Now you can carry the Wasatch Peaks cards you keep in your wallet, without even bringing your wallet along. Wasatch Peaks has joined the list of institutions participating in the highly anticipated Apple Pay service. And that means your transactions can be simpler, more secure and more private than ever.

Apple Pay is available on iPhone® 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 7, and iPhone 7 Plus devices, and it’s free to use, apart from any message or data rates specified in your wireless plan. Once you’ve entered your cards into your phone’s Wallet app, you’ll be able to make purchases at thousands of merchant locations. Apple Pay also lets you use your iPad Air® and iPad Mini™ 3 for online-only shopping within certain apps.

Apple Pay’s advanced technology works behind the scenes to make your purchases more secure than ever before. In participating stores, you just hold your phone near the merchant’s contactless reader, with your finger on the Touch ID sensor. That’s it. Not only do your name and card number remain anonymous to cashiers and bystanders, but your phone itself carries only a unique, encrypted Device Account Number rather than your actual debit or credit card numbers.

How easy is it to get started with Apple Pay? Just open your Wallet app, swipe down and tap the plus sign. Then enter your card by snapping a photo with your device’s iSight® camera, or adding the data manually. If you already have a card in iTunes, you’ll be prompted to add it to your Wallet. Start shopping with greater ease and confidence today!

Published in Blog

Wasatch Peaks Credit Union and Get Away Today have teamed up to give you the best tips to plan your summer vacation.

First: Book with Get Away Today. They guarantee the best prices on tickets and hotel rates. Reserve your hotel now at the best price and experience all the fun happening this summer including Summer of Heroes, the opening of Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: BREAKOUT! and the reopening of Rivers of America.

Second: Take advantage of the Fastpass system. Now that Matterhorn and Toy Story Mania have Fastpasses, there are plenty of opportunities to skip the line and hit more of your favorite rides. You will also want to download the Disneyland app so you can check ride wait times, make dining reservations, locate your favorite characters and more!

Third: If you decide to head further south to San Diego, the new Orca Encounter and Ocean Explorer are making their way to SeaWorld San Diego this summer. Meet your favorite orcas and experience unique aquariums, digital technology and a new interactive ride called Submarine Quest.

Published in Blog
Wednesday, 05 July 2017 14:19

President's Message

Blakes Blog PhotoWhy do you buy a lawnmower? Most people would answer “to cut the grass.” This is certainly true, but when a lawnmower company digs deeper, they might find that the real purpose is to keep the grass short and beautiful, make an impression on neighbors, or increase property value. Knowing this could allow the lawnmower company to fine tune their product roadmap.

As Theodore Levitt said, “People don’t want a quarter-inch drill; they want a quarter-inch hole.” People buy products and services to get jobs done. While jobs and services could go away, the foundational job to be done does not go away. This helps Wasatch Peaks Credit Union understand that members don’t buy products and services as much as they seek out solutions at various times to get jobs done.

As we better understand the jobs that our members are looking for, we position ourselves to create competitive products or services based on your member insights. And in the process, we create viable growth strategies that are beneficial to the credit union and to the members.

The easy part is to talk about it, while the hard part is to figure the whole thing out and we try to do this in a world that changes so fast. Do we build branches? Are they self-service branches? How many people do we put in them? What kind of payment systems do we implement? So many questions. As Steve Jobs of Apple said, “It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”

The goal of Wasatch Peaks is to “exceed your expectations” in understanding the financial environment in an innovative way so that we have products and solutions for the jobs that you need to get done.

Published in Blog

Q:

Summer always puts a big strain on my budget. There are so many extra expenses! I've been looking for a way to get through these months without racking up a huge credit card bill, and one option I'm considering is Skip-a-Pay. What do I need to know about this program?

A:

Summertime brings loads of expenses that can bust any budget. There are family vacations that put a serious strain on your wallet, costly camp fees for the kids and dozens of other expenses that may not always be part of your usual financial planning.

Many people wonder how they'll get through these months. Fortunately, Wasatch Peaks offers an exclusive break from your loan payments during this costly time of year. Now that sounds like a dream vacation!

Skip-a-pay is a program that allows members to skip a monthly loan or credit card payment during an especially tight financial season. Most credit unions offer this program during the holiday season, and again during the summer. Members can choose to skip a payment once a year. There is usually a small fee attached to the payment omission.

Specific criteria must be met to qualify for skip-a-payment. The program is generally only allowed for loans with terms that are 12 months or longer, have been open for at least 9 months and have a good payment history of 6 or more months. Some credit unions allow payment omissions on most loans with the exception of real estate loans. Others only allow the payment break on fixed, closed-end consumer loans like auto and signature loans. Some do not allow it for credit cards and lines of credit. Nearly every credit union requires you to be up to date on your loan payments, and for you to have sufficient funds in your checking account to cover the nominal associated fee.

At our credit union:

  • There is a $25 fee per loan payment skipped
  • Only one payment may be skipped in July, August or September
  • Skips exclude all real estate (including HELOCs) and VISA payments
  • Loan must have been opened prior to May 1, 2017 and made at least one payment
  • Loan must be current and in good standing
  • Interest on the loan will continue to accrue
  • Payment will be added to the end of the loan
  • Paid-ahead loans are excluded
  • Any insurance on the loan will expire on its original expiration date

If you are considering skip-a-payment, speak to a member representative for full details. Additionally, here are some important points to consider before you decide to skip a payment:

1.) Breathing room

The primary benefit of choosing to skip a payment is quite obviously, the extra cash flow. During an expensive time of year, you might not make it through the month without resorting to swiping your credit card - and paying high interest on every purchase you make. By opting to skip a large payment on a loan or credit card, you'll free up cash for your daily expenses so you don't finish the month in the red. Summertime is so much sweeter when you're not sweating about your bills!

2.) Longer loan term

It's important to remember that by skipping a payment, you're lengthening the life of your loan. True, you're skipping a payment now, but you'll need to make that up one day. You're essentially moving this month's payment to the end of the loan.

3.) Accrued interest

While you won't be racking up credit card bills with high interest rates this month - thanks to the extra cash you'll have - you will be billed for interest on the skipped loan or credit card payment. You'll need to pay that up at the end of the loan term. This means you'll end up paying a bit more in interest during the life of the loan.

Did You Know?

  • Many people fall out of the habit of making their monthly payments when they choose to skip just one payment. Payment history influences credit scores most, putting you at significant risk of hurting your score if you skip a payment without your lender's permission. Remember: this is a one-month-only deal! Be sure to make your payments next month.
  • The popularity of skip-a-payment programs plunged at the turn of the millennium. They are now offered almost exclusively by credit unions, with very few banks still offering them.
  • If you feel like you could use skip-a-payment every month, you may be in financial trouble. Speak to a Wasatch Peaks member representative for advice on money management, debt counseling and budgeting tips. We're always here to help!

Want to hit the road without worrying about bills? Call, click or stop by Wasatch Peaks Credit Union today to learn about our skip-a-payment program. Take a break from your loans!

Have you ever taken advantage of your credit union's skip-a-payment offer? Why or why not? Share your experience with us in the comments!

SOURCES:
http://blog.credit.com/2015/12/wait-some-banks-let-you-skip-payments-during-the-holidays-131160/
http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2015/12/03/the-perils-of-skipping-loan-payments-this-holiday-season
https://www.servicecu.org/mobile.asp?MPID=819

Published in Blog

If you’ve dealt with the friendly experts at Wasatch Peaks in the past, you know we’re your go-to stop for many loan formats – home loans, auto loans, RV loans and many more. Did you also know, however, that we offer Visa Platinum Cards with low rates and great benefits?

As a credit union offering credit services, we hold a few specific advantages over for-profit banking institutions. What are these advantages, and how can they benefit you? Here’s a look.

Interest Rate Considerations

Federal laws prohibit credit unions from charging interest rates higher than 18 percent – there are no such restrictions on for-profit credit card companies. The average interest rate for cards with these institutions is nearly 17 percent, far higher than through credit unions.

In addition, interest charges on credit union issued cards are 20 percent lower than the same cards issued by banks on average. Both on the lowest and highest ends of the spectrum, credit unions offer lower rates for the same services.

Lower Fees

Credit unions also levy fewer fees and penalties for their customers than banks do. The average credit union customer pays $20 for a late bill payment or exceeding credit limit; the average penalty for this same thing at a bank is $39. Banks also charge much higher rates for cash advances.

Member-Owned

Credit unions are owned by their members, meaning they’re not incentivized by the same things as Wall Street banks who must please investors. Profit on credit cards and other loans go back to credit union members in the form of lower rates on mortgages or savings accounts.

Service

Seventy percent of credit union members claim that their financial institution put customers’ interests above their own, according to Forrester Research – only 58 percent of bank customers had the same opinion. In general, satisfaction rates are higher for all credit areas.

Want to learn more about why a credit union is beneficial for a credit card, or about any of our home loan or other services? Speak to the experts at Wasatch Peaks today.

Published in Blog
Tuesday, 30 May 2017 11:57

How You Can Benefit From FHA Loans

We’re here to provide excellent mortgage loan options for first-time homebuyers at Wasatch Peaks Credit Union, and some of the best options on our list are federally-backed loan options. These programs are guaranteed or insured by arms of the government, lowering risk for lenders and allowing you to get better mortgage rates and qualify for more advantageous loans.

A great example here is an FHA loan, insured by the Federal Housing Administration. They offer several more flexible options than many conventional loans. Here’s how you can benefit from an FHA loan.

Lower Qualifications

There are several areas where the requirements for qualifying for an FHA loan are much lower than they would be for a similar loan in a different format. Credit score is the most important: Only a 600 minimum credit score is typically required for an FHA loan, with some wiggle room depending on the institution.

There are other qualification benefits as well. You will be required to pay a much smaller down payment, as low as 3.5 percent rather than up to 20 percent for most traditional situations. There are no prepayment penalties, either. This makes these loans perfect for first-time homebuyers.

Mortgage Rates

The rates you can get through FHA loans far outstrip those you’ll find through the equivalent standard loan. If you have a credit score of 660, for instance, this will qualify you for an FHA interest rate roughly equivalent to what a score of 740 would have qualified you for in a conventional format.

Refinancing

FHA loans are perfect for refinancing. They allow options for members who got their first mortgage from outside lenders, never a guarantee during a traditional loan situation. They’re offered in both fixed and adjustable rates, and you can typically refinance up to 98 percent of a home’s value.

Assumable

When a buyer is allowed to take over an existing home loan from someone else rather than taking out a new one, this is called an “assumable” loan. FHA loans fall under this classification, meaning you can pick the best option between assuming a previous loan at its rate and looking for a new loan with a better market rate. There are no penalties here in either case.

Want to learn more about FHA loans, or any of our other mortgage services? Speak to the financial advisors at Wasatch Peaks Credit Union today.

Published in Blog
Wednesday, 24 May 2017 09:13

Step #5: Learn The Costs Of Investing

You've learned to invest 15% of your household income into retirement. Now what? The ultimate goal of investing is to let your money work for you and provide you with stable, passive income.

But getting there is going to cost a pretty penny.

This month, take the time to learn the dollars and cents of investing. Of course, you knew that investing was going to mean coming up with the actual money you’re putting into the market, which always holds the possibility of being lost forever. But did you know there are going to be various fees, commissions, and taxes you’ll have to pay, too?

Let’s take a peek at an actual investment to illustrate this. The company and amounts have been changed, but they’ve been accurately scaled down to size.

Suppose that, on Aug. 13, 2015, a share of stock in Apple closed at $43.26. During the next few months, Apple issues four dividends of $0.55 per share. On Aug. 25. 2016, a share of stock in Apple closed at $51.23.

Let’s say you chose to invest $1,000 in Apple on Aug. 13, 2015 and you withdrew it on Aug. 25, 2016.

At the time of your investment, $1,000 would buy you 23.25 shares of Apple. Over the year, you would have received $51.16 in dividend payouts. When you withdrew from the company a bit over a year after your initial investment, you’d sell that stock for $1,191.09.

It seems like your gain from this stock is $242.25, broken down into $51.16 in dividends and another $191.09 from selling the stock. Simple, right?

The problem is, though, you haven’t exactly earned that much. Here’s where the costs of investments come into play.

First, the dividends would be subject to income tax. In this case, the dividends are considered qualified dividends, and would therefore be taxed at a rate of 15% by the federal government and possibly more by state and local sources. As a result, $7.67 of that dividend gain is eaten up by these taxes.

Second, you’re going to have to pay your broker for the cost of buying and selling the stock. Let’s say, hypothetically, you’ve used an online discount stock brokerage firm. The buy and the sell would each cost $9.99. That’s another $19.98 dropped from your gain – although this fee is tax deductible.

Third, the gain on the sale would be a long-term capital gain, so 15% of that gain goes to the federal government. Since your gain was $191.09, you’d be paying an additional $28.66 in taxes on the sale.

In total, your expenses for your gain add up to $56.31. Just like that, nearly 30% of your gain is gone!

Even if your investment is a loser, you’re still paying the brokerage fees and will earn less in dividends.

The moral of the story? Investing costs. You’re taxed if you gain, and you’ll get hit with brokerage fees whether you win or lose.

Some forms of investing have lower costs than others. If you invest directly with an investing house, you can bypass the investing fees and only pay the taxes on your gains. However, you’re limited to the offerings that the investing house has available, and you’ll be subject to their often inflexible minimums for investing.

You could also simply invest in a money market account or other savings option at Wasatch Peaks Credit Union. Your returns will come with fewer or no costs. Plus, your balance isn’t at risk. Yes, you might “lose” some gains by only having the cash in a savings account, but your money is earning a steady return. If you invest elsewhere, it’s possible that the costs, the fees and the taxes can easily eat up a substantial amount of whatever you gain or make an already painful loss even harder.

It’s important to note that the bigger your investment, the smaller the impact such costs have. At the $1,000 level, the investment fees in the above scenario typically eat up about 2% of your balance. If you’re investing $10,000, the fees will only eat up 0.2% of your balance, and if you invest $100,000, the fees eat up only 0.02% of your balance.

Thus, as a beginning investor, it’s crucial to know the total cost of ownership of an investment as you consider it. Even a small fee can significantly lower your total return when you’re starting out with small investments.

That’s why it’s best to take it slowly at first and continue learning about the market and stocks you’re interested in. Know exactly what you’re going to invest in – and what all of the costs of that investment are – before you put down any of your money. After working out the math, you may find you’d rather wait until you have a substantial amount saved up for investing, as these fees don’t make such a big dent when the gains are larger.

So, before you make that first investment, learn the costs and be sure it’s worth the price!

Did you get hit with any surprise costs on your first investment? Share your experience with us!

Published in Blog
Wednesday, 19 April 2017 09:09

The Modern Truth About Credit Scores

Credit score is one of the most important factors of mortgage rates and many other important elements of a home loan, but many people have several misconceptions about the basics of credit score. At Wasatch Peaks Credit Union, our financial advisors are here to help clear up any confusion you may have in any element of the mortgage loan process.

We’ve found that much of our clients’ confusion often relates back to a simple lack of knowledge about credit score numbers – how many scores you have, how they’re calculated and what you can do to view your current score without dinging yourself financially. Let’s look at a few of these lesser-known areas of credit scores.

Same Score, Different Version

The most popular form of credit score monitoring is called FICO score, introduced by a company called the Fair Isaac Corp. over 25 years ago. It uses a proprietary formula designed to predict how likely someone is to repay a debt balance. Its chief competitor is VantageScore, a metric designed by three major credit bureaus that has gained popularity in recent years – we’ll compare the two in a moment.

Even within each type, though, know that things won’t always be standardized. Each different one is frequently updating their algorithms, and different individual creditors or lenders may not be on the exact same versions. Think of it like updating your computer to a new version of Windows – some lenders might have the FICO 8, but others might have the newer FICO 9, and your score may not come out exactly the same. If you want to standardize here, you’ll have to make sure you use the same version of a credit report, not just the same brand.

FICO vs VantageScore

FICO is used more commonly by lenders, while VantageScore is gaining ground with consumers and lenders alike. There are a few other key differences:

  • Paid-off collections: VantageScore disregards these, but many versions of FICO (not including the newest FICO 9, which isn’t widely in circulation yet) do not.
  • Alternative data: VantageScore includes these.
  • Term: FICO requires six months of credit to generate a score, VantageScore only requires 30 days.
  • Recent use: At least one account needs to have been used in the last six months for FICO score – it’s 24 months for VantageScore.

Getting it Free

Many people assume that you simply can’t view your credit for free, but this is no longer true. A site like NerdWallet offers free scores online and score simulators, and there are other tools available to landlords.

To learn more about credit score, or any part of the mortgage process, speak to a financial advisor at Wasatch Peaks today.

Published in Blog
Friday, 14 April 2017 17:01

1.99% Auto Loan

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Get there with a 1.99%* Auto Loan!

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Utah saves money with historically low interest rates!

You can save money with your Wasatch Peaks auto loan:

  • Check out the low, low auto loan rates!
  • Save money on the interest you will pay on your loan!
  • Reduce your monthly payment to put more money in your budget every month!
  • Pay down your loan faster!

Getting your auto loan started is as easy as coming into any branch, applying online, or calling 801-627-8700!

Wasatch Peaks makes it easy for you by preparing your loan documents and paying off your current loan balance with another financial institution. All you have to do is sign and drive away with a lower rate on your new auto loan!

*Annual Percentage Rate (APR). On Approved Credit (OAC). This is our best rate; your rate may be different depending on credit history and underwriting criteria. Rates subject to change based on vehicle loan-to-value and term. Limited time offer.

Apply for Your Auto Loan Now! 
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