EMV Credit Cards

Facts about the new trend in credit cards
If you’ve been lookingEMV_Featured_052615 into getting a new credit card lately, you may have heard the term EMV credit card and wondered what it meant. This new trend has been gaining popularity in the United States over the past few years, but it is already firmly established internationally. The following information can help you understand the basics of EMV credit cards and how they can benefit you.

EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa. They are sometimes known as chip-cards because a small metal square – the chip – is visible on the outside of the card. Although it is fairly new to the U.S., it is considered the global standard in security for credit cards around the world. The term refers both to the computer chip equipped credit cards and the technology that works with the cards to authenticate them. This advanced technology gives chip card transactions a higher level of security than traditional cards.

EMV cards have become more popular in the U.S. because of the highly public and damaging security breaches that have occurred in recent years. With hackers gaining access to tremendous credit card databases from businesses thought to be very secure, financial institutions and businesses knew that a change was necessary. Now, people using EMV chip cards have an added layer of security both in the U.S. and when traveling abroad.

Traditional credit cards have a magnetic strip that contains all of its important data. Hackers attempt to access that data to gain the information about both the card and the cardholder necessary to commit fraud. With this information, purchases can be made that make the data as valuable as cash to anyone who knows how to steal it. The information on the magnetic strip never changes, so it can be repeated many times on any number of purchases.

The reason why EMV cards are considered more secure is because the information contained on the chip is only useful for a single payment. Each time an EMV card is used to purchase something, a unique transaction code is created, and that code can’t be used again.

In order to keep up with this change, consumers will have to obtain these cards and learn the specific technique for using them. Businesses and financial institutions will also have to adjust by outfitting their facilities with new technology, including processing systems. They will also have to change policies to keep up with new liability regulations.

“EMV technology will not prevent data breaches from occurring, but it will make it much harder for criminals to successfully profit from what they steal,” states Sienna Kossman from FoxBusiness.com.

Fox Business spoke with several experts about this technology, including Julie Conroy, the research director at Aite Group.

“Experts hope it will help significantly reduce fraud in the U.S., which has doubled in the past seven years as criminals have shied away from countries that already have transitioned to EMV cards, Conroy says,” according to Fox Business.

The way that these cards are used is different from a magnetic strip card. It also takes longer for the data to be transmitted and the transaction to be authenticated.

“Instead of going to a register and swiping your card, you are going to do what is called ‘card dipping’ instead, which means inserting your card into a terminal slot and waiting for it to process,” stated Conroy.

A second method of using an EMV card makes use of near field communication (NFC). Cards equipped with NFC technology just need to be tapped against a scanner, which can read the data. This is similar to the system that many people are familiar with using on public transportation in the country’s major cities.

“Contactless transactions are more consumer-friendly because you just have to tap,” according to Martin Ferenczi, the president of EMV provider Oberthur Technologies. ”Around the world, there is a move to make EMV cards dual-interface, which means contact and contactless. However, in the U.S., most financial institutions are issuing contact cards.”

This is due to the fact that dual scanners are expensive, so businesses are waiting until EMV cards become more widespread.

Some cards are known as chip-and-PIN because they require a pin number to be entered, just like with a traditional debit card. There are also chip-and-signature cards, which will likely be more popular than the PIN variety in the coming years.

This new trend is a great thing for both consumers who want to keep their money safe and businesses that want to protect their customers and their reputation.

Used with Permission. Published by IMN Bank Adviser Includes copyrighted material of IMakeNews, Inc. and its suppliers.

Five Reasons to Avoid Retail Credit Cards

How good of a deal is a store credit card?
You’re at the checkout at yourAvoid Retail Credit Cards! favorite retail store, when suddenly you’re offered a 10 percent or 15 percent discount on what you’re buying in exchange for opening a store credit card. Sound familiar? If this has ever happened to you, then you might’ve been tempted by all the advantages the store will make it sound like the card will bring, such as promotions, discounts, as well as other perks.

While it may sound tempting, don’t be swayed. Yes, there can be many advantages of having a store card, but many times, there can be just as many drawbacks, too. Consider the following cons before signing up for a retail credit card:

1. Low limits
More often than not, retail credit cards start you out with a low credit limit (especially if your credit is poor). And if your limit is only $100 to $1,000, the purchases you make could easily put you at a higher credit utilization (your purchasing power amount) than what’s beneficial for your credit. So for example, if you have a credit utilization of more than 20 percent, a credit card with a $100 limit means you shouldn’t buy more than $20 worth of items — and that’s not very useful.

2. High interest rates
With rates usually around 20 to 30 percent, if you’re likely to revolve balances, it can become extremely pricey if you don’t pay off what you owe at the end of your grace period. In fact, in some cases, people end up paying double or more of their initial purchase. So even with that discount offered at the beginning of use, it still isn’t worth it financially.

“The key, as with any credit card, is to pay it off each month, so that interest rate is moot,” says Matt Schulz, senior industry analyst of CreditCards.com.

3. Negative credit score impact
This is especially true if you sign up for multiple retail cards.

“You’re going to see more than a 30 point ding if you start getting multiple cards,” says Andy Jolls, CEO of the credit educational site VideoCreditScore.com. And closing recently opened accounts won’t necessarily make them disappear.

“That account will stay on your credit report for seven years. It doesn’t instantly go away when you close it,” explains Emily Peters, credit expert for Credit.com. In addition, applying for a new card also lowers the average age of your accounts, which can have an impact on your credit history’s length.

4. Spending temptation
“Once you sign up for a store card, you give the store free reign to bombard you with enticing ads and shopping promotions,” says Fatima Mehdikarimi, founder of ShoppingQueen.com. So if you’re mulling over signing up for a retail card, consider your shopping habits. If you acquire a store coupon, do you typically have the urge to use it, even if it’s on something you might not have necessarily bought without it? If so, you’re probably better off not signing up. It’s also important to keep in mind that “many of these promotions and sales can simply be had by signing up for the store’s e-mail newsletter,” according to Mehdikarimi.

5. The terms aren’t spelled out up front
Usually, salespeople will offer you the credit card when you’re making a purchase, and that doesn’t give you a lot of time to think or go over a full explanation of the terms and conditions before you decide.

“Anytime that you’re making a decision without taking the time to read through the contracts and terms of service, it’s not (a good idea),” says Schulz. “It’s always best when you’re offered one of these cards to take a step back and think about it.” So walk away to give it a second thought before jumping into any rash decisions.

Interested in other options? Give us a call or stop by today to find out how we can help you.

Used with Permission. Published by IMN Bank Adviser Includes copyrighted material of IMakeNews, Inc. and its suppliers.

Unique Vehicles from Mainstream Manufacturers

If you want to stand out, here are a few vehicles you’ll want to see

There are many choices for you to consider when you’re looking for a new vehicle, but if you want to stand out from the crowd, that number shrinks dramatically. While most vehicles follow a cookie cutter mold, and fit in with the crowd, there are still a handful of vehicles that do things their own way. Here are a few to consider.

smart fortwo – Engineered with Mercedes-Benz, the smart fortwo is a small car with excellent gas mileage and a smallsmart fortwo carbon footprint. Starting at an MSRP of $13,270 for the aptly named “fortwo,” you’re sure to turn plenty of heads, and field even more questions. The fortwo is 85 percent recyclable and can achieve as much as 38 mpg highway. Unique colors and plenty of features make this model as fun as it is practical. And even though it’s minute, that doesn’t mean it’s not safe. As a matter of fact, the fortwo comes standard with eight airbags, electronic stability program and a patented tridion safety cell that’s modeled after a racecar roll cage, keeping you as safe as possible.

Ford Flex – If hauling people is a priority, but you’re just not ready to go the minivan route, the Ford Flex is a great choice.Ford Flex Part SUV, part station wagon and part spaceship, the seven-passenger Flex starts at an MSRP of $29,100 and is available in three trim levels, SE, SEL and Limited. There are two engines to choose from, one of them being a turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 that gets up to 365 hp and 350 lb/ft of torque, while still managing up to 23 mpg highway. There is an excellent 155.8 cubic feet of passenger volume and up to 83.2 cubic feet of cargo capacity, too. In addition to its bold design, standout features include available ambient lighting, a refrigerated console that can hold up to seven 12-ounce cans or four half-liter bottles around 40 degrees, a 12-speaker Sony audio system and power liftgate. Edmunds added that, “The 2015 Ford Flex offers a combination of space, versatility, features and solid driving dynamics that makes it a top choice among larger crossovers.”

Cadillac ELR – If you’re looking for a luxury car that won’t blend in, the ELR may be what you’re looking for. The ELR is labeledCadillac ELR an extended range electric vehicle, which means you get the best of both a gas powered and an electric powered vehicle. With a 37-mile range of electric driving, the ELR can go over an additional 300 miles with its gas-powered engine. And we’re not talking about some wimpy engine either, with total system output of 162 hp and a thunderous 295 lb/ft of torque, the ELR can shoot to 60 mph in a tick over 7 1/2 seconds.

“Cadillac’s new 2014 ELR looks astonishing,” according to Car and Driver magazine. “Low, chiseled, aggressive, provocative, and uncompromised by any concession to practicality, it seems to have been time-warped out of some Gene Roddenberry–spec, 23rd-century future onto today’s roads.”

There are some other interesting models to check out including the Nissan Juke, Audi TT, Subaru XC Crosstrek and the Toyota FJ Cruiser. Whatever you choose, be sure to stop by to see the financing options we can offer you.

Used with Permission. Published by IMN Bank Adviser Includes copyrighted material of IMakeNews, Inc. and its suppliers.

Green Spring Cleaning Tips

Spruce up your home in an eco-friendly way

It’s that time of year againspring cleaning…everyone is busting out their cleaning supplies and partaking in the springtime spruce up. Rather than spending a bunch of time and money on materials and methods that harm the world around us, utilize these tips to be more environmentally-conscious and even improve your environment.

Dusting
One simple suggestion is the tip that keeps on tipping — use vinegar. Vinegar is the primary green cleaning solution for multiple uses. Mix as few tablespoons of vinegar in a bowl of water, soak a dishrag, wring it out and go to town on any surface. The solution not only cleans off present dust, but also sticks around to help repel future dust.

Carpet Cleaning
Use the same ingredients in a steam cleaner (a borrowed one, if you want to save money) to deep clean your rugs. Fill the compartment with equal parts water and vinegar, then use the cleaner as directed and rinse with plain water. Don’t worry about the vinegar smell, it disappears as the carpet dries.

Bathrooms
Save money by purchasing borax at the supermarket instead of the multitude of commercial cleaners out there. Mix it with water and lemon juice and then start cleaning. But you’ll have to be more patient — because although it is more healthful, it doesn’t cut through the grit as quickly as typical cleaners with chemicals, but eventually the job is done just as well.

Freezers
Don’t forget about ridding your refrigerator of those stinky old leftovers. While you’re at it, do the freezer, too. To avoid the freezer’s contents thawing out and going bad while you are cleaning, simply remember to plan ahead. Take an inventory of what’s in your freezer and list out a weekly menu utilizing the frozen food. Then clean out the fridge/freezer with the same solution you used to dust. Once your spring cleaning is done, go shopping for fresh food to refill your appliance.

Tapestries and Bedding
Remove your curtains and strip the beds, then wash them on delicate with an eco-friendly, high-efficiency (or “honest”) detergent. Afterward, take advantage of that springtime weather and hang them outdoors to dry.

Air Filters
Install a living air filter in the form of houseplants. Not only do they add decor to your home, they also efficiently clean the interior air. To properly clean your home’s air, the recommended number of plants is between 15-18 Spider plants, English ivy, rubber plants or peace lilies (in a 6-8-inch diameter container) for an 1,800-square-foot home. That might sound like a lot, but you can be creative with arrangements and also place more in rooms where you spend the most time.

Recycle Clutter
If you have extra items that you no longer use, or clothes that don’t fit, for example, put them aside for a yard sale or box them up for Goodwill or the Salvation Army. You can also list things on Craigslist or other social media for sale or giveaway.

If you have clothing items that are a little more-than-gently used, turn them into rags for dusting. This is much more eco-friendly than wasting single-use paper towels for cleaning.

Remember that these tips apply any time of year, not just in the springtime. Use these suggestions and start living more closely to nature all year round.

Used with Permission. Published by IMN Bank Adviser Includes copyrighted material of IMakeNews, Inc. and its suppliers.