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Bill Pay vs. Internet Explorer  by Tara

January23

We’ve learned that recently some members have experienced problems with adding a new Company or Person to pay within our Bill Payer. Your friends at Linn Area Credit Union are here to help!

Why is this happening?
As technology advances, new versions come out (which is why we have 5s worth of iPhones!) and it takes a little time for other systems to adjust to the changes. Right now, Internet Explorer is introducing version 11. If you are on automatic updates, you might not even know that you’ve been upgraded to this latest and greatest version. Everything in eBranch is completely normal and Bill Payer works just dandy (though the formatting might look just slightly off to the regular user). The ONLY problem appears when you go to add a new Company or Person (an action that likely doesn’t happen all that often for our average member).

What happens if I try to add a new Company or Person?
Nothing – literally. When you click to add a Company or Person, your screen will freeze up and eventually you will see a message similar to this:

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So how do I fix this?!?!
You have 3 options to choose from:

  1. Downgrade your Internet Explorer version back to version 10 or 9. (This is the most complicated option – so keep reading if it’s not appealing to you!)
  2. Use a different internet browser, such as Google Chrome or Firefox. (Easy peasy!)
  3. Use our IT department’s fancy-schmacy work around: When you are logged into the Bill Pay program, simply hit the F12 key. This will pop up a box called “Emulation”. The only thing you need to do is change the “User agent string” to Internet Explorer 10 or Internet Explorer 9.

Emulation

Essentially, you are just tricking Bill Payer into thinking you’re using an older browser – pretty cool, right??) IMPORTANT: You have to keep this box open in order for the Bill Payer site to fully add the new Company or Person. If you hit close, then Bill Payer will go back to not working. Do note that this isn’t a one time switch; if you choose this option, anytime you go to add a new Company or Person to pay, you’ll have to hit F12 (at least until Bill Payer catches up with this new version of Internet Explorer – hopefully yet this year).

If you need further assistance, please give us a jingle at 378-0101 or email hello@linnareacu.org.

MyMoola: Dashboard  by Tara

November7

We are beyond excited to introduce the newest addition to our suite (or should we say “SWEET!”) of products and services… MyMoola!!!

Many of our members have asked for a personal financial management system, similar to Mint.com. We heard you loud and clear! Our answer is this colorful, user-friendly site that is completely integrated with the eBranch you know and love. All of your Linn Area accounts will automatically be added in, but then you can add ANY of your financial accounts. When we say ANY, we mean it. So if you have an account at another credit union or, say, a big bank, you can still add it to MyMoola. You can add credit cards of any kind (even store ones!), retirement funds, loans, and even 529s! Using MyMoola will help you save time, achieve your goals, track spending, and, overall, manage all your bling.

In this video, you’ll get a quick tour of the Dashboard (as they say on HGTV, “Where the magic happens!”), teach you how to add accounts, and how to edit your existing accounts:

We want to know: Have you tried out MyMoola yet?!?! What’s your favorite feature?

Step by Step: Updating your eBranch security  by Tara

June4

Hey eBranch users – yeah, we’re looking at you! (And you look fab, by the way!)

At Linn Area Credit Union, we are always looking for more powerful ways to secure your online data. As an additional security precaution, we just enhanced our eBranch authentication process. (Don’t feel like reading and want someone to just show you? No worries – we made a video. Click here or scroll down!)

This means that the first time you log in after May 30, 2013, you will be prompted to do the following two things:

  1. Select new security questions
  2. Choose a Security Phrase – The Security Phrase is a memorable phrase that YOU choose and will be completely visible on the Security Code page to verify that you are not on a phishing site. Make sure when you choose this phrase you do not use any sensitive information (account number, Security Code, or social security number). You know the image that used to pop up right before you got into your account? Well this phrase will REPLACE that image. I sure will miss looking at that soccer ball… we were tight.

There has been some confusion as to the difference between a Security CODE and a Security PHRASE, so let’s get that cleared up! Your Security Code is what most of us call our password; your Security Phrase is to verify the authenticity of the website (we don’t want you do be putting your info into a fake site!) and will be displayed in full each time you log into your account.

I made a quick video to walk you through the process – hope it helps!

Now wasn’t that fun??? As always, if you have any questions, we are happy to help! Please send us an email at hello@linnareacu.org or call 378-0101.

Step by Step: Get a photo on your credit card!  by Tara

November30

Few things make us happier than seeing pictures of things we love! Whether it’s a picture of someone who makes your heart skip a beat, something you love or a just a reminder of that hilarious inside joke,  now you can see it every time you pull out your Linn Area credit card! I’m going to walk you through the process of getting your own custom photo credit card. (Sorry – this only works for your CREDIT cards, not debit cards!)

First things first:

  • You have to have one of our Linn Area credit cards in order to get started! Don’t have one yet? Click here to get hooked up.
  • As long as you have the pic you want handy and have your card nearby, this process takes less than 3 minutes!!! I know, I tried it myself!
  • It only costs a piddley $5 to change your card from the standard background to one that you pick yourself! Once your image is approved, the $5 will be charged to your credit card.
  • Don’t worry – your account number and date of expiration will NOT change.
  • Once you change your picture, you can swap it as often as 60 days for just $5 each time.
  • If there is more than one cardholder on your account, each cardholder will receive this image unless they upload their own design the same day this design order is submitted. If additional cardholders do not upload their own image on the same day, they will be unable to upload an image for 60 days.

Alright! Let’s get started!

  • Go here. Ignore the “Login” button if this is your first time switching pics.
  • Read the Terms and Conditions (because we always, always do that, right?) and then check the box to say that you agree to them. Once that’s done, click “Next Step” to get to the fun stuff.
  • You’re now into the Design section, a.k.a. the fun part! You have two options – either choose from the online catalog of stock photos or upload your own. I have to be honest – there are some pretty cool pics in the catalog! You have 14 categories to choose from. My personal faves were “Fresh!” and “Creative & Artistic.”
  • If you are going to upload your own pic, the file has to be a JPG, TIF, or Bitmap and cannot exceed 4 mb. The image size should be 480 x 480. The larger and the higher resolution, the better your image will appear when printed on the card. (No one wants their cutie-pie baby or fur-baby to be pixilated!)
  • Not every image is kosher! There are a whole slew of image guidelines to read through, but I’ll point out that you can’t put your favorite team’s logo or a pic of that celebrity you have a crush on. *clearing throat* Like Channing Tatum. Please read through the list to ensure your image will get approved. (FYI – An actual human being looks at each and every picture, so don’t try to pull a quick one!)
  • Have the image you want? Click “Upload Image.”
  • You’ll now have the opportunity to move the pic around on the card to make sure it looks just the way you hoped! Click “Next Step” when you’re ready. Like this:

  • Here’s where you need to know the last 4 digits on your card and the last 4 of your SSN, along with some other info to help make sure your image gets onto the correct card. Click (you guessed it!) “Next Step” once everything is filled in. If you are the only person on your account getting the image, you can just ignore the Name Box -2, etc. So you’re not surprised on what you’ll need, here’s what it looks like:

  • A friendly reminder that all cards get reviewed. Time to create a log in so that the next time you swap your pic, it’ll be even faster! (Remember that button on the very first page? Yep, next time you’ll just click there to log in!)
  • This is your last chance to review the card. If you aren’t ready to pull the trigger just yet, you can “Save design” and come back at a later time to get the job done. Everything look fabulous? I figured! Go ahead and approve it! And taaaah dahhh:

  • I’d like to point out that there is a “Saved Design” section now that you have a Log In. This is a library of all your past orders, including the order ID, dated created and status. Pretty cool, right?

You can expect to have your new spiffy card in 7 to 10 business days. Just in time to finish up all that holiday shopping!

Tell us in the comments below: What will your card show?

Step by step: Setting up a 529!  by Tara

July27

Because the bottom line of this post is so important, I’m going to start with it: Signing up for a 529 was so EASY and took only a few minutes – why did I wait this long to do it?!?!

I’m a big believer in taking the mystery out of things that on the surface seem difficult, but truly aren’t. I’m going to share my experience so you know exactly what to expect and how quick the process was!

Let’s go back to the beginning.

When my husband and I found out that we were going to be having our first child, we started to talk about setting up a 529. What’s a 529? It’s a tax-advantaged way to pay for higher education (read more about it here). Yes, we talked about it, but never got around to actually doing it. We’re just so busy, busy, busy! Our daughter is now 9 months and, after encouragement from our tax advisor, we finally decided to bite the bullet, set aside time and get everything set up.

And, seriously, it couldn’t have been any easier.

Our tax professional suggested www.collegesavingsiowa.com, so that’s what we went with (however, there are other plans you can use – check with your financial planner or tax professional for suggestions!). We decided to tackle what we thought was going to be a tedious endeavor during our daughter’s morning nap. We crossed our fingers, hoping that her nap would last long enough for us to focus! Each individual must open up a separate account, so we tackled mine first.

We logged onto the website, clicked “Open Account,” and we were off!

NOTE: Before you begin, make sure you determine HOW MUCH you can afford to allocate to the 529. You can contribute as little as $25 a month ($15 if contributing through payroll deduction). Iowa taxpayers can deduct up to $2,975 in contributions per beneficiary account from their adjusted gross income for 2012.*

Seven Simple Screens

1. New Participant
The screen asks for everything you would expect when opening an account – your SS#, address, phone number, the usual.

2. Beneficiary
Here is where you enter in everything about the person for whom you’re setting the account up for. This is where you’ll need to enter their SS#, too.

3. Choose Investment
This was the page that took us the most time, as we hadn’t discussed this prior to beginning the process (so you might want to learn from my mistake!). This page is where you choose how College Savings Iowa will invest the money that you are saving. There are two options and then subcategories under those:

1. Age Based Savings Track: Your portfolio’s investments are decided by College Savings Iowa, but you choose one of four tracks ranging from aggressive to conservative. Your portfolio will automatically shift the asset allocation as your beneficiary nears college age. (This is the option we went with!)

2. Individual Portfolios: You make your own asset allocation decisions and your investments stay the same until you change them.

4. Pick Method of Funding
Make sure to have the credit union’s routing number, your account number (can be found on the bottom of your checks), and your financial institution’s phone number.

So how do you want to get money into your 529 account? You have four options: automatic regular contributions from your bank account, onetime allocation from your bank account, with a check (you print a form and then mail it in), or with a rollover or transfer.

For us, the auto transfer is the perfect fit. We were even able to select the date that we wanted the transfers to start. Once your bank account is connected to the 529 plan, you can transfer additional money directly to it from your credit union or bank whenever you’d like! You can also sign up for annual automatic increases, which I thought was kind of cool!

5. Select Delivery Option
There are three categories that allow you to choose the manner in which you’d like to receive notifications:
• Statements – Online, Online with Paper Copy at End of Year or All By Regular Mail
• Transactions/Profile changes – Email or Regular Mail
• Tax Forms – Regular or Email

6. Create User Name and Password
Hooray! You are basically done! Just as the page title suggest, this is the place where you create that ever-important user name and password.

7. Complete Your Account
All of the information that you have inputted up until this point shows up in a nice and neat format on this page. You just need to review for accuracy and edit any section if you have any changes! You’ll need to choose three security questions and a security picture (but beware – the pic choices are super-duper lame).

AND YOU ARE DONE! Time passed? 20 measly minutes – and that’s only because I was writing notes down so I could tell you guys all about what to expect! When we set up my husband’s account, it only took us a whopping 5 minutes since we now had all the decisions made and information at our finger tips.

My biggest regret is that we didn’t do this sooner. I honestly thought it was going to take longer and kept making up excuses. Hopefully I have taken the mystery out of the process and helped put your mind at ease.

Sound off in the comments below: What sorts of savings plan do you have set up for your children?

One touch access to Mobile Money for Android phones!  by Tara

July12

If you have an Android phone, this blog post is for you! I am going to show you how to add an icon for Mobile Money to your Home Screen for one touch access to your Linn Area moola!

Here’s the video:

If you aren’t able to see the video, here are the instructions:

1)      Save your unique Mobile Money URL to your bookmarks. (Don’t have Mobile Money yet? Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to get it!)

2)      Open the web browser on your phone.

3)      Go to your bookmarks.

4)      Long-hold on Mobile Money.

5)      Select “Add to Home Screen.”

If you have an iPhone, then you’ll want to go to this post for instructions on how you can get one-touch access on your phone.

Questions? Just give us a call at 378-0101!

Online Banking: Are you getting the most out of it? (Part 2)  by Mallory

January20

Welcome back to Mallory’s Crazy Crash Course in Online Banking! (I just named it that – do you like it?) Last time we talked about the Overview tab and the Account Access tab. Hopefully you had a chance to go play around with both of those. Today we’re going to be finishing up by taking a close look at the Bill Payment tab and the Options tab!

So grab your morning cup of Joe and let’s do this! Woohoo!!! (Too much sass for this early?)

The Bill Payment tab actually connects you directly to our bill payer website. Bill payer is a service that you will need to sign up for either by calling 378-0101 or by stopping into one of our branches, but once you are set up, clicking on this tab takes you right to your information and you are ready to pay bills. You can fill out someone you want to pay and the amount and make one time or reoccurring payments.  It also keeps a history of payments made. It’s pretty slick and, best yet, totally free to you.

And last, but not least, is the Options tab. I could write a whole blog on this tab alone, but this will just be a quick overview of each box under this tab:

  • Secure mail
    • A direct and secure way for you to email us at Linn Area Credit Union

  • Alerts
    • Set up alerts to be emailed or texted to you (For example: When you hit a certain balance or a certain check number clears you’ll be contacted via email or text.)
    • Set up reminders to be emailed or texted to you (For example: You’ll receive a text or email when a loan payment is automatically coming out on such and such date.)

  • Personal options
    • Update personal information
    • Set up preferences (like which screens comes up when you log on or which accounts pop up on the overview screen)
    • Nickname accounts (Confused by all those numbers and dashes? Just nickname your accounts so you know what they are. Eg. Mallory’s checking or Nick’s savings.)

  • Additional services
    • Click on e-statements to view PDFs of your statements rather than receiving them in the mail (Not only is this good for the environment, but its way faster than snail mail!)
    • Mobile money. Click on this link to sign up to get access to your accounts from your phone.  (Personally, my favorite feature!)

  • Member Requests
    • Apply for a loan, stop payments and much more!

And one more quick thing, you may notice up in the right hand corner something that says “Members CHAT.” That button will connect you live to one of our Member Service Representatives available during our working hours here at the credit union.

Not a member of e-branch yet? Want to sign up? You can sign up on our website by clicking here. Otherwise, feel free to give us a call at 378-0101 or stop in and let us know you want to get signed up! It’s really that easy!

Online Banking: Are you getting the most out of it? (Part 1)  by Mallory

January19

Are you a current user of our online banking (e-branch)? Did you just get signed up? Either way, this blog may be for you. I am here to give you some tips on how to get the most out of e-branch so that you can do what you want with your money when you want to! This particular blog post is going to be a two parter. I know that when I’m learning something new, sometimes it’s nice to get just little bit of info at a time.

Alright! So when you log into online banking there are 4 main tabs to work with – two of which I’ll talk about today and the other two will be explored next time. I am going to go through each tab and the functions within each one. You may be surprised by some of the things you can do!

You ready for Part 1?? Here we go!

Right when you log into e-Branch, the first tab that comes up is the Overview tab (unless you change it in preferences, which we will get to later…). This tab is basically just as it sounds – an overview of up to 5 of your accounts (again customizable) and their balances. You can also do a quick transfer between your accounts and view any scheduled transfers you have set up. Simple and easy, just the way I like it!

The next tab is the Account Access tab. Under this tab you are able to see all of the accounts you are an owner or joint owner of (even other account numbers).  This is the tab that you want to go to if you want to transfer money. You can transfer funds for one time only or set up scheduled transfers. For scheduled transfers, you can set up what day of the month you want it to come out, the frequency and the total number of transfers you want to occur. You can also look at your transfer history.

These next 2 features you may not know about:  account to account transfer and withdrawal by check.

Account to account transfer is transferring money from one financial institution to another. We know that Linn Area may not be the home for all your money *insert sad face here*, so we have this handy feature that allows you to transfer money between two accounts – even if one of these accounts is not a Linn Area one (e.g. transferring money to/from a Big Bank account from/to your Linn Area account). For more details, please call 378-0101 or stop in and an account representative would be happy to walk you through getting it set up.

A withdrawal by check means that you would like a paper check withdrawn from your account, made out to you and mailed to you. People may use this feature as a means to transfer money from one financial to another without having to write a check of their own.

So in a nutshell, the Account Access tab is where you can move your moola around.

On both the Overview tab and the Account Access tab you are able to click on your account and see the current activity and pending transactions. (This does not include credit cards. On credit cards you are able to make payments from e-Branch, but not see activity. To see the credit card activity go to www.mycardinfo.com and get signed up!) Do know that on either of these tabs, you can use transfers to make payments to your loans and your credit card.

Okay, guys, I think this is a good stopping point! Are you feeling overwhelmed yet? I hope not. In the next blog, I’ll be giving you the inside scoop on the Billpayer tab and the Options tab.

Questions? Just ask below in the comments!

One touch access to Mobile Money on your iPhone!  by John

November16

OK, so you’ve got an iPhone and have signed up for our smartphone banking product, Mobile Money. It’s a great, easy to use service, but, dang it, you sure have to touch the screen a lot to get there! Here’s how to add a link right on your phone’s home screen:

1. Open the iPhone’s browser and navigate to the page you want. In this case it will be your unique URL for Mobile Money.

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2. Touch the Add icon on the bottom middle of the Safari screen. Depending on your phone’s iOS, it will either be a “+” sign like this   or a rectangle with an arrow coming out of it like this .

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3. Select “Add to Home Screen”.

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4. The “Add to Home” screen will show. You can rename your link from here. I went all creative and named mine Mobile Money. After making the change click the “Add” button.
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5. Voila! There’s a new icon on your home screen that looks like this . Going forward all you have to do is touch it to go directly to Mobile Money.

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That was pretty painless, right? “But John, I don’t have Mobile Money!” Why not? It’s free and super-handy. Go here to learn more!

Any questions about the above – leave a comment or email me at jcollins@linnareacu.org. I’ll be happy to help.

How to get Mobile Money  by Tara

July8

On Wednesday you read Amber’s story of how Mobile Money got her out of a bind while grocery shopping, which hopefully has inspired you to take advantage of this FREE service provided by Linn Area Credit Union. But, if you’re anything like me, you like to have step-by-step instructions on how to get signed up! Well, friends, here you go:

Log on to your account via E-Branch

Click on the “Options” tab

Go to the “Additional Services” tab and select “Mobile Money”

Click “Sign Up”

Check the box that says “Accept terms and conditions” and then click “Continue”

Choose the central time zone in the drop down box

Choose the accounts that you would like to be able to access on Mobile Money from the list

Choose a texting nickname (ex: savings could be “sav” or “save” or “1”  or whatever you want!)

Click “Continue”

Enter your mobile number

Click “Next”

Choose text messaging and mobile browser if you have smart phone; choose just text if your phone only has texting capabilities (go here for more clarification)

You will immediately receive a text with your activation code

Enter activation code into the specified box on your computer and click “Activate”

It will then tell you that activation has been successful and will text you instructions on how to use it

If you have a Smartphone, save the unique URL to your browser’s favorites so you can quickly and easily access your account information (My handy-dandy tip: Instead of the normal bookmark, I actually saved my link to my iPhone’s home screen, which created a handy little icon for me!)

Now, remember, the above step-by-step guide is meant to be a Cliff Notes version! Be sure that you are reading everything on the screens, as there will be additional information throughout the sign up process. If you get stuck, know that you can always call us at 319.378.0101 or connect with us using Live Chat and we’ll help you walk through it!

A big thanks to Stacey Carter, one of our Member Services Representatives, for creating the step-by-step guide to getting Mobile Money!