March 2013

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In This Issue:

Credit Card Surcharges and What They Mean For You

Have you heard about the new surcharge fees to credit card purchases? As a result of a settlement between retailers and card companies, effective January 27, 2013, stores and online merchants in 40 states can add up to a 4 percent surcharge to purchases made with a VISA or MasterCard credit card.

So what do you need to know about this new fee, and how can you avoid paying it?

  • The fee cannot exceed 4 percent of the total purchase. The surcharge is meant tooffset the cost to the retailer of processing the credit card transaction, which is typically between 1.5 and 3 percent of the total transaction. The settlement, however, allows the merchant to pass up to 4 percent of the total cost of the transaction on to the consumer as a credit card fee. That means if you purchase a $400 HDTV, the credit card fee could add up to $16 to the bill.
  • Retailers must inform you of the fee. Any merchant who chooses to impose this fee on consumers is legally obligated to post a notice in the store (such as near the entrance or by the checkout counter) or on the receipt that the fee will be applied. However, the exact percentage used to determine the fee does not need to be disclosed until the point of purchase. Consumers who do not wish to pay the added fee should watch for this notification and use a debit card or alternate form of payment to avoid the fee.
  • There are several ways to avoid paying the fee. The easiest way to avoid this fee is simply to avoid using credit cards at stores and websites that choose to impose the fee. Debit cards, personal checks, and cash are all fee-free payment options. VISA and MasterCard are also the only credit cards currently eligible for the fee. 

Going forward, this new fee may affect your budgeting and purchase decisions, particularly if you're planning to make a large purchase from a retailer that applies this new surcharge to your credit card. Please be aware of this new fee so that you avoid being surprised at the check-out.

Mobile Check Deposit for iPhone, iPad and Android Devices

Coming soon, we will be introducing our new Mobile Check Deposit service, which allows you to deposit checks quickly and securely from your iPhone, iPad, or Android mobile devices.

Just tap the app and snap a photo of the front and back of your endorsed check. Using our mobile banking app, which you can download free from the App Store.  Click here for FAQs regarding Mobile Banking Apps

It's fast, secure and, best of all-it's free.*

  • Anytime, Anywhere - Deposit checks 24/7 wherever you and your smartphone go.
  • Secure - Rest assured that it's as secure as our online banking service.
  • Easy - Make a deposit with just a few taps and camera clicks.
  • Quick - Save a trip to the bank or ATM and avoid the delay of mailing checks.

To register and be approved for mobile deposit, simply make your request through your Online Banking page.  We will keep you posted as we prepare to release this new mobile service.

*Data transfer fees may apply from your mobile carrier.

Join Us on Facebook and We'll Donate $5 to Your Local Food Pantry

Like us on Facebook today:

  • Add Value to Your News Feed - Get access to our giveaways, read important news, get timely fi nancial advice, and stay on top of events. Plus, we're giving away great prizes in 2013, including gift cards and more.
  • $5 Donation to Local Food Pantry on Your Behalf - If you join us on Facebook, we will donate $5 to your local food pantry on your behalf.
  • Chance to Win $50 Gift Card - Like us on Facebook, and you will be entered into our drawing for a $50 gift card at the end of the quarter (March 31, 2013).

THANKS TO YOUR SUPPORT, we've raised more than $500 for local food pantries!

About the Local Food Pantries
There are food pantries in Arena, Barneveld, Mazomanie, and Spring Green; and in several other communities within Iowa, Dane, and Sauk Counties. All of the pantries are free, and all disburse supplies to anyone in the community having need. Use of the pantry is confidential.

3 Tips for Beefing Up Your Password Security

With the number of data breaches on the rise, it's more important than ever to protect important information with the strongest passwords possible.  If you've used the same predictable formula to come up with all your passwords, such as a pet's name or your birthday, you're putting yourself at risk.

Here are three simple tips for beefing up password security at your home and workplace:

(1)  Make passwords complicated. The trick is to come up with something that's not easy to guess based on other information, such as your name, date of birth or phone number. Thus, consider creating passwords that:

  • Use upper and lower case letters
  • Contain numbers as well as letters
  • Are at least 10 characters long

(2)  Mix it up. Since passwords are needed to access all types of applications and devices, you might be tempted to simplify things by using the same password for all of them. Don't do it. Instead, use different passwords across platforms to decrease the likelihood that hackers will get more of your information.

(3)  Stay organized. Remembering complicated passwords for every application you use personally and for business can be a lot to commit to memory. One trick is to pick long words you like and won't forget, remove the vowels and replace them with numbers you'll remember. Or you could develop a system for creating multiple passwords using the same formula for each.

Congratulations E-Alert Gift Card Winners!

We want to thank those of you who subscribe to our e-mail news, fraud alerts, and announcements. Congratulations to our 10 most recent winners of a $50 VISA gift card (as of February 1, 2013):

  • Amy F. - Mazomanie
  • Bradley K. - Plain
  • Dennis O. - Mazomanie
  • Donald L. - Mazomanie
  • Georgene H. - Spring Green
  • Joan M. - Mazomanie
  • Judith M. - Spring Green
  • Megan S. - Barneveld
  • Shannan A. - Spring Green
  • Tanya D. - Arena

To be eligible for future drawings, simply subscribe to our free e-alerts program, and read more than 50% of our emails sent during that quarter.  Click here for more information.

Mobile Banking App Helps Minimize Security Risk

Studies show that mobile browsers are more susceptible than traditional web browsers to threats like phishing, website spoofing, and man-in-the-middle attacks than the mobile app. With two out of every three mobile purchasers also conducting mobile banking, the potential security risks are significant.

To minimize security risks, we recommend that you utilize apps for your mobile transactions, especially your personal and business banking transactions.

You can download our Mobile Banking App for free for your iPhone, iPad, or Android mobile devices.

Click here to download the mobile app today.


This newsletter does not constitute tax, legal, accounting or other professional advice. We attempt to be accurate, but neither we nor any other party shall be held liable for loss or damages resulting from reliance upon or use of this material. © 2013 The Peoples Community Bank.