April 2016

Inside this issue:

Sending Money, Easy as 1, 2, 3...

Sending and receiving money just got easier! The new Person to Person transfer feature in The Peoples Community Bank mobile app makes it easier than ever to send money, which is especially convenient when fewer and fewer people are carrying cash.

How to:

  1. Simply enter the phone number or email address of the person you wish to send money to.
  2. Enter the amount you would like to send and which account you want us to pull it from.
  3. Confirm the information is correct and send.

It's as simple as that!

Telephone Banking, Fraud and You

On March 22nd we transitioned our existing telephone banking system to a new system with enhanced security features. What this means is that you will retain the same convenient features of the old system, including 24/7 access, but gain heightened security and a more intuitive user interface.

What's New?

  • Added Security: The new system utilizes multi-layered authentication log-in security.
  • Real-Time Memo Post: Unlike the old system, all transfers and account information are in real-time and reflect current balances.

According to a recent industry report, over 1/3 of all fraud involves a telephone component. Encryption and improved online and mobile security practices are making it harder for cybercriminals to access private accounts. Therefore these same people are shifting their efforts to call centers where eager-to-please agents are working to assist customers. To protect customers from these types of attempts we will be converting those balance inquiry calls we now receive through our Call Center to the new Telephone Banking system.

To ensure your smooth conversion to the new system, any member of our Call Center is available to walk you through the registration process.

Biometric Scanning: Iris & Fingerprint vs. Username & Password

You may be asking yourself, "What is biometric scanning?" Biometric scanning in this case refers to using your biological measurements via your fingerprint or eyeprint (iris) for authentication purposes. These physical features are unique to you, making them ideal for identification. Now with your mobile device and Peoples Community Bank app you are able to take a scan of your iris using your front-facing camera or a scan of your fingerprint (iPhone only) to gain access to your account information.

Not only are biometrics more secure, but they're also more convenient. No need to remember one of your many passwords any longer. Simply scan your fingerprint or your iris and you're in. Quick, easy and secure!

6 Ways to Reduce Debt Faster

  1. Create a budget.
  2. Organize your debt to determine what is making the biggest impact on your budget.
  3. Write down who you owe money to, the amount owed and the interest rate for all debts.
  4. Make the minimum payment owed on all debts each month and the most you can afford on the debt with the highest rate.
  5. Look closely at your budget and cut back where you can to pay more down on debt.
  6. When you can, consolidate multiple debts into a single loan with a lower interest rate.

4 Essential Tasks for Financial Spring Cleaning

The weather seems to finally be warming up, which means it's time for spring cleaning! In addition to airing out the house and cleaning out the basement or garage, be sure to give your personal finances a spring cleaning, too. Here are four essential tasks to add to your spring cleaning to-do list:

Sort Paperwork

Go through all of the paper files and receipts you've saved over the past year and place everything into either the "File/Save" or "Toss/Shred" pile.  This helps protect you against identity theft as well as clutter. If possible, switch to e-statements to reduce the amount of paper lying around. Save pdf files or copies of the e-statements until they have been paid, then archive or delete them.

Cash Rewards

When you were sorting your paperwork, take note of any unused credit card points, airline frequent flyer miles, store credits, loyalty club memberships, etc. Schedule when you'll need to use these benefits before you lose them. If you're currently paying a fee to participate in these programs (such as an annual fee for a credit card) do the math to figure out if the reward outweighs the fee. If it doesn't, consider dropping the program and opting for a fee free option.

Reassess Savings

Once you've organized all your paperwork, take stock of your monthly budget. How much are you saving each month? What are you saving for? Spring (tax season) is a good time to annually reassess where your money is going and determine if you're on track to meet your financial goals. If you're putting money into a college fund, for example, there might be a tax-deductible account you should be using instead of that CD. Wisconsin offers two 529 college savings plans: Edvest and Tomorrow's Scholar. Talk to one of our investment reps about which program is the best fit for your family.

Update Beneficiaries

Look back at insurance and retirement account policies to make sure the beneficiaries are current. If your marital status recently changed or you experienced the loss of a spouse or child it is especially important to update your beneficiary information. Make sure the money will go where you want it to go if it gets distributed today, not where you wanted it to go when you first signed the policy.

No matter what areas of your personal finances need a little dusting off, taking a little extra time this spring to work on your financial issues will make budgeting throughout the rest of the year much easier.

How Can I Keep My Information Safe Online?

There's no question that the Internet makes life easier in many ways. Shopping, communicating and storing information are just a few of the ways we all use the web. However, it also comes with risks. To help keep your financial information safe online, follow these tips:

Use a Secure Connection and Strong Passwords

If you frequently shop online, keep in mind that any purchases made via the web require transmitting your credit card and/or bank account information over the Internet. Hackers can tap into unsecured Wi-Fi connections at hotspots like coffee shops and airport terminals to capture that information. If you're using a wireless connection to shop, be sure that it requires a password or WEP key. Websites that have additional security protections have https:// instead of http:// on all pages of the site. Using strong passwords on all of your online accounts is also an essential protection. Do not use your name, birthday or pet's name, as this information is readily available to many people, especially if you post it on social media.

Monitor Your Credit Report

Your credit score affects many aspects of your life, including interest rates on large purchases, obtaining loans, and even renting an apartment. Make sure you check your credit report three times per year (one for each of the three major credit reporting agencies: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax). You can do so for free by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com. Watch for unauthorized accounts, loans or purchases because they will damage your credit and signal that your identity may have been stolen. If you find inaccuracies in your report, you can dispute those errors online, by mail or over the phone by contacting the credit bureau where you found the inaccurate report (contact information will be on the report itself).

Take Action

If you hear about a data breach or other fraud that might possibly affect your account, be proactive and change any related passwords. This is especially critical if you use the same password on multiple accounts (which you should try to avoid doing). If you notice suspicious charges on your credit card or transfers from your bank account, contact us right away to notify us of the issue. We can put a freeze on the account to prevent further fraud.