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Your financial goals are unique to you.  Start, or resume, your personal financial journey by using the resources below.  And remember, your bankers at Citizens First Bank are available to discuss your circumstances and next steps to reach your goals.  We’re here to help!

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6 TIPS TO BUILD YOUR CREDIT

 

Begin building credit right away.
As your credit score grows, and you accumulate positive credit information, doors will open for you!

Tip 1. MAKE ALL PAYMENTS ON–TIME

1. MAKE ALL PAYMENTS
ON–TIME
A clock pointing at a 4:05 time

Tip 1. MAKE ALL PAYMENTS ON–TIME

1. MAKE ALL PAYMENTS
ON–TIME

Your payment history is the single biggest factor affecting your credit score.

Paying only the minimum ammount is fine, if that's all you can manage.

Tip 2. MAINTAIN AVAILABLE
CREDIT LIMIT

2. MAINTAIN AVAILABLE CREDIT LIMIT
Icon of a person running inside a gear

Tip 2. MAINTAIN AVAILABLE
CREDIT LIMIT

2. MAINTAIN AVAILABLE CREDIT LIMIT

Staying lower than 70% of the limit on any card is good practice. Focus on bringing down the highest ones.

Low balance is better for your score.

Tp 3. 3. GET A
CREDIT CARD

3. GET A CREDIT CARD
Icon of both sides of a credit card

Tp 3. 3. GET A
CREDIT CARD

3. GET A CREDIT CARD

Choose a card from an issuer that reports payments to all three major credit-reporting bureaus.

If your credit card accounts have been closed, you may need to start over with a secured credit card.

Tip 4. APPLY TO A CREDIT-BUILDER LOAN

4. APPLY TO A CREDIT-BUILDER LOAN
Icon of a hand pointing at a contract

Tip 4. APPLY TO A CREDIT-BUILDER LOAN

4. APPLY TO A CREDIT-BUILDER LOAN

Find one at your community bank. This kind of loan has one purpose: to help you improve your credit profile.

The lender holds onto the money as you repay, then funds are released.

Tip 5. BECOME AN AUTHORIZED USER

5. BECOME AN AUTHORIZED USER

Tip 5. BECOME AN AUTHORIZED USER

5. BECOME AN AUTHORIZED USER

Ask someone to add you as an authorized user on a credit card.

Ask someone with good credit habits, you can be added without actually giving you a card or card number.

Tip 6. GET A cO-SIGNER

6. GET A CO-SIGNER
Icon of a pen signing a paper

Tip 6. GET A cO-SIGNER

6. GET A CO-SIGNER

Ask a family member or friend to co-sign a loan or credit card is a huge favor.

Be certain you can repay to keep co-signer’s credit reputation and your relationship.

Citizens First Bank and ICBA offer the following tips to help consumers build and maintain good credit

– Open a checking account and keep careful track of your balance to help establish a credit history.
– Use debit and credit cards for convenience and safety. Be careful not to overspend and avoid missed or late payments, which can damage your credit and hurt your credit score.
– Develop a good mix of credit (such as a revolving credit line and an installment loan) to boost your credit score and demonstrate that you can manage different types of credit.
– Show stability in the three to six months before a major purchase. Avoid opening or closing accounts or moving large amounts of money around.
– Build an emergency fund equal to at least six months of living expenses. Establishing a financial cushion to help absorb unexpected expenses and avoid penalties and fees for missed or late payments.
– Alter your credit focus as you approach different life stages. While Gen Z might be saving for a down payment, a Gen Xers or baby boomers may be paying down debt to plan for retirement, respectively.
– Monitor your credit regularly so you can correct any errors and detect potential signs of identity theft. Order a copy of your credit report annually from www.annualcreditreport.com.

 

Dive deep into Credit and why it is important, by visiting the Small Business Administration (SBA) Money Smart for Small Businesses. Link below

Money Smart for Small Businesses: Credit

SECURITY TIPS

 

 

 

6 WAYS TO SPOT A SCAM

 

Phishing is one of the most common attack methods used by cybercriminals. Fortunately, there are signs that can help you identify whether or not that email in your inbox is a scam.

 

Asking for personal information?

ASKING FOR PERSONAL INFORMATION
Scam Alert image of a person being targeted

Asking for personal information?

ASKING FOR PERSONAL INFORMATION

Most reputable organizations will never email you asking for your address, phone number, national ID number, or other personal data.

UNREALISTIC THREATS

UNREALISTIC THREATS
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UNREALISTIC THREATS

UNREALISTIC THREATS

Phishing emails often feature threatening language, such as “Payment overdue!” or “Your account has been compromised!”, in order to generate a response from their targets.

A SENSE OF URGENCY

A SENSE OF URGENCY
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A SENSE OF URGENCY

A SENSE OF URGENCY

Similar to unrealistic threats, emails that urge you to click on a link or download an attachment or update your account immediately are likely scams.

YOU’RE ASKED TO SEND MONEY

YOU’RE ASKED TO SEND MONEY
silhouette of a hand giving money to a sketchy person with mean intentions

YOU’RE ASKED TO SEND MONEY

YOU’RE ASKED TO SEND MONEY

Whether it be overdue taxes or an upfront payment to cover expenses, any email that asks for money should immediately raise your suspicions.

POOR SPELLING & GRAMMAR

POOR SPELLING & GRAMMAR
silhouette of a microchip with the letter A in the middle

POOR SPELLING & GRAMMAR

POOR SPELLING & GRAMMAR

Most generic phishing attempts contain spelling and grammar errors or feature awkward wording/phrasing.

TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE

TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE
silhouette of a bill grabbed by a hook

TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE

TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE

The old saying remains true to this day: if it’s too good to be true, it’s likely untrue. Keep that in mind any time you get an email claiming you won the lottery or are due a large family inheritance.

How To Spot, Avoid, and Report Tech Support Scams

Computer Repair Scam

Customer’s computer gets a pop-up to call a number for repair. The number is a scammer that will take over their computer.

If you get a phone call you didn’t expect from someone who says there’s a problem with your computer, hang up.

The Federal Trade Commission explains this particular scam in detail, follow the link below:

 

FTC Consumer Information

 

PROTECT YOURSELF FROM SCAMS AND FRAUD

A discussion with Randy Meier

 

Randy is the Director of Seniors vs. Crime, a unit of the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office with the mission of reducing the impact of frauds and scams on the entire community, through public outreach, collaboration with other law enforcement and regulators, and direct assistance to victims. Meier started working as director in 2012, after his retirement from the Clinton Police Department, where he served for 33 years.

 

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Financial Calculators

EXTERNAL RESOURCES

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