IBEW AND UNITED WORKERS FEDERAL CREDIT UNION
KEEPING CURRENT – SEPTEMBER 2021
USING PLASTIC CARDS EFFECTIVELY AND SAFELY
BY: BARBARA MATHEY
Most of us have a number of plastic cards in our possession and we seldom think about how they work and how we should use them. In fact, we usually “take them for granted” until we have a problem using one of them. Recently, the Credit Union made changes in our plastic card network and the cards themselves. We made these changes to improve and expand our service and enhance the security features. That change has identified the opportunity we have to provide a little education and recommendations on the effective use and protection of these credit and debit cards. Cards offer a convenience that we all need and have become accustomed to. The features and use are different between ATM, debit, and credit cards.
The basic difference between the types of cards is the way you will pay for your transactions. Debit cards facilitate ‘’real time” transactions meaning that when you use the card as a payment method, you will need to actually have the funds on deposit and available in the account connected to the card. Credit cards are a form of open-ended loans that allow spending that can be paid for over time. It is important to know your credit limit on the VISA card because it will control your card spending. ATM cards only facilitate cash and perhaps check deposit transactions at Automated Teller Machines. The Credit Union discontinued the use of ATM cards earlier this year and reissued a debit card to all ATM card holders. We made this change to enhance service to members by allowing point of sale transactions as well as ATM withdrawals. Please destroy any ATM cards you may have and be sure to activate the debit card you received or contact the Credit Union if you have not received a replacement debit card.
The following paragraphs will give greater details about the cards that the Credit Union offers, namely VISA and Debit.
Debit Cards will be attached to specific accounts at the time they are opened and in the case of IBEW members with vacation accounts, the cards will be attached to both the regular savings and the vacation accounts with the regular savings as primary. The accounts to be used to cover debit card transactions can be changed by an account holder calling the Credit Union and requesting a change. We recommend that everyone manages their cards with our Credit Union App. The App will allow you to review card transactions, and to block and reinstate activity should that become necessary. The App will also allow members to transfer funds from one account to another to cover a planned transaction. Based on your qualifications and the balances in your account(s), there will be a daily limit set on your debit card activity unless you call and qualify for a temporary limit increase. If you need to know your spending limit, you can call the Credit Union. Large, out of ordinary transactions can often attract system attention and fraud alerts. Should you receive a fraud alert, please do not ignore it, read, and respond to it or, if needed, follow instructions to call. These alerts are designed to protect your account and to keep you informed of card activity.
VISA Credit Cards are attached directly to your VISA loan and credit limit. When transactions are made using a VISA card, the amount of the transaction is added to the current loan balance if the limit allows the amount of the charge. We encourage everyone to know your credit limit and to keep informed of your current balance to avoid any blocked transactions. Depending on a member’s qualifications, a temporary or permanent increase in the VISA limit could be granted. Remember, your VISA payment amount is variable depending on the loan balance, so reviewing that balance before making your monthly payment is important to avoid any delinquency.
Finally, both Debit and VISA cards that are now issued are Chip cards, as identified by a small square on the middle, left-hand side of the card. We went to this technology a few years ago because of the added security it provides if the chip is “read” during the transaction. We remind everyone to use the chip reader slot to complete the transaction. Do not slide a chip card, insert it to protect the integrity of your card and avoid unauthorized reproduction of your cards.
As convenience continues to be of great concern to us all, the Credit Union will be looking to find ways to provide additional service in a simplified way. Please contact us with any questions or suggestions you may have regarding our plastic card solutions.
You asked, we listened! You can now choose your debit card PIN by calling 1-800-290-7893
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Our offices will be closed on November 11th 2021 in observance of Veterans Day and November 24th and 25th for Thanksgiving.