EMV Debit Cards Are Coming to a Wallet Near You

If you have a PCCU Visa Debit Card that's attached to your Ultimate Checking account, it's about to get an upgrade! Late this month we'll replace all outstanding and active PCCU Visa Debit Cards with EMV Chip Cards. These new cards will hit your wallet just in time for extra protection while you're doing your holiday shopping!

The new EMV Chip Cards contain a smart computer chip that stores and protects your card data, and then authenticates your card number at the point of sale. These chips have dynamic values encoded into them, rather than the static values coded onto magnetic strips, which makes it much more difficult for fraudsters to cature and duplicate a fraudulent card from the information on the chip. This method of chip technology has been tried and tested abroad for many years, as early as 1992 in Europe, as well as here in the United States in the last year. Because they use a greater level of security than the older magnetic stripes, the chip enabled cards help reduce fraud for in-person transactions.

At this time not every merchant has chip-enabled card readers, and not every merchant who has the readers has turned them on yet. To allow you to use your card anywhere Visa is accepted, regardless of the merchant's equipment, the new cards will still have a magnetic stripe on them to allow them to be swiped the way you're used to using it. But if a merchant either doesn't have a new chip card reader, or hasn't turned it on yet, the burden of fraud will fall to the merchant. All of this will help make your account specifically more secure, as well as save the entire PCCU membership money on fraudulent card losses. Losses that could equate to lower interest rates on deposits, higher rates on loans, or even new or increased fees.

If a merchant does have the proper equipment, and has it enabled, it will be different from the swiping method you're used to using. Instead of swiping your card you will insert it into the front of the card reader with the chip facing up. The card will need to remain in the reader for about 10 to 15 seconds, while the reader communicates with and authenticates your account information by "speaking" to the chip. The screen on the card reader should prompt you with instructions while the transaction is in progress. Eventually the card reader will tell you that you may remove the card. If a signature is required, you can sign it and finish up. The time it takes for the reader to "talk" to the chip is going to take longer than swiping the card, but it's far better than dealing with the effects of a fraudulent card.

The new cards should start showing up in mailboxes in late October. Within several days of receiving the card you will also receive a new PIN in a separate mailing. With the PIN you may then activate it at an ATM, and you may also change the PIN to something easier to remember. If you don't receive a card by November 25th, please call or come in and see us. If we have an old or incorrect address for you, your card was probably returned to us and we can either connect you with it directly or order a new one with your correct address.

The new cards will also have new card numbers. This gives you extra protection for the holidays, but will require you to update the card number with any creditors or vendors whom you've set up re-occurring payments or purchases with. We apologize for the inconvenience, we aren't looking to make any extra work for you, but we want you to have a safe shopping experience this holiday season. The new numbers will prevent scammers from using any card numbers that they may previously have captured in a breach. Santa's job is tough enough without adding fraud or compromised cards to the list!

You Served Us, Let Us Serve You 

Veteran's Administration (VA) Loans have been around since President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed them into law in 1944. They are just one of the many ways that a grateful nation says thank you to the men and women of the Armed Forces who put themselves in harm's way for us. PCCU is proud to assist local veterans buying homes.

If you are a veteran eligible for the VA Loan benefit, or know someone who is, there are a number of reasons why you may wish to consider a VA Loan. First, there is no down payment required. A VA Loan will allow you to finance up to 100% of the purchase price of the home. You may still need to come up with money for the closing costs, but that can also come from a combination of concessions from the seller, gifts from relatives or an employer, or even your own savings. This makes it easier for a veteran to purchase a home without having to save up the three to five percent most other loan programs require for a down payment.

Another benefit is the lack of Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). Most other loans require you to pay PMI or it's government underwritten equivalent as a portion of your monthly payment. PMI protects the lender and helps them recover some of their losses if you default on a loan. With a VA Loan the government picks up that cost, without any extra payment required by the veteran. PMI can typically cost from 0.5% to 1% of the loan amount on an annual basis, so on a $100,000 loan it would be about $1,000 a year, or about $83.33 a month added to your payment. Instead, a VA Loan allows you the freedom to put that extra cash where you need it, including paying extra on your mortgage!

The third benefit of a VA Loan is the flexibility of credit requirements. Credit scores of 620 and above are generally allowed. Other credit requirements tend to be more forgiving as the use the government's backing to make up for what might otherwise sink the loan. The main object is to honor the nation's promise to it's citizen-soldiers and insure that they have access to home financing.

If you've got questions about VA Loans and if one may be right for you, call Amy Clark, our Home Loan Specialist at 800-582-7228, ext. 255. To see if you qualify for the VA Loan Benefit, visit the Veterans Administration web site.


Skip-A-Pay for the Holidays


With the holidays just around the corner many people are looking at their budgets and figuring out how much they have to spend. If you need to stretch your budget and you have an auto or personal loan with PCCU you may want to consider skipping a payment.

If you qualify for the Skip-A-Pay program, you can sign a form, pay a $25 fee, and then you can skip one month's payment on your loan. Your loan must be up to date, you may not use the program more than six times per loan (no more than 2 skipped payments are allowed in any 12 month period), and the interest rate on the loan may not exceed 18%.

If you qualify you can fill out a form in a branch, or online through PCCU All Ways - Online Banking (under the "Services" tab) and be able to pay the $25 fee at the time of application. If you have questions about whether you qualify, call or email your loan officer, and they can walk you through it.



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