VCNB Tips and Tricks To Keep Your Vacation Running Smoothly

School is letting out across our region and summer vacations are underway. You’ve packed the sunscreen, boarded the dogs and loaded the car but you might not have considered things you should do for your vacation finances. Whether you’re flying to Florida or headed to the mountains, there are some basic things you can do to keep your finances running smoothly and to insure you aren’t stranded somewhere with no access to your money.

Here’s a checklist of some things you can do:

  • Update Your Phone Number With VCNB – In recent years we have seen a spike in fraudulent activity. That’s why we have a talented team to detect and prevent this kind of crime. If we notice activity that’s outside of your normal spending pattern, our fraud department may turn off your card and call you to verify the attempted purchases. If you’re at a gas pump far from home and the only number we have on file is your home number, you won’t understand why your card isn’t working and we will have no way to contact you. PLEASE, take a moment to contact your local branch or our Customer Service Department and give us your mobile phone number.
  • Give Us a Heads Up – If you know you’re traveling, let Customer Service know where you’re headed. It takes just a minute and we appreciate hearing from you.
  • Plan A Second Form Of Payment – Always carry a second form of payment. We actually advise this even when you’re just tooling around town close to home but it’s especially important when you’re far from home. If you plan to use your debit card for primary spending, take a credit card, some cash and/or a prepaid card. VCNB offers credit and debit cards as well as prepaid and gift cards that can be used anywhere Mastercard© is accepted.
  • Download CardValet® – Knowledge is power, especially where your money is concerned. If you haven’t tried it, Card Valet is a fantastic way to keep up with activity on your VCNB cards and even to control how, when and where your cards can be used. With the Card Valet app, you can turn your cards on when you need them and turn them off when you don’t. You can also receive alerts whenever your card is used and place limits so that it can only be used at merchants you choose. You can even place spending limits on your card. This is free and easy to use! Look for CardValet in the app store on your mobile device.
  • Use Account Alerts– Another way to keep up with your money is to sign in to your online banking account and register for account alerts. You can receive a text or email whenever there is activity on your account, when your balance dips below an amount you decide and for a host of other reasons. Knowing how much money is in your account will help keep your spending under control and seeing activity on your account will help you spot unauthorized purchases. This is a free perk of online banking with VCNB.
  • Don’t Forget To Pay Your Bills – Being away on vacation doesn’t give you respite from paying bills. If you have bills due while you’re away, use Online Bill Pay to schedule payments while you’re gone. This is a free service of VCNB online banking, as long as you use it at least one time each month.

Vacation is supposed to be fun! Don’t let money, bills or card problems ruin your relaxing time away. Remember, VCNB Mobile and our http://www.vcnbfamily.com/ are here whenever you need them! You can also call our Customer Service Department at 1.800.542.5004 during business hours.

Teach Teens Money Skills With Student Checking

Every parent wants their child to succeed in life. One way to help them get off on the right foot is to give them a strong financial foundation on which to stand, build and grow. That does not necessarily mean giving them a lot of money but instead helping them understand how to use and manage the money they do have.

Whether they have just a small weekly allowance, pay from an after school job, or have a large savings, it is important for young people to spend their teen years learning how to pay for things and how to manage a checking or savings account.

One way to accomplish this is to help them open a Student Checking My Way account at VCNB. This account is designed especially for teens ages 14-17 and provides them with access to a traditional checking account with mobile and online banking, a debit card and account alerts.

Young customers will have access to a debit card and the spending abilities that come with it.

The account also comes with a host of ways to safely monitor activity and to manage the account electronically. Account alerts can be set to notify you or your teen of account activity. Sign up to receive a text or email for a variety of account activities including whenever the debit card is used or when the balance falls below an amount that you set.

Online banking and mobile banking make it easy to see where and when money is spent, to transfer funds between accounts and to view bank statements.

We encourage parents and teens to work together so that young people are experienced at handling their bank account and prepared to manage their funds by the time they graduate high school. This very basic step can make a tremendous difference when a young graduate is venturing out into the world.

Remember though, a parent or guardian must be made joint account owner. This account can be opened online or in any of our sixteen banking centers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Budget When You Have Seasonal Income

Rewarding careers don’t always come with a steady paycheck. For people who work in agriculture, construction, tax preparation, entertainment, landscaping or other types of freelance and seasonal businesses, income may vary wildly depending on the time of year. This uneven cash flow makes budgeting especially challenging, but it’s by no means impossible.

Here’s how to budget for long-term financial stability when your income changes with the seasons.

Determine your average monthly income
With most traditional budget plans, you start by determining your monthly income. But how can you complete this first step if your income keeps changing? The most effective strategy is to use your average monthly income. To calculate this, add up your post-tax income for the past three or more years and divide that sum by the total number of months. If economic conditions have — or are projected to — hit your industry or business hard, you may want to deduct 15% to 20% from this number to create a safety cushion.

Calculate your average monthly expenses
When work is seasonal, expenses often fluctuate, too. During busy times, you may have to spend more on gasoline, utilities, equipment maintenance and office supplies. If you spend more during your busy season, determine your average monthly costs by adding up your personal and work-related expenses for at least one year and dividing that figure by the total number of months.

Fine-tune your budget
Subtract your average monthly expenses from your average monthly income to get your baseline budget figure. If you find you’re cutting things close or dipping into the red, you’ll need to make some adjustments. Consider cutting unnecessary expenses or picking up extra income by expanding your existing business’s volume, taking temp work during slow times or offering complementary services that peak during your off-season.

Become a saver
Having a savings plan is an especially important safety net when income is irregular. When planning your budget, be sure to include a line for saving each month. It’s best if you can put away 10% or more of your income, but even small amounts deposited consistently add up significantly over time with compound interest. Aim to save at least three to six months’ worth of expenses to ensure you can live comfortably during lean times or emergencies.

Additional survival tips
To help even out cash flow and make the most of seasonal income:

  • Make it easier for customers to pay you quickly by improving your invoicing procedure, offering options such as PayPal or Square to accept credit card payments, or setting up direct deposits to your account with customers.
  • Negotiate with vendors and suppliers for discounts or extended payment terms.
  • Take advantage of financial and budgeting software such as QuickBooks.
  • Consider offering discounts and promotions during slow times to boost business.
  • Track your cash flow regularly and adjust your budget as necessary.
  • Even with your budget plan in place, keep spending to a minimum during slow seasons.
  • Stick to your budget during your busy season to avoid spending the cash you’ll need during the down times.

Seasonal income doesn’t have to mean financial feast or famine. With proper budgeting, you’ll be able to live well no matter what the season.

© Copyright 2016 NerdWallet, Inc. All Rights Reserved

What’s On Your Wish List?

2017 Construction & HELOC - VCNB (Rt. 93S & Rt. 50 Clear Channel Lamar)

What’s on your wish list? A big kitchen for family meals? Perhaps a new garage to protect your vehicle from the weather? How about a pool just in time for summer parties? With a Home Equity Loan at VCNB, you can make these dreams come true. Open a new Home Equity Line Credit before April 30 and receive an introductory Annual Percentage Rate (APR) of 2.99%.

A Home Equity Loan or HELOC is a revolving form of credit that uses your home as collateral. The amount of your credit line depends on how much equity you’ve built up in your home. Lots of homeowners enjoy using the equity they have achieved in their homes to make improvements that will increase their resale values or enhance their quality of life.

Click here to learn more about our current special.

Want to speak with a lender? Contact your local VCNB office or chat with a lender from our website!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lender Speak: The Best Part Of Home Construction Lending

The VCNB Financial Family has some excellent, experienced lenders on staff. These folks have the privilege of working with customers to finance their dreams – their dream car, their dream kitchen, their dream home and a host of other projects that make life good. We talk a lot about what it’s like for the customer to finance a project with us but we don’t always stop and consider what it’s like for the lender.

Today, we’re asking some of our lenders about their favorite part of financing a home construction project! Here’s what they had to say!

 

“I love the excitement of it all. I love the excitement of the borrower once they know they are approved and the excitement of the borrower when the home is move in ready.”   Donna Kopis

Donna works at our Friendly Bremen Banking Center on East Main Street in Lancaster.

 

 

“The best thing is seeing a family’s dreams that started on a blueprint come true when they are given the keys to their new home. It’s a great feeling knowing we helped achieve their goal.”   Chris Coryea

Chris works at our Canal Banking Center on Prentiss School Drive in Canal Winchester.

 

 

“I like to see the excitement of the customers. It’s great helping them with their dream of building their own home and seeing that dream become reality.”    Fred Wright

Fred works at our VCNB Loan Production Office on Veterans Drive in Jackson.

 

“My favorite part of a construction loan is being able to help the customer fulfill a dream of building their very own home. The end result is very rewarding and helps mend the stress that it may have caused in the process. I enjoy seeing the different types of homes people build. Also, the process is very interesting – when it’s in the foundation/ framing stage it looks huge, then when drywall goes on it looks too small, then when it is painted and trimmed it gets bigger and usually just right. It’s a perception thing. As an owner, they may only build one or two homes in a lifetime. As a lender, we build several per year. It is this experience that can help both parties navigate through process and can also be rewarding knowing that you were instrumental in making it happen.”   Joe Risch

Joe works at our Pickaway County Banking Center on Court Street in Circleville.

Preventing Tax Return Fraud

Identity theft continues to be a booming business: In 2014, 17.6 million Americans fell victim, and cybercriminals made off with $15.4 billion. And tax refund theft remains a lucrative piece of that business, despite the IRS’ efforts to stamp it out.

How do hackers do it? In one scam, they filed bogus returns with information harvested from the IRS’ own files or by using Social Security numbers.

Then they waited for the direct-deposit refunds to flow in. Victims usually didn’t know anything was wrong until the IRS refused to accept their tax returns.

Here are some of the defenses that the IRS, state tax agencies and the e-filing industry are building to combat scammers:

Quicker responses to warnings. Thanks to technological enhancements, the IRS now receives warnings if a large number of returns come from a single computer address within a short period of time.

Delaying refunds. This allows the IRS time to recognize that more than one return has been filed for the same Social Security number. Previously, the IRS issued e-file refunds seven to 10 days after it received a return. The new target is 21 days.

Earlier filings of W2 forms. Businesses had been required to issue wage and payment statements to workers by Feb. 1, but didn’t need to file them with the IRS until June. Now both will be due by Jan. 31.

Sharing information: Intuit, which makes TurboTax, and H&R Block have agreed to share more information more promptly with the IRS about filings they consider suspicious.

Safety begins at home, of course. The IRS also has advice for taxpayers on identifying — and more importantly, avoiding — tax refund fraud:

Always use security software with firewall and anti-virus protections, as well as strong passwords.

Learn to recognize phishing emails, calls and texts from thieves posing as legitimate organizations, such as your bank, credit card company and even the IRS. The IRS will never try to contact you via phone or email.

Don’t click on links or download attachments from emails if you don’t recognize the sender.

Protect your personal data. Don’t routinely carry your Social Security card, and make sure your tax records are secure.

If you think someone used your information to file a return, contact the IRS immediately. Specialists will help you file your tax return, receive any refund you’re due, and protect your account from identity thieves in the future.

© Copyright 2016 NerdWallet, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Mobile Deposit Is Now Free!

Mobile Deposit is now FREE! Yes, you read that correctly! You spoke and we listened. Mobile Deposit is now available free of charge to customers who use our mobile app.

This is just one way we’re saying thanks this holiday season to all our loyal customers who enjoy using this convenient product.

If you haven’t tried mobile deposit yet, you really should check it out. This feature uses your phone’s built in camera to take pictures of your check. It submits the images electronically to make a deposit to the checking or savings account of your choice.

Here are the directions for use:

  1. Log in to the VCNB Mobile Application on your phone.
  2. Select Deposits
  3. Select New Deposit.
  4. Choose the account to deposit.
  5. Enter the amount of the check.
  6. Endorse the check with signature and write “For Mobile Deposit Only.”
  7. Capture pictures of the front and back of the endorsed check.
  8. Confirm deposit details and click Yes to complete.

That’s it! The process takes just a few minutes and saves you a trip to the bank. Best of all, now it’s free!

 

 

 

 

VCNB Debit Cards: Fraud, Frozen Cards And How To Prevent This From Happening To You

Our customers are mobile. They travel around the neighborhood, the nation and the globe. As they go about their day, working, running errands and having fun, we find that our customers are relying on their debit and credit cards as a primary form of payment and we love that! We are glad when our customers are so comfortable with VCNB that they want to use our cards.

Yet we want to remind customers that technology is not flawless and that on occasion, paying with your card isn’t possible. In fact, there are a few things we hope you will remember.

Fraud is rampant in our society today. That’s why we have 24-hour fraud protection for our customers. When our Fraud Department sees suspicious activity, they will take steps to protect you. That means the suspicious charge could be declined. It means our Fraud Department will attempt to call you to confirm the purchase and that means they will turn off your card if they cannot reach you. We understand this can be an inconvenience but most customers would prefer to be inconvenienced for a few minutes rather than have a stranger stealing their money.

Sometimes whatever caused the red flag is indeed fraudulent activity. Sometimes it’s really the customer, just spending outside their regular pattern or with a retailer that is known for higher than normal rates of fraud.

For example, if you buy gasoline in Lancaster, Ohio and ten minutes later a charge in California shows up on your card, there will be suspicion of fraud.

When there is a suspicious charge we will call whatever number you have on file with the bank. If you’re out shopping and the only number we have is your landline, you have no way of knowing there’s an issue until your card is declined. When you get home you’ll find a message that provides a case number and requests a return call for something we could have cleared up while you were at the register.

That’s why we ask our customers to provide their mobile phone number. This is an easy way you can do your part in keeping your accounts safe while minimizing the inconvenience.

We also cannot stress enough the importance of carrying a second form of payment. We’ve known customers to travel hundreds of miles from home with nothing in their wallet but a single piece of plastic. If catastrophe strikes and your card is lost, stolen or shut off because it was victim to fraud, you may find yourself in dire circumstances. Always carry a second form of payment – a little cash or another card will be a lifesaver if you have issues with your favorite card.

Now through the end of 2016 we are offering VCNB prepaid gift cards with no purchase fees. Accepted anywhere that Mastercard® can be used, these gift cards are a terrific second form of payment.

Also remember that if your card is declined, repeatedly swiping your debit card will not make it work and may even cause your card to be turned off. Instead, contact your local branch or Customer Service  during business hours or our Fraud Department at 1.800.262.2024.

We know our customers love the convenience of swiping their card. We love it too! Just remember to protect yourself by carrying that emergency second form of payment and by giving us your mobile phone number.

 

VCNB Is Saying Thanks!

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November is the month of Thanksgiving and we want to use this time to thank our customers for another great year. As a community bank we have the opportunity to not just meet our customers, but to get to know them, and we can say with certainty that some truly wonderful people bank with VCNB.

Here’s how we’re saying thanks:

Earn 5,000 Points – Customers both new and existing can earn 5,000 bonus points by opening a Rewards Checking account online now through the end of the year. Rewards Checking has been extremely popular with our customers and employees because it provides the opportunity to earn UChoose® Rewards Points for every day banking habits. That means you can earn points for dollars spent with your debit card, for using Bill Pay and other VCNB products.  Those points can be used for gift cards for your favorite restaurants and retailers, for gifts, travel and even cash back! Click here to learn more about Rewards Checking.

Free Mobile Deposit – Mobile Deposit is now free for VCNB Mobile customers! Use the camera on your smart phone to take pictures of your check inside the VCNB Mobile app. Your check is deposited into the checking or savings account of your choice, saving you a trip to the bank!

No Purchase Fee Gift Cards – We all have folks on our list who are hard to buy for or who simply like to receive gift cards for holidays and birthdays. Through December 31, our VCNB prepaid gift cards are now free of purchase fees. These cards can be used anywhere that Mastercard© is accepted. Secure, even for online purchases, this is a great gift for anyone. Prepaid gift cards are available in any denomination up to $1,000.

Giving Back – We try to be good neighbors by supporting community organizations and events throughout the year. During the holidays we like to partner with our customers to help some special organizations that are close to our hearts. Every VCNB office is accepting monetary contributions to assist a local organization including food banks, Project Backpack and even a local humane society. Stop by your local office to find out what we’re doing in your neighborhood.

Contests – Throughout November and December we are giving away a $100 gift card every week to one lucky winner on Facebook. Visit our page to learn more about our weekly contests! 

We love our customers and hope you will love the things we are doing to say thanks!  Learn more by clicking here!