Common Trust Federal Credit Union, Author at Common Trust FCU

What is the Importance of a Good Credit Score?

Credit, creditworthiness, credit report, and FICO are all terms that may ring a familiar bell for you as it relates to your financial education and lifestyle planning. But what do they all actually mean for you and your financial goals? Credit scoring can be confusing and cause head-scratching on how it works. Common Trust is your go-to resource to illuminate credit-centric terminology, as well as reveal how to obtain good credit and what it means to have a good credit score. Establishing credit is an important barometer allowing you to achieve your financial and personal goals. As ever, Common Trust is here to help you recognize the value of having good credit and support your prosperity. 

Credit Score & Credit Score Factors

A credit score is a rating of how reliable you are when borrowing money from a financial institution. Lenders use credit scores to determine the likelihood of repaying on time if given a credit card or loan. Your credit score is formulated on your accrued credit history and can range from 300 to 850. A good credit score is the access key to your financial well-being and creditworthiness. The higher your score is, the less you are viewed as a credit risk by lenders.

Your credit score is made up of key factors that formulate your total score. FICO (Fair Isaac Corporation) is the most widely used credit scoring calculator to generate an individual’s credit score and is based on several factors. The core factors that affect credit scores are:

  • Types of accounts you hold and the age of these accounts, including the ratio of the limits on the card versus the balance owed.
  • The total debt you hold and/or how many credit cards you hold, auto loans, mortgage payments, etc.
  • Payment history and late payment history: On-time payments on your accounts help your scores, whereas missing payments can hurt your scores.
  • Credit score activity: whether you’ve recently applied for or opened new accounts, it can affect your score. 

These factors are indicators of your credit history that affect your credit score when it is calculated. Knowing your score also illustrates what you need to address in your credit history to increase your creditworthiness. When you monitor your credit, it also helps you keep an eye on how you can improve your score; remember that on-time payments can strengthen your score, whereas late payments can lower it.

A Good Credit Score & Why It Matters

Credit scoring occurs within a range of 300 and 850 to indicate creditworthiness. A good credit score is 690 to 719 on the scale commonly used for FICO scores. A score of 800 or above is considered to be an outstanding credit score. On average, most people have a credit score that falls between 600 and 750. The higher your score, the more confident creditors are that you are able to repay debts per the debt parameters. Creditors can set their own determinations for what is considered as good or bad credit when consumers apply for loans or credit cards. 

A good credit score is essential to your future and what you want to accomplish personally and financially. Having a good score also determines if you are approved to borrow money and how much you can pay back with interest. In addition, a good credit score can help you get a credit card with a decent interest rate or even a balance-transfer card, an auto loan or lease, or a home mortgage with a favorable interest rate. 

In summary, a good credit score can be the difference between qualifying for a home or auto loan or obtaining credit cards with healthy limits and interest rates. The relationship between a credit card and your credit score factors in the timeline you are paying off your card, and your bottom line score can impact how much you will have to pay in interest on your accounts. Additionally, credit reports/scores can even impact non-lending-related matters, such as whether a landlord will rent you an apartment. Some insurance companies also may use your credit score to help determine your auto, home, or life insurance premiums. Finally, credit scores matter to some employers who might review your credit when hiring or offering a promotion. In practice, though, a good credit score is the one that helps you get what you need or want, whether that is access to new credit in a pinch or lower mortgage rates. A good score is an important gateway to specific lifestyle achievements.

Common Trust’s MasterCard Credit Card

Paying attention to your credit score and maintaining its strength is a vital part of your comprehensive financial health. Common Trust’s Mastercard Credit Card is a card you can afford to carry and can help you start your credit journey towards excellent financial standing. Using a credit card enables you to build a good credit score when used correctly, and we are here to advise you on best practices.

We invite you to learn more about our exceptional Mastercard Credit Card, perfect for shopping, travel, and emergency use here.

The Ultimate Dorm Room Essentials Checklist

The end of summer marks the harbinger for bright, fall beginnings, and for some, the start of an extraordinary journey to college. For first-time first-year college students, the passage into university life can be a daunting one–it is a new experience all around and necessitates learning independence and organization. Entering campus life is an exciting milestone, and the Common Trust team wants to propose the ultimate dorm room essentials tips in addition to offering financial assistance for a seamless start. We hope our Essentials Guidelines provide some useful ideas to help you plan. Also, this exciting event of venturing to college is notably the ideal time to explore our Back to School Loan for your preparation. Your excitement is our excitement, and we look forward to offering incoming freshmen support for this significant turning point moment. 

Get & Stay Organized 

For any incoming college student, living away from home and the dawning of independence can feel overwhelming. Organization is the key ingredient to relieving stress, as your dorm room checklist is probably multiplying by the minute. The first order of being organized is to distill your list to purchase the items you actually need. We recommend first combing through your checklist and narrowing it down to key things– it can be easy to go overboard, but remember that less may be more as space is limited. Before heading to the store, talk with your roommate(s) to coordinate your new environment to figure out who is bringing what so you do not transport more than you should. 

Mainstays for a Comfortable Stay 

Dorm room essentials may seem obvious; bedding, bath and laundry products, and computer necessities, but dorms are bare and primed for your arrival. Dorm rooms are typically fairly small, so adjusting to a tighter room requires a downsizing mentality to maximize space. The following items should help you condense space and allow you to have all the things you need.

Bedding & Personals List

  1. Bed Risers – bed lifts allow you to increase space under your bed so you can store what you don’t need for that season. We also recommend buying a few plastic bins to store items under the bed.
  2. Bath caddy, towels, and shower shoes 
  3. Health and Grooming essentials 
  4. Hanging closet shelving and over-the-door hanging vanity organizer to keep all your toiletries together and free up space elsewhere
  5. Hydro Flask – save on buying bottled water and keep a hydro flask handy when in-room or heading to class.
  6. Small vacuum or dustbuster to keep your room clean 
  7. Favorite art or music posters, string lighting, and other items for decor to personalize your space

Study & Electronics List

College life is surely about balancing studying and fun. While in academic mode, having your desk and study zone well-organized will help keep you focused and feel less overwhelmed. Late night studying is bound to happen, so be equipped with the proper necessities for optimal concentration.

  1. Laptop, printer, surge protector, and all appropriate charging cables 
  2. Laptop desk for portability 
  3. Desk lamp for late-night study sessions
  4. Wireless headphones, or even noise cancellation headphones
  5. Desk shelving units for books and files
  6. Calculator and Dictionary 
  7. Supplies 

Entertainment & Downtime List

Amidst your rigorous studies, you will have time for recreation with your new friends and roommates. Sharing in streaming services and TV purchasing can also ease budgets, so be sure to collaborate with your suitemates on how you want to contribute to your shared space.

  1. TV 
  2. Mini fridge and microwave 
  3. Streaming stick 
  4. White noise machine for tranquil sleep 
  5. Speakers for music streaming

Carpe Diem

From August 1st through September 30th, Common Trust is running a Back to School Loan Promotion for students to get a jump start on collecting the items needed for success away from home. With first-time expenses amassing, this loan was calculated to lighten the load as you settle into your new routines. Our exclusive Back to School Loan features benefits such as; 

  • A $2,400 Loan (Existing loans must be paid off or included in the new loan)
  • Rates as low as 7.5% (*subject to creditworthiness)
  • 12 months to repay the loan
  • Payments amounting to $208.22, or approximately $52 per week

Getting acclimated to dorm life is an exhilarating process, and we look forward to helping you thrive upon your first foot on campus. The Common Trust Team is accessible to answer your questions on activating this unique loan opportunity to launch your new experience ahead of the game. We wish the best of luck to all rising college students in this new academic year — you’ve got this, and we’ve got you.

To learn more about the Back to School Loan, we invite you to explore here

Summer Safety Tips

 

Temperatures are rising, swimming pools beckon, and family activities are in full swing as summer is officially here. An air of a more ordinary summer means adventure awaits, and we forecast that our community is excited for an active summer. Common Trust encourages a summer of fun sustained by safety to enjoy the season to its fullest. So whether you’re laid back at home poolside with a summer reading list or hitting the road for the beach, here are some helpful reminders to live your best and safest summer.9[op

Take Shade & Hydrate

People often forget how serious heat-related issues are when sun over exposure and poor hydration clash. Carry water with you wherever you go, as dehydration is the most common heat-caused illness. Hydrate more than you think is necessary, and take breaks in the shade when outside. It is more important to make sure younger children drink plenty of water, even if they are not thirsty. Wearing loose clothing that dries quickly also helps to keep cool. Be vigilant of overheating symptoms when hiking or doing outdoor group activities; typically, if one person has symptoms, chances are others do too. Don’t overdo it if you crave more exercise— opt for a walk in a cooler environment like the mall. When it hits 90° or above and is humid, children should not play outside for more than 30 minutes at a time.

As we all know, the sun can cause severe sunburns and sun poisoning in its worst form. Sunscreen is your summer staple, so carry a small bottle with you everywhere. Lathering up on cloudy days is essential as it is no myth that the sun’s burning rays pierce through clouds.

Swimming & Water Safety

Thousands of adults and children are hurt in avoidable swimming and boating accidents every summer. Water safety spans from simple swimming precautions to having life vests for everyboat rider. Younger children are notably less experienced swimmers and always need to be supervised by an adult or lifeguard. Where diving is involved, always watch for the person to come up as back and head injuries can occur. An at-homepool is best protected with a fence that stays locked and out of reach for kids. An extra layer of pool precaution is to have cameras or gates with sensors that connect to mobile apps and send alerts if a pool gate is left open. If your child ventures to a neighbor’s pool, confirm an adult at home watching at all times.

The most common boating accidents happen when drinking is involved for adults, so designate an experienced boat driver who won’t partake in the libations. Lastly, always have your cellphone charged in case of an emergency, and in some cases, for longer boating outings, keepflares aboard.

Roadtrip & Air Travel

With so many Americans chomping at the bit to roadtrip, car safety is paramount. A regular car maintenance check is a good safeguard against unforeseen car troubles. If your car use was down over the last year, it is wise to have the tires checked and rotated. It might be a great time to purchase a tire gauge to keep in your car, too, especially if you plan to drive on rockier terrain on your adventures. We also recommend purchasing a mobile phone holder so you can be as hands-free as possible when using your phone’s GPS. Lastly, a First Aid Kit is the best accessory for your glove box.

If you plan to hit the skies for vacation, mandatory mask-wearing and regular hand washing persist as TSA protocol. While airlines continue to adhere to strict sanitation standards and improve air circulation systems, it will put you more at ease to take these precautions when traveling. Before you set out on your adventure, contact Common Trust to ensure you do not experience issues with your card while you are traveling. Apply for Common Trust’s Mastercard Credit Card today before hitting the road. 

Going Out and Outdoor BBQs

Restaurants, bars, and even music venues are opening their doors for livelier times but have a mask handy if required. A backyard gathering is best when summer time food is cooked over a fire. Still, grills and campfires are to be tended to as adults and children risk burns caused by fire proximity. Placing the grill far enough away from anything flammable and inspecting the grill before using it prevents gas tank malfunction. Fireproof mitts and long-handled utensils help avoid exposure to flames. Make sure kids are closely supervised around a campfire or at a BBQ.

Safety and fun do not have to be mutually exclusive. Remember to plan ahead, keep a vigilant eye, and lean on friends and family for support. Let Common Trust know how we can help you enjoy your summer more with credit cards or vacation loans to help pay for your travels. Our team wishes you and your family a safe and memorable summer.

2021 Summer Budget Roadmap

Resilience seems to be a common theme in our country and our communities as consumer strength regains post-pandemic. A shared trend in the pandemic’s aftermath is to reassess personal finances to balance enjoyment with everyday expenses. Common Trust aims to assist our members and help budget for the road ahead this summer and beyond. We are ready to welcome the community for in-person financial assistance for a stress-free and enjoyable summer to help you navigate 2021.

Create a Summer Budget Strategy 

There are valuable lessons learned from the pandemic, and people adjusted their finances to ensure protection against worst-case scenarios. As a result of suspended everyday life, people, in turn, had significantly fewer monthly expenses during the consumer “time out.” Travel, shopping, and general discretionary spending were at an all-time low, resulting in accrued personal savings. Now the time has come to enjoy the extra financial padding while budgeting for sustained resources for your lifestyle. We recommend grouping recreation into specific categories and allocating an amount to each class. For example, if you’re planning a trip this summer, determine how much to pay for airline tickets, dining out, car rentals, and recreational activities, like National Park fees. Planning allows for a better grasp of your budget while anticipating other new types of expenses and analyzing where you can trim back. 

Technology is Your Compass

Technology continues to prove to be a great budget friend, and we encourage mobile app usage to track your spending. The ease of streamlined banking and mobile applications enhances the user experience to know the bottom line at any moment. Some applications go as far as to group your expenditures and send you activity notifications to protect you from overspending. These are improving by the day and continue to offer unique features to guide you on the right path towards creating a feasible budget.  Big box stores, grocery stores, and food deliveries also offer promotions and coupons on their mobile app programs to help cut costs. Energy providers’ mobile apps are another great tool to monitor your energy usage and stockpile small savings per month this summer.

Another potential source for savings is to participate in Common Trust’s Shared Savings Accounts. As a member, your member-owner status is represented by the shares you save at Common Trust FCU.  In this program, members have the ability to open multiple share accounts for specific savings purposes like education, taxes, vacations, or special purchases.  Members can access their accounts and customize the name on these secondary share accounts. Tracking the money earned from day-of-deposit to day-of-withdrawal and the quarterly-distributed dividends from the shared accounts are easily accessed in your mobile banking account. Learn more about Share Savings Accounts here.

Utilize Financial Education & Assistance 

As credit unions welcome back the community, this summer is an excellent time to apply for financial assistance to access savings programs that buoy financial sustainability. U.S wealth grew by $20 trillion over the last year, paving opportunities for members to consider buying or leasing a new car, financing a home remodel, or managing debt with offset savings. Lowering monthly rates helps maintain your cash flow. In addition, it allows for other types of consumer spending should you want to or to grow an emergency fund. Common Trust even offers Vacation loans if you are looking for a substantial getaway. People who accumulated savings are also investing in personal care matters and budgeting accordingly. For example, braces sales shot up 19% in the last year. Overall, people are finding ways to rebalance their finances while also investing in new opportunities and experiences. 

Summer Support

Reexamination of our member’s financial well-being is central to understanding all facets of monthly living expenses and how you can grow your nest egg exponentially. Common Trust helps you create a plan for you and your family by identifying where to cultivate savings. We are committed to maximizing savings opportunities and pledge to work for our members’ financial success. As we forge ahead together, we reduce the complexities of budgeting so you can enjoy life along the way. 

We invite existing and potential members alike to learn more about our Financial Products and Services here.

What You Should Know When Preparing to Purchase a Car

Purchasing a car represents exciting and meaningful milestones for all buyers. Whether it is a first-time car purchase, an upgrade, or buying a new or used car for a loved one, it is natural to have questions about auto loan financing. Auto loans bridge making a large vehicle purchase possible over time. The experts at Common Trust Federal Credit Union shine a light on what you need to know when buying a car and what financing options are available to get you and your family on the move.

Timing 

Things are looking up in these times, and the automotive market appears to be making a solid comeback from COVID-19 with good deals blooming. At Common Trust, we encourage our members to shop around for a deal that suits your lifestyle and to pay particular attention to interest rates, contract length, payment amounts, and car value overall.

Budget Assessment 

From SUVs to Sedans to trucks, your car needs will require financing considerations ahead of time. Before you take out a car loan, we will help you learn how interest rates work to get the best deal on your loan. The best guide for your budget parameters is the 20/4/10 rule. We recommend putting 20% down, committing to a 4-year loan term, and ensuring that your loan does not exceed 10% of your gross annual income. When finalizing your budget, remember to factor in gas, insurance, and potential maintenance costs. 

Direct vs. Dealer Financing

85% of buyers elect for some form of financing. Both direct and dealer financing are available, and both have their unique advantages. Direct financing allows for more competitive rates as some institutions offer discounts to customers. Dealer financing may allow for flexibility if you are working on building your credit. Direct financing means your monthly payments are sent directly to the lender. Dealer financing means a dealer sells the loan contract to a financial institution, like a bank or credit union, and that institution then collects your payment. 

New and Used Car Loans

Common Trust offers auto loans for both new and used cars. We provide up to 120% financing on your new car or truck purchase for up to 7 years. For new and used vehicles, we will provide up to 120% financing of the NADA (National Auto Dealers Association) Retail value of your used car or truck purchase. We also finance vehicles up to 7 model years old, and in some cases, older. 

Get started

Now that you set your budget, gathered all of the necessary documents, and compared financing options, you are ready to apply for a loan. If you are not already a member, you will need to join Common Trust as a member before applying for an auto loan. Click here to become a member. If you are already a member, you can submit your application using your account number or Home Banking login information. 


We are committed to providing our members the opportunity to save in meaningful ways as we emerge from these challenging times. Common Trust is pleased to offer special rates as low as 1.99%* on auto loans until June 30, 2021. Click here to learn more about this Auto Loan promotion, and we look forward to assisting you.

10 Tips to Make the Most of Holiday Shopping This Year

‘Tis the season to start thinking about holiday shopping (cue the carols!) But, like most things in 2020, the way you’ll go about checking everyone off your gift list is bound to be a bit different this year. Major retailers including Target and Walmart have already announced they’ll be closed on Thanksgiving Day—doing away with the traditional jumpstart to Black Friday shopping—and the coronavirus has led to delays and backlogs for some brands.

Still, there is plenty to be merry about. You can expect to save money thanks to more online discounts, Cyber Monday deals, and special holiday pricing in the months leading up to Christmas. Retailers have also come up with clever ways to streamline the shopping experience like expanded curbside pickup and same-day delivery. And it has never been a better time to support your local community by spending your holiday gift budget at independently owned shops or buying gift cards to your favorite neighborhood restaurants. Plus, there are plenty of ways to spread holiday cheer without it costing a lot, from DIY gifts to keepsake-worthy ornaments to homemade treats that are sure to be crowd-pleasers.

From money-saving tricks to out-of-the-box gift ideas, read on for more ways to help make this year’s holiday shopping stress-free, safe, and fun.

1. Make a Budget and Stick to It

One of the biggest stressors of holiday shopping is overspending, so be sure to create a budget before you hit the stores. First, figure out the total you can afford to spend on gifts. Then, make a list of the people you would like to give to and allocate portions of your budget toward each person. Apps like Christmas Gift List Tracker and Santa’s Bag do the math and organize purchases for you (though a pen and paperwork just fine, too!). If you’re planning to DIY gifts, be sure to factor the cost of materials into your budget.

2. Shop Small

Small Business Saturday, which encourages shoppers to spend within their communities the Saturday after Thanksgiving, hit a record high last year according to a survey from American Express and the National Federation of Small Business—a hopeful sign for independently owned shops who need holiday dollars more than ever this season. Spending at your local shops not only helps your neighborhood, but you are also bound to find unique, curated gifts for friends and family, too. Check out the Shop Small Map to find stores and restaurants in your area.

3. Make Use of Curbside Pickup

With coronavirus making social distancing essential, many retailers are offering curbside pickup for merchandise purchased via their website or app. Lots of shoppers have been taking advantage already (according to Adobe Analytics, purchases made online then picked up at a store have increased 62% from last year), and it’s one easy way to streamline your holiday shopping and avoid long lines.

4. Sign Up with Your Favorite Stores

Sure, promotional emails can clog up your inbox, but if you are a devotee of a particular store, they are worth signing up for as they often include discount codes and sale previews. Be sure to investigate loyalty programs, too. Most are free to join and offer benefits like exclusive sales for members, discounts on purchases, and rewards for dollars spent.

5. Support Companies That Give Back (or Make a Direct Donation)

Check people off your gift list—and do some good—by buying from companies that give a portion of their profits to important causes. For book lovers, check Out of Print, which supports literacy programs; Hand in Hand donates soap to children in developing countries for every bar sold while the toys and apparel at Box Lunch help get food to the hungry via Feed America. Another great way to make a difference: Choose a charity based on a friend or family member’s passions and make a donation in his or her name (one of our favorites for kids: the adorable stuffed animal and certificate that come with a symbolic species adoption benefitting the World Wildlife Fund).

6. Take Advantage of Free Shipping

December 14 is Free Shipping Day when hundreds of retailers provide free shipping on orders guaranteed to arrive by Christmas Eve. It is especially worth waiting for if you have your eye on gifts from online shops that usually add shipping costs. You’ll find a list of stores that participate in Free Shipping Day here.

7. Shop Early

Keeping your eyes open for holiday presents year-round not only prevents you from having to pay for all your gifts within a few weeks, but it also adds a thrill to the hunt through flea markets, vintage stores, and souvenir shops, all great sources for affordable gifts. Shopping early is a good idea for online purchases, too. You will be able to take advantage of sales events like Cyber Monday when gifts are discounted and will also ensure presents have plenty of time to arrive.

8. Update Your Apps

The secret to savings may be as easy as pulling out your phone thanks to apps designed to find discounts. ShopSavvy lets users scan the barcode of an item, then reports back on the best prices for it both online and locally. For holiday food shopping, Coupons.com organizes free digital coupons from your local grocery stores and lets you upload paper ones (for some stores, you can also upload your paper receipt and receive cashback to your PayPal account). Before you make a purchase, check Retail Me Not, which provides access to discount codes, coupons, and cashback offers for clothes, tech, restaurants, and more.

9. Start a Secret Santa Tradition

For big families or groups of friends, consider starting a Secret Santa tradition where each person picks another’s name at random and focuses on their gift only (instead of everyone buying for everybody). This way, you can put more thought, money, and time into finding them something they will truly love. Plus, it is fun to see the surprised looks when recipients try to guess who their mystery gift-giver is.

10. Expand Your Gift List

Whether it’s your mail carrier who’s delivered package after package, a teacher who’s done their best to adjust to the challenges of distance learning, or a neighbor who’s been extra helpful, think through the people in your community who have made a difference this year and, if you can, add them to your gift list to thank them. Handmade cardsbaked goods, or gift baskets, are all great ways to show your appreciation.

 

What Is Considered a Good Credit Score?

Highlights:

  • Credit scores are calculated using the information in your credit reports.
  • Credit scores generally range from 300 to 850.
  • Different lenders have different criteria when it comes to granting credit.

What is a Good Credit Score?


It’s an age-old question we receive, and to answer it requires that we start with the basics: What is a credit score, anyway?

Generally speaking, a credit score is a three-digit number ranging from 300 to 850. Credit scores are calculated using the information in your credit report, including your payment history; the amount of debt you have; and the length of your credit history.

There are many different scoring models, and some use other data in calculating credit scores. Credit scores are used by potential lenders and creditors, such as banks, credit card companies, or car dealerships, as one factor when deciding whether to offer you credit, like a loan or credit card. It’s one factor among many to help them determine how likely you are to pay back the money they lend.

It’s important to remember that everyone’s financial and credit situation is different, and there’s no “magic number” that may guarantee better loan rates and terms.

Although ranges vary depending on the credit scoring model, generally credit scores from 580 to 669 are considered fair; 670 to 739 are considered good; 740 to 799 are considered very good, and 800 and up are considered excellent. Higher credit scores mean you have demonstrated responsible credit behavior in the past, which may make potential lenders and creditors more confident when evaluating a request for credit.

Lenders generally see those with credit scores 670 and up as acceptable or lower-risk borrowers. Those with credit scores from 580 to 669 are generally seen as “subprime borrowers,” meaning they may find it more difficult to qualify for better loan terms. Those with lower scores – under 580 – generally fall into the “poor” credit range and may have difficulty getting credit or qualifying for better loan terms.

Different lenders have different criteria when it comes to granting credit, which may include information such as your income or other factors. That means the credit scores they accept may vary depending on that criteria.

Credit scores may differ between the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) as not all creditors and lenders report to all three. Many creditors do report to all three, but you may have an account with a creditor that only reports to one, two, or none at all. In addition, there are many different scoring models available, and those scoring models may differ depending on the type of loan and lenders’ preference for certain criteria.

What Factors Impact Your Credit Score?

Here are some tried and true behaviors to keep top of mind as you begin to establish – or maintain – responsible credit behaviors:

  • Pay your bills on time, every time. This doesn’t just include credit cards – late or missed payments on other accounts, such as cell phones, may be reported to the credit bureaus, which may impact your credit scores. If you’re having trouble paying a bill, contact the lender immediately. Don’t skip payments, even if you’re disputing a bill.

 

  • Pay off your debts as quickly as you can.

 

  • Keep your credit card balance well below the limit. A higher balance compared to your credit limit may impact your credit score.

 

  • Apply for credit sparingly. Applying for multiple credit accounts within a short time period may impact your credit score.

 

  • Check your credit reports regularly. Request a free copy of your credit report and check it to make sure your personal information is correct and there is no inaccurate or incomplete account information. You’re entitled to a free copy of your credit reports every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit bureaus by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com. By requesting a copy from one every four months, you can keep an eye on your reports year-round. Remember: checking your own credit report or credit score won’t affect your credit scores.


You can also create a myEquifax account to get six free Equifax credit reports each year. In addition, you can click “Get my free credit score” on your myEquifax dashboard to enroll in Equifax Core Credit™ for a free monthly Equifax credit report and a free monthly VantageScore® 3.0 credit score, based on Equifax data. A VantageScore is one of many types of credit scores.

If you find information you believe is inaccurate or incomplete, contact the lender or creditor. You can also file a dispute with the credit bureau that furnished the report. At Equifax, you can create a myEquifax account to file a dispute. Visit our dispute page to learn other ways you can submit a dispute.

Remembering Robert E. “Bob” Peary

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of one of the founding members of Common Trust Federal Credit Union. Robert E. “Bob” Peary,  retired Chief of Woburn Fire Department, passed away on Friday, September 4th.  Bob played an integral role in founding Common Trust, and his contributions to both the credit union and our community will live long in our memories. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Myrtle, his children, and grandchildren.

Heading Back to School Amid COVID-19

Prepare Yourself with this Top 10 Checklist

Undoubtedly, the outbreak of COVID-19 has brought a cloud of uncertainty to higher education institutions regarding the 2020-2021 academic year.  While many colleges and universities have announced their plans to reopen campuses this fall, students need to prepare for the possibility of continued social distancing orders, which could once again force on-campus classes to transition to online learning.

As a result, back-to-school shopping may look a bit different this year.  Students will need to consider how to best prepare for the possibility of online learning, in addition to staying healthy while on campus.  To help students prepare their shopping lists, we developed a checklist of items to bring with you this fall in addition to your traditional back-to-school items.

 

10 Items for your back-to-school checklist 

  1. Face Coverings – The CDC recommends people wear cloth face coverings to “cover their nose and mouth in the community setting,” to protect the people around you in case you are infected but do not have symptoms.
  2. Multi-Port USB Charger- Spring 2020 taught us that classes can quickly be converted from in-person to online at the recommendation of governing bodies.  Make sure you are prepared for online learning by bringing a USB charger with multiple ports to keep your phone, tablet, laptop, etc. fully charged.

  3. Hand Sanitizer – Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can help prevent the spread of COVID-19.  Look for a brand that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.

  4. Noise-cancelling headphones – Invest in a good pair of headphones to drown out your roommate’s music or online class lectures.  If you find it hard to study while listening to music, try downloading white-noise tracks from Spotify.

  5. If you need to participate in a virtual class discussion, download a noise-cancelling app to reduce background noise caused by your roommate, pets, air conditioner, etc.

  6. Disinfecting Wipes – Use disinfecting wipes to easily sanitize surfaces, including your phone and computer.  Own a MacBook or iPhone, it  is ok to use a disinfectant wipe on the exterior surfaces of Apple products as long as you “avoid getting moisture in any opening, and don’t submerge your Apple product in any cleaning agents”.

  7. Webcam – your phone or computer may already have a webcam, but if you are not satisfied with the quality or looking to upgrade for virtual class sessions, consider adding an external web camera to the mix.

  8. Blue Light Blocking Glasses – Staring at digital screens like your computer, phone, tablet, and even TV may cause eye fatigue or other macular issues from the blue light emitted.  Blue light blocking lenses are available for glasses of all types, from prescription to non-RX.

  9. Electronic notepad and stylus – Using a digital notepad makes sharing your handwritten work on a math equation a breeze.

  10. Adjustable laptop stand – Whether you use your laptop from your bed, couch, or desk, investing in an adjustable laptop stand can help support your wrists and improve your posture while studying or working on an assignment.  Look for a stand that can be raised upwards to turn your workstation into a standing desk.

 

Finally, it is important to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 these three simple reminders will help in the battle against the spread of the virus:

 

  • Stay at home if you are sick – this rule applies to classes, clubs on campus and social gatherings
  • Regularly clean and disinfect surfaces – make it a habit to sanitize your doorknobs, steering wheel, phone, keyboard, light switches, remote controls, and other objects your regularly touch.
  • Wash your hands often – Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after using the restroom, preparing food, after contact with animals or pets, and especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

10 Summer Safety Tips for Kids

Summer is a favorite time of year for many children – and for good reason. The long days of summer provide a much-anticipated break from school and are often filled with swimming, cookouts, travel, and outdoor fun. But summer can also carry danger for children. Drowning incidents increase during the summer months, and the hot sun puts kids at risk of sunburn, dehydration, and heat-related illness.

Whether your kids are enjoying summer at home, on the road, or at camp, address these safety topics with your family to keep them healthy and happy.

 

Summer Safety for Kids

 

1. Keep watch to prevent drowning.

Summer water safety should be top of mind for parents, regardless if you have a pool in your backyard or visit a community pool. It only takes seconds for drowning to happen. Actively supervise children, at all times, when in or around water, and make sure you have the right equipment to keep pools safe. 

 

2. Look for signs of heat exhaustion.

Cases of heat stroke spike during the summer months and this can be life-threatening in children. Prior to heatstroke, kids often show milder symptoms such as heat cramps and heat exhaustion. Make sure children take water breaks and wear lightweight clothing when playing outside. 

 

3. Check for car safety.

Make sure your child’s car seat is properly fitted before hitting the road for a family vacation. Never leave a child unattended in a car. The temperature inside a car can rise quickly, and just a few minutes can be the difference between life and death. Establish a routine to check the car prior to locking.

 

4. Protect skin from the sun.

Apply sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher whenever your child is going to be outdoors. Reapply every three hours or immediately after your child has been in or splashed by water. Try to avoid outdoor activities during peak sunshine hours, and consider dressing children in sun-protective clothing.

 

5. Avoid bug bites.

As the weather warms up, bugs come out in full force. To avoid bug bites, apply insect repellant before spending time outdoors, avoid using heavily scented soaps or lotions, and cover arms and legs as much as possible. 

 

6. Enjoy fireworks safely.

More than 10,000 people are treated in emergency departments in the U.S. each year due to injury from fireworks, and of these, nearly a third are children under 15. If you are celebrating summer holidays with a bang, keep kids safe. Read instructions carefully, and never let young children touch or light fireworks. 

 

7. Drink enough water.

Kids are more prone to dehydration than adults, and their risk increases as temperatures rise. The amount of water a child should drink varies by age, weight, and activity level. However, a general rule is to take half of your child’s weight (up to 100 pounds) – and that’s the number of ounces of water they should drink every day. 

 

8. Don’t monkey around.

Playground-related injuries account for more than 200,000 ER visits each year. Always supervise children on playgrounds and choose the right play equipment for your child’s age and skills. In the summer sun, it is also a good idea to touch equipment to check for hot surfaces before playing on it.

 

9. Wear a life jacket on boats.

If you are heading to the lake to cool off this summer, make sure to bring a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device. A properly fitted life jacket is snug, yet comfortable, and will not move above the chin or ears when you lift it at the shoulders.

 

10. Ride bikes the smart way.

Apart from automobiles, bicycles are related to more childhood injuries than any other consumer product. Wearing a helmet is the first rule to preventing serious bicycle injuries in kids. Make sure bikes and helmets fit kids properly and follow smart rider rules. 

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