Friday, August 18, 2006

Did you know?

I always hear how handy it would be to have a Lawyer, Mechanic, Plumber, Electrician, General Contractor, CPA or Doctor in the family. The assumption being that you would have quick and infinite access to their specialty of trade. Rarely on that list is a Relationship Manager! What about the depth of invaluable tidbits of consumer financial information I have to share with the world?!? So here we go - hopefully the first of many (or at least a few) . They may not all be gems, but at least they would be useful should you ever find yourself in a similar situation.

~Don't keep entering in a wrong PIN when at an ATM. Particularly if it's one of those that has just sucked in your card. A good rule of thumb is that you only have 3 tries at getting the PIN right. So if you aren't quite positive you are about to get it right on the third try, I'd suggest hitting "cancel" and take a breather (like 24 hours). If you strike out at a machine that sucked up your card, you can bet your skittles the machine is going to keep your card. And then you are forced with another evil fact: if you had your card retained by an ATM that is not owned by your own financial institution, you won't be able to get your card back. Then you are stuck having to order a new card and surviving a week or two without a debit card. Yuck!

~How did you use your debit card? Some of us do a fantastic job of maintaining a running balance in our checkbook. Some of us do a fair job of keeping up to date by reviewing our account register online. Some of us just wing it. But pretty much everyone hates to overdraw our checking account and run up fees. One common mistake people make is rooted in confusion over the use of their debit card. The simple rule is that purchases made using your PIN comes out of your account immediately and purchases made using your signature (or any time you didn't enter your PIN) can take a good 1 to 3 days to post to your account. That difference between immediate and 1-3 days can become pivotal when you look at your checking balance at any given time to determine whether funds are available for your next purchase.

~Buying a car! Man, this is a big one. There are so many aspects to buying and financing a car where your local Verity loan officer/processor can be helpful. First, don't buy GAP coverage for $500 at the dealership - it's half the price for the same coverage at Verity. Also, if you owe more on your trade in than the dealer is going to give you credit for, there is no magical fix. The dealer can make the deal happen for you, but they are just rolling the problem over into your new vehicle - you'll continue to owe more than it's worth. Payments over time are your only solution to this one!

I'm sure there are more consumer financial tidbits to share, but I'll have to save something for another day. If anything, though, always feel free to ask your local Verity expert. It feels good to be knowledgeable about something - even if I can't perform an emergency tracheotomy.

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