During a time when everyone is stocking up on paper goods and grocery items, it might seem like a smart idea to also stockpile our assets and quarantine our cash at home with us. But there are better ways to keep your money safe.
1. Your Money is Safe in a Federally Insured Credit Union
Vantage West is federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), an agency of the Federal government. That means that our Members’ funds are insured up to $250,000 per Member.
For more details on what that entails, watch the six-minute video below that the NCUA created:
Among other important facts, the video narrator shares:
- For more than 100 years, credit unions have promoted thrift and savings among their members and consumers in the United States.
- Created by Congress in 1970, the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund insures the accounts of millions of account holders in all federal credit unions and the vast majority of state-chartered credit unions.
- Not one penny of insured savings has ever been lost by a member of a federally insured credit union.
To learn more about federally insured funds, you can visit the NCUA’s official consumer protection website: MyCreditUnion.gov/share-insurance. There, you will find more videos and other resources like “Share Insurance Coverage Overview” and “How Your Accounts Are Federally Insured.”
We do not advise withdrawing storing large amounts of cash at your home or in your wallet, because that removes the federal insurance covering your money. Additionally, as U.S. News Money pointed out in this article:
- You might not be protected in the event of a robbery or fire
- You don’t earn interest on your funds
- It’s easy to accidentally throw away or misplace cash
2. Other Options for Maintaining Control of Your Money
There are several ways you can stay in control of your money while it remains safe in your financial institution.
- Online and Mobile Banking
With online and mobile banking, you can transfer funds between accounts, send money to loved ones, deposit checks, pay bills, and more. We encourage Members to take full advantage of online and mobile banking. If you are not registered for online banking, we invite you to do so at VantageWest.org and download our mobile app from the Apple App Store or Google Play.
- Secure Chat
You can handle many of your account needs inside of online and mobile banking. If you run into any questions, you can also contact our experts by using the chat feature while you’re logged into your account.
- Phone and More
Call us at 800.888.7882 to speak with a Member Solutions Specialist and visit VantageWest.org/Contact for a list of all the communication channels we have available for you. As we all work together, we appreciate your patience and kindness during times of increased call and chat volume.
3. Beware of Fraudsters Capitalizing on the Pandemic
Fraudsters are using the collective fear surrounding COVID-19 to scam innocent people. Below are five precautionary steps the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) shared to avoid becoming a fraud victim. Visit consumer.ftc.gov for the full list.
- Don’t respond to texts and emails about checks from the government. The details are still being worked out. Anyone who tells you they can get you the money now is a scammer.
- Watch for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or experts saying they have information about the virus. For the most up-to-date information about the Coronavirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
- Know who you’re buying from. Online sellers may claim to have in-demand products, like cleaning, household, and health and medical supplies when, in fact, they don’t.
- Ignore online offers for vaccinations. There currently are no vaccines, pills, potions, lotions, lozenges or other prescription or over-the-counter products available to treat or cure Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) — online or in stores.
- Do your homework when it comes to donations, whether through charities or crowdfunding sites. Don’t let anyone rush you into making a donation. If someone wants donations in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money, don’t do it.
4. How Vantage West is Providing Relief to Impacted Members
We’ve waived some fees and modified products and services to relieve as much financial burden as possible for our affected Members:
- We are waiving Skip-a-Pay service fees on consumer loans and credit cards, subject to eligibility. Skip-a-Pay is available within online and mobile banking by selecting “More.”
- Additionally, we are committed to working with impacted Members facing other loan repayment challenges. Contact a Member Service Representative at 855.751.7003 to discuss potential loan modification options.
- We are waiving loan pay-by-phone fees for eligible Members.
- We are waiving early CD withdrawal penalty fees for up to $5,000 per Member per month.
- As a reminder, if you have a Vantage West credit card, you can access your available cash advance line with 0% cash advance fee.
- We have extended the 2020 scholarship application deadline.
For the latest COVID-19 updates from Vantage West, please visit VantageWest.org/HealthAlert.
We Will Get Through This Together
We hope this blog helped you think through the ways you can protect your money. No matter how this pandemic is affecting you and your loved ones, our hearts are with you. We are here to help you as best as we can and look forward to the bright days waiting for us on the other side of COVID-19.