4 Things to Know About Digital Wallets

The digital wallet in your smartphone may soon replace credit and debit cards as the benefits and simplicity of paying with your phone make reaching for plastic or cash inconvenient.

A digital wallet — often called a mobile wallet — is accessed through an app on your smartphone or other mobile device and enables you to digitally store and access items typically found in a physical wallet.

The term “digital wallet,” however, can cause confusion, since multiple types of digital wallets may be found on your mobile device. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Your smartphone includes a digital wallet app for organizing credit and debit cards, as well as other digitalized items depending on the app, making it easier to service cards in one spot and make purchases using your phone.
  2. Samsung Pay is the newest addition to USAA’s mobile payment lineup. It’s accepted almost anywhere you can swipe or tap a card because it uses both magnetic secure transmission technology and newer near-field communication (NFC) to transmit payment data.
  3. By assigning virtual device account numbers to cards, mobile payments are secure and do not use actual debit or credit card numbers when making a purchase. Fingerprint or passcode authentication adds an extra security layer.
  4. USAA’s digital wallet, within USAA Mobile App, creates easy access to card services such as blocking a card, reporting a card lost or stolen, replacement card ordering, checking for unauthorized transactions or copying a card number when making in-app or online purchases. It allows members the ability to enroll in Samsung Pay, Apple Pay™ and Android Pay™. Members can also use USAA’s digital wallet to send money and view special USAA offers and discounts that may apply to debit or credit card purchases.

Pypper Namikas, product management director at USAA, believes the USAA digital wallet enhances members’ overall shopping, banking and insurance experiences.

“The wallet makes life easier for our members,” Namikas says. “Information is literally at your fingertips.”



02-20-2017 07:40 AM

Content provided courtesy of USAA.

The Best Way to Pay Off Your Credit Cards

Even those of us with great credit can sometimes get carried away and end up with too much credit card debt… debt that saps your monthly budget and can take years to pay off.  But, since debt consolidation companies can sometimes cause your credit score to take a nosedive, you just keep paying those minimum payments and never seeming to make any real headway on your bills, right?  Wrong.  There are some really good options for people with good credit scores!

A personal loan is a great way to pay off credit card debt.  With a personal loan, not only can you pay off those credit cards, but you’ll lower those budget killing monthly payments and save thousands on interest over the course of the loan.

The Best Way to Boost Your Credit Score

Looking for the best way to boost your credit score?

Maybe your credit score is less than perfect?  Maybe you’ve had a serious financial setback… lost your job, gotten a divorce, filed bankruptcy… The financial crisis has passed, and now you’re looking for the best way to get your credit back on track?

Believe it or not, one of the best ways to boost your credit score is to open a Fingerhut account!

Unlike most of those major credit card companies, Fingerhut will normally extend credit when no one else will.  In fact, almost everyone qualifies for up to $300 in available credit simply by entering your name and address and find out now.

How does a Fingerhut Credit Account help your credit?

A Fingerhut account helps your credit in two ways – the first and most obvious way is that you’ll have an open credit account with available credit.  Having available credit is a very important factor in your credit score… and keeping your balance at or below one third of your total available credit makes up about thirty percent of your credit score.  So, when you increase your available credit, you increase your credit score.

Secondly, Fingerhut reports your responsible credit usage to the major credit bureaus on a monthly basis.  This helps you to build or rebuild your payment history, and your payment history is another very important part of your overall credit score.  The longer your credit history and the more regular, on time payments that show up on your credit report, the more positive effect it will have on your credit score.

Still not convinced that a Fingerhut account is right for you?

If boosting your credit score isn’t enough to make you want to open a Fingerhut Credit Account right now, maybe the hundreds of thousands of competitively priced, name brand products available will sway your decision… that’s right, hundreds of thousands of competitively price, name brand products!  Everything from clothing to jewelry to electronics to furniture and appliances are available through Fingerhut!  Need a new wardrobe?  Fingerhut has it.  A new television?  Fingerhut has it.  New living room furniture?  Fingerhut has it!  That’s right, whatever you’re looking for, chances are you’ll find it at Fingerhut!

We’ll even give you a new promo code to get $25.00 off your first order!  Just enter NC698 when you check out to get your $25.00 off your first order of $100 or more!

Go ahead, what are you waiting for?  Open your Fingerhut Credit Account issued by WebBank  today!

Does “I Do” Mean Joint Accounts?

If you are planning to take a good look at your finances and make savings goals for the New Year, you are not alone. This is a great time to make goals for savings, investment and money management in general. As I reviewed my family’s financial plan and discussed our savings goals with my spouse, it made me curious how other military families handled their finances.

My husband and I married in 2008 and we combined all of our finances. We merged savings accounts and opened one shared checking account. We lived apart the first year of our marriage and having one place for our paychecks to deposit made managing our money and paying bills easier. When he deployed in 2013, I took over the main roll of managing our accounts and bills and continued to do so when he returned. I assumed this was how most married military couples handled things (joint accounts), but after a poll of some Navy spouses, I realized there are so many ways couples successful manage their household finances.

Kendra:  ‘We have a joint, but also each have a separate… savings. We use joint for bills, then we are allotted “spending or spare money for our own accounts. Bills are paid out of the total pot, not necessarily paid by one or the other. I (the wife) do all the finances, as my husband doesn’t have any desire to deal with them.’

Skya: Our arrangement is similar, we have joint accounts and separate, agreeing on a percentage of our income that we each contribute (we’ve upped that amount recently with him retiring and losing income, and mine being higher than his is about to be so we have enough to live on), and maintain separate accounts for expenses like our respective cars and other discretionary expenses. In the early years of our marriage when he was deployed a lot of the time, I paid all the bills and kept an eye on the accounts, but “management” really isn’t my forte, conservative spending is. However, he’s been around more in the last few years and has been becoming more aware of income for retirement, so he’s been tracking our monthly spending more.

Jodi: We have joint accounts for checking and savings. We find joint accounts easier to manage our money. I take care of all the finances in the household. We each have a budget of how much we can spend and I check the account activity usually every 2 days to make sure we are on track. We have specifically been working on building our credit and saving money to buy a house. So we use credit cards for everything and I pay in full each month.

Erika: We have both personal and joint bank accounts. A joint for the bills and kids, and then a personal for my own purchases. Our paychecks are deposited into our separate bank accounts. Then we put a set amount into the joint based on our estimated purchases for the kids and the bills we have for that month. Whatever is left over stays in our personal accounts

Lis: We have a joint checking account that our pay goes into and bills get paid out of. Then we each have a separate account that we put an “allowance” into each paycheck that we use for incidentals, out-of-home meals, and personal expenses. We also put a set amount plus anything left over into a joint savings account.

Rebecca: We have a joint account, and we have two checking accounts, one where bills come out of, and one for groceries/misc. We add up the total cost of bills, and take half of that each paycheck to put away in the bill account. It makes the first of the month much less stressful because that’s when the biggest chunk gets taken out, and we never have to worry about not having enough money.

Karen: Joint account for household spending, bills, and kids. Separate account for personal spending. Since we didn’t make the same amount of money, we set a percentage of our paycheck to go into our joint account. Since I stopped working and became a stay at home mom, he contributes to the joint account- in addition to our income from rental property. That way, we can spend for our own needs without questions.

Alisa: We have joint accounts and separate accounts. Both our paychecks go into a “community” account and that is where all the bills are paid from. Then some of the “leftover” money goes into a joint savings and then we each get an “allowance” into our personal accounts. I 100% handle all the finances. I find it is easier this way since all of our bills are shared bills that we both feel like we are contributing and we get equal “allowances” which allows us to save up for things that we want individually. Neither one of us has to ask the other one for money- It makes it feel like more of a partnership. No one feels like the other one is in control of what the other one can/cannot buy.

Sapphire: We have separate accounts, but with the same bank. I have access to his, and he as has access to mine and I can transfer from his account to mine whenever I need anything, we need to still set it up for him to transfer from mine to his. I like it separate because if something were to happen to his account or to him I would still be able to have access to funds to pay for things, by having my own account. Although we have separate accounts, we share the budgeting, and go over things with each other before buying “wants”.

Kara: We have a joint account and I take care of most of the bills (makes it easier when he deploys). We have 2 savings accounts (1 for Christmas and 1 for incidentals).

Andrea: Joint everything. Both of us came from family backgrounds of “what’s mine is yours” once you get married, and we both feel the same way too. We didn’t really consider doing anything different. I do a majority of the finances because I’m always on the computer & know all the passwords.

I hope these testimonies help validate the way your family manages accounts or gave you a few ideas how you could change if your current set up is not working as well as you hoped!


‎02-06-2017 07:30 AM

Content provided courtesy of USAA.

By Briana Hartzell


Planning Your Spring Break Trip?

Wondering if you can still get a room for this year’s spring break trip to the beach?

With spring break literally just a couple of weeks away, it’s becoming virtually impossible to get a room on the beach! Either everything is already booked up or it’s way out of your price range! Relax… there’s still time to find the perfect place to spend your spring vacation. Want to go to Destin for spring break? Maybe you’d rather go to Orlando? Or Hawaii? Or Cancun?

Need a Vacation?


It’s Prime Time to Review Your Interest Rates

On Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016, the prime rate increased as a result of the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee actions. The prime rate is the rate banks typically charge their most credit worthy customers, and is used to determine rates on consumer loan products such as credit cards or auto loans. This means that products with a variable interest rate will see an increase in rates. If you have a fixed rate, the prime rate increase will not impact your existing product.

What does this mean for USAA members? Unless you have a significant amount of variable rate debt, the impact should be minimal. On your January statement, you will see an increase in the amount of interest, which will increase the minimum payment on your USAA credit card. Over the next couple of months, you can also expect to see an increase in fixed rates for any new loans you take out. On a positive note, it is also possible that deposit rates could increase slightly.

How can you decrease the impact of changing interest rates?

  • Pay off credit card balances in full each billing cycle. The interest rate is irrelevant if you never have to pay it.
  • Look for options to consolidate variable rates into a fixed rate. USAA Bank offers fixed rate personal loans. You can use the Personal Loan Calculator and the Debt Consolidator Tool on the page to see if it makes sense for you.
  • Consider consolidating variable rate student loans to a fixed rate. For federal student loans, visit the student aid website to learn more about your options. Before making the decision to consolidate, be sure to consider any loss of benefits from the original loan. For private student loans, contact your lender to discuss options.
  • If you are planning to make a major purchase, such as a vehicle, now may be the time to move. As long as you can afford the payment and other associated costs, such as insurance and gas, then buying before rates increase could save you money.
  • Stick to a budget. Those most impacted by an increase in the prime rate typically carry a significant amount of variable-rate debt. Following a budget can help you avoid overextending yourself and getting into a financial bind.

Rates may be increasing, but they are still far below what we have seen in the past (13% in 1984). Following sound money management principles can help reduce the impact and alleviate the stress associated with increasing rates. USAA is here to help.