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Smart Shopping Pays

The ancient Roman poet Ovid may have celebrated unscrupulous business practices, but most consumers do not. Follow the tips below to help you get the most out of your shopping dollars.

Become an advertising critic. Advertisers may use "puffing" to sell a product - a practice that legally allows a certain amount of exaggeration. Therefore, an advertisement for face cream may claim to give your skin a youthful radiance, but it can't promise to shed 20 years from your appearance overnight, unless it actually can (highly doubtful).

Buy rationally. Compare the prices at multiple places before making a major purchase and avoid impulse buying. Question your need and desire for each item. Avoid shopping when you are hungry, tired, depressed, rushed, or distracted.

Be on-guard when online. Only buy from secure Internet sites (particularly if you are paying with a credit card) and read the privacy policy. Review return, refund, and shipping and handling policies. As with any delivered item, request that the shipper receive a signature before leaving a package on your doorstep, or have it delivered to your office.

Know the warranty. Some are verbal (usually worthless, unfortunately), some implied (that your refrigerator will indeed keep food cold), and some are written. Federal law does not require written warranties, but most come with major purchases. Understand it and save it in a safe place. "Extended warrantees" are actually service contracts that you have to pay for (warrantees are free). To determine if you really need one, weigh the cost of the service contract against projected maintenance and repair bills.

Nervous about a purchase? Check with the Better Business Bureau for past complaints against a seller or manufacturer before you buy. Happy Shopping!

 How To Choose A Home BuilderHow To Choose A Home Builder
National Association Of Home Builders

If you’re in the market for a new home, you should shop for your builder as carefully as you shop for your home. Whether you are buying a condo, a townhouse, a house in a subdivision or a custom-built house, you want to know that you are buying a good quality home from a reputable builder. Here are some tips to help you choose a builder.

Make A List Of Possible Builders

  • Once you have thought about the type of house you want, you can create a list of potential builders.
  • Contact your local home builders’ association to obtain a list of builders who construct homes in your area. You can find your local HBA here.  
  • Look in the real estate section of your local newspaper for builders and projects. Looking through the ads and reading the articles can help you to learn which builders are active in your area, the types of homes they are building and the prices you can expect to pay. Make a list of builders who build the type of home you’re looking for in your price range.
  • Local real estate agents may also be able to help you in your search.
  • Ask friends and relatives for recommendations. Ask about builders they have dealt with directly, or ask them for names of acquaintances who have recently had a good experience with a builder.

Do Your Homework
When you have a list of potential builders, it’s time to start asking lots of questions—of both the potential builders and the owners of their homes.

Interview potential home builders to get the answers to all the questions you have. Then, visit a builder’s recently built homes and subdivisions. Drive by on a Saturday morning when home owners may be outside doing chores or errands. Introduce yourself and say you are considering buying a home from the builder who built their home.

Talk to several owners, and try to get a random sample of opinions. The more people you talk with, the more accurate an impression of a builder you are likely to get.

  • Some questions to ask home owners include: Are you happy with your home? If you had any problems, were they fixed promptly and properly? Would you buy another home from this builder?
  • Usually, people tell you if they are pleased with their homes. And if they are not, they’ll probably want to tell you why.
  • At the very least, drive by and see if the homes are visually appealing.
  • When you talk to builders and home owners, take along a notebook to record the information you find and your personal impressions about specific builders and homes. Doing so will help you to make comparisons later.

Shop For Quality And Value
Look at new homes whenever you can. Home shows and open houses sponsored by builders are good opportunities to look at homes. Model homes and houses displayed in home shows are often furnished to give you ideas for using the space. You may also ask a builder to see unfurnished homes.

When examining a home, look at the quality of the construction features. Inspect the quality of the cabinetry, carpeting, trimwork and paint. Ask the builder or the builder’s representative a lot of questions. Get as many specifics as possible. If you receive the answers verbally rather than in writing, take notes. Never hesitate to ask a question. What seems like an insignificant question might yield an important answer.

For more articles like this, go to www.nahb.org.

News? Closings? Delays?

To get the most up-to-date information on your credit union’s hours, closings, etc., please sign up for mText ... text alerts from Marine FCU.

What are the advantages of signing up for mText?
You will receive text alerts notifying you of important notices and events.

Who can opt-in?
Anyone interested in receiving text alerts from Marine FCU.

How can I opt-in to this service?
From any mobile device, text the keyword applicable to your area (from the list to the right) to 43704.
You will receive a message back similar to the following: “Welcome to Marine FCU mText. Send Keyword+STOP to opt out.

Opt In Keyword Options: MFCUNC, MFCUSC, MFCUVA, or MFCU (if you don’t reside or would like to receive texts pertaining to states not previously listed).

How many alerts will I receive?
You may receive a maximum of five alerts per week once your subscription has been confirmed.

Member Support and Information
If you have any questions, please call Marine FCU’s Member Resource Center at 910.577.7333 or 800.225.3967, option 7, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

How can I opt-out of this service?
You can opt-out at any time by sending Keyword+STOP to 43704.

Message and data rates may apply. By texting a qualifying keyword from any mobile device to 43704, you accept our Terms and Conditions.

Europay MasterCard Visa (EMV®) Chip Credit And Debit Cards  
Bob Dickerson, Executive Vice President

With never-ending financial data breaches and fraud losses occurring nationwide, Marine FCU is preparing to fight counterfeiters by soon introducing Europay MasterCard Visa (EMV®) chip technology in our credit and debit cards. EMV® technology is being used in Europe and Canada and has proven to significantly increase protection while transactions are conducted at merchant terminals. Marine FCU will be issuing EMV® chip cards to our members in 2015.

The majority of debit and credit cards in use today rely on data encoded on a magnetic stripe on the reverse side of the card where it is more readily accessible to skilled thieves. This data is clear, sequential, and easy to read, making it easy to steal, while the microprocessor chip embedded on the EMV® card data will be more complex and harder to capture. The data in the magnetic stripe is static and used over and over for every transaction tied to that specific card. It is significant from a fraud prevention standpoint that the EMV® chip supplies a different number with every transaction.

Conversion will be a slow process, particularly on the merchant end, which is why all EMV® cards will also carry the traditional magnetic stripes for the foreseeable future. Beginning October 1, 2015, liability for fraud will shift from the issuer to the “least secure entity,” the merchant. If a cardholder presents an EMV® card to a merchant that still uses a magnetic stripe reader, the merchant will be the least secure entity and will be liable for any fraud that occurs.

Keeping financial card data safe is everyone’s business, no matter who must bear the fraud losses. In the end, fraud costs everyone involved (members, financial institutions, and merchants) a great deal of time and money. Additionally, when merchants are hacked and card data is compromised, issuers like Marine FCU bear the cost of issuing new cards, thus increasing annual cost and ultimately reducing the amount of dividends members could receive.

The technical modifications needed to implement EMV® include the microprocessor chip and installing point-of-sale equipment that can read the chip. Cardholder behavior will also be affected. Consumers are used to swiping a card and putting it back into their wallets. With the EMV® card, you don’t swipe it, you insert it into the reader and leave it there for a few seconds while authorization occurs. Additionally, expect merchants to ask to see another form of picture ID to match up with the name on the EMV® card to further mitigate fraud (a practice merchants should have been using for years).

We expect to read and hear a lot more information about the EMV® cards as the October 1, 2015 implementation date approaches. Marine FCU will keep our members informed as this transition from magnetic stripe to EMV® chip cards occurs.

Marine FCU’s 21st Annual Charity Golf Tournament Nets $124,000

On Friday, April 24, 2015, players and volunteers gathered for another successful golf tournament at the Jacksonville Country Club in Jacksonville, North Carolina. A total of 45 teams played. Checks in the amount of $62,000 were presented to representatives from the USO of Jacksonville and Hope For The Warriors®.

This year we give special thanks to actor Bradley Cooper, Carmike’s Patriot 12 Theater, and Michaels. Cooper, star of American Sniper, signed a movie theater poster donated by Patriot 12, and matted and framed by Michaels. This was auctioned at the tournament.

And a big thank you to Diane Remley and her staff at Outback Steakhouse of Jacksonville, North Carolina. They donated the delicious food and volunteered cooking and serving the golfers and tournament workers.

Next year’s tournament is scheduled for April 22.

Marine FCU Scholarship Recipients 

On Tuesday May 19, Marine FCU held a reception to recognize our 2015 scholarship recipients. The Board of Directors, Scholarship Committee, and senior management were present to congratulate these outstanding students.

Group Picture L-R (Front Row): Gabriella Green - White Oak High School, NC; Carleigh Brough - Northside High School, NC; Brianna Casini - Croatan High School, NC. (Back Row): James Petrongelli - Southwest High School, NC; Rebecca Chisholm - Northside High School, NC; Molly Laatsch - Jacksonville High School, NC; Hunter Lane - Swansboro High School, NC. Individual pictures L-R (Top Row): Regina Wasilewski - Homeschool, GA; Allison Crandall - Beaufort High School, SC; Claire Collins - Myers Park High School, NC; ; Haley Stewart - Swansboro High School, NC. (Bottom Row): Sabrina Carraway - East Carteret High School, NC; Leah Oswalt - Jacksonville High School, NC; Mary Connelly - Wake Forest High School, NC;  Rebecca Mandell - Beaufort High School, SC. 

Monitor Your Finances Closely 
By Wendy McGill, Senior VP of Marketing

It seems that every week we’re learning of a new data breach that’s been discovered. Retailers, hotels, and organizations have all become targets of the “bad guys.” Chances are some of your personal information has been compromised.

So what can you do?

Online monitoring is what we recommend. You can check all of your accounts every day if you wish.

Still getting paper statements and no online access? Make sure you study your statements carefully. If you see unauthorized activity, contact the organization right away to limit your liability.

We also recommend checking your credit reports regularly. This is where you’ll discover if new accounts have been opened in your name. You are entitled to a free copy each year. There are three major credit reporting agencies. Every four months contact one of them to get your free credit report. Here is the contact information for them:

Equifax                                        Transunion                                        Experian
1-800-685-1111                           1-800-888-4213                                 1-877-322-8228
www.equifax.com                         www.transunion.com                         www.experian.com



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