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BEWARE

Be wary of those who come bearing gifts. The most recent credit card scam works like this:

A phone call from someone who says that he is from some outfit called: "Express Couriers" asking if someone was going to be home because there is a package, and the caller says that the delivery would arrive at your home in roughly an hour. And sure enough, about an hour later, a delivery man turns up with a beautiful basket of flowers and wine. What a surprise for you (especially if there is no special occasion or holiday), and no-one certainly expects anything like that! Intrigued you ask who the sender is. The deliveryman's reply was, he is only delivering the gift package, but allegedly a card is being sent separately; (the card never arrives). There is also an official looking ‘consignment’ note with the gift. He now goes on to explain that because the gift contains alcohol, there is a $3.50 ‘delivery charge’ as proof that he had actually delivered the package to an adult, and not just left it on the doorstep to just be stolen or taken by anyone. Sounds logical doesn’t it? You offer to pay cash but he tells you that the company requires the payment to be by credit or debit card only, so that no ‘cash’ is exchanged and everything is properly accounted for. You take out your (or your husbands) credit/debit card and the "delivery man" asks you to swipe the card on the small mobile card machine which has a small screen and keypad where you now enter the card's PIN and security number. A receipt is printed out and given to you.

Next week you will find that money has been charged/withdrawn from your credit/debit account at various ATM machines all over the country. It appears that the "mobile credit card machine" which the deliveryman carried now has all the info necessary to create a "dummy" card with all your card details, after you have swiped the card and entered the requested PIN and security number.

Please be aware - no one should request a copy of your Debit Card or request YOU to read the numbers for verification. If over the phone and they can't supply the information for you, hang up. If they are legit, they will have all of that information and be able to verify it by reading it TO you. If in person, any suspect description or suspect vehicle information should be reported to your local police agency.

 

CREDIT CARD ACCOUNTING

Leave it to one of our clever customers to come up with a great way to keep credit card purchases under control and simplify record keeping!  Concerned about spending more on your credit card than you should?  Here's how to solve the problem:

 Whenever you use your credit card to pay for something, record the purchase in your check register as if you had written a check or used your debit card.  In place of the check number, put in "CC" for credit card.  Subtract the amount from your checking balance.  When the credit card statement becomes available, check off the corresponding individual charges in your register.  The total of all of the "CC" marked items will balance with the total of your credit card bill.  Allow the credit card company to charge your checking account for the total bill (set this up automatically to happen each month).  Since you've already deducted the amounts as you made the purchases, the payment is already accounted for!

If you have discovered a reliable method to aid in using the payment system, e-mail us and tell us about it.  We love to share helpful solutions amongst our family of CSB depositors!

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DEBIT CARD
VS
CREDIT CARD

When traveling, it's likely that you will encounter situations where the credit card makes more sense to use than the debit card.  Renting a room in a hotel or motel commonly causes a security hold for multiple nights, damage deposit, etc. to be "held" against the card's available credit balance.  This is a situation most people would NOT want to put their checking account funds into by using their debit card, even though the holds are generally released within a couple of days.  A similar experience can result in many auto rental agreements and even in restaurants.

A good rule to follow is to use the debit card wherever you would feel comfortable writing a check.  If you wouldn't want someone to see the information plainly available on your printed check (such as name, address, bank routing number, your account number, a specimen of your signature) then the additional security of a credit card transaction is to your advantage.  Cyber shopping on the internet is just too risky NOT to use a secured credit card method of payment.

Remember, you get to review your transactions on your credit card record BEFORE you pay the bill off with YOUR funds.  Regular reviews of your checking account transactions online will allow you to be assured that all is well with the debit card transactions you have initiated. 

The two cards are more complementary than they are competitive.  Like a rake and shovel or fork and spoon, each one should be used under the correct circumstances for the best results.
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DEBIT CARDS and THE PAYMENT SYSTEM

Not too many years ago, an order to pay from one's bank account used to be limited to a written check or draft.  It needed to be on paper, have properly constructed specific components including written and numeric amounts, current date, payee, authorized signature, and an identified financial institution.  When properly endorsed by the payee, presented to the paying bank, and within the limit of available funds of the maker, the payment would be completed.

The debit card has been developed into a replacement product so a payment order might be completed through an electronic network much like a credit card purchase.  Though these plastic cards may appear to be similar, they are regulated differently.  Because the level of security and consumer protection is different for each type, the use of one or the other can be advantageous depending on the circumstances. 

Chelsea State Bank debit cards are generally secured in their use differently depending largely upon where the actual plastic card is during the transaction.  Here are examples of the more frequently occurring transactions:

Payer Present

The payer appears at the point of purchase (or ATM) in person with the debit card in hand.  The card is physically scanned by the merchant (or ATM) and the transaction is completed by either the entry of the cardholder's PIN (Personal ID Number) or with the cardholder's signature on a sales slip.

Payer Not Present

The payer is communicating the debit card number and is not present at the point of purchase.  With very few exceptions, the 3 number CVC code on the back of the card is required to complete this type of transaction.   If the merchant is properly secured in his/her payment processing system, the transaction will be completed. 

If the transaction cannot be secured as in the above examples, CSB's current best practice recommendation is NOT to use the debit card for the purchase.  A credit card is the more appropriate method in such instances.  Cardholders can accomplish the end result of paying for these transactions from their checking accounts by having the credit card bill paid from the checking account when due once each month AFTER having reviewed the credit card statement.  By "filtering" the less secure payments through the credit card and paying the credit card bill from the checking account, the cardholder is receiving the best of both systems. 

CSB has many years of experience with thousands of customers and millions of secure transactions.  We are available to help you find the best system of payments regardless of the situation and an ever changing payment system.  Call us, e-mail us, come in and meet with us, stop us in the grocery store if you have to, but let us help you with all things financial.

                                                                       ACCOUNTABILITY
                                                                                                                       RELIABILITY
         RESPONSIBILITY
                                                      DEPENDABILITY

When you seek financial peace of mind, rapid accountability of your personal financial transactions is available through Chelsea State Bank's internet banking service.  Today's fast pace living style is reflected in a fast pace payment system.  The emerging electronic clearing of payments demands that participants have access to their accounting records 24/7.  The reliability of this information allows the level of responsibility to be the highest it can be. 

Pre-authorized payment of bills by reliable creditors, payments entered through bill pay, debit card purchases, and electronic substitution of written checks are all posted and available for review more rapidly than ever.  Likewise, direct deposit of payroll and entitlements helps keep pace with those payments.  Management of account records in this environment is highly efficient and results in maximum dependability.  

CSB has always been progressive in the automation arena.  Taking ownership of the process and sharing the information with its clients in a reliable format is at the foundation of best banking practices.  By partnering with us, you can be assured of the integrity of your financial transactions and receive that assurance rapidly.

If you feel that you need help with today's sophisticated payment system, rely on CSB as members of our community have relied on us since 1897.  E-mail us at www.csbonline.com, call us at (734) 475-1355, or stop in at one of our 3 locations at your earliest convenience.

Facebook "Friends" to Avoid & How to Do It

Thieves
The Federal Trade Commission estimates that identity theft affects about 9 million Americans each year. Even though you're not posting your Social Security number on your profile, you're giving identity thieves an incredible amount of info that could be used to destroy your credit history and your credibility.

It's not only identity thieves you need to look out for: A recent study by Legal & General found that 38% of social network users post their vacation plans on their profile. Considering that many users have pages that are completely open to public viewing, thieves are making appointments with empty houses via Facebook. 

Hackers
The Better Business Bureau identified several schemes and scams that have made their way onto Facebook and MySpace such as the good old viral wall post. This hack targets those of us who are especially careful about who can see or access our information, making it even more malicious than other hacks. It works like this: a "friend" posts on your wall to let you know that some of your pictures are up on a random Web site. You, wanting your info on lockdown, click the link to the site and, in effect, give the hacker access to your account and allow them to post the same message on the walls of all of your friends. Not only does this cost you, but it could cost others as well.

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CSB OVERDRAFT PROTECTION

SO, WHAT ELSE IS NEW?

Perhaps you have noticed that many financial institutions seem to be scrambling to adjust their overdrawn account fees lately.  Overdrawn accounts have been a sensitive subject for banks and their customers for many years. 

For our checking account depositors who will apply and qualify for a credit line loan account, Chelsea State Bank features an automated overdraft protection line of credit tied to your checking account that will advance funds in $100 increments, should your checking account fall below a zero balance.  If you don't ever use the line, the cost is nothing.  When an advance is made, the cost is a nickel per $100 per day until repaid (18.0% APR).  A nickel could save you $30 the first time you're overdrawn.  It's like insurance you don't have to pay for, UNLESS you are in an accident!

Sound good?  CSB has been providing this service since 1993!  19 years ahead of all of those financial institutions that are now scrambling to adjust.  Why take the risk?  If you are one of the hundreds of satisfied CSB checking account owners already enjoying this service, thank you for the opportunity for us to serve you.  If you're not, where have you been?  Call us today and let us help you bank with confidence.  (734) 475-1355
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PERSONAL FINANCIAL PLAN

Many people launch their personal financial ships for the first time without a clue as to what can sink the boat.  Just as you would likely benefit from some boating safety information before you sail off on your initial voyage, a personal financial plan will likely be helpful before you set out in the sea of life.   Understanding the relationship between income and expense is the key to maintaining a comfortable balance. 

Let's start with income.  While it's important to make sure your tax liabilities are reasonable, many people make the mistake of "over-withholding" on taxes taken out of their paychecks so they can "get a big refund from the government" in the spring.  To participate in this activity denies you use of some of your own money all year.  Keep withholding amounts adequate to cover the taxes that will be due, but no more than that.

Once you have determined the correct withholdings, the amount left for you is your "net pay".  Convert your net pay to a monthly figure by calculating the number of pays you get per year, times the net amount, divided by 12.  The primary rule here is to NEVER allow your fixed monthly payments to exceed ½ of your monthly net income.

What is considered a fixed monthly payment?  Rent or mortgage payment, car loan or lease payment, personal loan payment, credit card carrying a balance payment, and any other LOAN payment.  In this method, food, utilities, insurance, and all other expenses are to be budgeted from the other half of your net income.

Example:  Suzy earns $800 per pay (every 2 weeks) after taxes.  26 x 800 = 20,800 annually divided by 12 = 1,733.33 monthly.

According to our plan, Suzy needs to limit her fixed monthly obligations to $866.66.  She and her roommate share an apartment and each pay half of the $600 monthly rent.  Since her share is $300, that leaves 566.66 to cover her other fixed monthly payments which include her car at $200 and a student loan of $75.  Her credit card seldom carries a balance that she can't payoff each month, a good sign that she hasn't abused use of her credit card.  Her total fixed monthly payments are $575.00.  (300 rent + 200 car + 75 student loan)

Her monthly budget for the rest of her expenses is:

Savings          $100.00
Insurance           56.00
Food                 400.00
Entertainment  100.00
Gas                     50.00
Phone                 50.00
Electric                50.00
Clothing              50.00
                       $856.00

To help her account for her finances, Suzy has her paycheck directly deposited to her bank on payday.  She immediately transfers half of the check (plus $50) to her combined savings account.  She only moves enough money back into her checking account from savings when one of her fixed monthly payments is coming due prior to the next payday.  Because Suzy has kept her finances in line, she has managed to save over $2,000 in the last year. (Top)

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Complete Payment System
 


Are you getting the maximum benefit from your bank relationship?  The following tips can help you get the highest quality personal banking experience anywhere!  As your portal to the payment system, CSB can provide you with the financial tools you need to succeed.

Your lead checking account is the proper transaction vehicle for all of your incoming and outgoing payments.  Because savings accounts are limited by *regulation as to the number of pre-authorized transfers made, they better serve as a reservoir for immediately available funds you are able to keep, at least for a while. 

Linking the appropriate savings account(s) to your lead checking account allows YOU to maintain the balances in all of your accounts relative to your specific income and payment needs.  We recommend that you maintain a balance in your lead checking account that will adequately fund outgoing payments for the ensuing week.  The amount of the difference can then be transferred to or from the savings account (reservoir) until the next week through csbonline.com or CSB telephone access.

By maintaining the correct balances weekly, *regulations that limit remote savings transfers or pre-authorized transfers to no more than 6 per month will always be satisfied.  Weekly account maintenance also allows you to keep much better track of your account activity.  It shouldn't be surprising that balancing your account weekly is MUCH easier than when waiting a full month. 

Once you have become accustomed to weekly account maintenance and transaction review, you will likely see that pre-authorized bill payments originated by your creditor(s) or online bill payment by you using CSB online bill pay, are convenient tools at your command.  Many of our banking clients have decreased paper check writing to practically none. 

Your ATM/debit card is the next tool you need to have in your financial tool kit.  It's a reusable plastic check accepted anywhere Master Card is honored.  

Finally, our overdraft protection credit line can save you if you miscalculate the days or accidentally drop an item from your check register.  Once your application has been approved and the stand-by line of credit agreement has been signed, transfers in even $100 increments will automatically guard your lead account from costly and embarrassing overdrafts.

So choose your day of the week and start getting the most from CSB.  Here are the necessary tools you should have to maximize your personal banking relationship:

             Lead Checking account

            Combined Savings account

            www.csbonline.com internet banking

            CSB Telephone Access

            CSB online bill pay

            CSB ATM/debit card

            CSB overdraft protection

 *Regulation D of the Federal Banking Regulations

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 ATM's
Explained

 

"How can they charge me a fee for my OWN money?"

Because it's NOT your money.  The real truth is that the cash in the ATM machine belongs to the owner of the machine, not you.  In the early days of ATM cash service, a cardholder could ONLY get cash from an ATM owned by his/her own bank.  As time went on, the banks learned how to "exchange" transactions to broaden the availability of ATM cash services to cardholders using a network.  Since the bank that owns the ATM has the expense of the machine itself, the cash inside it, and maintaining the connections to the network, "guest" users of the ATM are receiving cash right now that the host bank (the true owner of the money) is dispensing to them.  The host bank must then contact the "guest" cardholder's bank to line up the repayment of the cash dispensed.  That's what your front end fee covers.

"So why do I have to pay my own bank a fee for the same thing?  That seems like a double charge."

After the cardholder's bank receives the repayment request, it must charge the  cardholder's account and forward the repayment back to the ATM owner bank so that bank can get the money back it gave to you.  That is the back end fee you are charged by your own bank.

"Can I get cash from an ATM anywhere in the U.S. and have the ATM owner bank and my bank settle my transaction for those two fees?

As long as the ATM is a member of the network sponsoring your card, yes.

"How many ATMs are there?" Millions at best estimates.

"Is there a way to do the transaction without a fee?"

Yes.  Use the card in the store where you are making the purchase as a point of sale payment instead of going to an ATM machine to get cash.  Most retailers allow a reasonable amount of cash back to the customer at no extra fee.  Use that feature to re-supply your pocket cash.  Of course you can plan ahead and be sure to stop by an ATM owned by your own bank where the fee is waived.

"So if I use my ATM/Debit card to make purchases at the store instead of getting cash at a machine, there is no fee and I can pocket return cash up to the limits set by the store?

Yes, providing the total transaction doesn't exceed your account available balance.

We can help!  Call us for more information at (734) 475-1355.  Top
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Pandemic Disease

As you might suspect, the effort of controlling the outbreak of any pandemic disease can be enhanced by limiting people’s exposure to other people and places that may have been contaminated.  While it may be difficult to imagine cutting yourself off completely from any contact with anyone or anything by going into total isolation, you can decrease your exposure in much that you do.  To do so will improve your chances of staying clear of infection.

When it comes to your finances, internet banking services and telephone banking allow you to avoid physically going into the bank while accomplishing most every financial task that arises directly from your home or office.  Payment at the point of sale by using your debit card will avoid the use of cash that passes through many hands.   Preauthorized creditor originated payments, bill pay service, and direct deposit of payroll or entitlement are other ways to limit physical contact.

Shopping over the internet, when possible, will help you avoid contact with a potentially contaminated physical environment.   When it becomes necessary to make a physical trip, careful planning to cut down on the number of them you make will also improve limited exposure.

These alternative delivery systems are available right now!  How many of them are you using?  You can probably be better prepared by becoming familiar with these valuable tools now.  If a severe influenza outbreak ever did occur, you’ll be better prepared.  We can help!  Call us for more information at (734) 475-1355.

 

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Those Bearing Gifts

Credit Card Accounting

Debit vs Credit

The Payment System

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Personal Financial Plan

Complete
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ATM's Explained

Pandemic Disease