March 2015

Inside this issue:

 

 Keep the Date in Mind

Our Barneveld office will be hosting a Shred Event on Saturday, June 27.  You'll be able to bring up to three boxes of paper products for shredding at no cost to you.  More information will be forthcoming in upcoming newsletters.

 We're Adding Simply Green Checking

With the introduction of Person to Person (P2P) payments and Account to Account (A2A) transfers for our mobile banking users, we asked one of our millennials to design a paperless account for his generation.  Here's what he came up with:

  • No minimum balance requirement
  • MasterCard debit card with no annual fee or per item fee*
  • Unlimited ATM transactions at Peoples Community or Money Pass ATMs nationwide with no fee
  • Surcharge-free ATM access at over 24,000 locations nationwide
  • Online banking with no fee
  • Online bill pay with no fee
  • Online statements
  • An online financial tool to track budgets and spending
  • Mobile and text banking
  • Mobile check deposit
  • Up to three P2P payments monthly with no fee
  • Unlimited A2A transfers into your Peoples Community account with no fee

And the monthly fee?  There is no fee if you sign up for direct deposit of payroll or are a student under the age of 22.  That's about as Simple as we can make it.

*Subject to credit approval

EMV, the Card with Computer Chip Technology

 What are these EMV chips I keep hearing about?
The shift to EMV, Europay, MasterCard®, and Visa® chip technology, is becoming the global standard for credit and debit card payments.  This smart chip technology features payment with an embedded microprocessor chip that stores and protects cardholder data.  This payment technology was first used in France in 1992, and today there are more than 1 billion chip cards used around the world.  The United States is one of the few industrialized nations that have not fully transitioned to this technology standard.

What is chip technology?
Chip technology is the most recent advancement in our payment system that will combat fraud, protect sensitive payment data and enable the use of future value-added applications.  Chip cards are standard bank cards with a small, metallic square on the front of the card, which is a micro-computer chip.

How do I use an EMV card to make a purchase?
Instead of swiping your card at a point of sale terminal, a process called "card dipping" will be used which involves inserting your card into a terminal and waiting for it to process.  When this happens, data is pulled from the card chip to the issuing financial institution who then verifies the card's legitimacy and creates a unique one-time authorization.  This process may take slightly longer than today's magnetic swipe process.  You may also see contactless devices which will only require you to pass your card near a card reader.

What makes EMV different than the traditional magnetic stripe card payment?
A cardholder's confidential data is more secure on a chip-enabled card as data from a traditional magnetic stripe can be easily copied or "skimmed" with a simple and inexpensive card reading device thus enabling criminals to produce counterfeit cards.

Why should we invest in chip card acceptance now?
Preventing the growth of fraudulent activity is one of the main reasons the banking industry is moving toward EMV technology.  Chip cards make it difficult for fraudsters to target cardholders and businesses alike.  Those who steal EMV chip information from a merchant in the future are only acquiring the equivalent of expired passwords that have no transactional value.

If fraud occurs after EMV cards are issued, who will be liable for the costs?
Currently, if an in-store transaction is conducted using a fraudulent card, consumer losses are taken on by the card issuer or financial institution - depending on the card's terms and conditions.  After October 1, 2015, the major U.S. credit card issues, MasterCard, Visa, Discover, and American Express, will shift the liability to whoever is the least EMV-compliant in the transaction.  For example, if a financial institution issues an EMV card to a consumer and the consumer uses the card at a merchant not set up for the EMV system, the losses will be borne by the merchant rather than the financial institution.

Experts predict that only 50% of banks and retailers will be completely transitioned by October 1st and approximately 70% will be transitioned by the end of the year.  The Peoples Community Bank will be issuing new debit cards with EMV chips in late spring to early summer and will be notifying you of the new cards prior to your receiving them.

5 Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Bank Account

March 20 marks the first day of spring, the time of year to clean up your clutter and embrace a fresh start.  One overlooked spring clean-up category in your life is your bank account - and tidying up your finances could help you get on the right track and find money you never knew you had.  We've gathered up a few spring cleaning ideas specifically tailored to rejuvenating your banking.

1.  Dust Off Service Contracts
When signing up for long-term services like cellular phone service and auto insurance, it can be easy to forget that the services you once needed might not necessarily be what you need now.  Take the time to reevaluate your current plans and compare to your needs.

2. Review Errors on Statements
Leaving a paper trail is so '90s, but the ease of online banking and automatic bill pay have made it all too easy to ignore account statements.  Stop to verify whether charges on a statement are correct.

3.  Consolidate Credit Card Debt
Trying to keep track of multiple credit cards is a balancing act that is difficult to master.  Don't risk missing a payment and incurring a late fee.  Instead, consolidate credit card debt into a single account that offers low credit card rates, without transfer balance fees.

4. Seek Out Lower Loan Interest Rates
Reviewing your current loan agreement to assess your loan rate compared to other loan rate offers you've received can help you keep extra funds in your checking account this season.  Perform some serious spring cleaning by refinancing your home loan or auto loan to save thousands in interest charges.

5.  Have a Savings Account Save for You
Another simple way to clean up your finances is to combine multiple savings accounts into one high-yield savings fund.  This way, you actually see your savings account balance increase significantly, which helps motivate you to continue aspiring toward your financial goals.

While these recommendations are just a few ways to take on the financial spring cleaning challenge this month, completing one or all of these spring cleaning ideas will help you realize how much money you've been missing.