Wednesday, 19 April 2017 15:09

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 23:01

1.99% Auto Loan

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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.

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Published in Specials
Friday, 14 April 2017 15:25

Buying A Home In Today's Economy

Whether you're a regular news junkie or you rely on your better half to keep you updated on the latest, you'll get the same conflicting messages about the state of today's economy. One day you'll hear about rising wages, and the next day you'll read about the lagging growth in the GDP, or Gross Domestic Product.

The only thing certain about today's economy is that it is uncertain. While things look relatively stable now, no one can guarantee what the next few years will bring.

Fortunately, you don't have to give up on the home of your dreams because of a fluctuating economy. Read on for four steps you can take to make sure your money - and your house - are completely safe regardless of what's going on.

Maximize your down payment

The magic number for down payments has been established at 20% of the home's value. Those who can't afford to plunk down that much money, though, will often put down a much smaller amount.

If you can't come up with a down payment worth at least 5% of the home's total value, you may not be ready to buy a house just yet, because having little or no equity in a home could mean taking a loss should you need to sell it. Also, not making any profit from selling your home means you won't have funds to cover the down payment on your new home and offset the closing costs. That's why it's always best to own as much of your house as you can.

Get less than you qualify for

If you've been hoping to qualify for a more expensive home, you may be planning to push the limits of your mortgage approval. In fact, it's best to buy a house that comes in well under your approved limit, allowing you to maintain a lower debt-to-income ratio. This will give you breathing room and keep your mortgage payments from dwarfing your monthly budget.

Also, if the economy worsens and you feel the effects, you'll have a smaller mortgage payment to scrape together each month.

Pick the right Realtor

Here's how to cut through the hype of the real estate market and find the Realtor that is truly best for you:

  • Speak to recent clients. Ask about their level of satisfaction and their overall experience with this agent.
  • Look up the licensing of your prospective agent. You should be able to easily find this information online.
  • Choose a winner. A Realtor who has been recognized for their excellent work is one you want working for you.
  • Research how long the agent has been in the business. You don't want the rookie Realtor who's building their experience through you.
  • Check the current listings under the Realtor's name. Are they in the same price range as the house you're hoping to buy?

Look for red flags

A professional inspection before signing on a home is a given, but did you take a careful look around? You don't want any unpleasant surprises after you've moved in.

Check for the following:

  • A sturdy roof. Do the shingles look like they're going to give way in a few years? That can translate into expensive repairs. If you like the house and don't mind replacing a faulty roof, use it as a negotiating point to get a lower price.
  • Efficient heating and cooling systems. These can be costly to fix and replace, and inefficient systems can really hike up your utility bills.
  • Strong structural components. Most sellers will give their house a new coat of paint before showing it to buyers, but don't be fooled. If the foundation is weak, the best paint job won't cover it up. Check beneath the surface for strong pipes, wiring, and insulation.
  • Overall functioning of the home. Don't be shy; try out everything in your potential new home. Open doors and windows, turn on every faucet, flick each light switch, flush toilets and taste the water. If you find any major problems, you may want to give this house a second thought. If you don't mind a handful of minor repairs, remember to use these as a negotiating point.

Don't forget to call, click or stop by Wasatch Peaks Credit Union to learn about our fantastic programs on home loans and mortgages before you start your search. We're here to help you with the finances as you find the home of your dreams!

Did you recently purchase a new home? What did you wish you'd known before you started on your search? Let us learn from your experience; share your wisdom with us in the comments!

SOURCES:
https://grow.acorns.com/2017/02/on-the-rise-or-a-mess-how-our-economys-really-doing/
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/5-real-estate-trends-to-watch-in-2017-2016-11-15
http://www.bobwaldron.com/Pages/Westchester-CA-Real-Estate.aspx
http://time.com/money/collection-post/2792050/how-to-choose-a-real-estate-agent/
http://www.bankrate.com/finance/real-estate/7-tips-for-picking-a-real-estate-agent-1.aspx
http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/30459291/list/home-buying-checklist-20-things-to-consider-beyond-the-inspection
https://www.ourfamilyplace.com/homebuyer/economy.html
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.forbes.com/sites/kellyphillipserb/2016/01/05/10-things-you-absolutely-need-to-know-about-buying-a-home/amp/?espv=1

Published in Blog

Are you in the market to buy a car?

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  • First Steps: New Vs. Used
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  • Is Zero Percent Financing Worth It?
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You will also get a Car Buying Budget Worksheet to help you with your financing and loan planning. What you learn may save you money on your next car purchase!

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Published in General
Thursday, 06 April 2017 21:36

INFOGRAPHIC: Ten Tax Scams to Avoid

Published in Alerts
Wednesday, 05 April 2017 17:44

Getting The Most Out Of Youth Accounts

Managing money is a foundational life skill. There are so many factors involved and so many open-ended questions at play. How much should you be saving? When is it worth spending more? How do you keep spare change from burning a hole in your pocket? It takes years of discipline and training to perfect this skill, and ongoing self-control to maintain it.

That's why it's best to give your kids a head start on money management and saving. As a parent or guardian, remember that the lessons you plant today will take root and blossom, enriching your child's life for years to come.

Here at Wasatch Peaks Credit Union, we understand the enormity and difficulty of this task. In honor of National Credit Union Youth Month, we're focusing on ways to help make this process as smooth and as simple as possible.

Wasatch Peaks is proud to offer specialized savings accounts that are designed just for kids.

We know that different ages and stages have different needs. That's why we offer MONEY MOO$E™ Kids Club Accounts, for children aged 0-12, as well as Young Members Accounts for teens aged 13-17.

Our youth savings accounts offer no monthly service fee and no minimum balance to earn rewards to help you teach your child that saving money always pays.

We're more than just a place for your kid to keep their money, though. We also want to help your young ones learn all about money management. To do that, we go out of our way to make banking fun and kid-friendly. When your child has an open Kids Club Account with Wasatch Peaks they also have free access to fun kid websites, online games, MONEY MOO$E™ Kids Club Peaks Passbook™, prizes, and more.

When adolescence overtakes childhood, kids need a sense of independence and autonomy. We get this. That's why the holders in our Young Members Accounts are eligible for a Free Visa Debit Checking Card and we’ll refund your ATM fees, nationwide (up to $25 monthly). With our Kasasa Tunes checking account, teens earn $5 every month in iTunes® or Amazon.com downloads! Learning responsible saving habits at an early age will prepare your kids for a sound financial future.

Ready to open an account for your child? Does your child already have one? Read on for three steps to take for ensuring your child gets the most out of a new or existing account:

Set a goal

Now that your child's money will be sitting in an account instead of a piggy bank, let her use this opportunity to save up for something big. Sit down with her and discuss what she'd like to save for. You can create a long-term goal, like saving up for college or for a first car. Also establish a short-term goal, like a new gaming console or a hoverboard.

Set a date for your goals, and then set up a savings calendar for illustrating how much money needs to be saved each month to reach the intended target by the designated date. Discuss ways to add to the savings, being sure to include money from birthday gifts, summer jobs, allowances and chores.

Bank together

Whether your child is a first-grader or a lanky teenager, if this is their first time owning an account, they'll need you to show them the ropes.

Always bring your young child along with you when you stop by Wasatch Peaks to deposit his savings. Show him how it works and let him see the account balance growing. If your child asks you to withdraw money from his account, make sure he sees how this translates into a dip for his savings.

For teens, you'll need to walk them through that first deposit and withdrawal. When they've probably got the hang of it, it's time to take a step back and let them be on their own. They'll feel like a million dollars managing their account independently.

However, share with your teen that every swipe of their debit card also means a dent in their account balance. Also be sure to warn kids of all ages about security. They should know to never share their account information with anyone, and to keep their debit card in a safe place.

Monitor your child's activity

Don't aim to be a helicopter parent, but do keep an eye on your child's account. If he's depositing a lot less than planned, ask him where his money is going. Speak to him about money management and impulse purchases.

Remember: Every financial lesson you teach your child today equips them with money management skills for a lifetime.

How do you maximize the benefits of having a youth account for your child? Share your best tips and techniques with us in the comments!

SOURCES:
https://www.redwoodcu.org/personal/savings/youth-accounts
https://www.cefcu.com/personal/save-and-spend/youth-accounts.html
https://www.americafirst.com/accounts/savings-accounts/youth-accounts.cfm
http://www.bankrate.com/banking/checking/teen-checking-account-5-smart-moves/nts.cfm

Published in Blog

The first step to teaching your kids about money is talking about money.

“The most effective way to teach is by having frequent discussions and don’t ever lecture,” said Ted Beck, president and chief executive of the National Endowment for Financial Education, in a recent Wall Street Journal article. “Look for teachable moments and always be willing to answer questions.”

Unfortunately, this can also be the hardest.

A 2015 T. Rowe Price survey found that 72% of parents experienced at least some reluctance to talk to their kids about financial matters, and 18% were either very or extremely reluctant. The most common reasons given were that the parents didn’t want them to worry about financial matters or thought they were too young to understand.

But on his blog, the personal-finance guru and radio host Dave Ramsey encourages parents to be more open with their kids about money, even their failures. Parents’ biggest regrets are often not saving enough or going into too much debt, wrote Ramsey. Being honest about that in an age-appropriate way, he stated, can be a powerful lesson.

So how to start the talk?

  • Ask questions. If you’re going out to eat, talk about the price difference between the options, and ask them which they would choose. If they select the more expensive, talk through what you might have to give up later in the week.
  • Make them part of your budgeting. If you’re doing any kind of financial planning for the year, solicit input from your kids. Enlist them in your saving goals—no one watches you more closely than your kids, so they’re natural accountability partners! If you’re uncomfortable revealing too much of your financial picture, you can keep the discussions high level, but involving them makes money less abstract.
  • Open a youth savings account at Wasatch Peaks Creit Union. This is the best way to help them to learn to save for what they find meaningful in life. A lifetime of good savings habits can start now!
Published in Blog

What kind of saver is your child? One who saves happily, or with a scowl? To find out, stop by one of our branches during National Credit Union Youth Month.

Every saver is unique, but most people who save regularly developed the habit early in life. Learning to delay gratification in order to save for long-term goals is a crucial life skill, and one that Wasatch Peaks is committed to helping our youngest members develop.

That’s why we, at Wasatch Peaks Credit Union, create programs and services designed specifically for young people. With a Wasatch Peaks Credit Union MONEY MOO$E™ Kids Club account, you can start teaching your children or grandchildren (up to 12 years-old) the importance of saving for the future.

The MONEY MOO$E™ Kids Club is a savings account that is designed to help your child succeed financially from a young age and throughout life. Wasatch Peaks offers Display Prizes for kids to collect whenever they make a deposit.

MONEY MOO$E™ teaches three important financial concepts: Save, Share, and Spend. As a member of the MONEY MOO$E™ Kids Club, kids will receive:

  • MONEY MOO$E Plush Toy
  • Peaks Passbook™
  • Membership Card
  • Coloring Book
  • Crayons

Visit a Wasatch Peaks Credit Union branch to open a MONEY MOO$E™ Kids Club Account today!

Published in Blog

Get Away Today and Wasatch Peaks Credit Union are thrilled to share all of the fun going on in Southern California this summer! Now is the perfect time to plan your vacation at an affordable price. You won’t want to miss all these exciting events:

The Main Street Electrical Parade is back at Disneyland! This nostalgic parade features roughly half a million lights along with your favorite classic Disney friends. Don’t wait too long to see this show, it is only showing for a limited time – until June 18, 2017.

New Beauty and the Beast experiences will be available for a limited time beginning March 17, 2017. Watch out for that Gaston and try some of “the grey stuff” at the transformed Red Rose Tavern open now.

Guardians of the Galaxy: MISSION BREAKOUT is opening May 27, 2017 at the Disneyland Resort! This ride takes place inside The Collector’s fortress where you will help Rocket Raccoon rescue the rest of the Guardians!

Summer of Heroes also kicks off on May 27th with Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Dance Party, super hero meet-n-greets, the Avengers Training Initiative and more.

Rivers of America is reopening at Disneyland this summer! Tom Sawyer’s Island, The Disneyland Railroad, Fantasmic! and more will all be back at different times during the season.

Also, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood is a must see when visiting Southern California. Summer is the perfect time to try the Frozen Butterbeer and test your wizarding powers!

We are so excited to continue to offer the best experiences at the best prices. Be sure to visit getawaytoday.com or call 855-GET-AWAY and mention Wasatch Peaks Credit Union when booking.

Published in Blog

Everyone loves to save, especially on products and services you use every day. That’s what Love My Credit Union Rewards is all about. Members have saved nearly $2 billion in discounts from valued partners through Love My Credit Union Rewards. You can save too with valuable discounts from these partners:

  • $100 cash reward with every new line switched to Sprint! Current customers will receive $50 for every line transferred. Plus, a $50 loyalty reward every year for every line!*
  • Save up to $15 on TurboTax federal products!
  • Get an exclusive smoke communicator and a $100 gift card with a new ADT monitored home security system.
  • Shop and get cash back at over 1,500 online retailers with Love to Shop

To find out more and learn about other valuable discounts, visit LoveMyCreditUnion.org. You get all these offers and discounts just for being a member of Wasatch Peaks Credit Union. Check out other member benefits by visiting this link.

*Activ. Fee: Up to $30/line. Credit approval req. Sprint Credit Union Member Cash Rewards Offer: Offer Ends 12/31/2017. Avail. for eligible credit union members and member employees (ongoing verification). Tax ID req. to establish business acct. Switch to Sprint and receive a $100 cash reward for each new smartphone line activation. Reqs. port-in from an active number (wireless or landline). Existing customers receive a $100 cash reward for each new smartphone line activation and/or a $50 cash reward for each smartphone line transferred to program. New lines req. activation at point of sale. Max 15 lines. Sprint acct must remain active and in good standing for 31 days to receive Cash Reward. Excludes MBB devices, tablets and Sprint Phone Connect, upgrades, replacements and ports made between Sprint entities or providers associated with Sprint (i.e. Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, Common Cents Mobile and Assurance.) May not be combinable with other offers. $50 Loyalty Cash Reward: Members can earn one $50 cash reward annually when Sprint acct remains active and in good standing for 1 year. Max 15 lines. Cash Reward: Cash Reward issued by CU Solutions Group. Allow 6-8 wks for Cash Reward to be deposited to your Credit Union acct. If the Cash Reward does not appear after 8 wks, visit lovemycreditunion.org/sprintrewards. Other Terms: Offers/coverage not avail. everywhere or for all phones/networks. May not be combinable with other offers. Offer, terms, restrictions, and options subject to change and may be modified, discontinued, or terminated at any time without notice. Restrictions apply. © 2016 Sprint. All rights reserved. Sprint and the logo are trademarks of Sprint. Other marks are the property of their respective owners.

Published in Blog
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