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New Touch ID Available On iPhones With Newest Version Of Mobile App

Marine FCU recently updated our iPhone online account access mobile app to version 4.5. The update includes a new security feature called Touch ID … a fingerprint scanner available on the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus. Since every fingerprint is unique, yours becomes the most secure passcode to use when accessing your Marine FCU account information.

To use Touch ID, you’ll need to set a passcode on your iPhone. Go to Settings and scroll down to Passcode. Follow the instructions for enrolling your fingerprint.

Once Touch ID is activated on your iPhone, open your Marine FCU mobile app and log in normally. Go to the bottom of the app and click on More, then Settings.

Turn on Touch ID and next time you log into your account, you can use your fingerprint.

For instructions on setting up a passcode and Touch ID, click here for Apple’s support site.

Money Management Matters

A well-designed, realistic spending plan is the most important step to take in your journey to reach your financial goals.

If you're not completely comfortable with your spending plan, or would like some guidance with this or other financial issues, consider a free and confidential money management counseling session with a BALANCE counselor. Appointments are available weekdays, evenings, and weekends and can be made by calling toll-free 888.456.2227. The average counseling session lasts approximately one hour, and there is no limit on the number of sessions you may have.

Counselors are qualified to discuss general money management, credit and housing topics including goal setting, spending and savings plans, credit and credit reports, debt management, buying a first home, mortgage delinquency and foreclosure prevention. Each session is goal oriented and results in a written action plan clearly outlining the steps you and your counselor decide to take in order to establish personal financial control.

Developing Your Own Spending Plan
The math that lies at the root of a strong spending plan is simple: The amount of money going out must always be less than, or equal to, the amount of money coming in. Most of us have a fairly good sense of how much we bring home each month through our paychecks and perhaps earnings on savings and investments. Money going out, however, may be a bit fuzzier. The checks we write and the purchases made on credit cards are easy enough to track, but cash may seem simply to disappear. As a result, there are gaps in the spending plan.

Understanding and flexibility in your spending habits is the key to successful budgeting. Once you’ve tracked your spending, then you are in a position to make an educated decision whether to continue spending as you have, or to make changes in order to more readily reach your financial goals.

Wonder Where All Of Your Money Goes?
For one week, record all of your expenses no matter how small. At the end of the week, you'll have a clear idea of where those extra dollars could be hiding. In the future, you can use the funds you currently fritter away to increase savings, pay off bills, or buy something special.

Pay Yourself First!
Save and invest 5-10% of your gross annual income. Of course, for most of us, this is easier said than done. If you're currently living from paycheck to paycheck without seeing an opportunity to get ahead, begin by creating a solid spending plan after tracking all of your monthly expenses. Or, call a BALANCE counselor to help you get your savings plan in order.

What's Your Financial Wellness IQ? 

The first step toward a financially stable tomorrow is facing the situation today.

Ready to begin? Answer True or False to the following questions, and then tally your score. See scoring beneath the quiz to determine whether or not you are a good candidate for financial counseling.

1. I normally pay only the minimum amount due on my credit card bills.

2. My credit card balances increase each month.

3. There are arguments in my home about money.

4. I sometimes hide purchases from my spouse.

5. I frequently charge items that I used to pay for with cash.

6. I have thought about filing for bankruptcy.

7. I have begun using cash advances to meet my obligations.

8. My credit cards are near the limit, so I’ve begun applying for new lines of credit.

9. I do not know the total amount that I owe.

10. I skip paying my bills some months, or pay late.

11. I have depleted my savings.

12. I am consumed with worries about debt.

13. My debt interferes with my job and/or home life.

14. Collectors have begun contacting me.

15. I have taken money from my retirement account to satisfy debt obligations.

16. If I lost my job, it would mean an immediate financial crisis in my life.

17. I use balance transfers.

18. I have no emergency savings account.

19. Next month’s bills arrive before I’ve paid this month’s.

20. I do not open my bills when they arrive, or soon thereafter.

Most people answer “True” to two or three of the above questions. If True was answered more often than three times, you might consider financial counseling. BALANCE offers free and low cost assistance, whether the problem stems from needing more financial education, debt concerns, meeting your mortgage payment, or a host of other personal finance concerns. Discussing it with a certified counselor/3rd party will add insight to help you to resolve the situation. Appointments are available weekdays, evenings, and weekends and can be made by calling toll-free 888.456.2227.

ScoreCard Sunsational Summer Sweepstakes!

Do you have a Marine FCU ScoreCard Rewards credit card? Have you registered at ScoreCardRewards.com? If you haven't, creating a new profile with a valid email address between July 1 and July 31 will enter you for a chance to win a 32GB iPod touch.

To register and for rules, please visit ScoreCardRewards.com.

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.

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

 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.  
  • 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.

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-Cape Carteret, NC

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