Important Announcements Regarding Your Credit Card

 

 

Important Announcements Regarding Your Credit Card

Our credit card program is getting an update on March 21 & 22 that includes some new security features & other online banking enhancements. Starting on Wednesday, March 16, credit cards will not show up in online banking until March 22.

You can still use your credit card to make purchases, but during this time, you will be unable to transfer funds or make payments to your credit card through online banking.  Any existing payments set up on your credit card will need to be set up again once the new system is live. If you have any questions, please contact us at (217) 224-1093.

Living Paycheck-to-Paycheck: A Credit Union Solution

Recent studies find that seven out of ten Americans are now living paycheck-to-paycheck. If you’ve never had to adopt this lifestyle, consider yourself lucky. At United Community Credit Union we understand the immense burden that a paycheck-to-paycheck budget can place on you and those you love. The last thing you need is someone wagging their finger at you chastising you for not managing your money better. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of ways you can save money on a month-to-month basis, as well as some solutions unique to credit unions.

Track Your Spending – Seems obvious, right? You may think so, but a common financial pitfall is that many people don’t really know where their money is going. They swipe and they spend, not keeping track of how those dollars are adding up. Once you start taking stock of where your money is going each month, you will quickly see the things you can cut out to save some money. Do you really NEED a pint of gourmet ice cream each week?

Have A No-Spend Day – It is time to embrace the joy of NOT spending money. For many, getting something new or treating themselves to a Starbucks adds a little sparkle to their day. However, not every day needs that sparkle. Once a month, designate a “No-Spend Day.” This means you aren’t going to spend money on anything. No Starbucks, no afternoon snack. While a No-Spend Day will take some planning, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the extra money you have leftover. Just don’t spend that money the next day.

Try Incognito Mode – This could be one of the simplest ways to remove temptation. Use an incognito browser to thwart tracking data from serving you targeted ads. After all, how many times have you seen an ad for something and thought, “Why don’t I already own that?”

These are but a few ways you can make minor changes that will have a big impact in the long run. However, you’re a member of a credit union, you have access to some unique opportunities that can help improve your financial situation.

Refinance Your Home – A home payment can be a huge hurdle between you and financial stability. That’s why it might be beneficial to refinance your home with us. When you refinance your home, you can potentially get a lower monthly payment and a lower rate. This will allow you to pay your home off quicker and free up funds that can be allocated to other things.

Specialized Loans – Sometimes, you just need that little extra to get you over the next big hump. As a credit union, we have the opportunity to offer more specialized loans at lower rates than big banks. We offer personal loans. These loans can help you build or re-build your credit, setting you up for a better financial future.

Dedicated Resources – As a credit union, we’re a small group of dedicated individuals. That’s why we offer money management resources to our members. Whether you need help developing a budget or determining if a refinance is right for you, we can help. Contact us today to make an appointment. 217-224-1093

 

Sources: https://www.studyfinds.org/living-paycheck-to-paycheck/

Mobile Wallet

person using a tap to pay method
person using a tap to pay method

Mobile Wallet

You know the feeling. You’ve been shopping… a lot… and the time has come to check out. You reach the cash register. You reach for your wallet and your stomach drops. “Where could it be?” You had it with you just a moment ago…you think. You must have left it at home. In the car? You noticed the people behind you are starting to get impatient…if only you had your wallet… With United Community, you don’t have to face that fear anymore! Simply connect your United Community debit or credit card to your mobile wallet and always have your card available and ready to use.

United Community cards are compatible with both Apple and Samsung Pay!

Get started with the instructions below.

mobile wallet instructions for samsung
Federally insured by NCUA.

2008 Chevy Tahoe

2008 Chevy Tahoe

Uncategorized

2008 Chevy Tahoe

Details:

LTZ. Bose stereo, rear bucket seats, navigation, leather, rear entertainment system, power sunroof.

Mileage:

187,xxx miles.

Asking Price:

$7,500 OBO. Taking bids until 6/1/2021.

For more information or to place a bid contact our 3633 Maine Street branch at 217-221-1963.  

2011 GMC Sierra 1500

2011 GMC Sierra

Uncategorized

2011 GMC Sierra

Details:

Crew Cab, Denali

Mileage:

182,xxx miles.

Asking Price:

$17,000 OBO.  Taking bids until 5/25/2021.

For more information or to place a bid contact our 3633 Maine Street branch at 217-221-1963.  

UCCU Staff Feedback

white speech bubble with feedback in it placed on a cork board background
white speech bubble with feedback in it placed on a cork board background

UCCU Staff Feedback

At United Community, we strive to be united in making this team the best imaginable. We know there are areas for improvement and even ideas that may have gone unspoken. This is your opportunity to let us know: what’s going great and what could be better?  

 

You may submit anonymously or provide your name so we may reach out and work together with you. Either way, be assured that the leadership team will take every step necessary to let you know you have been heard and your thoughts matter to us!

Is Now the Right Time to Buy a Car?

Handsome bearded businessman is sitting in a new car in car dealership
Handsome bearded businessman is sitting in a new car in car dealership

Is Now the Right Time to Buy a Car?

Have you been considering purchasing a vehicle? Now could be the right time for you to buy.

 

According to US News, March car sales were off by almost 40 percent compared to the same month in 2019. What does this mean for you? Due to declining sales, dealerships are highly motivated to sell vehicles but you may not necessarily get the deal that is best for you. Our goal is to encourage you to do your due diligence and buy a vehicle that’s best for your lifestyle and budget. To help you make a smart decision, we’re providing a few tips to ensure you’re well-informed.

Know you have choices

Due to dealerships looking to make up for lost sales, they’re offering flashy, headline-making deals. However, once you take a look under the hood, the deals aren’t as great as they seem. For instance, a cash rebate will be a better deal than 0 percent interest when paired with a low-interest loan as it can lower your monthly payment. Therefore, you can take the rebate and finance with United Community Credit Union for your best deal.

 

If the dealership requires you to use their financing, you can finance with the rebate and then refinance your auto loan with us. We will work with you to ensure you receive the best deal on your vehicle. TransUnion reports that car buyers who refinanced their auto loan, lowered their rate by over 2 percent!*

Consider your warranty options

When you’re buying a vehicle, whether new or used, dealers will try to sell you or automatically include add-ins like warranties to your loan. When buying a car, think of how long you plan to own it. If you trade or upgrade your vehicle often, you may not need an extended warranty. Typically, new vehicles come with manufacturer warranties that supersede any extended warranties. This means that your extended warranty has no value until the original manufacturer warranty expires.

 

If you plan on keeping your vehicle for an extended length of time, an extended warranty could be right for you. Compare the costs of the warranties the dealer offers with our warranty options. Our warranties usually lower in cost and have longer terms and more comprehensive coverage than those offered at the dealership.

Watch out for GAP Insurance

GAP stands for Guaranteed Asset Protection. What is GAP insurance? It’s optional car insurance coverage that helps you pay off your auto loan in the event that your car is totaled or stolen, and you owe more than the car’s current value. This helps bridge the “gap” between what you owe and what your insurance is willing to pay. For example, say you owe $25,000 on your car but the actual value is $19,000. If you incur a total loss accident, your insurance will most likely only pay the value amount of 19,000. GAP insurance will pay the $6,000 so you are debt-free.

 

Compare the GAP Insurance from the dealership with what we offer. Dealers often charge each person a different amount. They can set their own prices which are typically very high in comparison to our policies that are reasonably priced and cost the same for each member.

 

If you’ve made up your mind to purchase a vehicle, you don’t have to be intimidated by the dealer. Take control of your car buying journey and get pre-approved with United Community Credit Union. Learn more about our current auto loan offerings and click here. We will help you compare the numbers and guide you to make the best financial decision.

 

*Information was collected for this article from credible.com and US News. Credit Union does not endorse these sites and simply used content for informational purposes only. Federally insured by NCUA.

What You Should Know About the Stimulus Checks

Auditing company. Business woman checking balance. Internal Revenue Service inspects document with laptop computer and calculator, copy space
Auditing company. Business woman checking balance. Internal Revenue Service inspects document with laptop computer and calculator, copy space

What You Should Know About the Stimulus Checks

Over the weekend, President Donald Trump signed a $2 trillion economic relief plan set to provide aid to millions of Americans impacted by the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. The package includes stimulus payments for individuals, additional unemployment coverage, student loan relief, and more.

But, what does that mean for you?

Stimulus Payments

Most adults will receive a check or direct deposit. The amount will vary based on adjusted gross income, filing status, and the number of dependents you claim. The amounts will break down as follows:

  • Single adults who made $75,000 or less annually will receive $1,200. If you have qualifying children 16 or under, you will receive an additional $500 per child.
  • Married couples with no children who made $150,000 or less will receive $2,400.
  • Taxpayers who file as the head of household will get the full payment if they earned $112,500 or less.
  • For single adults who make more than $75,000, the payment gradually decreases until it stops all together at $99,000.
  • For married people with no children who make more than $150,000, the stimulus payment gradually decreases until it stops all together at $198,000.

If someone claims you as a dependent – even as an adult – you will not eligible for a relief payment. To see your adjusted gross income, look at Line 8B on your 2019 1040 federal tax return.

 

Most people will receive their payments within three weeks. However, according to the bill, you’ll receive a paper notice in the mail a few weeks after your payment has been distributed. That notice will also contain information about where the payment ended up and in what form it was made.

Additional Unemployment Coverage

 Under the stimulus package, additional unemployment benefits will be extended to people who wouldn’t typically be eligible for unemployment.

 

Typically, self-employed and part-time workers, gig workers, freelancers and independent contractors aren’t eligible for unemployment benefits, but under the stimulus package, those groups will be protected. Benefits will be calculated based on previous income using a formula from the Disaster Unemployment Assistance program.

 

Under the plan, eligible workers will get an extra $600 per week in addition to the state unemployment they are currently receiving. The state unemployment and extra coverage is designed to replace the paycheck that has been lost due to Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Student Loan Relief

 The federal government has already waived two months of interest and payments for student borrowers. There will be an automatic payment suspension until Aug. 30 for any student loans held by the federal government. Older Federal Family Educational Loans, Perkins loans or loans from state or private agencies are not eligible. However, if you have a private student loan, it’s worth asking to see what options are available to you. 

Retirement Accounts

 The stimulus package has also suspended certain retirement account rules for the calendar year 2020. No one will have to take a required minimum distribution from individual retirement accounts or workplace retirement savings plans.

 

If you have an IRA or workplace retirement plan, you can withdraw up to $100,000 without the usual 10 percent penalty as long as the withdrawal is because of the COVID-19 outbreak. The withdrawal qualifies if you, a spouse or dependent tested positive for the virus or you experienced other negative economic effects related to the pandemic. You’ll also be able to spread out any income taxes you owe as a result over a three-year time period from the date of the distribution.

 

You can also borrow from your 401(k) and can take out twice the usual amount. For 180 days after the bill passes, if you provide certification that you’ve been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, you can withdraw up to $100,000. If you already have a loan and it’s supposed to be repaid before Dec. 31, you get an extra year.

 

We’re facing unprecedented times; the pandemic has touched everyone’s lives in some way. Please know United Community Credit Union is here for you during this time. If you’re experiencing financial hardship due to the Coronavirus pandemic, reach out and talk to us. Let us help you find the option that works best for you. We can get through this together; one step at a time.

Wedding Planning on a Budget

Wedding to do list top view. Present boxes calendar for marriage planning and various bridal stuff on white rustic table. Memmorable date organization background
Wedding to do list top view. Present boxes calendar for marriage planning and various bridal stuff on white rustic table. Memmorable date organization background

Wedding Planning on a Budget

So, you’re engaged! Congratulations! You’re probably over the moon and full of stars in your eyes and have visions of wedded bliss.

You’ve been thinking about this day for as long as you can remember. You’ve got your Pinterest boards, a planning notebook, and you’re ready to hit the ground running. But, have you put a price tag on any of those ideas and visions?

$35,329

That’s the average cost of a wedding in the U.S. And that doesn’t even include the honeymoon! After hearing this sky-high number, you’re probably ready to simplify the process, save money, and elope. However, It’s absolutely possible to have the wedding of your dreams without spending well over what you can afford. Simply prioritizing your must-haves, creating a budget, and allocating your money accordingly will go a long way in planning for the big day.

What’s important to you?

Before you can create a budget, there are a few things you need to decide. First, determine what kind of wedding you want. What do you see when you think of your big day? A country club wedding and reception? An elegant downtown loft? A backyard barbecue?


Once you answer this question, have the budget talk with everyone contributing to the wedding. When you start talking money, make sure you talk about more than the total amount you’ll spend. For instance, break down the wedding budget into categories – ceremony, reception, decorations, etc. – and decide what you’ll spend in each category.


Now that you’ve taken this step, you’ll need to determine the most important and the least important items on your checklist. Is there anything you can cut altogether? Sit down with your fiancé and determine what you both REALLY want and let that vision guide your budget.

Track your spending

First things first, leave some room in your budget. No matter how down-to-the-penny it may be, unexpected expenses are going to pop up. Your budget will evolve over the planning process, so be prepared by giving yourself a little bit of a cushion.


If you Google, “wedding budget worksheet,” you’re going to find a bunch of different options. Find what works best for you. This could look like an Excel spreadsheet, a Google Sheet, or one of the thousands of templates on wedding planning websites. Regardless of your template, tracking your spending throughout the entire process will be imperative. You’ll be able to ensure you’re staying well within the lines of your budget. Plus, it serves as a great guide or list to see what you’ve paid for, how much you’ve paid, and how much you have left to cover.

There are apps. Use them!

There are a few fantastic wedding-related apps that are free or inexpensive. Use them! Most of those sites have the option to create free websites, invitations, and save-the-dates. Get started with these suggestions:

  • ZolaZola has everything you need in one place. They have a great selection of templates for you to design your wedding website for free! Your website is crucial for keeping your loved ones informed by sharing information about travel arrangements and relaying the important details of your day. You can also build your registry, design and order invitations or save-the-dates and manage your guest list.
  • ThumbtackPhotographers, DJs, bands or florists – no matter what service you’re looking for, Thumbtack will have it. This app allows you to browse services in your geographic region to compare prices, check out reviews and even talk directly to the vendor.
  • WeddingHappyAre you a list maker? WeddingHappy is the app for you! It is the ultimate to-do list. It’s a great app that will help you manage your wedding-related tasks, payments coming up and vendors you’re working with.

Your wedding day will be one of the most amazing days of your life! Don’t let money and budget-related stress take that away from you and your significant other. There are a lot of options out there to make this day incredible no matter your budget.


Once you have a set budget, financing your big day might be the best option for you. Talk to us. At United Community Credit Union, we have options like personal loans, lines of credit and low-rate credit cards that could be exactly what you’re looking for. Let us help you make the big day one you’ll never forget!

4 Best Budgeting Apps

Happy young woman wearing blue shirt using mobile phone and smile on street near road in summer day.
Happy young woman wearing blue shirt using mobile phone and smile on street near road in summer day.

4 Best Budgeting Apps

Budget. Did you just get cold chills reading that word? It’s not a popular word, and it’s certainly not a popular idea. Typically, the idea of a budget is enough to take away any sense of fun you have when thinking about spending your money.

But, it doesn’t have to be. There are several benefits to creating a monthly budget.

When you have a budget in place, you instantly:

  • Make your money work for you
  • Assign each dollar in your account a job
  • Gives you 100% control of your money
  • Allows you to track your expenses
  • Relieves some of the stress that finances can bring
  • Helps you create a “safety net”
There are obvious benefits to creating and maintaining a budget, and there are just as many tools to help you budget as there are benefits.

So, where do you start?

First, figure out how much you make each month. Then, figure out how much you spend. Once you figure out what you’re bringing in vs. what you’re spending, you can start creating specific categories for your money. This is where you get to tell your money what to do.

Now, you’ve got a basic budget in place. You know what you’re making, what you’re spending, and your money has a specific goal. But, how do you keep track of all that information in a manageable way?

Budget apps! The great thing about budget apps – not only do they keep track of your budget, but you can take it with you everywhere you go.

Check out some of the best budgeting apps for 2020.

  1. Wally — Get the intimate details of all your financial activity in an easy-to-digest template. Categorize spending destinations, set goals, and create charts. Wally provides you with the full picture of your account in a simple and colorful template. Easy to look at and easy to understand, Wally makes tracking and analyzing your financial habits easy.
  2. Acorns — You know how it’s hard to overcome the mental hump of setting money aside? Well, Acorn removes that struggle from the equation. By rounding up each of your transactions to the nearest dollar, it puts the funds into an investment portfolio. This app looks out for “future you” and makes sure you always have a few acorns hidden away for a rainy day.
  3. Mint – Create budgets, track bills and receive a free credit score when you use Mint. But, it’s the budgeting feature that really makes Mint shine. It allows you to link your credit union, loan and credit card accounts and then uses the information from those accounts to suggest budgets for you based on your spending. Mint takes it a step farther by breaking that spending down into categories like “entertainment,” “food and dining” and shopping. The best part? You’ll be able to see how much you can save by cutting back in each category.
  4. Mvelopes – A popular budgeting method is the envelope system, a style of budgeting, where you put cash in envelopes for different spending categories and when the envelope is empty, your budget category is spent for the month. This is great for people who mind a cash system, but for people who use credit and debit cards, this is challenging. Enter Mvelopes; an app that makes it easy to follow the cash style budgeting in a digital world.
Of course, while you’re downloading apps, make sure you’re using our app. At United Community Credit Union, our app allows you to check your balances, transfer money, check your spending and deposit checks remotely. Still have questions about budgeting and financial planning? Talk to one of our member service representatives and let us help get you on track.