Free Credit Freezes: Time to Rethink Your Protection?

The days of paying to protect your credit files are coming to an end.

Credit freezes and unfreezes with the three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — will be free for everyone by federal law starting Sept. 21. Fraud alerts, which always have been free, will be extended from 90 days to a year. Credit locks, a product promoted by the credit bureaus, will continue to be free at two bureaus and offered as part of bundled services at a third.

How will these changes affect which you should pick? Consumer advocates continue to recommend freezes, and not having to pay to freeze or thaw credit makes the case even more compelling. But some people instead may want locks for the convenience; they can be done using the credit bureaus’ smartphone apps.

At the very least, everyone should set up fraud alerts, which require businesses to take reasonable steps to ensure that a person applying for credit in your name is actually you.

If you want to block access

Credit freezes offer the strongest protection against an unauthorized person opening an account or getting credit in your name.

Credit locks, which the bureaus voluntarily offer, do much the same thing as freezes: They make your credit records off-limits to potential lenders and credit card issuers.

Here’s a breakdown:

Credit freezes are:

  • Mandated by federal law to be made available.
  • Free from each credit bureau, without special conditions.
  • Placed and lifted online or by phone, requiring a PIN to change status (taking minutes).
  • Potentially time-consuming; if you lose your PIN, you may have to request a new one via U.S. mail.

Credit locks are:

  • Offered voluntarily by each credit bureau.
  • Offered free from Equifax; offered free with an agreement to receive marketing emails from TransUnion; and offered for a fee as part of a monthly monitoring service by Experian.
  • Placed and lifted with an app (taking seconds).
  • Relatively quick and easy to regain access to if you forget a password.

Another issue is legal rights, depending on the credit bureau and what service you use.

With credit locks at Experian and TransUnion, you give up the right to sue the companies in class-action lawsuits. Freezes and Equifax’s lock don’t require you to sign such a waiver.

What the experts choose

So which is better? Chi Chi Wu, staff attorney for the National Consumer Law Center, says it’s the freeze, hands-down.

“A freeze is something that is now mandated by federal law,” she says, “whereas the lock is a voluntary feature, and so if something goes wrong … there’s really not much recourse, except for maybe contract law.”

Her credit reports are frozen.

But credit expert John Ulzheimer made a split decision. At Equifax, “the practical difference between a lock and a freeze is negligible in my eyes,” he says. He chose the lock because it’s more convenient.

He froze his accounts at the other two bureaus because he was unwilling to pay for a lock or to accept marketing emails in exchange for a free lock.

Fraud alerts: added security

Both Wu and Ulzheimer say no one should be without at least a fraud alert.

“There’s really nothing wrong with obligating a bank to at least call you and say, ‘Hey, John, are you really the one who is standing in front of a finance manager at a car dealership trying to get an auto loan right now?’ I think that’s just smart credit management,” Ulzheimer said.

Ulzheimer has fraud alerts in addition to his freezes and lock. “People tell me it’s redundant, like putting a safe inside of a safe,” he says, but he likes having the extra protection.

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Bev O’Shea is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: boshea@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @BeverlyOShea. The article Free Credit Freezes: Time to Rethink Your Protection? originally appeared on NerdWallet.

 

Banking Has Changed, But Criminals Haven’t — Here’s How To Protect Your Money

This year marks a decade since the global financial crisis. Although the biggest financial institutions still dominate the landscape, banking has undergone some changes. The proliferation of smartphones means mobile banking now plays a significant role in how we manage our money. A 2016 Fed survey found that over half of smartphone users with bank accounts used their devices to access their money.

What hasn’t changed since 2008? Con artists.

» 10 years after the Great Recession: Tips and advice to prepare for bad times and to prosper — any time

Ten years ago, identity theft was the No. 1 complaint logged by the Federal Trade Commission. Today, the number of complaints is 20% higher than in 2008. The research-based advisory firm Javelin Strategy & Research identified a record high of nearly 17 million victims of identity fraud last year. And many of today’s fraud and identity theft breaches involve mobile devices. The rise of mobile banking in the past decade means it’s easier and more convenient to keep up with your bank accounts, but it could also make it easier to be scammed.

Financial institutions invest in technology and cybersecurity expertise to fight back, but your bank or credit union needs your help. Here are ways hackers try to access your bank information and how you can avoid swiping your money into a criminal’s trap.

How hackers work

Phishing. This happens when hackers use websites, emails or other means of contact to trick customers into submitting personal information. The practice isn’t new, but it has gotten more sophisticated.

“Ten years ago, phishing was rudimentary. Fake sites were not authentic looking. There were a lot of typos,” says Adam Levin, founder of Cyberscout, a Scottsdale, Arizona-based cybersecurity company. “Now, the criminals have gotten much more sophisticated and the sites look real.”

According to the not-for-profit Anti-Phishing Working Group, phishing attacks increased by a whopping 5,700% over the 12 years ended in 2016, and the latest data suggest attacks continue to increase.

Keylogger software. These programs may install on phones via apps that aren’t secure, such as one that’s not from your device’s approved app store. The software records keystrokes, such as when you enter a bank username or password on a website, then sends a record of what was typed to the hacker.

How to protect your accounts

Ask your bank or credit union about security. The safest banks for consumers use the latest cybersecurity protocols to protect your accounts from breaches and large-scale identity theft. “You’ll want to make sure your bank is up to par,” Levin says. If not, it may be time to switch to another institution. Make sure your bank provides the following — and use these services:

  • Two-factor authentication.When you attempt to log on to your bank’s secure online webpage, the bank or credit union will contact you through some other means — by sending a text, for example — to ask you to confirm the login request. Not every bank has two-factor authentication. But if you choose one that does, your accounts have an extra layer of protection, says Neal Stern, CPA and member of the American Institute of CPAs’ National Financial Literacy Commission.
  • Transaction alerts.Sign up for these alerts, which are generally text or email messages your bank sends to your mobile device when large purchases are made on your account or if your balance drops below a certain amount. (For a deeper look at transaction alerts, here are five mobile banking alerts that help fight fraud.)
  • Fraud monitoring.Many banks monitor transactions to detect unusual spending patterns. The bank might send you a confirmation text if it detects an odd purchase attempt, such as an online purchase worth thousands of dollars from a vendor you’ve never used before. You would have to reply before approval of the transaction.

Keep mobile device software up to date. Your device provider likely sends periodic updates. Some of them may help stop the latest hacker attempts, so it’s important to install updates.

Have a rock solid sign-on. When it comes to logging on to your bank’s website, use “long and strong passwords” that are hard to guess, Levin says. That way, even if you lose your phone, the next person who picks it up won’t be able to figure out how to log in to your bank accounts. In addition, lock your mobile device screen and use a different password to unlock it. (Read more about how to create passwords that are hard on others but easy on you.)

Be careful with other contacts. Fraudsters may try to trick a customer by calling and saying an account has been compromised, then asking for sensitive information, such as a password or Social Security number, to confirm their identity.

“Why would you need to authenticate yourself to someone who contacts you?” Levin says. If you’re unsure about whether a call is legit, hang up and try to reach the bank or credit union at a number you’re familiar with.

Today, customers can deposit checks, transfer money between accounts and pay bills from the convenience of their smartphones. But with convenience comes risk. Take steps to eliminate the risk of identity theft by partnering with your financial institution to protect your hard-earned money.

Margarette Burnette is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: mburnette@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @Margarette. The article Banking Has Changed, but Criminals Haven’t — Here’s How to Protect Your Money originally appeared on NerdWallet.

 

What Is An HSA?

Healthcare image.jpegAs you’re navigating the world of health insurance you likely have encountered the term HSA. Do you know what HSA means?

HSA stands for Health Savings Account and this is an easy way for folks who have high deductible insurance to save for medical expenses and to reduce their taxable income.   If you are enrolled in a high-deductible insurance plan as defined by the government, you can qualify for an HSA. This year, to be eligible for an HSA, you must have an annual deductible of at least $1,350 for an individual and $2,700 for a family. This is set by the federal government and is subject to change in future years.

Each year you will decide how much to contribute to your HSA account although your annual contribution cannot exceed government mandated maximums. For 2018, the contribution limit for an individual is $3,450 and the contribution limit for a family is $6,900. Adults over 55 can add up to $1,000 more.

These contributions are tax deductible and the distributions are tax free when used for qualified medical expenses.

At VCNB, you will receive a debit card and a monthly statement with check images. Your first order of checks will be free and you will have unlimited checking writing. There is an initial $25 set up fee for the account. This fee will be waived for customers who present this coupon.

There is also a $3 monthly fee which will be waived for customers who select eStatements.

Want to learn more or open an HSA online? Click here and look under the Savings Accounts tab.

You can also seek more information or open an HSA in any of our seventeen locations.

 

 

Nine Expenses to Pack in Your Moving Budget

Moving comes with a long, expensive to-do list.

The average cost to for a local move from a two-bedroom apartment or three-bedroom house ranges from $400 to $1,000, according to HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide. While you’re choosing a place to live and deciding what to pack, having a plan for expenses can ensure your budget doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.

“It’s very easy to overlook minor details because when you’re moving, you’re looking at getting your stuff from point A to point B,” says Jessica Nichols, a director at Avail Move Management, a relocation and transportation service in Evansville, Indiana.

Preparing for moving costs can help alleviate emotional and financial strain. Consider these less-obvious expenses.

  1. Peak surcharges

Many moving and truck rental companies raise rates during busy times like summer and weekends. If you have the flexibility, relocate in an off-peak period to save money.

  1. Packing materials and equipment

Buying items like boxes, bubble wrap and packing tape can add up. For example, U-Haul sells large moving boxes for $1.63 to $1.99 each, depending on how many you buy. Be realistic about the number you need to avoid costly miscalculations. Or, seek free materials from friends or online.

Additionally, consider the items you’ll need to safely transport your belongings, including furniture covers, hand trucks and bungee cords. If your movers don’t provide them, or you aren’t hiring professionals, renting or borrowing is more affordable than buying.

  1. Excess cargo

The more stuff you schlep, the more you’ll pay. Movers usually factor the number and weight of items into the bill. Expect additional fees for valuable or large items like pianos that require extra time, space or labor.

Hauling everything yourself? A bigger load can require a larger vehicle or more gas-guzzling trips. To save money, donate or sell what you can before you move.

  1. Cleaning

You’ll likely need to tidy up your current place, especially if there’s a security deposit at stake.

Housecleaning services typically charge $200 to $300 for a one-time cleaning, according to HomeAdvisor. You’ll save money by doing some or all of the work yourself.

  1. Utilities

Watch for deposits, taxes, and connection and installation fees when setting up utilities at your new address. These could range from $10 to $200 or more. Ask power, internet and other service providers about charges in advance.

  1. Food

Food expenses can pop up, too. Think snacks for the road, restocking the refrigerator and pantry, and feeding friends who’ve helped. Shopping wholesale clubs could be a smart strategy to feed a crowd.

  1. Lost or damaged items

Some belongings might not survive the journey. Depending on what you’re transporting and how far, it may be worth purchasing protection to repair or replace property.

“Nobody wants to think about their items getting broken. Ideally that would never happen, but in the real world that’s something you need to plan for,” says Nichols.

Most movers provide basic valuation coverage, which limits their liability to 60 cents per pound, per item. For a 40-pound TV valued at $500, that’s $24. Top-tier options and separate insurance plans offer higher or full values, but it will cost extra. If you have homeowners or renters insurance, you likely have some coverage. Check your policy.

  1. Tips

Movers appreciate tips after a long day of heavy lifting. Give tips based on your satisfaction level, but a good rule of thumb is 5% of the total bill.

  1. Storage

If you can’t immediately move your possessions into your new home, you might have to rent a self-storage unit. Costs vary by size and location. Public Storage units in Austin, Texas, for example, range from about $30 to $300 per month. The less time and space you need, the less expensive the unit.

Make your budget move-in ready

Mentally walk through your moving process from start to finish. Outline the potential items and services you’ll need at least a month ahead. Then, research prices and get multiple estimates for the best deals and service, Nichols says.

Leave wiggle room for unexpected costs and take your time purchasing new home furnishings, says Daria Victorov, a certified financial planner at Abacus Wealth Partners in San Mateo, California. Remember, you don’t have to buy everything at once.

“When you move into an empty house it feels like you need everything right away,” Victorov says. “Before you move, figure out what those essential items are, the things that you use every day and that’ll help you figure out your budget, too.”

This article was written by NerdWallet and was originally published by The Associated Press. Lauren Schwahn is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: lschwahn@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @lauren_schwahn. The article 9 Expenses to Pack in Your Moving Budget originally appeared on NerdWallet.

 

Prepare Now For Happier Holidays

There are about 22 weeks until Christmas.

You’re probably wondering why your bank wants to talk about Christmas during the hottest days of summer but there is one really good reason: we want to see our customers have a nice holiday season without accumulating a mountain of debt.

Calculating the Cost of the HolidaysLots of folks wait until November to start thinking about what they’ll buy and how they will fund it. Others just buy without thinking and worry about it when the credit card bill comes in January. We would rather see you start planning and saving now and we’ll tell you why. Without the stress of money worries weighing you down, the holidays will be much more enjoyable. It’s that simple.

Luckily, there are still almost six months left to prepare.

How Much Will You Spend?
First, you need to know how much money you will want to spend. Make a list of each person you buy gifts for as well as other expenses related to the holidays. Do you host a big Christmas Eve bash or do you travel to see the in-laws? Do you make charitable donations during the holidays or send Christmas cards? List all those things too.

Then assign an estimated dollar amount to each person or category and add it all up. That’s the amount you need to aim for saving. If it sounds like too much, you might need to adjust your spending expectations.

Create a Savings Plan
Take your budgeted amount and divide it by the number of pay checks you will receive before Christmas. That’s the amount you need to save each pay. For example, if you plan to spend $500 on Christmas this year and are paid weekly, that means you would need to save about $23 per pay to be ready in time for the holiday.

Think you don’t have extra money to save every paycheck? Keep reading.

There are sneaky ways you can save money. If you budget $100 for your electric bill and it’s just $95, then save the extra $5 instead of spending it. If you have a vice like drive-thru lunches, pack your meals occasionally and save the extra. Save your change and bring it to a VCNB location with a coin machine for easy counting. Be intentional with how you use any extra amount of money, no matter how small it may be, and save it.

Automate That Savings
Whether you join the VCNB Christmas Club or just schedule automatic transfers, automate your savings plan. Schedule an automatic transfer of that $23 every single payday. It will be just like any other bill and you won’t have to lift a finger to make it happen. And while we’re talking about savings accounts, you may choose to open a savings account just for your Christmas spending. You’ll have easy access to your cash when you need it and can just transfer it back to your checking account when ready to spend.

Think Ahead
Stores and online retailers are filled with clearance racks and good sales every day of the week. Keep your eyes peeled and you may be able to pick up a few gifts long before the Black Friday frenzy begins.

Also, if you do travel during the holidays, nail down your travel days and start looking for deals on flights and hotels.

If you have a big family, it may be time to have a conversation with your siblings about gift giving. Do you want to buy gifts for everyone or just for the kids or maybe gifts for couples rather than individuals? We aren’t telling you to be stingy but you may find that some people in your life are relieved to have less shopping to worry over.

Reward Yourself
VCNB offers a Rewards Checking account that literally rewards you for spending your own money. Saving these points throughout the year to redeem before the holidays is another great way to save! Customers who use Rewards Checking receive one point for every $3 spent and 200 bonus points when they have 21 or more transactions per statement cycle. These points can be redeemed for cash back, gift cards, travel and more!

There is a coordinating Visa® Platinum Card that allows you to earn one point for every dollar spent. These points can be redeemed for exciting merchandise, gift cards and travel. Customers who use both Rewards Checking and the Visa Platinum Card can link their points in one account to make redemption a breeze.

Ready to get started? Open online or learn more about Rewards Checking or open that new Passbook Savings to get started with your holiday savings today!

Seven Ways to Save at Disneyland — No Magic Required

Prepping your wallet for a trip to see Mickey Mouse is no walk in the park. There will be tickets, souvenirs and food to buy.

So to make your visit to California’s Disneyland more of a fairy tale and less of a financial nightmare, try these seven ways to save money. While the tips below focus on the Anaheim park, visitors to other Disney properties will find some ideas for cutting costs, too.

  1. Rely on reviews

Before you step foot in the park, brush up on Disneyland’s best offerings by going online. You’ll find many bloggers who write reviews about the newest attractions, says Casey Starnes, owner of the Disneyland Daily blog.

The blogs will help you decide what, and what not, to spend money on. For example, with a little research you can decide which dining packages are worth the splurge. It may also help you decide which rides are worth waiting in line for, maximizing the money you spent on your ticket.

  1. Get a discounted ticket

You don’t always have to pay full price for a ticket. Disneyland offers specially priced tickets to active and retired U.S. military personnel, for example. Other visitors can search for discounts through organizations like AAA.

Be careful to avoid illegitimate sellers, though. Scammers on Craigslist and other websites have been known to deliver fake tickets. Before buying, check out a seller through online reviews or look for accreditation such as from the Better Business Bureau.

  1. Don’t be a Sleeping Beauty

If you want to get the most bang for your buck, wake up early. You can hit up rides before the crowds set in.

“I always tell people that Disneyland vacations are not for sleeping in,” says Jessica Sanders, founder of The Happiest Blog on Earth and author of “Disneyland on Any Budget: Money Saving Tips From The Happiest Blog on Earth.”

Sanders recommends lining up at the gate an hour before opening so you can take your first ride within minutes of entry. “I typically get in 10 or more attractions during the first two hours of my day, even during the summer.”

  1. Skip a meal

To save money — and feel less stuffed as you’re walking around — eat two big meals instead of three, Starnes says. Try a mid-morning brunch, snacks during the afternoon and a big dinner in the evening.

“Disneyland is known for snacks, and they’re much more affordable than meals,” she says.

  1. Use Disney gift cards

Another clever way to stay on budget? Gift cards. If you know you can afford to spend $25 on souvenirs or $50 on food, buy a Disney gift card for that amount. Cards can be purchased online, at the resort or at a Disney store and redeemed at many places in the park.

“We have a gift card with that set amount on there, and then when it’s gone, we’re done spending on that particular thing,” Sanders says. “So you don’t have to keep track in your head or go way over budget because most people aren’t keeping track of every receipt and everything they’re spending while they’re on vacation.”

  1. Pick the right souvenirs

When you buy something, choose wisely. For souvenirs, Starnes recommends selecting items that will stand the test of time. So consider a coffee mug over a toy. Or pick a commemorative photo book instead of a shirt that your child will outgrow.

  1. Perfect your strategy

These tips won’t expire when the clock strikes midnight — and they don’t only apply to summer visits. Reuse and refine them each time you visit Disneyland.

“It’s almost like competitive vacationing,” Starnes says. “Every time you come, you want to do more and more. You want to do better than your previous visit and you learn more every time you visit.”

More From NerdWallet

Courtney Jespersen is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: courtney@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @CourtneyNerd.

The article 7 Ways to Save at Disneyland — No Magic Required originally appeared on NerdWallet.

 

Five Ways Not to Blow a Financial Windfall

Whether you’ve won the lottery, inherited a fortune or sold your business, landing a financial windfall can drastically improve your financial outlook. But the sudden wealth can also leave you stressed and unsure how to handle the cash.

First, hit the pause button, says Don Hance Jr., founder of LifeSighted, a financial planning company. Take time to create a spending plan to avoid making poor decisions.

“You want to give yourself time to take stock of everything and work through emotions before spending the money,” says Hance.

Here are five smart ways to allocate a financial windfall.

1. Cushion your nest egg
Maximize your 401(k) contributions if you still plan on working, or at least contribute enough to earn the full employer match, which is essentially free money for your retirement. As you put more money toward retirement, the windfall will fill that gap in your cash flow.

This move also carries tax benefits: contributions are taken out of your paycheck pre-tax, lowering your taxable income for the year. Investments grow tax-deferred until withdrawals at retirement.

Also, look into funding a Roth IRA if you’re eligible, says Mark McCarron, a financial planner and principal at Bond Wealth Management, LLC. Contributions to Roth retirement accounts are made after-tax, and your investments grow tax-free. Unlike a 401(k), there’s no income tax on withdrawals made in retirement.

“It is one of the only free lunches the IRS gives us,” McCarron says.

2. Pay off toxic debt
If you’ve been trying to pay off debt, this is an opportune moment. Pay off toxic debt with the highest interest rates first, such as credit cards, payday loans, title loans and installment loans.

For example, a credit card with a $10,000 balance at 20% interest would cost $11,680 in total interest if you made $200 monthly payments. It would take more than nine years to repay the debt.

Use your windfall to pay the balance in full, and you’ll save interest.

3. Build an emergency fund
An emergency fund is money set aside to cover unplanned expenses, such as car repairs or a job loss, so you don’t have to rely on credit cards or high-interest loans.

A good rule of thumb is to have three to six months of expenses saved, says McCarron.

The amount to save depends on factors such as job security and how much debt you owe. Keep the money in a high-yield savings account, where it earns some interest and is readily accessible.

4. Invest in yourself or a loved one
Investing isn’t limited to your retirement; you can also use some of the windfall toward self-development. Go back to school, hire a career coach, travel or learn a new skill.

Consider starting a 529 savings plan to support a child, relative or friend through college, says Levi Sanchez, financial planner and co-founder of Millennial Wealth, based in Seattle.

The plan provides tax-free investment growth and withdrawals for qualified education expenses, such as tuition, fees and books. Most states also offer a tax break for residents.

Under the current tax law, 529 withdrawals up to $10,000 per year can be used for tuition costs at elementary or secondary public, private and religious schools. Check with your state’s plan before making withdrawals for this purpose; not all states have adopted the changes.

5. Give back
Consider making charitable donations to an organization or social cause you support.

Your gift can positively impact the organization, but unless it’s a sizable donation, it may not help your taxes. That’s because you need to itemize your taxes to get a deduction, and itemizing only makes sense if your deductions add up to more than the standard deduction.

For 2018, the standard deduction is $24,000 for married individuals filing jointly or $12,000 for single individuals. Maintain records of your contributions if you donate.

Giving money to family and close friends doesn’t carry tax benefits. But if you’re feeling generous, you can give up to $15,000 per individual in 2018 without having to file a gift tax return, says Sanchez.
A financial planner or tax professional can provide further guidance on managing a windfall.

Steve Nicastro is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: steven.n@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @StevenNicastro.

The article 5 Ways Not to Blow a Financial Windfall originally appeared on NerdWallet.

Not Your Average Card

RCBC Billboard - Not Your Average - (Bridge Street Digital)

You may receive a lot of offers in the mail for average credit cards but we are sure you haven’t received an offer for a card or rewards program like ours. In fact, we like to say that we have debit and credit cards that simply aren’t your average cards.

That’s because our Rewards Checking debit card and Visa® Platinum credit card work in tandem to reward you for your regular banking and purchasing activities. Those uChoose Rewards® points can be used for a host of things including cash back, gift cards, travel and merchandise. If a customer has both cards, those cards can be linked to one uChoose account to help the points accumulate more quickly!

Here’s how it works:
With Rewards Checking, customers can earn one point for every $3 spent as well as 200 bonus points for 21 or more purchases per statement cycle.  We also offer points for using Online Bill Pay, Direct Deposit and for automatic loan payments. Customers are even rewarded with 500 bonus points on the anniversary of the account! With the Visa© Platinum Credit Card, customers can earn one point for every dollar spent!

See what we mean when we say it’s not your average rewards program? That’s because we’re not your average bank.

Now through August 31 we are offering an exceptional summer special so that you can earn even more points just for signing up for Rewards Checking and/or a Visa Platinum Card.* Sign up for a Rewards Checking Account or a Visa Platinum Card between June 15 and August 31, 2018 and receive 5,000 bonus points. Sign up for both the credit card and the checking account during that period and you’ll receive 15,000 points!

Are you ready? Stop by your local office or click here to get started! 

*Credit restrictions apply. Not all applicants will qualify for this promotional offer.

Three ways you can protect your cards from fraud

In our industry, we see data breaches involving major retailers almost every day. This is an enormous, far reaching industry that involves criminals stealing personal and card information which has far reaching consequences for retailers and banks as well as for customers who are frustrated and frightened by the threat to their information and money.

That is why VCNB spends a lot of money and resources to make sure that the bank and bank customers are protected. We have a top notch Fraud Department that monitors your activity, looking for things that are out of the ordinary so that we can stop fraud from occurring.

What happens if there is fraud?
If we confirm that your card has been used for fraudulent activity, we will turn it off immediately. The card will be closed so that it cannot be used for any purchase that you or someone else may attempt to authorize. We will then order a new card for you and will offer to issue a temporary card that you can pick up at your local branch. This temporary card is designed to get you through until your new permanent card arrives.

But what happens to the money that was stolen from you? You will need to contact the bank to file a dispute. It is through this dispute process that the bank will credit your money back to your account. If it is proven that the charge was fraudulent, you will not lose your money.

How can you protect yourself?
VCNB spends a lot of time and money to keep your accounts protected but we can only do so much. We rely on you, the customer, to monitor your own account activity. Here are three free ways you can do that:

  1. Turn off your card when you’re not using it. Yes, you read that right. You have the ability to turn your card off when you’re not using it and back on the minute you need it again. This can be done using VCNB Mobile or the Card Valet app for your debit card. You can control your VCNB Visa® card with Card Valet. We have customers who will turn their card on while standing in line at the store or when they pull up to the gas pump. When they finish the transaction, they turn off their card again before putting it back in their wallet. It’s a quick, easy and secure way to control how the card can be used.
  2. Monitor activity. This can be done in a few ways. Using Card Valet you can receive a text each time your card is used. You can also monitor activity in the VCNB Mobile app and on our website. Finally, you can sign up for free Account Alerts so you can receive a text or email every time your card is used. These are all free services to help you look after your money and accounts. If you see something suspicious or something you don’t recognize, contact the bank immediately.
  3. Place limitations on your card. Using VCNB Mobile or Card Valet, you can set limitations for each of your cards. You can set a monetary spending limitation as well as limitations on where a card can be used. You can determine a geographic area where the card can be used and say that it can only be used at certain kinds of retailers like grocery, gas stations or department stores. You can also place a monetary limit on each card so that it can be used for no more than $100 or whatever limit you choose. You can apply different limits to each of your cards and change them as you see fit.

We ask for your cooperation as we attempt to keep your money safe. If you see something that looks suspicious, we ask you to contact the bank immediately so that we can prevent a loss from occurring. This era in banking and currency has many conveniences but there are risks associated with using your cards, even with the retailers you trust the most. We thank you for your help keeping your money safe.