Financial Education

What can you do with a HELOC?

Nov 13
2020
Family in front of white home.

Have you ever wondered what a HELOC is, or what a HELOC is for?  HELOC stands for Home Equity Line of Credit, and they have been around for a long time. This loan uses the equity of a home as collateral, set up as a line of credit. For example, if your home is worthRead more

Have you ever wondered what a HELOC is, or what a HELOC is for?  HELOC stands for Home Equity Line of Credit, and they have been around for a long time. This loan uses the equity of a home as collateral, set up as a line of credit. For example, if your home is worth $200k, but you only owe $150k, you have $50k in equity in the home. Some of that equity, typically up to a certain percent of the home’s value, is available to be used as a HELOC. For homeowners, HELOCs are a useful tool for many different situations, ranging from home renovations to debt consolidation to even emergency funds. So what options do you have with a HELOC?

Pay for home improvements

This is the most common purpose for a HELOC. You can finally finish your basement, or get nice granite countertops, new flooring, or even new furniture. Using a HELOC to pay for home improvements allows you to enjoy a low interest rate, while also upgrading your home. Now you can finally make your dream home come true! If you are considering selling your home, a HELOC could also be used to upgrade your home to increase the value before you sell it, leaving you with more profit after the sale. With a HELOC, your minimum payments are also interest-only, meaning that your minimum payments are much smaller than a regular loan. This allows you to gain more control by choosing which project you would like to start first, paying the smaller payment while the project is ongoing, paying it off when you are ready, and then moving on to the next project easily with the same line of credit!

Pay for tuition

Have you been considering going back to school, but unsure of how you would afford it? Do you hope your child will choose to go to college, but still need to find a way to help them pay for their education? Finances are often a huge barrier for people when they are planning whether or not to go back to school, and can be a source of stress when they want to help their child further their education as well. A HELOC is an affordable way to do either option! Avoid the high-interest federal or private student loans and pay for tuition faster with a lower interest rate. Using a HELOC also gives you the flexibility to pay for any additional college expenses that regular student loans may not offer.

Pay for a vehicle

HELOCs offer low interest rates that can sometimes be competitive to regular auto loan options, especially when it comes to multiple vehicles and larger vehicles.  An auto loan rate can be determined by many factors such as year of the vehicle, how long of a loan term, and your credit. A HELOC, however, offers the benefit of a low interest rate, flexible payment amounts, and flexible terms. Purchasing a vehicle with a HELOC can help you save on interest, and offer a flexible monthly payment.

Pay debt

Another popular way to use a HELOC is to consolidate your debt. Most consumer loans have higher interest rates, which prolong the time it takes to pay off your debt, and you end up paying much more in interest. Using a HELOC not only means you get a much lower interest rate to save more and actually pay down debt faster, but it also means a flexible payment, allowing you to pay more when you are able, and pay less at times when things are tight. Interest on a HELOC also depends on the amount spent on the HELOC; as you continue to pay down your HELOC, you pay less interest.

Pay for medical expenses

Medical expenses are something that no one wants, but that everyone should be prepared for. We can’t always predict when something will happen that results in us paying medical expenses out of pocket. Using your HELOC to pay medical expenses can save you from the financial stress that comes along with it, and can save you from the high interest of any credit cards or loans that you might have otherwise taken out to pay your bills.

Pay for an emergency

Many people love having a HELOC for emergency funds. Plus, one of the best things about a HELOC is that the interest only accrues for the amount used. For example, if you take out a $50,000 HELOC, and you only use $10,000 from the HELOC, your interest only accrues on the $10,000 that you took out instead of the entire $50,000 line of credit. This means that if you have a HELOC already open in case of emergency, you don’t pay any interest at all, and it can remain open and untouched when not needed. Then when you do need to use it for an emergency, you get the advantage of a low interest rate rather than a higher interest rate of a consumer loan or credit card.

Not only can you do many things with a HELOC, but HELOCs are a great and secure way to borrow responsibly. Home Equity Lines of Credit also offer many great features, including low interest rates, and flexible monthly payments. Check out our HELOC products and apply for yours today!

Financial Education

How to Open a New Account at ICCU

Nov 12
2020
Couple talking to credit union teller

For some, the thought of opening a new account at a financial institution can seem daunting.  However, knowing what to expect and how to prepare can help put your mind at ease. At Idaho Central Credit Union, we strive to make the process of opening an account fast and easy.  Here is all you need to know.

We are continuously humbled that so many Idahoans trust us with their daily balance and we refuse to let a single member down. If you live or work in Idaho you likely qualify for membership. Becoming a member is simple and takes just minutes. In fact, you can join online right now. Once you’re a member, you will immediately begin enjoying the full benefits of membership with Idaho’s top credit union. It’s a small change now that can make a big difference later.

For some, the thought of opening a new account at a financial institution can seem daunting.  However, knowing what to expect and how to prepare can help put your mind at ease. At Idaho Central Credit Union, we strive to make the process of opening an account fast and easy.

What do I need?

To open an account at Idaho Central, you need only a few things:

  • Photo ID
  • Social Security Number
  • Two years of employment and address history
  • Deposit

How much does it cost?

  • To become a member: $5 (One-time fee, at initiation only)
  • Savings account: $25 (This amount stays in your account to keep it open)
  • Checking account: $100
    • This money can be used immediately, a $100 deposit is necessary to open the account.
    • Starter accounts require only $50 deposit. That means that anyone under 18 years old can open a checking with $50.
    • Checking can be opened as young as 12 years old.
  • Credit card: $0 (No deposit necessary.)
  • Other loans: TBD
    • If you are taking out a personal, auto, RV, home, HELOC, or other type of loan, you can work out how much you pay upfront to determine your monthly payments.

How do I know if I am eligible for membership?

  • If you live or work in Idaho or Washington, chances are you can become a member. You can find more details about eligibility on our website here.

What if I have bad credit or no credit at all?

  • We have products specifically set up for those who may have had credit hiccups in the past or who have never had an account before, give us a call and we’ll see what we can do to get you set up.

Where do I sign up?

At Idaho Central, it has never been easier to open your membership.

  • Click here to submit your application online.
  • Contact us through VideoChat to open your membership with a live agent, from the comfort of your own home.
  • Or come into any branch, and we’ll be happy to help!

Idaho Central Credit Union is proud to have been acknowledged as one of America’s top-performing credit unions eight years running. That’s a streak we look forward to keeping alive.

As the premier credit union in Idaho, our members receive industry-leading products and services while also enjoying true Idahoan customer service. We’re proud to have called Idaho home since 1940.

Financial Education

All You Need to Know About Tap-and-Go Cards

Nov 09
2020
Paying with a Tap and Go card

As Tap-and-Go cards become more and more popular, especially in today’s environment, questions arise about where these cards are accepted as well as the safety and security of contactless transactions.  We would like to provide some more information on what you need to know about these cards. Are Tap-and-Go cards safe? Contactless cards have theRead more

As Tap-and-Go cards become more and more popular, especially in today’s environment, questions arise about where these cards are accepted as well as the safety and security of contactless transactions.  We would like to provide some more information on what you need to know about these cards.

Are Tap-and-Go cards safe?

Contactless cards have the same level of security as EMV chip cards. During transactions, rather than sending your actual card number through the network, Tap-and-Go cards generate a one-time code, which changes with every transaction.  This code protects your actual card information because even if a fraudster were able to access this code, they would not be able to use it.  However, while Tap-and-Go cards are a lot safer than magnetic strips, it does not mean fraud is nonexistent. Tap-and-Go cards provide another level of security, but fraudsters are ever evolving their strategies to gain access to member information, and we still need to be careful and aware of fraud. At Idaho Central, our CardControl app can help you monitor card transactions. When a suspicious charge occurs, you can turn off your card immediately, stopping any future transactions, providing time and peace of mind. With Tap-and-Go cards and Idaho Central’s CardControl app, you can be more secure than ever.

Why would I want a Tap-and-Go card?

While the Tap-and-Go cards are as secure as EMV cards, one of the most popular reasons to use a Tap-and-Go card is convenience. Once the device is ready to take your payment, all you need to do is bring your card within a few inches of the sensor, and the transaction will be processed.  Additionally, the use of Tap-and-Go cards allow you to maintain a safe distance from the person facilitating the transaction.

Where can I use it?

Merchants that accept contactless cards have a contactless symbol  on their checkout terminal. More and more stores are implementing a variety of ways to pay, not only to help their customers have safer transactions, but also for the convenience. A wide variety of national retailers accept Tap-and-Go cards.

Do I have a Tap-and-Go card?

Cards enabled with contactless technology have the Tap-and-Go symbol  on the card. At Idaho Central Credit Union, all newly issued cards feature an EMV chip as well as Tap-and-Go technology. If you are an ICCU member and would like a Tap-and-Go card now, please contact us to request one.

For more information about our Tap-and-Go cards, please click here to learn how we provide you with fast, easy, and secure payment options.

Financial Education

How to Hire the Best Talent

Sep 28
2020
Two women sitting in conference room

Having the best talent employed by your business is the ultimate goal of any business owner. A great and talented workforce is capable of taking your business to the next level; they can help innovate, improve culture, bring new ideas, and increase productivity. However, it’s not always easy to attract top talent. So what canRead more

Having the best talent employed by your business is the ultimate goal of any business owner. A great and talented workforce is capable of taking your business to the next level; they can help innovate, improve culture, bring new ideas, and increase productivity. However, it’s not always easy to attract top talent. So what can you do to find the best talent for your business?

Determine Talent

The first step to hiring great talent is to determine exactly what talent your business needs. We all have different talents, and not every business needs the same talents. A healthy and good company culture can mean different things for you versus your competitors, and it’s important to determine what exactly it is that you’re looking for. While one business may value having a team of employees that have a specific set of technical skills, your business may value not only the technical skills, but interpersonal skills as well. Setting these goals and expectations will help with hiring employees accordingly. The right employees will help your business increase profit while decreasing the turnover rate since employees will be happier with the roles that best fit them.

Focus on Culture

While job responsibilities are important, the culture of the workplace is actually a big part of what makes people like or dislike their current job. A positive culture does not just mean a ping-pong table, free catered food, or performance bonus incentives. Rather, it is about promoting an uplifting culture where you celebrate each other’s success, help each other improve, and celebrate different talents. While cultural fit might sound very abstract and hard to define, cultural fit means employees’ beliefs and behaviors align with the company’s core values and culture. Simply put, it means that even though each employee may be different and bring in different values with their diverse backgrounds, they can also have similar values that add to the company culture, and show that the individual already aligns with the company’s mission.

Recruiting

Now that you’ve determined what type of talent you are looking for, and what type of culture you are hoping to build, let’s go over the more tactical steps of how to actually find that talent. Having a great recruiting strategy is essential for your hiring success. Your recruiting team should know exactly what you are looking for, which is why it is important for you to know exactly what you are looking for first. Though your business may not be large enough for a full in-house recruiting team, that doesn’t mean you have to do it all yourself! Outsourcing your recruiting is a great option for businesses both small and large, and may be something to consider. One reason why companies outsource a portion, or all, of their recruiting is because recruiting agencies have a wide range of networks and the talents to spot talent. Recruiting agencies’ networks span nationwide and worldwide sometimes, where they might be able to help you find the right person with the right skills to fit your team.

Word of Mouth

Another way to find great talent for your business is through employee word of mouth. Great talent attracts similar people. The current employees you already have are a great resource to get the word out, which is one reason why having a great company culture is important to attracting great talent. When employees are happy where they work, they are happy to tell others what a great company they work for. Many companies also have incentive programs that help push the word-of-mouth effect, where employees might get a bonus when someone they referred is hired. This incentive encourages employees to go above and beyond and do some of your networking for you, helping find the best talent to join your team.

We know how important it is to find great talent for your business. A great and talented workforce will help your business succeed, and we hope these tips will help you find the right talent. Having the right employees on your team is just as important as having a financial partner that you can rely on. Our Business Relationship Officers and teams are ready and eager to help!

 

Financial Education

Making the Decision to Buy a Home

Sep 24
2020
Family in front of new home

When it comes to buying a home, there are many questions to consider. Your home is one of the most important parts of your life. It’s where you will spend most of your time, raise your family, complete major life goals, and make many memories. It’s important for your home to be the right homeRead more

When it comes to buying a home, there are many questions to consider. Your home is one of the most important parts of your life. It’s where you will spend most of your time, raise your family, complete major life goals, and make many memories. It’s important for your home to be the right home for you. Whether you are a first-time home buyer or ready to upgrade to a new home, there are some vital questions to ask first to help you make the best decision for you.

Rent or Buy?

One of the first questions you may ask yourself is whether you should rent or buy. It takes more than looking at just your monthly payment to answer this question. Buying a home includes fees such as Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI), closing costs, a home warranty, maintenance expenses, Home Owners Associate (HOA) fees, and more. When renting, some of these costs might be eliminated, but there are other expenses such as renters’ insurance, not being able to build equity while rates potentially go up each year, and some maintenance fees. The market also changes frequently from a rental market to a buyer’s market. Major cities in Idaho are at the peak of the housing market: mortgage rates have been at an all-time low, and buyers have more buying power. In addition, as there are more newly built houses and newly renovated houses, buying seems to be the current trend. At Idaho Central Credit Union, we provide a tool called the Rent vs. Buy Calculator that helps you break down the cost comparison to help you make the decision.

How much can I afford?

Now that you’ve determined whether it’s a better time for you to rent or buy, let’s take a look at how much you could actually afford to buy. It is generally recommended that buyers take out a monthly mortgage payment that’s less than 30% of your income. However, many people have different needs that may change this calculation. For example, you may want a home in an area with great schools for your children, a home that’s close to hiking and biking trails for your lifestyle, or a home that’s close to your work so you can commute less daily. At Idaho Central, we provide another tool called the Mortgage Qualifier Calculator, which helps you find out how much you can borrow based on your annual income. It can also calculate how much you can borrow based on your desired monthly payment. You can even plug in a loan term and interest rate to get an estimate!

How much am I actually going to be paying?

Once you’ve determined how much you can afford, it’s time to find out if your dream home is in your budget after all. As mentioned earlier, there are many fees that come with owning a home. The interest rate and loan term will also change your monthly payment. For example, if you can afford a bigger monthly payment and would rather pay less on interest to pay the loan off faster, a 15-year mortgage loan might be a better fit than a 30-year mortgage loan. A 15-year mortgage loan typically comes with a lower interest rate, but a higher monthly payment. On the other hand, if you are not planning to stay in this home for long, an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) might be a better fit. An ARM loan usually starts with a lower interest rate that provides lower monthly payments and you can use our Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) Calculator to determine your payment. If you are hoping to get a regular conventional mortgage loan, you can also use our Home Loan Calculator to find out what your monthly payment would be.

Now that you know how to find these tools and how much home you can afford, let us provide the service you deserve. Idaho Central Credit Union has become one of the top mortgage lenders because of our low interest rates, our customer service, and our mission to help our members achieve financial success. Contact one of our Mortgage Loan Officers today to see how we can help you with a dream loan for your dream home!