programs report back personally identifiable information that thieves use to commit identity theft. Alternately, thieves can use the connection to your phone to look through your phone’s contents, stealing browser history data — including passwords. It’s called “Juice Jacking,” and it can take as little as three minutes for them to break your phone wide open.

It’s a phenomenon so new, even security experts are getting suckered. At a recent digital security conference, one security firm ran an experiment by offering public charging cables that anyone could use. Surprisingly, 80% of security experts at the conference used these cables without once inquiring about security!

Obviously, these scammers aren’t everywhere. They choose places where they can do the most damage — airports, coffee shops, shopping malls and other places where people hang out. If you’re at a place you trust, feel free to use the power. However, if you’re in a public place, watch out! Use these tips to stay safe and avoid Juice Jackers.

1. Carry (or borrow) a power plug

The easiest way to thwart the scam is to only plug your phone into electrical outlets. There’s no computer on the other side. Yes, it’s a hassle to carry one more thing, but it’s worth it to avoid compromising your personal information. Shop around to find a compact converter and keep it in your bag. If a power plug is a real hassle, only carry it when your phone is low on juice. In a pinch, you can also borrow a plug from a laptop user.

2. Pick up a battery

Consider carrying your power solutions with you. Advancements in battery technology have made them smaller and more efficient than ever. A battery pack the size of a pen can completely charge your smartphone. Slightly larger packs can provide several days’ worth of charge.

You can also keep a battery pack in your glove compartment. That way, you get the security of knowing you’ve got a charge when you need one without having to lug it around.

3. Conserve Power

The easiest way to avoid using a public charging station is not to need one in the first place. There are several things you can do to save your phone’s charge if it’s running low, like changing your wallpaper to all black. For slightly more savings, keep your apps updated. Running outdated software could be chewing up your battery life. Similarly, don’t enable auto-update. This can quickly drain data while also burning through battery life. Update apps manually when you’re connected to WiFi, or just disable automatic updates if your battery situation is dicey.

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Feeling Stuck In Your Auto Loan?8/11/2017

Feeling Stuck In Your Auto Loan? Refinance With Palisades CU!

With all the attention paid to refinancing home mortgages, refinancing your auto loan to a better rate may not have even crossed your mind! Just like with a home mortgage, refinancing your auto loan can lead to a lower monthly payment, a shorter term, or both! While the amount of money you can save depends on a variety of factors like how much you owe on your current loan and your credit score, it does not hurt to review your options.

Not sure if refinancing is right for you? Here are a few scenarios where refinancing makes sense.

  1. Your Credit Score Improves
    One of the biggest factors in determining your auto loan status is your credit score. When your lender is building a loan package, a credit report is pulled as a central part of that process. That number helps define your interest rate.

    It’s worth keeping a copy of the credit report your lender pulled. That can let you see if your credit score has improved. It can take as little as nine months of steady repayment to boost your credit score, and that could result in a cheaper loan if you refinance.

    If you didn’t have much experience with credit when you purchased your vehicle, refinancing can do you a world of good. Interest rates as high as 18% are common for borrowers who have little to no credit history. Having even a few months of solid payments on your side can cut that rate in half or more.
     
  2. You Didn’t Shop Around Before You Borrowed
    Many people feel railroaded throughout the car-buying process. They pick a car they like, then they are told what the price is, what the monthly payment is and everything else. It may seem like the choice of lenders for your car loan is predetermined.

    Dealers tend to have a smaller range of lenders with whom they work exclusively. Those lenders know they have limited exposure to competition, so they can charge slightly higher fees and interest rates. By doing your own comparison shopping, you can save quite a bit on both the loan and any ancillary insurances or warranties you may have purchased. Dealer rates tend to be 1 to 1.5% higher than those offered at smaller lenders, like credit unions.
  3. You Need To Change Your Monthly Payment
    You may be in a much better financial situation now than when you bought your car. You may have a better job or more security. You may have paid off credit card or other debt. All of these things free up how much you can pay per month.

    Most people don’t go into the refinancing process looking to increase their monthly payment, but you can save yourself money in the long term by committing to a faster repayment plan. If you can afford to pay more per month now, you can pay off the balance on your car faster. Shorter term loans usually also have lower interest rates, since the lender assumes less risk in making the loan. Once the car is paid off, you’ll have all that money to devote to other saving or spending priorities.

Ready to see how much you can save by refinancing your auto loan with Palisades Credit Union? Click here to get started!

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How to Pay for College7/31/2017

How To Pay For College When Financial Aid Isn’t Enough

While many types of federal student loans exist, freshman college students and their families often find that even the maximum loan amounts are not enough to pay for their education. For example, the average cost of attendance at a four-year public school for the 2015-2016 academic year was $19,548 and at a four-year private school, it’s $43,921— yet the most money first-year college students can borrow under the subsidized Federal Stafford Loan program is only $5,500!

What can college students do when financial aid isn’t enough to cover tuition and supplies? Consider a private student loan through a local credit union.

What’s The Difference Between Federal And Private Loans?

In the education world, colleges often refer to loans made directly by banks or credit unions as “private” or “alternative” loans in order to distinguish them from federal loans. Private loans can be used alone or to supplement federal loans.

Federal Loans

• Financial aid forms required
• Loan limits determined by grade level
• Schools must authorize the loan amount
• Funds are sent to the school
• Satisfactory Academic Progress required to receive additional loans
• Standard 10-year repayment term
• Restrictions on how loan may be used

Private Loans

• Financial aid forms not required
• Higher loan limits
• Faster application process
• Funds may be sent to borrower
• Longer repayment terms
• Repayment options
• Less restrictions on how loan may be used (as for a computer for college or transportation)

Applying For A Private Loan

Unlike most federal student loan options, you can apply for a private student loan at any time. At Palisades CU, we offer competitive student loan rates with many benefits including:

  • Competitive interest rates
  • Credit & Academic based underwriting
  • Cosigner Release
  • .25% interest rate reduction when you sign up for automatic payments
  • No origination fee for all student borrowers

Not only can we help finance upcoming education expenses, we can also help consolidate existing student loans. Contact us today to learn more or apply online now for quick approval!

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How Do Home Appraisals Affect Your Mortgage Loan?7/24/2017

How Do Home Appraisals Affect Your Mortgage Loan?

Financing your new home is a process with numerous steps and the home appraisal process is one that can be particularly confusing to first time home buyers. Here are some answers that you need to get you through one of the final—and most important—steps of the home buying process.

What Is a Home Appraisal?

A home appraisal is an unbiased report on the worth of a house in the fair market, performed by a trained and licensed individual. Home appraisals are done before closing so the homebuyer, the home seller and the mortgage lender receive the accurate and true value of the real estate in question. In most residential property transactions, you are able to choose your real estate agent and your lender, but you cannot choose your appraiser. Instead the appraiser must be chosen by your lender to provide a level of independence from the buyer and seller.

Can An Appraisal Affect Your Mortgage Loan?

Yes! When buying a home, your appraisal can play a role in determining if your lender will approve your loan. All lenders order an appraisal during the mortgage process to assess the home’s market value and make sure the borrower is not attempting to borrow more money than the house is worth. If your appraisal comes in below the purchase price of your home, you may need to pay the difference in cash, lower the purchase price, or get a second opinion.

What Do Appraisers Look For When Valuing A Home?

The goal of an appraisal is to determine the fair market value of a home, so anything that may raise or lower the price someone is willing to pay will be considered and factored into the report. Most often, an appraiser will look at the size and type of the home and property, the condition the home and property and the overall real estate market in the area. Any major flaws to the property, like a leaking roof or cracked foundation will also be noted.

What Does a Home Appraisal Cost and Who Pays For It?

While your lender will typically arrange for an appraisal, the buyer is ultimately responsible for the cost. Generally, appraisal fees range between $450 and $600, depending on the size and location of your property but don’t let this cost stop you from making offers! The home appraisal will only occur after your offer has been accepted by the seller and you have begun to work with a lender to finance your new home. You do not need to complete appraisals on every house you choose to bid on.

How Can You Save on the Appraisal Process?

Planning to purchase a new home? Now is the perfect time to apply for a Mortgage at Palisades CU. Complete an application from June 1, 2017 through July 31, 2017 to receive a free appraisal valued up to $600 when you purchase a home with us. Schedule an appointment today to speak with a Mortgage Loan Originator or simply apply online! For more details on the free appraisal offer click here.

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Ditch Your Bank, Join a Credit Union!7/19/2017

Ditch Your Bank, Join a Credit Union!

Tired of paying bank fees on everything from ATM withdrawals to monthly account maintenance? Want to be earning a better interest rate on your savings account? It might be time to consider switching to a credit union.

Why a Credit Union?

Whether it’s high fees, poor customer service, or long lines, people are fed up with banks! Since credit unions offer the same options as banks – checking accounts, home and auto loans, and even credit cards – they may seem very similar or even identical. However, the main difference between banks and credit unions is ownership. Banks are for-profit, usually public, and full of board members and shareholders. Credit unions are nonprofit, usually small and local, and run by member-owners who are usually unpaid and elected by vote.

While ownership and shareholders may not be on the top of your list of reasons to switch to a credit union, it matters! The operational costs that are saved by running a financial institution with a volunteer Board and no stockholders is passed back to the members of the credit union by providing better yields on savings accounts, competitive rates on loans, and fewer and lower fees charged to its members.

Making the Switch:

But before you go out and transfer your money to a credit union, check out these tips from the Credit Union National Association:

  • Compare credit union rates and fees to those of banks. The Credit Union National Association estimates that consumers annually save more than $6 billion in better rates and lower fees by using credit unions rather than banks.
  • Ask about free checking and debit. About 80 percent of credit unions still offer free checking, and more than 70 percent have debit card programs, typically with no fees, according to the Credit Union National Association.
  • Check if the credit union has all the products you are looking for. These days many credit unions offer most of the same services and products you'd find at a bank -- mortgages, credit cards, IRAs, home equity lines, even small business loans.
  • Consider the convenience factor. Credit unions have fewer branches, but today thousands of credit unions share their branch facilities, so that members of one credit union can use the shared branch networks of other credit unions. And today many credit unions are part of nationwide ATM networks.

About Palisades CU

At Palisades CU, we don’t have customers, we have members. That means we’re all in this together, and when one member does well, we all share the benefits. If you are interested in making the switch to a credit union, we encourage you to learn more about us and what we have to offer to Rockland County, New York and Bergen County, New Jersey residents!

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Missed the FAFSA deadline?7/17/2017

Missed the FASFA Deadline? You Still Have Options!

Paying for college can be overwhelming and if you are looking for financial aid to help pay for school, staying on top of all those deadlines can be even more so. Besides keeping track of college application deadlines, scholarship deadlines, and financial aid deadlines, you also need to keep track of the special requirements for each one. It can be difficult to keep it all straight when you have so much going on.

For most students, starting the financial aid process begins with completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online. FAFSA is a nationally used tool that helps determine what your family will be expected to contribute toward your education and how much you may be eligible to receive in loans.

It is imperative that you meet FAFSA and school deadlines for the best outcome. If your FAFSA is late, it could reduce or eliminate the amount of money you are eligible to receive from your school or federal loans. If this happens, you’ll have to investigate an alternative to Federal student loans. If you have not filled out the FAFSA by the deadline, don’t worry! You still have options. Read on to learn more.

Apply For a Private Loan

The deadline for federal financial aid is different from that of private loan applications. If you’ve missed the FAFSA deadline, you can apply for financial aid from a private institution, like a credit union. At Palisades CU, we offer competitive student loan rates with many benefits including:

  • Competitive interest rates
  • Credit & Academic based underwriting
  • 1% interest rate reduction based on payment history
  • Cosigner Release
  • .25% interest rate reduction when you sign up for automatic payments
  • No origination fee for all student borrowers

Not only can we help finance upcoming education expenses, we can also help consolidate existing student loans. Contact us today to learn more or apply online now for quick approval!

Apply For Year-Round Scholarships

There is a common misconception that scholarships are not available year-round but that’s not the case! You should always be on the lookout for scholarship opportunities, and note that deadlines run throughout the calendar year. Free online sites like College Raptor can help you find cost estimates, acceptance odds, and potential financial aid for schools around the US all year long.

Apply Again Next Year

If you missed the FASFA deadline this year, the worst-case scenario is you have to wait and apply again next year. Make sure you bookmark the date so you do not make the same mistake again next year. When the following January rolls around, take the stress off next year’s finances and make sure to beat the due date by getting in your application early.

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Student Loan Myths Busted!6/21/2017

Student Loan Myths Busted!

A recent LendEDU survey of more than 500 college students showed some troubling misconceptions about how student loans work — from the length of repayment plans to what happens if you cannot pay. With so much information and advice about student loans it's easy to be misinformed. Watch out for these five student loan myths.

MYTH #1 – Before applying for any type of a student loan, the applicant must have an established credit history.

TRUTH – Student loans do not require credit checks. Students have not had the opportunity to create a credit history before graduating from high school. Lenders adjust interest rates and repayment terms for these instances.

MYTH #2 – Student loans are designated for the payment of tuition exclusively. All other expenses, such as textbooks, computers, supplies, fees and living expenses must be paid for through other means.

TRUTH – Students are responsible for using the student loan money appropriately to cover the costs associated with attending an institution of higher learning. Limitations placed on how the money can be spent will be detailed in the student loan documentation.

MYTH #3 – Student loans will cause future credit problems for the graduate.

TRUTH – Prompt repayment of the student loans can create a positive credit history that demonstrates responsible handling of credit. Lenders scrutinize future borrowers through the history of on-time payments. Repaid student loans remain on the credit history for many years as an indication of the graduate’s ability to manage credit.

MYTH –The student must have sufficient personal property to serve as collateral for the student loan.

TRUTH – Student loan terms are written without collateral since the future employment is considered the means with which the loan will be repaid. In the federal student loan program, all students pay the same interest rate.

MYTH – Student loan default – The parents, or spouse, of the student will be given responsibility if the student defaults on the student loan payments.

TRUTH – The individual who signed the loan papers is responsible for repaying the student loan balance in its entirety. Certain hardship programs are available if catastrophic events prevent the graduate from repaying the loan. To make the loan payments more affordable, the graduate might want to consider a student loan consolidation program.

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Applying for a Home Loan?6/16/2017

Applying for a Home Loan? Don’t Do These Things!

Buying a home is a long process – sometimes taking months. When you decide you’re ready to buy a home, you’ll (hopefully) examine your own finances closer than you ever have before – because your mortgage underwriter will be looking at your finances even more closely. It’s the underwriter’s job to evaluate your income, credit score and assets to make sure you’re a solid loan candidate. Once you complete the application and begin the mortgage process it’s important to keep your finances as similar as possible until closing. While you’re waiting to close, avoid doing these things to limit any bumps in the road.

  • Don’t change employers, quit your job, or become self-employed when you are applying for a home loan.
  • Don’t take on additional long-term debt, such as buying a car or furniture for your new home. Additional financing will increase your debt-to-income ratio.
  • Don’t increase your use of credit cards or fall behind on any payments.
  • Don’t change financial institutions. You want to show stable banking history.
  • Don’t spend down your savings or investment accounts.
  • Don’t make large deposits into your accounts. Money for your down payment should be in your account for at least two months.
  • Don’t neglect any debts or liabilities or misrepresent your income on your loan application.
  • Don’t apply for new credit or open new lines of credit, including new credit cards.
  • Don’t co-sign a loan for anyone during this time.

In general, don’t do anything that will have a significant impact on your finances. While some things in life can’t be changed, like illness, job loss and natural disasters, your personal finance habits can be monitored and can hurt your chances for mortgage approval if not handled correctly. When you’re going through the mortgage process, it’s important to keep your finances steady and similar to what you’ve included on your application. Any changes – good or bad – can extend the mortgage timeline and possibly keep you from getting your dream home. If you anticipate any big, unavoidable changes during the underwriting process always make sure to talk them over with your Palisades CU Home Loan Expert.

Feel At Home With A Home Loan From Palisades CU!

At Palisades Credit Union, we strive to help our Rockland County members finance the home of their dreams. We understand that finding the right home and mortgage sets a solid foundation for successful homeownership. Whether it’s your first home or a refinance, our representatives will walk you through all the steps.

Find more tips and information by following Palisades Credit Union! Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn

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Guide To Buying A Car6/5/2017

If you’re buying your first vehicle, the process may seem overwhelming. Maybe you know what you want, but you’re not sure it will fit in your budget. And how do you know you’re getting the best deal? This guide is designed to help you successfully maneuver down the road to your new vehicle and avoid any potholes that could derail the process.

Decisions

When buying a car, you have a lot of decisions to make. You need to carefully weigh your needs and wants with how much you can afford. While you may think you need a convertible, your actual needs (and budget) may suggest otherwise.

Ask yourself the questions below to get a better idea of what kind of vehicle you need. Even if you already have a make or model in mind, go through the questions and answer honestly. You want to make sure the vehicle you end up with is the one that best fits your needs.

Budget

After you have determined what kind of vehicle best fits your needs, you then need to know how much vehicle you can afford.

Total Cost of Ownership

What you can afford each month isn’t just the monthly payment – you need to consider the entire cost of ownership.

The cost of ownership includes:

  • Monthly payment
  • Insurance
  • Registration fee, license, taxes
  • Gas/fuel
  • Tires
  • Maintenance and repairs
  • Parking and tolls

The total cost of ownership will be different depending on the type of vehicle you get. A new car may not have as many repairs but the monthly payment may be higher. Kelly Blue Book has a Five-Year Total Cost of Ownership calculator to help you compare costs between vehicles.

 

Monthly Budget

To determine how much you can afford, you need to review your monthly budget. Use the Guide to Building a Budget to get started.

Here a few additional questions to consider:

How much of a car payment can you afford? This isn’t necessarily how much of a loan can you get approved for – it’s how much can you afford each month with your budget. Just because you’re approved for a $50,000 auto loan doesn’t mean you can afford the monthly payment.

Beyond the monthly payment, how much can you afford to pay for insurance, gas, maintenance, etc. each month? Your monthly insurance premium is going to depend on a variety of factors including your zip code, credit history, type of car, year of car, miles driven and more. Gas costs will depend on how much you drive and what kind of vehicle you get. Maintenance and other costs will depend on whether your car is new or used, your driving style, weather and more.

Do you have money saved for a down payment? A down payment or even a trade-in can reduce the amount you need to borrow and potentially your monthly payment.

How quickly do you want to pay off the loan? A longer loan term may mean a lower monthly payment, but that also means more interest paid.

Financing

Figuring out your budget and financing go hand in hand. If you’ve decided to purchase your vehicle and don’t have cash for the entire purchase price, you’re going to need a loan. Getting pre-approved before you begin shopping will help you narrow down your options and give you more power when negotiating.

Applying for a Loan

When you apply for an auto loan, the lender is going to use the information you provide in addition to the information from your credit report to evaluate how much you can afford and the likelihood of you paying back your loan. Factors lenders take into consideration:

  • Monthly income and expenses
  • Length at current address
  • Length at current employer
  • Car information/value
  • Down payment and amount financing
  • Credit score and credit report

Lenders use all of this information to determine if you’re approved and the terms of the loan.

Terms of the Loan

When you receive your loan approval, you’ll receive the terms of the loan. These include the payment amount, length of the loan, and interest rate.

In general: if you want a lower payment, it will likely take you longer to pay off the loan and you’ll pay more in total interest. If you have a higher payment, you will likely pay off your loan faster and pay less in total interest.

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Additional Items

In addition to financing, you may want to consider adding additional protection to your vehicle.

  • Mechanical Breakdown Protection (MBP) may also be called an extended warranty, this protects your vehicle beyond the manufacturer’s factory warranty.
  • Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) pays the unpaid balance of your loan if your vehicle is stolen or damaged beyond repair

Both MBP and GAP can be added to your monthly payment.

Research

Once you know how much car you can afford, it’s time to begin your research. With the internet, there’s no shortage of search engines to help you find the car for you. Keep your list of needs and wants in mind as you begin researching vehicles.

If you’re also searching private sellers, always be careful. Take someone with you to test drive, don’t give any private and confidential information to the seller and schedule to meet in a public location.

Once you’ve found a couple vehicles, call up the dealership/seller to schedule a time to come by to look at the vehicle and take a test drive.

Test drive

The test drive is an important step in the car buying process. A vehicle may have all the features you need, but it may not drive how you would like. Ideally, your test drive should be as close as possible to how and where you plan to drive on a regular basis. For example, if you have a lot of traffic on your commute, try driving with frequent stops and slow speeds.

If you’re buying a used vehicle, the Used Vehicle Checklist will give you an idea of what to look for before and during the test drive.

Negotiate

Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, it’s time to see if the dealer/seller is willing to negotiate price. Some dealerships have moved away from this practice and have a “this is lowest price we will offer” policy. Others expect you to negotiate price and their sticker prices are reflective of that.

Whenever you are negotiating, make sure you have done your research.

  • Know the car’s worth. Look up prices of the specific make and model so you know when a price is good or too high.
  • Know the value of add-ons. This will give you an idea of what each feature will add to the total cost. A sunroof may sound nice, but is it worth an extra $1,000?
  • Know what else is out there. You’re not limited to one dealership. When you do your research, look for options on dealership, make/model, features, etc. This means being flexible on the type of vehicle or the different features. If you fall in love with a particular vehicle, your negotiation skills may suffer as you won’t want to lose the vehicle.
  • Know your limits. How much are you willing to pay? Even if you have a pre-approval, you may not feel comfortable spending the maximum. Set your max and stick with it.
  • Know you can walk away. If you make an offer and the dealer counters with something you’re not comfortable with and won’t budge, don’t be afraid to walk away. Again, you have options.

After the purchase

After you’ve signed the paper, don’t forget to get these other items in order:

Registration

If you purchased from a dealer, they should get you set up with your temporary registration, but you’re responsible if you purchased from a private seller. You can look at the New York DMV website to find out what’s required.

Insurance

You may be required to get your insurance set up before you get your registration, so it’s important to update your insurance for your new vehicle as soon as possible. Make sure you know your VIN, make, model, etc. so you’re ready to go when you get to this step.

Find more car buying tips and information by following Palisades Credit Union! Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.

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Community Expansion6/1/2017

Palisades Credit Union announced today it has received approval of its community charter expansion by the National Credit Union Association (NCUA). With this approval, Palisades Credit Union will expand its membership to serve “persons who live, work, study, volunteer, or worship Rockland County, New York and Bergen County, New Jersey”. This field of membership expansion was approved effective June 1, 2017.

Founded in 1941 as Lederle Federal Credit Union (LEFCU) by a small group of employees of the American Cyanamid Company, the Credit Union has been dedicated to building a financial institution that would provide outstanding financial services at the lowest possible cost. Palisades Credit Union became the first community chartered credit union in Rockland County to serve all person who live, work, study, volunteer or worship in 2002.

The Credit Union will go from serving Rockland County, New York a community of over 300,000 to include Bergen County, New Jersey, bringing the community served to over 1.2 million.

“This is a very exciting time for Palisades Credit Union as we expand our membership to provide financial services to our neighbors in Bergen County, New Jersey. We have already saved Rockland County Residents over 2 million in loan interest and hope to do the same for our Bergen County members.” Tony Molina, CEO

About Palisades Credit Union

Palisades Credit Union is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1941 with a vision of building valued relationships through a lifetime of financial solutions. It operates three branches and provides a suite of full service banking products and services. Membership to Palisades Credit Union is open to anyone who lives, works, studies, volunteers, or worships in Rockland County, New York or Bergen County, New Jersey.

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2017 Scholarship Winners5/26/2017

Palisades Credit Union Awards Scholarships to Members

PEARL RIVER, NY – Palisades Credit Union has awarded three thousand dollars ($3,000.00) in college scholarships to five (5) high school seniors to help finance their college education.

The students, members of Palisades Credit Union were chosen based on their outstanding academic and extracurricular achievements.

The high school seniors who received the awards were:

Caitlin Holt – attending Harvard College

Steven Lanoce – attending Clemson University

Brianne Lee – attending Pace University

David Walters – attending Binghamton University

Hannah Welshoff – attending Ithaca College

Palisades Credit Union has also awarded a Westchester Rockland Chapter of the New York Credit Union Association college scholarship of five hundred dollars ($500.00) to one (1) high school senior.

Caitlin Holt, attending Harvard College in the fall, was the selected recipient for the Chapter award.

Credit unions are not-for-profit cooperatives with no outside stockholders, so earnings are returned to members in the form of dividends on savings, favorable loan rates, fewer fees and additional services. All member accounts are insured through the Federal government up to $250,000. 

About Palisades Credit Union

Palisades Credit Union is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1941 with a vision of building valued relationships through a lifetime of financial solutions. As the largest Rockland County based Credit Union, it operates three branches and provides a suite of full service banking products and services. Membership to Palisades Credit Union is open to anyone who lives, works, studies, volunteers, or worships in Rockland County, New York.

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Buying A Second Home? Here Are Some Things To Consider5/22/2017

Thinking about buying a second home? Even in today’s housing market, a second home can be a great long term investment, or a way to earn extra income on the side by renting! However, there are some things to consider when buying a second home.

When shopping around for that second home, it is important to think about location, the current housing market, your personal finances and how you plan on financing your second home. Before you apply for a loan to purchase a second home, take a look at these things to consider.

  1. Know How Much You Can Afford

Buying a second home isn’t that much different than buying your first home. Mortgage lenders calculate affordability based on your personal information, including income, expenses and size of down payment. A standard rule for lenders is that your monthly housing payment (principal, interest, taxes and insurance) should not take up more than 28 percent of your income before taxes.

  1. Start Saving Now

If you are planning to purchase a second home, it’s a good idea to start saving money now! Many lenders require home buyers to have at least two months of mortgage payments in the bank, but how much is required may depend on your credit score.

  1. Know Your Score

Just like when you bought your primary home, your credit score affects what rate you can get for your second-home mortgage. The higher your credit score, the more attractive the rate and the more you save over the life of your loan. The lower your credit score, the more cash the bank will expect you to have in reserve.

At Palisades Credit Union, we strive to help our members finance the home of their dreams. We understand that finding the right home and mortgage sets a solid foundation for successful homeownership. Whether it’s your first home or your second we are here to help! Contact us today to learn more or apply online.

Find more tips and information by following Palisades Credit Union! Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.

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Why Do Banks Charge Fees?5/3/2017

Have you ever been hit with a “minimum balance” fee by your bank only to wonder why you have to pay to access your own money? Read on to find out why banks charge fees and what your options are!

Nobody likes paying fees. In fact, most people will do anything to avoid them. Yet, consumers paid over $6.4 billion in ATM and overdraft fees in 2016 alone!

Banks charge a variety of different fees, some of which include ATM fees, overdraft fees, and minimum balance fees. Many big banks will charge you ATM fees if you use an ATM that is not associated with the bank you use. Overdraft fees can be the bane of those who have set up auto-pay on their bills, and are unaware of how much money they have going out. Americans across the country feel the sting of minimum balance fees.

One study shows that nearly 7 out of 10 Americans have less than $1000 dollars in their savings account. For those that live paycheck to paycheck, those minimum balance fees add up.

There is one simple reason banks charge their customers a litany of fees: banks are a business, and all businesses need to make money. When you’re constantly being charged by hidden fees to use your own money, the business of living gets even more expensive!

All of those fees add up, which makes paying bills or adding a little extra to your savings even more difficult.

So, banks are charging you for your money. What other options do you have?

Since banks function as large corporate businesses, they have to maintain their overhead and turn a profit. Credit Unions have lower expenses and are not-for-profit. Because of this, credit unions tend to be more member-friendly.

This means credit unions like Palisades have less fees, lower rates on loans, and are generally geared more towards their members as opposed to profits. This allows us to pass on savings to our members. For instance, many credit unions offer free checking accounts with no minimum balance fees.

When you take a look at the numbers, the benefits of being a member at a credit union become even more apparent. According to the National Credit Union Association, as of June 27, 2014, the average interest rate on a 48-month new car loan was 2.64 percent at the credit union, compared with 4.78 percent at major banks.

Did we convince you? If you’re interested in making the switch to a credit union, Palisades Credit Union is here for you! Our free checking account options have tons of perks that can help you save money and you won’t have to worry about being charged for ATM fees!

Find more tips and information by following Palisades Credit Union! Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.

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Millennials: Use These 5 Tips To Build Credit5/2/2017

Millennials may say they don’t want credit or that they have no worries about credit, but in reality, everyone needs to be actively concerned with their credit and credit score.

According to a recent study, nearly 40% of millennials have credit scores of 620 or less – which is considered poor or bad credit. A low credit score is often a signal to lenders that someone may not adhere to a loan’s terms , or they are failing to make their minimum payments on time. This can cause problems when applying for a car, apartment or mortgage. Fortunately, building credit and credit worthiness isn’t as hard as it may seem! Take a look at these 5 tips to get started.

  1. Establish A Credit History

A credit history is a record of all of your credit accounts,  lenders use this information to learn about you and how you use money. For example, the number of credit cards or loans you have and payment records are listed in your credit history.

While many millennials may not be concerned with their credit history right now, it can impact larger purchases down the road. Since most lenders want to see a long track record of financial responsibility the earlier you begin building your credit history the better.

  1. Pay Bills On Time

Payment history, namely the consistency of making payments on debts, comprises 35% of how your credit score is determined. Payments on everyday bills, like  utilities and credit cards, are reported to credit bureaus. You can really make this system work to your advantage by paying your bills consistently on-time. Automate bill payments if you can’t remember or aren’t punctual.

  1. Use Credit Cards (Wisely!)

Applying for a credit card is one of the easiest ways to begin building credit and credit history – but make sure you use them wisely!

One way to use your credit card to build credit is to charge everyday purchases like gas and groceries and then make regular monthly payments. This will help create a positive credit history and build your credit score over time.

However, paying your credit card off each month may seem ideal (after all who wants to pay extra in interest) but if you are just beginning to build credit you may want to consider “carrying” a small balance each month so lenders can see you are using credit in a responsible manner.

  1. Know Your Score!

Just like you wouldn’t go shopping for a new car without knowing how much you can afford, you shouldn’t go applying for credit cards or loans without knowing what your credit score is. Knowing your score can also help you identify which areas you can work on improving – like your credit history, debt utilization ratio and more. Checking your credit report at least once a year can also help you identify errors in your report (credit companies make mistakes too!) and allow you to resolve them.

Federal law allows you to get a copy of your credit report every 12 months. Learn more and request your free copy by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com.

  1. Put Your Student Loans To Work

When it comes to student loans, it seems millennials are adopting an “out of sight, out of mind” attitude. According to one study, 37% of college grads are unaware of the interest rate on their student loans and 15% were unaware of how much they even owed. Because creditors and lenders view student loan debt just like any other debt, you want to make sure you are not skipping payments or paying late to avoid it negatively affecting your credit score.

If you are stuck with student loans and are not in the financial position to get a credit card or loan, then consider consolidating all your student loans into one loan. Often times, this can help lower your interest rate and give you more flexibility in payment options.

Find more tips and information by following Palisades Credit Union! Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.

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Student Loan Consolidation vs Refinancing4/21/2017

Student Loan Consolidation vs. Refinancing

Learn the difference between student loan consolidation and student loan refinancing to find out which option is best for you.

Let’s face it: college is expensive. According to one recent survey, 7 out of 10 college graduates from public and non-profit colleges had an average of $30,100 in student loans. As if student loan debt wasn’t stressful enough, many college graduates also have multiple student loan payments to multiple servicers at a variety of interest rates.  If you find yourself in this situation, don’t worry, we can help! Not only can we help Rockland County residents finance upcoming education expenses, we can also help consolidate existing student loans.

What Is Student Loan Consolidation?

Consolidating your existing student loans allows you to combine multiple education loans into one loan which results in a single monthly payment instead of multiple payments. In addition, consolidating your student loans means you will pay one interest rate which is a weighted average of the prior loans.

Benefits Of Student Loan Consolidation

Typical student loan repayment terms range from 5 to 20 years. By extending the repayment term, you can significantly reduce the amount of money you’re required to pay each month. If you are on a tight budget, this can give you some extra breathing room. Another benefit of student loan consolidation is the ability to remove a co-signer from the loan. 

Beware Of Student Loan Consolidation Scams

College graduates burdened by student loan debt beware: don’t be fooled by student debt relief scams. Common signs include charging you an upfront fee to begin the student loan consolidation process, offering you a service with high fees attached to it, or being told that a service can offer full debt relief. 

Before you begin the student loan consolidation process, make sure you are choosing a reputable company to assist you or choose a credit union like Palisades CU. Why? Credit unions are not-for-profit financial institutions, which means you will likely receive a better interest rate when compared to banks.

Have questions or need additional information before you get started? We’re here to help! Contact us or visit one of our three convenient branches. If you’re ready to get started apply online now for quick approval!

Find more tips and information by following Palisades Credit Union! Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.

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Fund Your Dream Vacation With A Personal Loan From PCU4/21/2017

Fund Your Dream Vacation With A Personal Loan From PCU!

Personal loans are most often used to consolidate debt or pay off credit card bills but they can also be used for a world of travel opportunities. Read more to see if a personal loan from Palisades Credit Union is right for you!

Travel can provide life-changing experiences that you never forget. Unfortunately, those life-changing occasions can be pricey. According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Consumer Expenditure Survey, Americans who travel beyond our borders spend an average of $271 per day, per person.

So, what can Rockland County residents do when a bucket list trip pops up at a discount and you're temporarily tapped out? Consider applying for a personal loan from Palisades Credit Union. Even if you have room to add to your credit card balances, unsecured personal loans can be a better way to pay for a dream vacation.

Loan vs. credit cards

If you have a travel or rewards credit card, you don't have to forego the benefits of using it for your travel. Get your rewards, miles or cash back by charging your trip, but pay it off right away with a travel loan.  Personal loans offer several additional advantages over credit cards including:

  • Personal loan rates are almost always lower than credit card rates.
  • Personal loans don't increase the utilization ratio of your credit lines, which helps your credit score.

Unsecured vs. Secured Loans

At Palisades Credit Union we offer various options for personal loans: unsecured personal loans and secured personal loans.

Unsecured personal loans are available for up to $30,000. Palisades Credit Union has competitive rates and flexible terms for whatever fits your style. There are no limits on the use of loan funds and there is no security required.

Our Secured Personal Loan is a loan that is secured by cash in a savings or certificate account. By using your savings or certificate as collateral on a loan you can enjoy much lower interest rates than with most conventional bank loans. This is also a great way to establish credit history without depleting your hard-earned savings.

Get Packing!

Plan now for your dream vacation without breaking the bank! Apply now for our Personal Loan Special! Click here to apply online today!

Learn more by following Palisades Credit Union! Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.

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Drive Away With A Low Rate4/13/2017

Drive Away With A Low Rate And More Benefits!

Once you've found the vehicle that fits your needs, make sure your auto loan is also a perfect fit. Learn if the Flex Auto Saver Loan from Palisades Credit Union is right for you!

Contrary to what many people think, car dealerships are not the only places that offer auto leasing. Before you decide to go with the dealership’s lease option, calculate your Flex Auto Saver Payment! Like a lease, Flex Auto Saver offers payments considerably lower than conventional financing on your new or preowned vehicle. Yet, unlike leasing, you own the vehicle and receive all of the flexibility and benefits of vehicle ownership!

Auto Leasing vs. Purchasing

With a vehicle lease you have the car for a set number of months (the average is 37) and the end of the final month the borrower returns the car to the lender or takes out a loan to finance the remaining balance. Vehicle leases offer great benefits, especially if you drive a consistent number of miles each year, need to have a newer car that requires low maintenance, or like to change cars every few years.

Flex Your Spending Power

Not sure if leasing a vehicle is right for you? The Flex Auto Saver loan combines the best benefits of both a lease and a purchase loan to put you in the driver’s seat!

With the Flex Auto Saver loan, you will enjoy considerably lower financing rates compared to a conventional auto loan and no application fee to get started. After a few years, if you decide you want to sell, trade or purchase the vehicle you can! Or if you decide that you want to get a new car, you can return your current leased vehicle at loan maturity and simply walk away.

Calculate Your Options

Finding the perfect car may be hard, but finding the best auto loan to meet your needs is not with our online calculator! Simply enter the vehicle year, make, model and style and compare the cost of the Flex Auto Save Loan to a conventional loan payment to see which option is right for you!

Ready to get started? Apply online now for a Flex Auto Saver loan from Palisades CU and drive away with a super low rate! Find more tips and information by following Palisades Credit Union! Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.

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Credit Card Upgrade3/29/2017

Palisades CU is pleased to announce that we are upgrading our credit cards!

In addition to upgrading cards, all credit card information will be accessible through Online Banking.

Here are some of the new features:

  • New Rewards Program
  • Easy to use interface

Beginning Saturday, April 8, 2017:

  • If you need to report your credit card lost or stolen, please call 800-449-7728.
  • if you are trying to access your credit card by calling the number on the back of your card, please call 855-779-1065.
  • If you are trying to access your credit card online at www.gotomycard.com, please login to Palisades CU online banking. Credit card information such as balance, minimum due, due date and the ability to make payments is available. 

Beginning Monday, April 10, 2017:

  • Full online access to your credit card will be available through on Palisades CU online banking. 

Once you receive your new card:

  • Activate your new card by May 2, 2017
  • Update the payment address in your records or with any Bill Pay services
  • Update your card number with any merchants that process automatic charges

Important dates to remember if you have a Palisades CU Rewards credit card:

  • April 6, 2017: Last day to earn points with existing rewards program
  • April 7, 2017: Begin earning points with new rewards program
  • April 30, 2017: Last day to redeem points in current credit card portal
  • May 1, 2017: Begin to redeem points earned after April 6, 2017 with new rewards program

May 31, 2017: Points earned before transition will be available in the new rewards program

For information about using online to access credit card information click here

 

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Mortgages: CU vs. Bank3/28/2017

Whether you are a first-time home buyer or a seasoned veteran, you likely already know that there are many options available when choosing a mortgage lender to buy a new home. Many people choose large banks or corporations for their mortgages because they feel that they can get a better rate – but is that really true? Read on to find out!

  1. With A Credit Union You’re More Than Just A Number

When you apply for a mortgage loan with a credit union, you’re more than just a number, you’re a member. As a member of a credit union you can take advantage of lower fees, better rates and superior customer service. Credit unions can offer these benefits and more because they are not-for-profit organizations. 

Not already a member of a credit union? Becoming one is easier than you think! Palisades Credit Union is proud to be the first federally insured community chartered credit union in Rockland County. Individuals who live, work, worship, volunteer or attend school in Rockland County, New York can join us. Simply use this link to apply online to become a member of Palisades Credit Union today!

  1. You Could Save Money With A Credit Union

Credit unions are known for having lower fees when compared to most big banks. How can credit unions offer such great rates? Because credit unions are not for profit and member owned, profits are returned to members of the credit union in the form of lower rates and fees. This is different from banks, whose sole purpose usually involves generating revenue for investors.

  1. Don’t Have Excellent Credit?

Many people overlook credit unions as an option for mortgages, especially if they don’t have excellent credit. With a credit union, you are seen as a member, and depending on your situation we will try to find an option that works for you.

Buying a home is often the largest purchase most people will make in their lifetime so finding the right mortgage loan is important! If you are a resident of Rockland County, New York we encourage you to take a advantage of the mortgage loan benefits that a credit union like Palisades Credit Union can offer including personalized service and great low rates! Ready to get started? Apply online today.

Find more mortgage tips and information by following Palisades Credit Union! Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.

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Spring Into Action3/15/2017

Spring Into Action With A Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)

Put your home’s equity to work and get the flexibility you need with a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) from Palisades Credit Union! Whether you want to spruce up your home for spring, plan a vacation or consolidate your debt you can do it on your terms with help from Palisades Credit Union.

 

What is A Home Equity Line of Credit?

A Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) is a revolving form of credit that is similar to a credit card except it uses your home as collateral.

Palisades Credit Union is currently offering Rockland County homeowners a special introductory rate on new HELOC loans! You can even use it for properties in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania.

 

Benefits Of A Home Equity Loan

There are many benefits of getting a home equity line of credit thorough Palisades Credit Union including:

  • Possible tax advantages
  • Pay only for what you use on your line of credit
  • Lower interest rate than using your credit card
  • Your line of credit rebuilds each time you make a payment
  • You have 10 years to draw money as you see fit
  • After the 10 years is up, there is a 15-year repayment term

 

What Can You Use A Home Equity Line of Credit For?

Palisades Credit Union Home Equity Lines of Credit allow homeowners to use available equity to help finance for home improvements, tuition, debt consolidation, vacation or to refinance existing mortgages with higher rates.

Ready To Get Started?

Applying online for a home equity line of credit is fast and easy! Click here to get started today.

 

Find more tips and information by following Palisades Credit Union! Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.

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First Time Home Buyer Tips!3/6/2017

Are you ready to buy your first home? Taking the steps to buy a home is exciting but it can also be scary if you don’t know what to expect. Take a look at these tips to avoid making common mistakes that could end up putting your new home loan on hold!

  1. Not Knowing How Much You Can Afford

A standard rule for lenders is that your monthly housing payment (principal, interest, taxes and insurance) should not take up more than 28 percent of your income before taxes. If you don’t already have a monthly budget, take a few minutes and list all of your monthly expenses (not including how much you are currently spending on rent) including your car payment, credit cards, student loans, health insurance, etc. Next, subtract that amount from your paycheck amount and you’ll know about how much you can spend on a new home each month. Knowing what your price range is for a new home can prevent the frustration of falling in love with a home that you can’t afford.

  1. Not Getting Prequalified For A Mortgage

Mortgage pre-qualification means that a lender has reviewed your income to give you a general idea of how much you can borrow for a new home loan. While this does not guarantee that you will receive a mortgage loan, it’s a good place to start. Shopping for a new home without preapproval would be like going to the grocery store without your wallet. Pre-qualification will give you an idea of what price range you can shop in and it paves the way for the next step in the mortgage process: pre-approval.

  1. Not Choosing The Right Lender

One of the most complicated decisions you will likely make concerning your home mortgage will be which lender to choose. Today there are many mortgage lenders eager and ready to accept your loan application. But just because a lender accepts your application doesn’t mean it’s the right deal for you.

Before you begin the prequalification process, make sure to shop around and compare financial institutions that offer mortgage loans. Commercial banks aren't the only financial institutions that originate mortgages – credit unions like Palisades Credit Union can too!

At Palisades Credit Union we strive to help our members finance the home of their dreams. We understand that finding the right home and mortgage sets a solid foundation for successful homeownership. Whether it’s your first home or a refinance, our representatives will walk you through all the steps.

The Bottom Line

Being a first time homebuyer may seem stressful and overwhelming at times but knowing what to expect and working with a mortgage lender with your best interest in mind can make the process much easier!

Find more mortgage and new homebuying tips by following Palisades Credit Union! Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.

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Funtastic Fundraiser2/7/2017

Palisades Credit Union Partners with Rockland Boulders for Charity

Palisades Credit Union is proud to partner with the Rockland Boulders in their new and exciting fundraiser program that is guaranteed to help area groups and 501(c)3 organizations raise an unprecedented amount of money while enjoying all the fun of a Boulders home game.

“The Rockland Boulders have been successful since day one and a lot of that success can be attributed to groups who enjoy spending quality time together at the ballpark,” said Ken Lehner, Boulders Team President.

The “Funtastic Fundraiser Program” can be enjoyed as part of any Friday or Saturday home game during the Boulders 2017 regular season. On Friday nights, qualifying groups can sell $15 tickets that include a special Rockland Boulders hat and an infield box seat. For each ticket sold, the Boulders will donate $4 to the participating group. The same deal will apply on Saturday nights, $15 for an Infield Box Seat and a Boulders hat, but the team will instead donate $6 to the organization for each ticket sold.

During this exciting new program, should any 501(c)3 organization sell at least 100 tickets to their individual game, Palisades Credit Union will match the donations by the Boulders – which will allow groups to receive up to $12 back for every $15 ticket sold.

 “Palisades Credit Union is proud to be part of a fundraising program that gives back to community groups and organizations,” said Tony Molina, CEO of Palisades Credit Union. “It is exciting that our participation will allow organizations to continue to make a difference in, and provide for Bergen, Orange, and Rockland counties.”

A total of 19 dates are available for this exciting program, including 10 Saturdays throughout the 2017 summer, that all include a post-game Fireworks Extravaganza. The first game where groups can take advantage of this new plan is Saturday, May 20th, a scheduled double-header with the Sussex County Miners set to begin at 6:30pm at Palisades Credit Union Park.

If your group is interested in booking a fundraiser game this year, call (845) 364-0009 to speak with an experienced Rockland Boulders sales representative. The Rockland Boulders will begin their seventh season of play in the Can-Am League on Thursday, May 18th at 7:00pm when they host the Miners.

For more information on Palisades CU and its services, visit www.palisadesfcu.org or call 800-438-7415.

About Palisades Credit Union

Palisades Credit Union is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1941 with a vision of building valued relationships through a lifetime of financial solutions. As the largest Rockland County based Credit Union, it operates three branches and provides a suite of full service banking products and services. Membership to Palisades Credit Union is open to anyone who lives, works, studies, volunteers, or worships in Rockland County, New York.

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Saving Rockland Over $2 Million in Interest1/9/2017

Palisades Credit Union Saves Rockland County over $2 Million in Interest

Palisades Credit Union set a goal in 2016 to save Rockland County residents $1 Million in interest on loans with competitive rates. As a community chartered credit union, Palisades wanted to reinvest in its members and the community. The credit union found a way to save its community money by helping members find lower rates for their loans

Over the last year, Palisades CU saved members over $2 Million in interest on loans. Members were able to take their savings and use it to spend time with family and reinvest in the community. Palisades is proud to help members take that money back from institutions valuing profit over people.

Palisades Credit Union has been serving its members for over 75 years and looks to continue providing competitive financing to the community. Join today and see how much you can save on your next loan! For more information on Palisades CU and its services, visit www.palisadesfcu.org or call 800-438-7415.

About Palisades Credit Union

Palisades Credit Union is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1941 with a vision of building valued relationships through a lifetime of financial solutions. As the largest Rockland County based Credit Union, it operates three branches and provides a suite of full service banking products and services. Membership to Palisades Credit Union is open to anyone who lives, works, studies, volunteers, or worships in Rockland County, New York.

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How to Set Up Direct Deposit12/28/2016

Direct Deposit is a free service that automatically deposits recurring income into your checking or savings account. Types of deposits that qualify include: salary from your employer, Social Security, pension, retirement plans, the Armed Forces, VA benefits, and annuity or dividend payments.

If your employer or agency offers Direct Deposit, you just need to follow these easy steps.

  1. Ask your employer or agency for the form to set up Direct Deposit
  2. You will provide them with Palisades CU’s routing #: 221979101 and your account number will be your member number.
  3. Select the account you have at Palisades to deposit your income. Make sure to select a type of account that you already have (checking or savings).

Make sure to monitor your account to verify the deposit went into effect.  

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Black Wednesday Sale11/14/2016

Beat the Rush! Black Wednesday Loan Sale

In honor of the biggest shopping season, Palisades CU will host a Black Wednesday Loan Sale to get shoppers ready for Black Friday. You can apply online or in person starting Wednesday, November 23 8AM-5PM EST. Get ready to submit those applications early as rates will increase throughout the day. 

Apply Online

  Auto Loan Personal Loan
First person approved in each branch or online As low as 0.99% APR* As low as 4.99% APR*
Next 10 people approved in each branch or online As low as 1.29% APR* As low as 5.49% APR*
Approved loan applications submitted before 11AM EST As low as 1.59% APR* As low as 5.99% APR*
All Day Rate As low as 1.99% APR* As low as 6.99% APR*

*APR = Annual Percentage Rate. Application and Membership with Palisades Credit Union is required. This offer is not valid on loans currently held at Palisades CU. Applicant must apply online or in person on Wednesday November 23rd from 8AM - 5PM EST to receive this special offer. Standard underwriting guidelines will apply. Maximum auto loan term is 60 months. An auto loan with a 60 month term at 0.99% APR would have an estimated monthly payment of $17.09 per $1,000 borrowed. Maximum personal loan term is 36 months. Maximum personal loan amount is $30,000. A personal loan with a 36 month term at 4.99% APR would have an estimated monthly payment of $29.97 per $1,000 borrowed. Minimum loan amount for all loans is $2,500. Employees and volunteers of Palisades Credit Union and their immediate family are not eligible for this offer. Advantage Pricing does not apply. 

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Travel Tips11/9/2016

Five Travel Tips to Help Make Vacation a Breeze

  1. Sign up for Online Banking

While traveling you can monitor your accounts from anywhere! Download the Palisades CU mobile app to check your balances on the go. It takes minutes to sign up!

  1. Sign up for Bill Pay.

Don’t miss any payments while you are away. You can easily set up automatic payments for bills online to avoid any late fees.

  1. Notify the Credit Union about travel plans.

Make sure Palisades CU knows when and where you are traveling so that you can continue to use your cards securely while on vacation. Palisades CU wants to ensure your accounts are secure. When unusual account activity is seen, it may be flagged as fraud to protect you. Give us a call at 845-602-4242 or send us a secure message through Online Banking to inform us of any travel plans

  1. Put a hold on your mail.

Identify theft could be a problem especially when you are away on vacation. Those looking for a way in, will notice your overflowing mailbox and might just take a peek at your financial statements. Make sure to put your mail on hold so it is held securely at the post office until you are back from vacation.

  1. Check out our ATM and Branch Locator.

Avoid fees while you are away. Make sure to use our website locator to find the nearest shared branches or in network ATMs while on vacation. And remember, as long as you qualify in your Kasasa Rewards Checking account, you will be reimbursed up to $25* for any out of network ATM fees nationwide.

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Relief for Hurricane Matthew10/7/2016

Palisades Credit Union Offers Relief Loan Special for Hurricane Matthew

(Pearl River, NY) - Palisades Credit Union announced today that they will be offering low rate relief loans to provide assistance to all Rockland county residents who have families that have been affected by Hurricane Matthew.

The Credit Union is offering personal loans at 50% off their standard rates for terms up to 24 months. The loans can be used for anything to help with relief in the affected areas. Through this offer, Palisades CU hopes to help the families of our members who have been affected by Hurricane Matthew.

Relief Loan applications can be taken online and over the phone, please visit www.palisadesfcu.org/apply to get started. For more information about the loan program visit www.palisadesfcu.org/reliefloan

About Palisades Credit Union

Palisades Credit Union is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1941 with a vision of building valued relationships through a lifetime of financial solutions. As the largest Rockland County based Credit Union, it operates three branches and provides a suite of full service banking products and services. Membership to Palisades Credit Union is open to anyone who lives, works, studies, volunteers, or worships in Rockland County, New York.

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Palisades CU 2016 Scholarship10/3/2016

Palisades Credit Union Offering Local Students Chance to Win Scholarships

(Pearl River, N.Y.) – Palisades Credit Union is offering local high school seniors a chance to win scholarships for college. Palisades CU is participating in the New York Credit Union Association’s statewide credit union scholarship program, which provides credit union members with scholarships. In 2016, scholarships awarded ranged from $250 to $1,500.

To be eligible, students must be high school seniors attending two- or four-year accredited educational institutions for the first time in the fall of 2017. They must also be members Palisades CU.

Students/applicants will be competing against other credit union members from across the state. Applicants will be judged based upon academic achievements, extracurricular and community activities and the quality of written essays. Last year, the New York Credit Union Association awarded $25,000 in scholarships through the program. In addition, Palisades CU awarded $3,000 to 7 local students.

For more information about the scholarship program, click here

About Palisades Credit Union

Palisades Credit Union is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1941 with a vision of building valued relationships through a lifetime of financial solutions. As the largest Rockland County based Credit Union, it operates three branches and provides a suite of full service banking products and services. Membership to Palisades Credit Union is open to anyone who lives, works, studies, volunteers, or worships in Rockland County, New York.

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To Refinance or Not To Refinance9/26/2016

Have you checked mortgage interest rates lately? If rates happen to be lower than when you bought your home, it may make sense to refinance to a lower rate. Read on to learn more about refinancing and to see if it’s something you should consider.

Read More »
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Mystery Shopper Scam8/12/2016

Palisades Federal Credit Union is aware that there is a Mystery Shopper Scam that utilizes fraudulent credit union checks with our logo and credit union information.

Letters are being sent welcoming people to the Mystery Shopper program. Recipients are asked to deposit the fraudulent check into their bank accounts. After completing a few assignments, they are told to keep a set amount as their payment for completing the mystery shop assignments and to send the rest back to the sender.

If you receive an invitation from a Mystery Shopping company,

  • DO NOT deposit the check. Legitimate companies will not pay you in advance and ask you to send money back to them.
  • Verify the company information.
  • If it sounds too good to believe, it usually is.

If you have received one of these letters, we ask that you contact us so that we can continue our investigation with the appropriate authorities. You may give us a call at 845-602-4242.

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ATM Network Upgrades8/1/2016

As of Setepmber 7, 2016 Palisades CU will no longer be part of the Allpoint Network. For up to date ATM locations please use the ATM locator on our website and mobile app. 

With our new Kasasa Rewards Checking accounts, you may be eligible for monthly ATM refunds up to $25 nationwide. To learn more about Kasasa Rewards Checking accounts click here or call 845-602-4242.

 

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A Home Run For Palisades CU Members6/14/2016

Palisades Credit Union Park

Palisades Credit Union is now offering discounts at Palisades Credit Union Park, home of the Rockland Boulders. By using a Palisades CU debit or credit card you can receive 20% off tickets at the box office, items in the team store, and food& non-alcoholic beverages in the main concession stands.

If you do not already have a checking account with Palisades Credit Union or a debit card, visit one of one of our branches or www.palisadesfcu.org/apply

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Palisades CU Ballpark4/25/2016

Palisades Credit Union Acquires Naming Rights to the Rockland Boulders Ballpark

 

Fans of the 2015 Can-Am Regular Season Champion Rockland Boulders will find a new community partner on the ballpark this year with the announcement today that Palisades Credit Union has acquired naming rights to the park now to be called Palisades Credit Union Park.

“We’re thrilled to have this longtime community financial institution join our family and a team that promotes America’s pastime while providing quality and affordable family entertainment,” said Boulders President Ken Lehner. “Palisades Credit Union has a 75-year history serving our region, representing more than 15,000 area residents and is poised to grow significantly.”

Palisades Credit Union President Tony Molina said “this decision is about building a partnership for a long-term commitment, serving the community and providing our members with great benefits through this relationship.  Palisades Credit Union and the Rockland Boulders share a culture of community involvement that makes this a perfect fit.”

Palisades Credit Union takes over naming rights from what had been Provident Bank, which acquired  Sterling National Bank and now operates under the Sterling name.

The Boulders will begin their quest for their third straight pennant at the new Palisades Credit Union Park on Thursday, May 19th at 7:00 pm when they host the Sussex County Miners. The first 1,000 fans will get a 2016 magnet schedule, while all fans will enjoy a post-game Fireworks Extravaganza.

 

About Palisades Credit Union

Palisades Credit Union is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1941 with a vision of building valued relationships through a lifetime of financial solutions. As the largest Rockland County based Credit Union, it operates three branches and provides a suite of full service banking products and services. Membership to Palisades Credit Union is open to anyone who lives, works, studies, volunteers, or worships in Rockland County, New York.

About Rockland Boulders and Bottom 9 Baseball, LLC

The Rockland Boulders are entering their sixth season of professional baseball in the Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball (“CanAm League”) after reaching the playoffs for the second straight season last year. After winning their first ever league championship in 2014, Rockland set new records for wins (63) along with a new mark for overall attendance, bringing 161,769 fans to Provident Bank Park in 2015. Their first ever home game was played on June 16th, 2011 in a brand new stadium, formerly known as Provident Bank Park, now known as Palisades Credit Union Park, near Exit 12 of the Palisades Parkway in Pomona, NY. Expected to enhance the rich baseball history in the New York City region, Rockland Boulders Baseball is part of the fastest growing family sport in America. During the 2014 season, the Boulders also welcomed their 500,000th fan, leading the league in total attendance and per-game attendance. In 2014, Rockland was named the CanAm’s “Organization of the Year” for the second time, also receiving the honor in 2012. The Boulders are owned and operated by Bottom 9 Baseball, LLC (B9B), a sports and entertainment management company comprised of former executives from all levels of major and minor league sports. B9B is committed to providing superior customer service and quality, affordable family entertainment experiences for the Lower Hudson Valley and northern New Jersey. Slide to www.rocklandboulders.com for more information.

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Updated Fee Schedule4/1/2016

On April 1st we sent out our updated fee schedule to our members. Make sure you take a look as the new fees will be effective as of May 16, 2016.

 

Here is a link to our current fee schedule: Fee Schedule

 

If you have any questions please give us a call at 800.438.7415.

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