Top ATM Safety Tips

by Andrew Schreiber 16. April 2015

ATM Safety

When you’re at an ATM, you may feel somewhat vulnerable. It’s important to acknowledge your vulnerable state and take steps to minimize your exposure. Here are some tips to help you stay safe at an ATM.

Be aware of your surroundings.

It’s best to use an ATM in a well-lit area that is visible to others. Avoid ATMs that are not facing the road or have blind spots (i.e. on the corner of a building). In addition to the location of the ATM, it’s also important to be wary of any suspicious people or situations nearby. If you feel the least bit uncomfortable, leave and find another ATM.

Put your cash away immediately.

If you are withdrawing money, you should put it away immediately once the cash has been dispensed. You’re probably thinking that it’s important to count the cash to make sure it is the right amount. Yes, it is important to count the cash, but do so in a safe area. You should never count it in a public area.

Limit your time at the machine.

You should go to an ATM with a “game plan.” What is your purpose for going to the ATM? Are you making a deposit, withdrawing money, transferring money, or checking your balance? Whatever your reason to use the ATM, make sure you complete your transaction in a timely matter. The less time you are in a vulnerable position, the better.

Daytime is better than nighttime.

I understand no one plans their day around going to the ATM. However, it is better to go to the ATM during the day. Typically, there is more activity and better visibility during the day. If you have to go at night, make sure it is a visible location and is well lit.

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Tired of Overdrawing Your Account? You Have Options!

by Kelly McCready 8. April 2015

Empty Wallet

Stop overdrawing your account. Today. It’s simple. Here’s four things you can do to prevent your account from being overdrawn:

1) Sign Up for Mobile Banking

With Mobile Banking you have access to your account anytime to check balances, view transactions and transfer money right then and there (in the store before you make that purchase that will overdraw your checking account).

2) Alert, Alert!

Set up alerts within Online Banking to receive emails when your account balance falls below a certain limit or when transactions occur. This is easy to set up, and free!

3) Savings Transfer

Set up a sweep for when your account is overdrawn. Nope, not with a broom. A sweep in the sense that you can have money "swept" (aka transferred) from your savings account to your checking account. There is typically a fee that comes with this service, BUT, the "sweep" fee is MUCH less than the fees you would rack up with each overdraft fee you’d receive on each transaction.

4) Overdraft Protection

Sounds fancy. It’s not. Just set up a line of credit, offered through your bank. Similar to the savings transfer, if you overdraw your account, funds are transferred from your line of credit into your checking account in increments of $100. There is also a fee associated with this service, but again, the overdraft fee would be much greater. Don’t be scared when they ask you to fill out a credit application – it won’t take long!

Talk to your friendly banker about which option(s) may be best for you. Now you have absolutely no reason to overdraw your account!

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4 Things I Wish I Knew before Buying My First Home

by Sara Seeger 2. April 2015

Shopping for Homes

Purchasing a home is a big deal. Many times, a house is the most costly and valuable asset an individual can own. Many people understand that taking out a home mortgage means taking on a huge amount of debt, but what happens after you sign the papers?

As someone who purchased a house two years ago, I wish I would have thought about these four things before I took the plunge.

Work, Work, Work

Owning a home is a lot of work. If something breaks, you don’t have a landlord, maintenance team, or parent to fix the problem. You don’t have a landscaper to cut your grass and trim the bushes outside. You are responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the outside and inside of your house. Some people enjoy these activities, but not everyone does. That’s why it is important to know that owning a home is a lot of work.


When purchasing a home, it is important to know that things can break, and it’s up to you to fix them. A few months after moving into my house I discovered an issue with my air conditioner and water heater, with both items needing to be completely replaced. Luckily, I received some money back at closing which gave me some extra cash to have these two items replaced, but no one expects to purchase a home and have to make repairs immediately. It is wise to not max yourself out on your home loan and also to have some sort of repository for extra "home" money that you can dedicate to any home repairs or maintenance.


Buying a home is one of the biggest financial responsibilities a person can take on. A house is not like an apartment; you can’t easily move to a new one if you dislike your neighbors or community. Selling a home you purchased right away can be expensive. You may lose money on the house, or if people aren’t buying it could sit on the market for a while. When buying a home, think in the long-term and plan to own it for several years. Purchase enough house for you (with maybe a little extra), but don’t over-indulge.

Talk to Your Potential Neighbors

Looks can be deceiving. A beautiful house situated in a quaint neighborhood may look pleasantly appealing, but can turn into a disaster once you move in. Unfortunately, I didn’t follow this advice when I purchased my home two years ago. If I did, I may have figured out the potential issues of the neighborhood, for instance the barking dogs at all hours of the night and the neighborhood pest problem, ahead of time.

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