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Holiday Loan: Is it Right for You?

November 16, 2016

Mother and daughter buying Christmas itemsThe holidays are coming, and the expenses can add up. Presents for family and friends, out of town travel, extra groceries for the big family meals, and even wrapping paper and shipping costs, all add up. We don’t want you to stress about the post-holiday credit card bill surprise. A Holiday Loan could be the answer, allowing you to focus on what matters most: your loved ones.

If you’re considering applying for a Holiday Loan to help cover your expenses, review this list to help you decide if it’s the right choice for you. If you have any questions, simply make an appointment with us, and we can help you work through the entire decision process.

1. Have you budgeted properly?

It’s always helpful to have a budget for your holiday spending. Make sure to include not only gifts, but travel, food, decorating, and other relevant expenses. If your budget is sound and you’re still not able to cover expenses, a Holiday Loan may be the answer.

2. Do you know how much you’re able to repay?

This one seems obvious, but some people don’t consider it: you should only borrow as much as you’re able to repay. Borrowing can save your holiday, but taking on too much debt won’t help. Make sure you know how to accommodate the new loan in your monthly expenses. If you’re not sure how to figure this out, we can help!

3. Do you know exactly how much you need?

Another pretty obvious one. It’s tempting to consider borrowing more than you need, so you can have a little extra funding for the unexpected, but it’s never worth it. Figure out what you’ll need to cover your holiday expenses, and stick to that amount. Again, if it fits into your repayment budget, consider a Holiday Loan.

4. Do you have a spending plan for the loan amount?

Have a spending plan in mind, and resist impulse purchases. Know what you consider acceptable, and what’s not part of your plan, and stay within the limits of your available funds.

If you’re ready to apply, it’s time to plan ahead and get started. That way you can apply, and if approved, get your cash in time for everything you need, well before the last minute! Call us today at 315.735.8571 to make an appointment.

Posted in: Blog Posts

Halloween Safety Tips

October 31, 2016

Boy in skeleton costume holding bowl full of candies

We want you to have an enjoyable Halloween, so we’re sharing some updated safety tips from our friends at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children:

Before Halloween

  • Choose bright costumes, and have children carry flashlights or glow sticks so they are easily visible. (Hint: Add reflective tape to costumes and candy bags!)
  • Plan a trick-or-treating route in familiar neighborhoods with well-lit streets.
  • Make sure children know your cell phone number, their home telephone number, and address, in case you get separated. Consider giving them a cell phone so they can reach you easily.
  • Teach children how to call 911 in an emergency.
  • Teach children to say “NO!” in a loud voice if someone tries to get them to go somewhere, accept anything other than a treat, or leave with them. Tell them to try everything they can to escape, including yelling, hitting, and kicking.

On Halloween

Have a safe, fun, and happy Halloween!

  • Make sure older children take friends and stay together while trick-or-treating.
  • Never send younger children out alone; they should be with a parent, guardian, or another trusted adult.
  • Always walk younger children to the door to receive treats.
  • Don’t let children enter a home unless you are with them.
  • Be sure children do not approach any vehicle, occupied or not, unless you are with them.

Posted in: Blog Posts

Is a Rewards Credit Card Right for You?

October 17, 2016

Customer paying for their order with a credit card in a cafe.
There are many credit cards to choose from, and the type you choose will be affected by a number of factors, including your personal and financial goals. We’d like to keep it simple, and give you a few factors to consider before deciding if a rewards card is right for you.

A rewards card is simply a card that gives you something back for using the card. Everything from airline miles to merchandise and even cash back can be yours for using your card. Every card’s rewards formula is different, so make sure you understand what your rewards options are before you decide. Many people have no plans (or desire) to earn or use rewards, and shouldn’t apply for this type of card. Keep it simple!

Other factors include your credit history and credit score, which may qualify (or disqualify) you for a particular card. A high credit score and clean credit history tend to allow you many more choices, including lower rates and costs for a rewards card, while the converse can limit your selection of cards. At First Source, we can analyze these factors for you, and see if you qualify for the card you want.

Finally, if you already own a credit card (or a number of cards), you should take a clear-eyed look at your payment history. If you tend to pay off your full balance every month, a rewards card with a variable interest rate will be a positive addition to your wallet. If you tend to carry balances forward and pay interest charges every month, a low-fixed-rate card without rewards may be more practical.

Consider your goals and plans, then make an appointment at your local branch to let us help you make your decision. We look forward to helping you make a smarter, more rewarding choice!

Posted in: Blog Posts

Why Use Mobile Banking?

September 28, 2016

Smiling man with cell phone

More than 100 million people bank using their mobile devices, and for good reason. While brick-and-mortar banking may never be replaced, many day-to-day financial transactions are efficiently carried out using (primarily) our phones.

Mobile banking offers many advantages, such as very good (and increasingly better) security, easy access, and a wide variety of financial apps, not to mention the most obvious: convenience. It gives you much greater control over your money, from everyday transactions to longer-term choices. You can check balances, make payments and deposits, pay bills, and more, from anywhere you have an internet connection.

While there are still limitations, as time goes on, the number of conveniences grows, like real-time account transfers, bank-to-bank transfers, and automated alerts. As the sophistication of our devices grows, apps become more functional, and mobile banking is approaching online banking in diversity and usability. Virtual wallets and money-saving and investing functions are growing in popularity.

Security is obviously a very big priority, and often the perception lags the reality: mobile banking is actually very secure, safer even than internet banking. Even if you lose your phone (or have it stolen), you can quickly disable it remotely. And your biggest security advantage is seamlessly built into mobile banking: being able to check your accounts anywhere, anytime. The closer watch you keep on your finances, the fewer chances there are for undetected fraud or breaches such as identity theft.

Updating to the newest release of your banking app is always important, since functions and security are growing and improving, and the most recent version gives you the best of both. First Source’s new release, memberMOBILE 3.0, is the latest example.

As mobile banking grows, we’ll always be here to help support your needs!

Posted in: Blog Posts

Helping Our Furry Friends

August 31, 2016

redhead teenage girl and her dog portrait

We have a great resource in our community, the Stevens-Swan Humane Society (SSHS), helping our pets and animal friends who are often without support. Did you know that, in addition to their most visible service of providing animal control and adoptions, they also provide pet cremation and pet burial services, rabies clinics, spay and neuter clinics, and community education?

We are supporting them in a number of ways, and we need your help! Please join us in one or more of these fun and rewarding activities to support the wonderful people and animals at Stevens-Swan.

Paws for a Cause

We’re offering $1 Paws for a Cause at all our branches. For a dollar, we put your personalized paper paw up on our wall, so you can inspire others with your support.

Supply Donations

In addition to financial donations, Stevens-Swan accepts a number of supplies they need on a regular basis. We have donation boxes available at all our branches for you to donate supplies, including canned cat and dog foods, toys, treats, and more. See their wish list here.

Can and Bottle Drive

We’re assisting with a can and bottle drive at Utica College on September 6th. We’ll join the Utica College Young Scholars in the Utica College parking lot between Boehlert and South Halls from 12noon-6pm. Stop by with your bottles and cans, and let us take them off your hands for a good cause.

Annual Mum Sale

We’ll hold our annual mum sale September 15th, 16th, and 17th at our New Hartford branch, and September 15th and 16th at our Herkimer branch during our normal hours of operation. Stop by to purchase yours for your home, or as gifts. You’ll be spreading joy at home, to friends or loved ones, and to our animal friends as well!

Wiggle Waggle Walkathon

We are a Presenting Sponsor for this year’s 24th Annual Wiggle Waggle Walkathon on Saturday, September 10th from 12-3pm at Kirkland Town Park on Post St. in Clinton. Register at our New Hartford branch on Friday, September 9th (or at Stevens-Swan Humane Society from Noon-5pm on September 8th or 9th), then join us on September 10th with your family dog (or walk one from Stevens-Swan!) for food, music, vendors, and contests.

Thanks for your generosity. It’s all for a great cause!

Posted in: Blog Posts





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