Friday, October 13, 2017

Keeping Your Financial Information Safe After The Equifax Breach

The news of the massive Equifax breach in September was unsettling for many as millions of Americans’ private financial information was hacked. The latest news reveals 2.5 million more consumers were impacted than initially thought, bringing the total to 145.5 million. This news can make people very nervous to apply for a loan, check their credit score, or share their personal financial information with anyone - and rightly so.

We at Financial One Credit Union want to be part of the solution instead of downplaying the problem. Here are some questions you might have about protecting your financial information.

Do Banks Communicate via Text message?

While some banks do communicate via text, be wary of a type of financial scam called “smishing”. explains, “Smishing occurs when you get a dubious text message from a fraudster posing as a bank representative. The message may warn you of security breaches and ask you to call a toll-free number. Then you’re asked for your account number and pin.” Don’t trust text communication as a communication method; call the customer service line at your financial institution instead.

Can Viruses on my Computer Hack my Financial Information?

Yes, malware is rampant and one of the most common ways hackers gain access to your private information. Malware is downloaded onto your computer by clicking an online link or opening an infected email. Be very wary of sites and senders you are unfamiliar with.

How Do I Know if a Website is Secure?

Look closely at the website address (URL). If it starts with http, the site is not secure. If you see https, the site is more secure, but still not fool-proof. The added “s” in the URL means the website is secured using an SSL Certificate. Extra-secure sites will have a lock icon, meaning the company that owns the site has an Extended Validation - the safest and most secure level.

How Do I Know if I Have Been Affected?

Even high-profile companies like Yahoo and LinkedIn have been hacker victims. Check 179 hacked websites at one time by entering your email address into the website If you are curious about the recent Equifax breach, you can visit their website directly to find out if your information was stolen.

To learn more about the Equifax breach specifically, visit The best thing to do moving forward is to keep a close eye on all your finances and accounts. If you spot something unusual, notify your financial institution right away so they can help you stop the unlawful charges.

For our members impacted by the Equifax breach, Financial One will do everything possible to protect you and your financial information. Contact us for more information.

Keeping Your Financial Information Safe After The Equifax Breach

Friday, September 15, 2017

September is the Best Time to Buy These 6 Things

Sometimes saving money is not about clipping coupons or shopping sales, it can be about shopping seasonally. If you can, choose September the buy end of summer items when they are drastically marked down. Do not buy when everyone else does, a little delay of gratification can go a long way toward stretching your dollars. September is the best time to buy these 6 things!

Patio Furniture

As summer comes to a close, patio furniture takes up a lot of space in store's floor plans and they heavily discount sets to get ready for the next season. Take advantage of up to 90% off patio furniture during September.


Not many invest in a new bicycle at the end of summer when they have to wait all through the cold season to ride it often. This means huge savings for you! Upgrade your bike in the fall and reap the savings.

Older iPhones

Each September, Apple releases the new iPhone and flocks of people upgrade their device. If you want to upgrade your iPhone, but do not necessarily care about getting the absolute newest version, previous-generation iPhones are heavily discounted during September. The prices will be lowest during the end of the month after Apple does the new iPhone release.

A New Car

Fall is usually the best time to buy a new car because the next year's models are hitting the lot and dealers are trying to make way by discounting the current year's cars. You can find discounts between $2000 and $5000 pretty easily, plus great car loan options.


Of course, another seasonal item that makes sense to buy at the end of the summer, not the beginning when everyone else does. Lawnmowers can be very expensive, so if it is time for an upgrade, wait for September sales.


You could save hundreds of dollars by booking holiday travel or last minute vacations in September. Deals on hotels and especially on airfare are prevalent during this mid-season between summer and holiday travel.

Although September does not have a “Black Friday,” there are still rock bottom prices to be found on certain items if you are informed. Shop seasonally and save this September!

Monday, August 14, 2017

How to Find the Keys to Financial Happiness

When it comes to financial happiness, many people think of big houses, nice cars, vacation homes, fine dining, and heaps of cash in the bank. The truth is, financial happiness is really a subjective and personal choice. Like many things in life, people will differ in their definition of financial happiness and how to obtain it. To help you start pondering what true financial happiness means to you, check out our tips below. The first two are more abstract and deal with your personal values while the last two address behaviors of so-called financially happy people.

Setting and Reaching Goals

You’ve heard the age-old mantra that money can’t buy happiness, right? Well, it can, to an extent. Money certainly can buy happiness when you are spending it well. It’s not about how much you have, but how you use it! That’s why it’s important to know what you value most so you can create goals. Goals - big and small - help direct where you spend your dough. Writing out your short-term goals (ex. getting a pet) and long-term goals (ex. saving for retirement), along with ballpark figures needed to achieve them, will increase the likelihood that you reach them. People with clear goals are typically more financially happy people because they have focus and direction for their money.

Maintain a Positive Attitude

Your relationship with money has a lot to do with your sense of happiness. What messages did you receive growing up from the adults in your life? Were you taught to view money as a tool, as a means of exchange, or as a scarce resource to chase and hoard? Spending some time reflecting on your attitude toward money will help bring your inner dialogue to light. Rewrite that inner dialogue to help conquer your money fears and build self-esteem.

Stay Organized

Few people want to hear this, but most financially happy people are organized. They have a handle on what’s coming in and what’s going out. While it isn’t always fun, creating a budget is a tried and true method for taking control of your personal finances. Tracking your credit score is another great way to stay in control. Improving your score could mean the difference in interest rates and thousands of dollars in interest saved over the years. It takes discipline, but it feels good to be in control of your money; one of the best ways to do that is to get organized.

Make Wise Investments

This last tip will vary from person to person. Some people are fascinated by stocks and bonds and will jump in head first to start investing. Others will feel comfortable with a less risky option of opening an IRA. Still others would rather trust an advisor or firm to handle investment decisions for them. Whatever the case you’re in – if you have a little to invest or a lot – a common thread in financially happy people involves some sort of investing. Setting aside what you can, as early as you can, might play a large role in your long-term financial happiness.

Have these suggestions sparked your internal dialogue around money? How do you define financial happiness?

Friday, July 14, 2017

Simple Money Saving Summer Tips

It is easy to overspend during the summer. Taking trips and entertaining the kids can make your money feel like it flows through your fingers just like the water you wade through on hot days. There are many easy ways to save money that will actually enhance your summer you might not have thought of. Try some of these tips to put some extra cash in your wallet while the warm weather is here.

Turn Up The Thermostat For The Air Conditioning

Almost every home has some kind of air conditioning to make their home more comfortable during the hot temps, but almost every home also has their thermostat set too low. It is actually more comfortable during the summer if the temperature outside is not drastically different from the temperature inside your home. Your body will adjust to the warmer temps and you will not stress your body with the severe differences in temperature. The best part about adjusting your air conditioning to run less is that every degree you turn up the thermostat saves you 3% on your utility bill. The ideal temperature for most people is around 75 degrees. If your thermostat is set lower than that, turn it up

Cook Outside As Often As You Can

During summer months, it heats up your house to cook on the stove top or bake in the oven. Avoid cooking inside the house as often as possible to reduce the need to run the air conditioning and refrain from using kitchen appliances. Grilling outside is the epitome of summer fun, but also consider cooking in roasting pans, slow cookers, outdoor stoves, or single burners on your patio. This is especially wise when hosting parties because the extra bodies already heat up the house. Move the party outside to cook and converse and save money!

Switch To A Push Reel Mower

You might be surprised how easy and enjoyable it is to mow your lawn with an old-fashioned reel lawn mower. Switching to a push reel mower is especially feasible if your yard is a quarter-acre or smaller. You will no longer need to spend money on gasoline, oil, spark plugs, or filters. Plus, it will decrease air pollution and create a quiet, calm activity out of something that used to be loud, smelly, and a nuisance. The use of push reel mowers has increased in popularity in recent years. Enjoy mowing your lawn again and save money doing it!

These tips can not only save you money this summer but also make your summer the best one you have ever had! By changing the temperature in which you live, the way you prepare your meals, and how you mow your lawn you can save more than you ever thought!

If you’re interested in other money saving options - such as consolidating your debt or taking out a line of credit, contact Financial One Credit Union.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Our Social Promise: Financial One’s Essential Donations and Sponsorships

Financial One Credit Union believes in the value of lending a hand in our community. We work with many nonprofit organizations to provide food, shelter, and clothing through our Essentials Program. In this program, we vow to do three things:

  1. Provide 1,000 pounds of food to a local food shelf for each auto loan we fund
  2. Provide one night of housing for to someone in need to match each home equity loan we fund
  3. Provide 1 coat to a veteran in need for every checking line of credit we open. 

In 2016, Financial One gave a total of $93,806 to donations and sponsorships of local non-profits. We donated 136,892 lbs of food, 269 nights of shelter, and 184 clothing items. If you visit our site today, you’ll see those numbers continue to grow, as we continue to keep our Social Promise.

Hope 4 Youth Volunteering.jpg

Hope 4 Youth

Gov. Dayton proclaimed October 10th of last year as #PlusItForwardDay in Minnesota. On this day, more than half of our staff participated in cleaning Hope 4 Youth's facility, learning about the wonderful things they do and enjoying a meal together. This day was meaningful and impactful to all involved, which inspired us to call it 1 With Our Community Day.

We were also able to donate 30 nights of shelter to people in need to the Hope 4 Youth Organization.

Coat Delivery 12_1-16 (2).jpg

Coat Delivery

Although homelessness has been on the decline in the last few years among veterans, the statistics are still far above the general population. At Financial One, we want to honor the service of these brave men and women and show our support. Thanks in part to our coat drive, the Department of Veterans Affairs of Minnesota was able to provide the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans with needed coats for veterans facing financial hardship and transitioning to sustainable housing. We delivered 150 coats to the VA hospital to be given to veterans in need and continue to support our military members in the community.

NACE Donation Nov_2016 (2).jpg

The North Anoka County Emergency Food Shelf (NACE)

NACE is more than just a food shelf; it provides food, clothing, crisis packs, holiday meals, birthday packs, and delivers to the immobile in need in Northern Anoka County. For an organization that does so much good in our community, we were more than happy to provide 25,000 pounds of food to NACE.


Stepping Stone Emergency Housing

Stepping Stone is a temporary housing organization that caters to men and women of Anoka County - some as young as 18 years old. They offer safe living space and support for at-risk and homeless people in the community. We were happy to fund 100 nights of services to Stepping Stone Emergency Housing.

At Financial One Credit Union, we are committed to living our mission: To improve the financial well-being and peace of mind of our members and others within the communities we serve. If you would like more information or would like to volunteer or make a donation, visit our website to learn more.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Refinancing Your Mortgage

The Advantages and Disadvantages.jpg
Homeowners refinance for a variety of reasons, some of which include opting for lower interest rates as they become available, taking advantage of built-up equity in their home by borrowing additional amounts, and moving from an adjustable mortgage to a fixed rate mortgage. There’s a variety of refinancing options, but it can be hard to know all the pros and cons of refinancing before you commit. Take a look at some advantages and disadvantages of refinancing.


When weighing the disadvantages of refinancing your mortgage, consider what you will ultimately gain in savings from refinancing. How much will you be spending in fees, closing costs, penalties, and paying points? Will it be worth it to move forward and refinance? Will you be paying more in higher interest rates if you move from a fixed-rate mortgage to an adjustable rate mortgage?


Another thing to consider is that depending on the term and length of a new loan, it may take much longer to pay off your home than it may under your current plan. Equity may make a difference in how you consider refinancing. Taking equity out of the house may mean you owe significantly more money. Taking cash out may decrease equity in your home, which can trigger a few additional maneuvers on your part—one of which could require you to carry private mortgage insurance (PMI).


While there can be many disadvantages that may make you hesitate when it comes to refinancing, there can be many advantages that can make refinancing the best option for your financial future.

Refinancing can help you better define the terms of your payments. It can shorten repayment time, reduce your interest rate, and lower monthly payments. Taking advantage of low rates could improve your loan period and grant you more leverage in negotiating. Greater flexibility means improving your chances of obtaining a favorable deal.


Consolidation of loans can also streamline your repayment plan, and make your repayment plan more manageable. Another advantage of refinancing your mortgage is that you could potentially avoid the risk of rising interest rates if you move from an adjustable to a fixed-rate mortgage.

Before you decide on or against refinancing your mortgage, do your research to find the best fit for your finances. Speak to a professional financial expert to help you weigh the pros and cons of refinancing your mortgage. Contact one of our specialists at Financial One Credit Union in order to make great strides in your financial security today.

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Benefits of an HSA Checking Account

One of our signature checking options is our Health Savings Account; a smart option for anyone wanting to strategically save for health-related costs. Many families experience high healthcare costs from time to time, and these costs can arrive at unexpected times. So how do you financially prepare for these? Let’s look at 5 benefits of an HSA Checking Account.


1. Peace of Mind

An HSA account is a very convenient option for paying for qualified healthcare expenses. You won’t need to pull money out of your day-to-day finances to pay for healthcare needs, allowing you to focus on caring for yourself or your loved ones. Depending on your specific situation, HSA funds could be used for things like doctor’s visits, copays, dentist visits and dental procedures, and even vision-related expenses in some cases. We will help you with the details of your situation.

2. Convenient

Access your funds easily with your free HSA debit card or easy direct check writing (which includes a free box of 50 checks). You’ll also have access to free mobile banking, free eStatements, and free online banking and bill pay.


3. Tax Advantages

HSA contributions are deductible from your gross pay (pre-tax), and funds in an HSA account are able to augment tax-free. Plus, with our HSA Checking, any funds not used by the end of the year are still yours to keep. We don’t operate a “use it or lose it” policy. According to
“Young people in good health may benefit the most from an HSA, because they tend to have lower medical bills, and over many years the accumulated savings can be significant. Also, if you lose your job or are laid off and are collecting unemployment insurance, you can use your HSA funds to pay for routine health expenses and health insurance premiums, tax-free.”

4. Easy to Get Started

These accounts have no setup fee and no monthly maintenance fees. They run independently from your insurance, so it is easy to work with our staff to create your account.

5. Stays in Your Name

Your account remains in your name, no matter if you change jobs, move, or have other life changes. Since it is not linked to your employer, but to you personally, it will be more easily accessible throughout your life.

To get started with your convenient HSA Checking Account, apply now and we will be in touch with you shortly.