Financial Education

How to Open a New Account at ICCU

Apr 04
2022
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 people trust us with their daily balance and we refuse to let a single member down. If you live or work in Idaho, Washington, or eastern Oregon, chances are you can become a member of Idaho Central Credit Union. 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?

  • 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!

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

Making the Most of America Saves Week

Feb 22
2022

Idaho Central is excited to be participating in America Saves week again this year! America Saves Week (February 21 – February 25, 2022) is an annual opportunity for individuals to assess their savings and take financial action. Each year, we encourage savers – or potential savers – just like you to set a goal, makeRead more

Idaho Central is excited to be participating in America Saves week again this year! America Saves Week (February 21 – February 25, 2022) is an annual opportunity for individuals to assess their savings and take financial action. Each year, we encourage savers – or potential savers – just like you to set a goal, make a plan, and save automatically. So how can you make sure that you’re taking full advantage of America Saves week?

Take a Close Look at Your Finances

The first step to any great savings journey is to determine where you are at. Take some time this week to view your current finances. Do you have a great budget that you are following, or do you need to spend some time creating or fine-tuning it? Are you making the most of your loan payments, or could you be structuring them better to help save on interest and pay them down quicker? Are you saving anything at all, or is your savings account sitting empty?

Make a Clear Plan

Now that you know what your finances look like, it’s time to determine what exactly your goal and plan is. This could be anything from just saving a few dollars each week, to paying down as much of your debt as possible. Remember, paying down debt is saving! Not sure where to start? Come by any ICCU branch for a financial review. As a bonus, each branch will enter those who complete financial reviews into a drawing for $250! Simply sit down with one of our Financial Service Officers to create your plan and you’ll be entered to win!

Take the America Saves Pledge

Did you know that those with a savings plan are more likely to save for emergencies and retirement than those without one? The America Saves pledge is the framework that allows savers to set a goal and make a plan to achieve better financial stability. When you take the pledge, you can choose to receive text message tips and reminders to help you save towards your goals.

Automate it

The easiest way to save is automatically. Many people do this by adjusting their direct deposit to put a portion into savings. However, setting up automatic savings with Idaho Central has never been easier! You can use eBranch to set up automatic transfers or even open a Central Cents savings account. With Central Cents, every time you swipe your debit card, the transaction will round up to the next dollar and put those cents into your savings account!

Are you ready to start on your path to save? Or pick up where you left off? You can contact us or visit us at any of our branches to learn more. Whether you are opening a new account, getting a financial review, or setting up an even easier way to save, we can help!

If you or a child is not a member of ICCU, open a savings account this week and set up a recurring deposit, and receive $30 with a waived $5 membership fee.

We look forward to seeing you this week and saving together!

Financial Education

Spotting a Scam

Jan 14
2022

When it comes to cyber security, we all want to believe that we are able to spot a scam when we are targeted. The reality is that anyone can fall prey to a phishing attempt. Fraudsters are always evolving and constantly developing new ways to deceive us. We know to avoid those emails from theRead more

When it comes to cyber security, we all want to believe that we are able to spot a scam when we are targeted. The reality is that anyone can fall prey to a phishing attempt. Fraudsters are always evolving and constantly developing new ways to deceive us. We know to avoid those emails from the Nigerian prince, but when you get an email from what appears to be a trusted source, how do you know it’s legitimate?

Unfortunately, phishing attempts often look like they’re from a company you know and trust. All financial institutions are targets for scammers as a means to gain access to their victim’s accounts. In fact, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center reported that people lost $54 million to phishing schemes in 2020. It is estimated that in the coming year, 1 in 4 Americans will fall prey to a phishing scam.

So, how do we stay cyber safe? The most important action we can take is to stay educated on current phishing trends. The more you know, the more easily you’ll be able to spot a phishing attempt and keep yourself, and your data, safe. Also, it’s important to share this information with your loved ones, especially those that are more vulnerable to fall prey to cyber scams.

Here are some common strategies scammers use and how to identify them.

Does it look like it’s from Idaho Central?

Idaho Central would never send you a text, email, or social media message with a link asking you to provide login credentials, security questions, or any other personal information. Always go directly to www.iccu.com or use our app to log in and access your online banking. If you have received what appears to be a phishing email pretending to be from Idaho Central Credit Union, do not respond to the request. Instead, forward the email to abuse@iccu.com.

Does it ask you to follow a link, open a file, or provide personal information?

Phishing attempts often tell a story to trick you into clicking a link or opening an attachment. This may look like a subscription service you use emailing to tell you that your payment information is outdated with a link to update it. Or it may look like an email from your bank letting you know that your online account is locked with a link to provide your login credentials, security questions, or other personal information. If you are concerned that your information may actually be out of date, go directly to the source instead of clicking on the link.

Does it feel urgent?

Many scams capitalize on simply creating a sense of urgency. Slow down and really evaluate what is being presented to you. The urgency may seem alarming, and your instinct may be to take whatever action it is prompting you to. When you slow down and take a step back, however, you are able to think clearly about the situation. Is your payment information really outdated? Can you go directly to their website or contact them to check on this, rather than clicking on the link in the email? Take your time to verify anything that may seem off, trust your instincts, and don’t commit to or take action on something that makes you feel uncomfortable.

Is it poorly written?

When reading through any email or message, take note of the grammar and wording used in the message. If you notice spelling and grammatical mistakes, or even strange phrases, this should be a red flag that something isn’t right. Emails from legitimate sources are very carefully crafted to assure that they are professional and well-written. On another note, most email spam filters will look for key phrases or words to filter out phishing attempts, and spelling or grammatical mistakes can help scam emails bypass those filters and find their way directly in your inbox, instead of your junk folder. Since these messages appear to come from legitimate sources, take extra time to read them carefully and assure that they are authentic.

Where will the link send you?

Since it may look like you’re being contacted from a company you know and trust, it can be hard to tell whether it is real or not. Scammers may use the company’s logo and the link may even look like it’s taking you to their website. Just because a link says it’s going to send you to one place, doesn’t mean it actually will. Did you know that you can check where a link will send you once you click on it before doing so? Hover over the link without clicking on it, and the URL that is displayed is the page that you will be visiting. If these don’t match, this means the link is not taking you where it looks like it will at first sight.

Is it a text message from an unfamiliar number asking you to update your personal information?

Text messages are an intrusive way for scammers to get your attention quickly. By texting you directly, it creates a false sense of security because you assume the sender has your permission to contact you in this way. It can be difficult to decipher which text messages are legitimate and which are fraudulent. If you receive a text message asking you for personal information, it is best to assume that the message is fraudulent and contact the source directly.

Is it on social media?

Have you ever received a friend request on Facebook from someone you thought you were already friends with? Perhaps your coworker, mom, or best friend sent you a friend request out of the blue that has no posts, and you’re already friends with them. Since you know that person did not create a new Facebook profile, it’s easy to spot these, delete the request, and report the profile as fake. However, a new trend that has surfaced is business page cloning, which may be harder to spot.

Business Profile Cloning may look like one of your favorite Facebook pages holding a legitimate contest that you have entered to win, and then shortly after you receive a friend request from that business, along with a message that you have won the contest. Don’t let the excitement of winning throw you off your guard! Analyze the situation the same way you would with a strange email. If you entered the contest on their business page, why are they sending you a new friend request from a separate profile? Are they asking you to click a link to claim your prize? Do they need you to provide your personal or banking information in order to win? Do they only have a few, very recent posts? Does the name of the page or profile include dashes, apostrophe’s, or other punctuation that isn’t normally there? Is the spelling and grammar off?

If any of this raises a red flag, take a step back and find the original page you entered the contest on, and send them a quick message. They can verify whether this request was legitimate and save you from providing your personal information to a fake account. Keep your guard up, phishing attempts can happen anywhere, at any time.

Contact us if there’s any question

Do not hesitate to contact us if you ever have questions or concerns; Idaho Central can help you identify scams or fraud, and help you with the next steps needed to protect yourself. Learn more about how to protect yourself at our security center.

Financial Education

Credit Score Basics

Jan 07
2022
woman pays by credit card for online purchase on a tablet computer.

Credit sounds like a mysterious, looming entity that can affect our lives in big ways. We rely on credit to buy a house, handle emergencies, and for long-term financial security. It can be a great financial tool, but unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there about your credit score and what you can do to improve it. Check out our tips on maintaining and improving your credit score!

Credit sounds like a mysterious, looming entity that can affect our lives in big ways. We rely on credit to buy a house, handle emergencies, and for long-term financial security. It can be a great financial tool! Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there about your credit score and what you can do to improve it. The biggest thing you need to know is that the subject of credit is not black and white. A certain credit score will not automatically qualify you for whatever kind of loan you need, and it takes careful thought and maintenance to stay in a situation where you have positive credit. You never really stop working on your credit, which can be great because you are never too young or too old to build your credit!

Payment History (35%)

The biggest factor in your credit score is payment history. This weighs in at a hefty thirty-five percent of your total score. To keep this positive, it is extremely important to make payments on time; any payments that are past due more than thirty days will report on your credit. Your payment history, the number of accounts that are paid as agreed, as well as the number of past due items and the length of time they have been past due will all appear on your credit report. The best way to increase your score in this area is simply to pay on time! More weight is placed on recent payment activity so even if your payment history hasn’t been great in the past, you can make a significant impression by setting a new precedent going forward.

Amounts Owed (30%)

The total amount owed makes up a large part of your credit score as well. This includes not only the number of accounts that hold balances, but the proportion of credit lines used, as well as the balance of any installment loans. To increase your score, work on paying down revolving balances and avoid opening new accounts until you have paid down a significant portion. For credit cards, a balance of fifty percent or less of the credit limit is ideal. Open new accounts or lines of credit as needed rather than taking advantage of specialty offers when they arise.

Length of Credit History (15%)

The length of credit history accounts for a smaller portion of your credit score, but is still significant. This is simply the amount of time since accounts have been opened and the time since there has been any account activity. You may have heard the advice to close old credit cards and lines of credit that you don’t use anymore, but if there are no annual fees, it’s better to leave them open! Having nothing owed but all that credit available to you is good for your credit score. Closing it could immediately dock your credit by several points. If you don’t want the temptation, you can simply cut up or shred the cards for these accounts so you aren’t tempted to use them!

Types of Credit Used (10%)

Though not common knowledge, types and diversity of credit used also factor into your credit score. For instance, if your credit report is made up of a variety of credit cards, you should think about adding an installment loan to vary credit type a little. This tells a lender that you are reliable in paying back an assortment of different kinds of debt. Likewise, if you have only had installment loans in the past, getting a credit card can increase your score over time as your demonstrate your ability to be responsible with a revolving line of credit.

New Credit (10%)

If you have a number of recently opened accounts, or are shopping around for the best rate and having your credit pulled again and again, it can negatively affect your credit. Inquiring about your credit too often can also affect your score as well, and you generally want to avoid pulling credit more often than every six months to one year.

It’s great to know that credit isn’t a mysterious, immovable number, but rather like a living organism that responds to care and attention. The first step to improving your credit score is to know your credit score. Luckily, Idaho Central has you covered with our free My Credit feature! You can check your credit score each time you log into eBranch without impacting your score! You can also view your full credit report, monitor for unusual activity, get alerts for changes to your credit, and more.

As always, our loan officers at Idaho Central are happy to help you create a plan to build your credit and answer any questions you have. We are proud to say that with credit builder productscompetitive rates, and a rewards program, we have something suitable to fit every need.

Financial Education

Free Financial Education from Idaho Central and EVERFI

Oct 01
2021

At Idaho Central, we believe that financial education is a key to helping our members achieve financial success, and it doesn’t have to be hard. We are happy to announce our partnership with EVERFI to provide our new Financial Education Center to help our members build financial health and confidence. “Understanding your finances and makingRead more

At Idaho Central, we believe that financial education is a key to helping our members achieve financial success, and it doesn’t have to be hard. We are happy to announce our partnership with EVERFI to provide our new Financial Education Center to help our members build financial health and confidence.

“Understanding your finances and making sound financial decisions is key to a strong future, but many people don’t know where to turn to get the information they need in a way that is easily digestible and understandable,” said EVERFI Co-Founder and President Ray Martinez.

When it comes to something that we don’t understand about our finances, it may cause feelings of hesitation, causing us to pull back instead of learning more. Financial education, however, is a vital piece of learning that should continue through life. Our Financial Education Center offers a robust library of learning topics around important personal financial education concepts including budgeting, understanding college loans, building emergency savings, saving for retirement, credit scores and reports, and more. The interactive financial education platform is designed to provide the tools and personalized knowledge necessary to make informed financial decisions.

According to Charles Schwab’s 2020 Financial Literacy Survey, 89% of Americans believe a lack of financial literacy leads to social issues, including poverty, lack of job opportunities, unemployment, and wealth inequality. Further, they found that 65% of Americans believe schools should provide financial education, but only 21 states currently require high school students to complete a personal finance course. This is one of the many reasons why taking your financial education into your own hands is important, and why we are proud to offer this program.

From opening a credit card to taking out a student loan, we have partnered with EVERFI to help bring financial knowledge to people of every age and stage of life. A free, digital financial education program is provided to communities with the goal of increasing knowledge and achieving financial success. Find the tips, tools, and resources that empower you to make smart decisions and achieve your financial goals. Now more than ever, Idaho Central Credit Union is committed to empowering all consumers with the financial education they need to navigate their economic circumstance and make smart financial decisions. To access this program and get started today, click here.