Thinking Like a Woman Could Pay Off With Credit Cards

Women shop a lot: We make 85% of all consumer purchases, according to data from the research firms Yankelovich Monitor and Greenfield Online. All that shopping means we’re pulling out our credit cards often — and it turns out, perhaps thanks to all that practice, we really know what we’re doing.

On average, women carry about $100 less credit card debt than men do ($5,536 versus $5,635), are less likely to be 60 or more days overdue on their credit card card payments, and have slightly higher credit scores (675 versus 670), according to the credit bureau Experian. “Women seem to be doing a better job at managing their credit,” says Kelley Motley, director of analytics at Experian.

Men might want to take a page from women’s credit card playbook by adopting these four credit card habits.

  1. Don’t be scared to use credit cards responsibly

Women have 23.5% more open credit cards than men do, according to Experian. Despite that, women have lower average overall balances, which suggests they are opening more cards without maxing them out. In other words, they might be opening new ones to strategically score discounts or other benefits, but for the most part, they aren’t getting into trouble by running up massive balances with them. That means many women are reaping the rewards of credit cards — fraud protection, points, discounts — without winding up with crushing credit card debt.

“Rather than just using one card, they may be using different cards, with different rewards structures, to make certain purchases,” says Catey Hill, author of the forthcoming book “The 30-Minute Money Plan for Moms: How to Maximize Your Family Budget in Minimal Time.” “If you pay them off on time and in full each month, rewards cards, even multiple rewards cards, can be very lucrative.”

  1. Understand behaviors that can improve credit scores

Men were more likely than women to say they considered their credit score knowledge good or excellent — 61% vs. 54% — according to a recent survey by the Consumer Federation of America and VantageScore Solutions. But women were actually the ones who reported more accurate knowledge on many factors about how credit scores work. Women had a better understanding of how to raise a credit score and of the factors used in determining credit scores.

“Women might be slightly more conscientious than men about knowing and understanding their credit scores,” said Stephen Brobeck, executive director of CFA. And as for understanding the actions that can raise credit scores, including making on-time payments every month and maintaining a low credit utilization rate, “that’s the most critical information to have,” Brobeck said.

  1. Get your free credit reports regularly

The CFA survey also found that women are more likely than men to understand the importance of checking their credit reports regularly, something all consumers can do for free at annualcreditreport.com. The reports do not include credit scores, but rather the details of one’s credit history. This makes it possible to spot any errors and work to correct them.

According to the survey, women may also be more likely than men to follow through and obtain their credit report — 67% of women said they’d done so, versus 63% of men.

  1. Avoid delinquencies and maintain low, manageable balances

A late payment or delinquency can lower a credit score. Making regular monthly payments to keep all credit cards (and other accounts) in good standing is an important part of building a strong credit history.

“Women are typically the CEOs of their household and know how to stick to a monthly budget, manage day-to-day spending and pay bills on time,” says Kerry Hannon, personal finance expert and author of the forthcoming book “Money Confidence: Really Smart Financial Moves for Newly Single Women.” “When they sense they’re in debt or bumping up against a shortfall, they trim back their budget, slashing discretionary items like meals out or clothing purchases.”

That kind of fiscal conservatism helps prevent a buildup of credit card debt. Plus, keeping balances manageable can help improve your credit utilization ratio, which is a factor in your credit score.

After all, when it comes to your credit score, how you manage your money matters more than the size of your paycheck. While women typically bring home only about 80% of what men do, according to the American Association of University Women, they still come out on top when it comes to credit scores.

“It shows you don’t have to earn a ton to manage your money well, and that you can take control of your finances even on a smaller budget,” says Hill, the author.

In other words, shop like a woman and you might just end up with a better credit score.

This article was written by NerdWallet and was originally published by Forbes.

More about credit cards

Kimberly Palmer is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: kpalmer@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @KimberlyPalmer.

The article Thinking Like a Woman Could Pay Off With Credit Cards originally appeared on NerdWallet.

 

Card Valet Is Now Part Of VCNB Mobile!

Many of our customers have been using a mobile app called Card Valet to exercise control over their VCNB cards. The app is genuinely useful because it allows you, the customer, to turn your card off when you’re not using it, to set spending limits and to even determine where your card can be used.

In this age of fraudulent activity, this app has been a sensation among customers who use it.

So, many of you will be pleased to know that Card Valet services are now part of the bank’s mobile app, VCNB Mobile. No more will you need two separate apps – our app does all the work!

Here’s what that means to you:

Get started by logging in to VCNB Mobile. If you don’t currently use the app, read more about the app and how to get it by clicking here.

On the Accounts Page, find and select the Manage My Cards option at the bottom.

On the next page you can set rules for each card attached to your account. Each card is treated individually, making it easily customizeable.

One of the most popular features is the Block Card option. This allows you to temporarily block transactions except pending or recurring transactions. By blocking the card, you are essentially turning the card off. It takes just a few seconds to turn it back on so some customers turn their card on while they stand in line and turn it back off again when they’re done using it.

The Set Card Limits option is also useful. Here you can set it so that a single transaction cannot exceed an amount you choose. You can also block card transactions outside a defined geographic area or limit the merchants where your card can be used. There are several categories to choose from including restaurants, department stores, groceries, gas stations and entertainment. You may want to block all categories except gas stations and groceries. It’s up to you! Easily turn off and on categories at your convenience!

As always, you can use Online Banking to set Account Alerts for a number of reasons, including alerts to notify you when your card has been swiped or when a purchase as cleared.

This is just one of many ways VCNB is working to make banking easier and safer for you! Check out these new options in VCNB Mobile and tell us what you think!

 

Small Business Spotlight: Totem Supply Company

Small businesses are important to communities and running a small business is tough work. That’s why we feature a small business in one of our communities every month! 

inside store.jpg

Chillicothe is for Dreamers.  That’s the phrase printed on one of the most popular custom t-shirts at Totem Supply Co. Store owner Courtney Lewis is one of those dreamers.

After growing up in Chillicothe and graduating from Ohio University in Athens, Courtney Lewis decided she wanted to live in a big city.  She moved to Cleveland with a sense of adventure and excitement.  She found inspiration while living there for five years.  The majority of people she met were proud to be from Cleveland.  They held the city and its landmarks in high regard.  She began to miss her hometown and found that she had much pride in her hometown as well.  Realizing that small towns sometimes get a bad rap, she wanted to encourage the same pride in Chillicothe that she had witnessed in Cleveland.

After moving home in 2009 and while working in graphic design, she noticed there was no place to purchase Chillicothe memorabilia.  In 2012 Lewis started to sell custom t-shirts while working at her former career.  All shirts featured logos of former local businesses whose memory lives on in the community.

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In November 2013, with her t-shirt sales doing well, she decided to take a leap of faith and open Totem Supply Co.  Her vision of the nostalgia-based business was to highlight the small town and service the townspeople who enjoy being from the area.

Located in the historic district of downtown Chillicothe, Totem Supply Co is a retail store filled with merchandise created by local authors, designers, and artisans.  Memorabilia with references to Chillicothe are of the upmost popularity.  Everything from Chillicothe logoed coffee mugs to Ohio patterned pillows are arranged beautifully in clusters of like items making it easy to shop.  Some of the other items available include handmade deodorants, greeting cards, jewelry and sustainable toys for children.

T-shirt sales have flourished in the store and remain one of the top selling items.  Lewis often looks back into her childhood memories for which former business logos to use next but she’s also been contacted by families requesting her to make their families’ former businesses into shirts.

Printed on soft cotton tees, these shirts are comfortable to wear and tug at many people’s heartstrings.  Recently, Lewis was contacted by a customer who had purchased a Schachne’s t-shirt for her elderly mother.  Her mother had worked at this popular downtown clothing store in her earlier years.  The customer told Lewis that her mother lit up when she was given the shirt.  This gift sparked a lengthy conversation about her time working at Schachne’s and other stories from her youth.  “It’s so cool to spark memories,” Lewis says.  “There’s something so special for generations to share stories.”

Totem Supply Co. is open Tuesday-Friday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 pm. and Sunday noon to 4 p.m.  Visit them at 11 West 2nd Street in Chillicothe or follow them on Facebook.

 

 

Do We Have Your Contact Info?

Do we have your most up-to-date contact information on file? If we don’t, we hope you’ll take a few minutes to let us know that something has changed. Help us to better serve you by making sure we have your current mailing address, cell phone number and email address.

Here are three important reasons why:

  • If there’s ever a question or a problem with your account, it’s important we be able to reach you.
  • If we don’t have the correct mailing address or email address, your statements or other correspondence will just come back to us.
  • If we suspect fraudulent activity on your account, we will try to call you. If we don’t have the correct number, or if we just have your home number and you’re away from home, we won’t be able to reach you. This makes it imperative that we keep your mobile number on file.

If you have online banking, log-in to your online account and look for the Online Forms link at the top of the page. From the list of forms, select the Change of Address Form. This gives you the opportunity change your address, email address and phone number electronically.

You can also change your phone number or email address by calling our Customer Service Team at 1.800.542.5004 or by stopping by your local branch.

To change your mailing address, we do require a written request to make the change. This must be signed and dated by the account holder and can be submitted in-person or by mail, email or fax. This precaution is taken for your protection.

It’s a little extra effort for you but it means a lot to us to know we can reach you if necessary. Thanks for your cooperation!

Honoring a Pioneer: Gwen Egan

Earlier this year we told you about the first woman employed by Vinton County National Bank. Today we’re featuring the first female employee at Salt Creek Valley Bank, now known as Salt Creek Banking Center. Read on to learn more! 

When Gwendolyn Dent Egan began working at Salt Creek Valley Bank in 1937, the landscape of the banking industry was decidedly masculine. Few women worked in banks and there were no other women at the Laurelville bank.

Many things have changed in the industry and the country in general since Gwen was a young woman starting her first day at a job that would become her career for many years. She was not just Salt Creek’s first female employee, she was the first female bank officer as well.

Fresh from high school, Gwen enrolled at Capitol University to study business but found herself homesick and unhappy. “Mom said I had to stay but Dad said I could come home as long as I did something else,” Gwen recalled.

At the time, the bank employed just two men – Elmer Strauss and Joe White. “Dad knew Mr. Armstrong, the Bank President, so he went to see him. He asked Mr. Armstrong if he didn’t need a girl in that office,” she laughed. “Mr. Armstrong talked to the board and that’s how I got the job!”

That’s how Salt Creek Valley Bank hired their first female employee. “After that we had a lot of women employees. Most were very good but I was the only one for a while,” Gwen said.

Her first job was to run checks through a posting machine. “I remember that thing was a real antique, all the way back then!” she exclaimed. Another big part of her job was waiting on customers. “We had some very nice customers. You got to know everyone working at the bank.”

While modern banks are equipped with state-of-the-art technology, for the early part of her career, banking tools were basic. “Everything was recorded in a big ledger. After we balanced out for the day, I did the book work. There was a ledger I wrote it all in,” she explained. A typewriter, adding machine and pencil were the other tools of the trade used during her early career.

In 2016, at age 97, she claimed her memory was failing but she recalled the names and family trees of many coworkers and shared a host of stories about the town and the bank. “There were a lot of good times and there were some bad,” she said recalling friends of old, girlhood hours at the skating rink and the terrible flood of 1968 that threatened the town’s future.

She discussed how the flood waters reached countless homes in town and how everyone pitched in to help with clean up and recovery, saying that even inmates from the state penitentiary were sent to help clean up. “We got the town cleaned up and went back to work,” she said.

But Gwen has many positive memories as well. Since the bank closed on Thursdays, she recalls how she spent her Thursday afternoons. “When we closed on Thursdays, away I went to Columbus to shop at Lazarus. I just loved that Lazarus store in downtown. I know I spent too much money on clothes over the years but I loved them and my husband never complained,” she said with a chuckle. “The bank didn’t have a strict dress code but I always tried to look nice.”

By the time she retired, the banking industry had changed a great deal and the Salt Creek Valley Bank was changing with it. “When I first went to work, if someone came in and wanted to borrow a little money and you knew them, you would just write the note out. But it got to be you just couldn’t do that anymore. Times certainly changed,” she said.

One thing that never changes, according to Gwen, is the flow of customers who need their community bank. “I miss the people. I loved the people. I liked to talk to people and always tried to be real nice to everyone. After all, you have to be a friend to have a friend.”

Gwen retired in 1983, after 46 years of service to the bank and community. She still lives in the home she was born in and the one she shared with her late husband Howard Egan. “This is home. I hope to never leave,” Gwen said.

VCNB Employee Celebrates New Book Release

Chat with VCNB employee Nicole Scott and you can easily see that her life philosophy is summed up in the dedication of her new book. The dedication of “Replacing Angels: When The Smoke Clears” was written to her children: “May you always aim high, stand strong, dream big and live every day with purpose.”

Nicole Scott

VCNB employee Nicole Scott holds up her new book “Replacing Angels: When The Smoke Clears.” It is available for purchase on Amazon and twenty percent of the profits on each book sold in September 2017 will be donated to a VCNB coworker who recently suffered a house fire. 

Nicole has been with the VCNB Financial Family for almost nine years, working most of that time in the bank’s Operations Department. Hustling behind the scenes with a focus on IRA and HSA administration, Nicole has endeared herself to many coworkers with her professional expertise and true passion for life. What many people don’t know is that she is a talented writer devoted to telling a meaningful story.

Nicole said that she writes to inspire people. “This is a story about loss and love and how it’s possible to rebuild and move on even after we have faced the worst. Most of us, in our lives, have been in a place where we thought we couldn’t get up and keep going. I know I certainly have,” Nicole explained. “As corny as it sounds, I think love makes all things possible.”

The journey to publishing this book was a long one. She began writing in 2012, just a year after publishing “Intuition,” a novel aimed at a teenage female reader. “I started writing this one for a somewhat older female reader, hoping to create something that would make the reader feel something.”

She wrote about three fourths of the book before life got in the way of finishing it. The mother of three said that she left it for a period of years. During that time, Nicole’s family experienced a series of tragedies including an accident that left Nicole’s own well-being in the balance. With an uncertain prognosis and too much time to think, she contemplated all the things she hadn’t done with her life.

Finishing the book was on that bucket list.

While still healing from surgery, Nicole set to work finishing her book. “I had a much deeper grasp of loss and grief. I had a better sense of who I am and what I most wanted to communicate.”

Nicole's book coverIt was published in August, just one day before another member of the VCNB family lost his home to fire. Nicole saw the aftermath of the fire and has felt drawn to help this coworker who she holds in high regard.

That’s why, through the month of September, she has committed to donate twenty percent of the proceeds of every book she sells to this coworker who is recovering from his own loss. “It’s just a terrible thing to suffer through and I want to help in any small way that I can,” she said. “You spend so much time with your work family. I definitely think of the VCNB family as my own. That probably sounds silly to some people but I think that’s the way it should be. And the VCNB family has been good to me over the years. I want to do this for someone else.”

Nicole says she has a lot to be thankful for and is excited to soon begin a new role with the bank family. She is now training to be a Retail Banker and expects to shortly be working at our Friendly Bremen Banking Center in Bremen.

Find Nicole’s book “Replacing Angels: When The Smoke Clears” on Amazon.  

VCNB Mobile: Banking Made Easier

If you hang around our Facebook page very long, you will figure out that we are enamored with VCNB Mobile, our mobile banking application. With VCNB Mobile, you can access your account information with a password or even with your fingerprint, if your phone allows. There are tons of features that make this a quick and easy way to securely access your banking information.

As you might expect, you can transfer funds among accounts, check balances and pay bills but did you know about these other features?

Instant Balance
Just need to know your balances? Simply tap the icon at the top of your log in screen to securely view your balances!

Mobile Deposit
Use your mobile phone to deposit a check! Mobile Deposit uses your phone’s built in camera to take pictures of your check and submits the images electronically to make a deposit to your desired checking or savings accounts. When using Mobile Deposit, remember to endorse your checks “For Mobile Deposit Only” for them to be accepted.

CardValet
A relatively new feature in VCNB Mobile is something called CardValet. This feature allows you to easily safeguard your card information. CardValet allows you to deactivate your debit card when it’s not in use. Protect your debit card against fraud and theft by turning it on and off, limit international purchases and be selective about what merchants you allow or how much can be spent in a single purchase.

Want to try it out? Installing VCNB Mobile is a simple four step process! This mobile banking application requires a phone running an operating system that supports application downloads and may require a data services plan.

How To Install

  1. Visit your phone or tablet’s app store and download VCNB Mobile
  2. Enter your Access ID (online banking username)
  3. Answer your Online Banking security question (previously set)
  4. Enter your Online Banking password

There is no charge for VCNB Mobile or for Mobile Deposit. Learn more about VCNB Mobile and many of its features by watching a video here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Presidential Portrait: Steve Hunter

In honor of our 150th anniversary in 2017 we are taking a look back at bank history and the people who have helped to shape our bank into the successful, secure institution that it is today. Read on to learn about one of our former presidents!

steve hunter

Steve Hunter

Steve Hunter became acquainted with Vinton County National Bank when he began serving as the bank’s Community Service Officer in 1975. At the time, asset size was about $18 million. By the time he retired in 2012 it was approximately $700 million. He was part of an era of growth and expansion that helped to shape the bank into what it is today.

A native of West Jefferson, Ohio, Steve holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture and a Masters Degree in Regional Planning from Ohio University.

He served as Director of Research for the Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission prior to starting with the bank as Community Service Officer on September 1, 1975.

During his career with the bank, Steve served in a number of capacities that gave him a unique and broad understanding of how the company operates. He worked in lending, personnel, training and as the Marketing Director.

Steve was named Executive Vice President in 1984 and graduated from the ABA Stonier Graduate School of Banking in 1985. He was named to the Vinton County National Bank Board of Directors in 1987 before becoming Bank President on January 1, 1988. He served in that capacity until January 2000 when he became Chairman of the Vinton County National Bank Board.

He was CBI Vice Chairman when the Vinton County and Bremen Banks merged in 2009.

Steve has a vast knowledge of the bank’s history and can easily recite dates, stories, architectural tidbits and other information about the bank for a lot of its 150 year history. A walk through the McArthur office with Steve is like an architectural tour as he can easily recall stories from the bank’s history as they relate to the various expansion and remodeling projects.

He recalls a time in the early 1980’s when Bob Will Jr. told him to “go buy an Apple computer and make it do something.” He spearheaded the effort to bring personal computers into the bank, first using them to run monthly board reports and create spreadsheets while looking for other ways to incorporate the technology into the bank.

Steve went on to oversee numerous construction projects and to coordinate several acquisitions including those in Chillicothe, Laurelville, Logan and Richmond Dale.

One of his most significant contributions to the bank is the work he did to break into the Chillicothe market. This new, bigger market offered tremendous opportunity for growth that was close to the bank’s first home in McArthur. Today the offices in this market continue to thrive and market share is still growing.

Steve remains actively involved at the bank, serving as a Trustee for Community BancShares, Inc. His wife Trudy is retired from Vinton County Local Schools and they have one son, Marty, who is a Certified Public Accountant in New York City.

The couple reside in Chillicothe but enjoy traveling and spending winters in the South.

Learn more about VCNB Presidents! Click the links below to read about those we have profiled so far this year.

Daniel Will
Aaron Will
John L. Will
Robert B. Will, Sr.
J.G. Will
Robert B. Will Jr.
George Booth

How to Build Credit in (Exactly) 250 Words

What credit is: Your credit reports are records of how you have repaid debt in the past. Credit scores are three-digit numbers that estimate how likely you are to repay a lender or card issuer as agreed in the future. A “credit check” may look at either or both.

Why it matters: Good credit gives you a better shot at borrowing money at a favorable interest rate. It can also mean lower car insurance bills and lower or no utility deposits.

How to begin: Start using credit, which is easier said than done. See if you can get a credit card, perhaps a secured credit card to start. Becoming an authorized user on someone else’s card may help. Student loans, car loans and credit-builder loans also build credit history.

Do I have to go into debt? No. One of the best ways to build credit is using a credit card lightly and paying the balance in full every month.

Understand your score: Most credit scores are on a scale from 300 to 850. It’s smart to monitor your score; you can get a free credit score from some credit card issuers or personal finance websites, like NerdWallet.

Know what affects your score: The biggest things you can do to boost your credit are:

  • Pay bills on time, without exception
  • Use little of your credit limit (under 30%, and under 10% is better)

Other things help, too:

  • Have both credit cards and loans
  • Keep older accounts open
  • Limit applications for credit

Bev O’Shea is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: boshea@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @BeverlyOShea.

The article How to Build Credit in (Exactly) 250 Words originally appeared on NerdWallet.

 

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