Your Dreams Matter To Us

At Vinton County National Bank, we have spent over 150 years helping customers reach for their dreams. It’s actually our favorite thing to do.

There’s nothing more fulfilling than helping a young person buy their first home, a family take their dream vacation, or to see eyes light up when a customer realizes their dream home is within reach.

But dreams can be lofty and it’s not always easy for individuals to know where to start. That’s ok because we have experienced, proven lenders who not only know where to start but who can also guide you down the road ahead.

There are few dreams bigger than building a house. Most customers have a floor plan, they have a vision of a big kitchen with a farm sink or a living room with just the right spot for the Christmas tree. Few are experienced with choosing a contractor or the hiccups that come with every home built.

We will guide you through this process because your dreams matter to us.

Ready to build? Now is a great time to start! Visit VCNBConstruction.com to get started.

Audit Your Expenses To Boost Your Savings This Year

Saving Money.

It’s a goal that many of us have. We want to save money, to put away something for a rainy day or maybe for a sunny one at the beach. But, let’s be honest. Saving money can be hard when it seems there is an endless stream of expenses and needs that throw our savings goals off track.

save or spend money

Looking for ways to cut costs is a good start toward saving more money. 

There are typically two ways to save money – either make more or spend less. Today, we will focus on spending less.

For most Americans, there isn’t one easy fix that will save them a ton of money but there usually are some small savings opportunities that add up to a good bit in a month or year. Some require research. Others require lifestyle changes, discipline and maybe some inconveniences in the name of cutting costs.

The first thing you need to do is understand how you spend your money in the first place. Is it all eaten up by bills and debt? Are you spendy when it comes to eating out? Do you blow all your money shopping online?

Keep a log of every dollar you spend and then honestly consider opportunities for cutbacks. It’s smart to audit your own spending and bills every year.

Examine Your Monthly Bills – When was the last time you shopped your car or homeowners insurance? What about internet, phone and television? Are you paying for a landline that no one uses? Call the cable or dish company to ask for a discount or consider alternate means of watching your favorite shows. If your mortgage is high, refinancing could be an option for you. A few simple phone calls could save you a lot.

Scrutinize Memberships And Subscriptions – Chances are you are paying an annual fee for something you don’t need or a magazine or website you don’t use. Review your credit card statements as many of these expenses auto renew. If you never go to the gym, that $20 a month could be better spent elsewhere.

Study Your Habits – If you eat lunch out five times a week and average $10 per lunch, that’s $2,600 a year. Maybe you can pack part of the time. If you shop when you’re bored, bring home take-out because you’re unprepared for dinner, or make purchases without looking for a deal there is room for savings. What habits are you willing to change in the name of having more available cash?

Avoid Late and Overdraft Fees– Always pay your bills on time to avoid late fees. The easiest way to do this is to automate your payments and this can be done with VCNB Online Bill Pay. Also, keep tabs on exactly how much money you have in your checking account to avoid overdraft fees.

Pay Yourself First – When you’re cutting expenses, be sure to safeguard your savings by tucking away that money in a savings account. If you save $40 a month on car insurance, set up an automatic transfer to your savings account each month. By the end of the year, you’ll have $480!

Save Those Windfalls – If you get a bonus at work or a tax refund, transfer those funds to your savings account. Use this good fortune to give your savings a boost!

The bottom line is that the way to savings is often through mindful spending. You work hard for your money. Be smart about how you spend it so you can save more.

 

 

 

 

 

Make Deposits At The ATM

Need to make a quick deposit or get some cash on the go? You probably knew that you can get cash from the ATM but you can also deposit cash and checks at your local VCNB ATM. The ATMs at all of our branches have updated machines with advanced capabilities.

These new machines can read images. That means that the customer can insert cash and checks without an envelope. Just follow instructions on the screen to receive immediate credit for up to $500 per day. The remainder of the balance will be processed and credit will be given next business day if deposited before 2 p.m. and on the second business day if deposited after 2 p.m.

This service gives customers 24 hour access to deposit funds to their accounts without waiting in a drive-thru lane or making an appointment to visit a branch lobby.

While we are cleaning our ATMs, we do encourage customers to take precautions by using hand sanitizer and washing their hands as soon as possible after using the ATM.

We miss seeing our customers in the branches and are happy to serve you through the drive-thru. However, if you need to make an after-hours deposit or if you wish to practice greater social distancing than you find at the drive-thru, please remember that the ATM may be the right option for you.

Bank Outside The Branch

VCNB was encouraging customers to bank outside the branch long before the pandemic caused people to seek safer ways to handle errands.

We know your time is valuable and we know you can’t always bank during regular business hours. We also want you to do businesses with us in a way that’s convenient and safe. For many, that means using technology on their phone or computer to bank wherever they may be. For some, that means popping by the drive-thru or an ATM to make a deposit or get cash.

Here’s a refresher course on options we offer for banking outside the branch.

Direct Deposit – Payroll, social security and unemployment checks can all be received by direct deposit. Instead of driving to the bank, direct deposit users simply wait for their money to appear in their account on the day they are owed.

VCNB Mobile – You may not realize it but you have the power of a bank lobby in your pocket. Download VCNB Mobile from the app store on your mobile device and do much of your banking from wherever you are. Just log in to your account to transfer funds, pay bills, check balances, and open new accounts. You can also deposit a check using Mobile Deposit. With Mobile Deposit, use the camera on your mobile device to send a photograph of the front and back of your endorsed check. If the check is endorsed properly and the deposit is made correctly, you will receive immediate credit for up to $1,000 per day.

Website – Much like the mobile app, use the website to open accounts, apply for a loan, check balances, pay bills, view statements, set account alerts and more!

ATM – Most VCNB branch ATMs have been upgraded to accept image deposits. The last upgrade is expected to be completed at our East Main Street Lancaster location by December 12.  Receive immediate credit for up to $500 in cash and check deposits per day at the ATM. The remainder of the balance will be processed and credit will be given the next business day if deposited before 2 p.m. and the second business day if deposited after 2 p.m.

MoneyPass®  – VCNB customers can access a network of over 32,000 surcharge-free ATMs across the nation. Visit www.MoneyPass.com to find a MoneyPass ATM near you!

Of course, we also have a great Customer Service Team waiting to help you via phone and the staff at your local branch will be happy to see you in-person by appointment, to help you via the drive-thru or to chat on the phone or via email!

What’s your favorite way to bank outside the branch? Leave us a note in the comments!

 

What To Buy Right Now

Each month of the year is the ideal time to buy certain types of merchandise. This time of year is ripe for the picking in many areas as retailers begin their big holiday push with deep discounts on Christmas gifts. Between Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday as well as all the other days in between, there’s no shortage of opportunities to buy and save.

Cookware and small appliances– The pandemic has many of us cooking more so you may find that it’s high time to replace your cookware with something better. If you’re thinking about a better mixer, pots and pans or baking sheets to help you channel your inner Emeril, this is the time to invest.

Genealogy services – The holidays are typically a season of family togetherness. Maybe that’s why genealogy services like Ancestry and 23andme offer subscription discounts. Look for these services to be on sale this month and next.

Clothes, shoes and accessories – Last season’s clothes, shoes and accessories are now deeply discounted but it’s also a good time to find winter items on sale. Boots, coats, sweaters and other cold weather items have been in the stores for a month or more and retailers are anxious to start moving them out the door.

Electronics – Everyone is looking for a deal on televisions, computers, tablets, and smart home accessories and November doesn’t disappoint. It’s the perfect time to pick up a deal on any of these things and more!

Groceries – The holiday season usually inspires a lot of baking. Cookies for Santa and pies for Thanksgiving are just the tip of the carb filled iceberg so there usually are plenty of sales on baking supplies and mixes. It’s a great time to stock up on pantry items like flour, sugar, chocolate chips and baking mixes for a deal. Turkey, stuffing mixes, frozen breads, punch supplies and many canned goods are available for a great deal in anticipation of Thanksgiving feasting.

Toys and Games – The holidays are for the kids after all! It’s a logical time to find Christmas gifts but also smart to stock up on gifts for birthdays and holidays in the coming year. Don’t forget to save some cash for after Christmas sales too!

Local gift items – We think it’s always a good idea to shop local but many artisans and craftspeople have been working for months in anticipation of Christmas sales. Have a look around and see what unique gift items (and maybe some things for yourself!) can be found in your community!

Giving Gifts That Aren’t “Things”

Are you struggling for Christmas gift ideas this year? You aren’t alone. It seems that many are at a loss when it comes to the holidays. If you’re looking for something different, you might consider gifts that are a little harder to wrap.

Studies show that people are more likely to make memories with experience gifts than with merchandise from the store. Today we have some ideas that will take the focus away from buying and place it on sharing and on experiences that will create those warm memories.

Subscriptions – Give them a subscription to a magazine you think they would love or to a meal delivery service to save them time on cooking for a month. Are they into genealogy? An Ancestry.com membership might be a good choice. If they travel a lot, an auto club membership like AAA could be helpful.

Services – Some people simply don’t need or want anything but would very much appreciate help with needed services. Car washes, yard or housekeeping services and oil changes are all things most people need and gift cards are available from local service providers. Want something more personal? How about a gift certificate for a session with a local photographer?

Experiences – Want something more fun? How about a gift card for horseback riding, pottery glazing, an escape room or spa day? How about passes for national parks, miniature golf, an art gallery, the arboretum or the zoo?

Learning – Is your loved one an aspiring musician, artist, writer, chef, athlete or yogi? How about some kind of lessons or online learning? Our communities are filled with people who give swim, tennis, piano and guitar lessons. Many websites offer learning opportunities where they can go at their own pace while learning a fun new skill.

Themed gift baskets – Yes, this is a thing but you can give useful things that will be consumed or that can be used again and again. The baker in your life might appreciate a fancy new baking dish and the supplies to make some gourmet brownies. A gardener could find hours of solace in a pair of quality pruning shears, some gloves and seeds from their favorite catalogue.  Buying for a family? Give them a game night gift basket with a board game, snacks and gift card for pizza from the neighborhood pizza joint!

Do Chores – Often times an older person has an abundance of things but a real need for help with projects around the house. If you’re handy, you might be able to save them a lot of hassle by fixing a leaky faucet and winterizing their windows. Be sure to take lunch and plan to spend some time with them when you’re done!

Time – Speaking of time, plan a fun day doing what they enjoy like hiking, going to a museum or even cooking together. We heard a fantastic story about a grandmother who gifts her grandkids an experience every month. The kids receive twelve envelopes, each one containing a clue about what they will do or even the passes or cash to pay for it. Grandma and grandkids have fun together and mom and dad get some free hours once a month. This idea would work for all ages if you want to squeeze in more time with a loved one!

DIY Kits – If they’re crafty, consider giving them DIY kits for things they can use like lotion, candles, soap or ice cream. This will give them something to do, something to consume and maybe even spark a new hobby!

Gift cards – If you’re really stumped or in a rush for time, consider a gift card for something they really love like their favorite coffee shop, clothing store or photo printing service for all those pictures on their phone!

Now it’s your turn! Tell us the best experience gift you’ve given or received!

Reward Yourself With Rewards Checking This Holiday Season

What’s on your holiday list and how much money will you spend? A VCNB Rewards Checking Account would reward you for all those purchases!

Tis the season of holiday spending and many savvy VCNB customers are ready to reward themselves while giving to others this holiday.

Think about how much money you spend during the holidays.

Maybe you’re buying gifts and stocking stuffers. Maybe you’re sending Christmas cards and need stamps and cards or family photos to share with loved ones. Do you cook special foods for holiday celebrations? Perhaps you leave a gift card for your mail carrier or use the holiday sales as an excuse to spiff up your wardrobe or update some things around the house.

Whatever your spending patterns this time of year, most Americans are spending money and a lot of it.

But our VCNB customers who use our Rewards Checking Account will tell you that they can pay for their purchases from their checking account while accumulating uChoose Rewards® points that can benefit them later.

It’s simple, really.

When you use your Rewards Checking account debit card, you will earn one point for every $3 spent. Use your card 21 or more times per cycle and receive an extra 200 points. You can also accumulate points for using Online Bill Pay, Direct Deposit and Automatic Loan Payments. We will even give you 1,000 points when you open the account and 500 points on your anniversary.

Sign into the uChoose Rewards website to find special offers for online purchases and for in-store purchases with offers you can activate.  

The website is also where you manage and redeem your rewards points. Here you’ll find it easy to request cashback or to order gift cards, arrange travel or shop for merchandise.

There are many benefits to using this account but also some important details to remember. First, there is a $7 monthly fee that is waived if you do one of two things – either make 15 or more debit card purchases per statement cycle or maintain a combined relationship of $5,000 or more with VCNB. That would include your personal checking, savings and CD balances.

Most customers find that they are easily using their card fifteen times per month.

Also, you must register your debit card on the uChoose website to begin earning rewards points. Purchases made prior to registering your card cannot be retroactively awarded points so be sure to get that done before you begin spending.

What are you waiting for? You can open this account online or visit any of our branches to have one of our Personal Bankers open it for you. Click here to get started!  

Already have Rewards Checking? We would love to hear how you use your Rewards! Comment below and tell us!

Get Smart About Credit

Are you smart about credit? Read on for a simple explanation of credit scores and how to improve yours!

The American Bankers Association sponsors Get Smart About Credit Day every October to help consumers understand the role that credit plays in their life and how to smartly build good credit. Many people don’t realize that their credit score impacts their ability to rent an apartment, buy affordable car insurance and even find employment. Here’s a refresher on credit!

What is a credit score?
A credit score is a number that represents a person’s creditworthiness. The higher the score, the better a consumer looks to potential lenders.

Why is it important?
Your credit score and credit history affect a number of practical areas of your life. Credit worthiness determines what loans you qualify for and the interest rate you pay. Typically, the higher your credit score, the better your interest rate. It can also impact your ability to rent a home, qualify for a credit card, buy a car, get good car insurance rates or even get certain kinds of jobs. In other words, a good credit score can save you money and even improve your life!

What Factors Affect Your Credit Score?
– Payment history, including the number and severity of late payments.
– Your Credit utilization rate which is the amount of revolving credit you are using divided by
the total amount of revolving credit you have available. A lower credit utilization rate shows
you are using less credit than is available to you.
– Type, number and age of credit accounts.
– Total amount of debt.
– Bankruptcy.
– How many credit accounts you’ve recently opened.
– Number of inquiries for your credit report.

What is a good credit score?
Excellent              800-850
Very Good            740-799
Good                    670-739
Fair                       580-669
Very Poor            300-579

How is my credit reported?
Your credit is reported to three major credit reporting agencies: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Any time you apply for a credit card or loan, apply for each insurance, pay a bill late or on time, or pay off a line of credit, this information is reported to become part of your credit report. Visit a reputable site like http://www.annualreport.com to obtain your free annual credit report. Review your report for accuracy by making sure that you are familiar with every account listed and that the information is correct.

How do I improve my credit score if I have already made mistakes?
– Pay your bills on time.
– If you have missed payments, get current and stay current.
– Avoid being sent to collections because a collection account will stay on your credit report
for seven years.
– Keep balances low on credit cards.
– Make a budget and a plan to pay off your debt.

Having good credit is important but building good credit doesn’t have to be hard for the average person. Simply show that you can handle your debts responsibly and your score will naturally grow.

Banks NEVER Ask That

Can You Spot a Phishing Scam? Every day, thousands of people fall victim to fraudulent emails, texts and calls from scammers pretending to be their bank. And in this time of expanded use of online banking, the problem is only growing worse. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission’s report on fraud estimates that American consumers lost a staggering $1.9 billion to these phishing schemes and other fraud in 2019 — and the ongoing pandemic has only increased the threat. Imagine where we are in 2020.

It’s time to put scammers in their place.

Online scams aren’t so scary when you know what to look for. At Vinton County National Bank, we’re committed to helping you spot them as an extra layer of protection for your account. We’ve joined with the American Bankers Association and banks across the country in a nationwide effort to fight phishing—one scam at a time. We want every bank customer to become a pro at spotting a phishing scam—and stop bank impostors in their tracks. It starts with these four words: Banks Never Ask That. Because when you know what sounds suspicious, you’ll be less likely to be fooled. These top three phishing scams are full of red flags:

Text Message: If you receive a text message from someone claiming to be your bank asking you to sign in, or offer up your personal information, it’s a scam. Banks never ask that.

Email: Watch out for emails that ask you to click a suspicious link or provide personal information. The sender may claim to be someone from you bank, but it’s a scam. Banks never ask that.

Phone Call: Would your bank ever call you to verify your account number. No! Banks never ask that. If you’re ever in doubt that the caller is legitimate, just hang up and call the bank directly at a number you trust.

You’ve probably seen some of these scams before. But that doesn’t stop a scammer from trying. For more tips on how to keep phishing criminals at bay, including videos, an interactive quiz and more, visit http://www.BanksNeverAskThat.com. And be sure to share the webpage with your friends and family.

What’s Your Scam Score? Take five minutes to become a scamspotter pro by taking the #BanksNeverAskThat quiz at BanksNeverAskThat.com. Share your score on Twitter to encourage your friends and family to test their scam savviness, too. The more scamspotters out there, the harder it is for phishing criminals to catch their next victim!

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, which means there’s no better time than now to boost your scamspotting knowledge. Take the five-minute quiz and become a scamspotter pro! Share your scam score on Twitter for a chance to win weekly prizes, courtesy of the American Bankers Association. Each Friday in October the ABA will draw fifteen winners. One lucky grand-prize winner will receive $1,000—will it be you?