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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How to Find the Perfect Checking Account

by Andrew Schreiber 10. February 2015

Perfect Checking Account

In today’s banking world there are many variations of a simple checking account that offer different features and benefits. Most of the time you rely heavily on your bank’s recommendation as to what account works best for you, or you just default to the account that has the least amount of requirements. However, defaulting to the product with the least amount of requirements could be detrimental to you as a customer. You might be eligible for interest on your balances, free ATMs, free checks, etc. The following questions can help guide you to the best product for you:

Will you have a direct deposit into your checking account?

Having a direct deposit is becoming a more popular requirement of accounts in order to avoid a monthly service charge. The majority of companies offer direct deposit of payroll to their employees. Having a direct deposit is a benefit in and of itself; you don’t have the hassle of going to the bank to deposit your paycheck every payday. The funds transfer right into your account and are available to you that night.

A good account if you have a direct deposit would be our Classic Direct Deposit Checking account.

What is the average balance you keep in your checking account?

Maybe you like to keep some extra money in your checking account in case of emergencies. This extra money could make you eligible for a checking account that has some added benefits. No one knows the balance you keep in your accounts better than yourself.

If you keep extra money in your checking account, look for a high balance checking account you might be eligible for. Here at 1st Mariner you might fit into our 1st Select Checking account.

Will you be opening additional relationships with the bank?

Many bank customers have more than just a checking account with their bank. They have a checking account, a savings account, maybe a CD, or even a money market account. If you have a variety of products with your bank you could be eligible for a product that takes that into consideration. Take your entire relationship into consideration when you select a checking account because you may be eligible for a checking account with more features if you have other accounts with the bank.

Here at 1st Mariner Bank, if you have a minimum relationship balance of $10,000 you would be eligible for our Premier Relationship Checking account.

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Debt-to-Income Ratio: Who cares? You Should and Here’s Why

by Andrew Schreiber 21. January 2015


What is your debt-to-income ratio? Don't know? Don’t care? Do you plan on buying a car and getting a loan to do so? Do you plan on buying a house? If the answer is yes, you should definitely care what your debt-to-income ratio is.

Why is your debt-to-income ratio an important factor when looking to borrow money?

Before a lender approves you for a loan, they calculate your debt-to-income ratio. This gives the lender an idea of your ability to pay your monthly debts and take on a new loan. Lenders prefer to see lower debt-to-income ratios because it shows that you have a good balance between debt and income. If your debt-to-income ratio is too high, you may not be approved for the loan amount that you applied for. Generally speaking, a good goal is to keep your debt-to-income ratio at or below 36%.

How do you calculate a debt-to-income ratio?

Simply add up all of your monsthly debts and divide that by your gross monthly income (your income before taxes and other deductions have been taken out) to get your debt-to-income ratio. The formula looks like this:

Total Monthly Debts / Gross Monthly Income

Here’s an example. Let’s say you pay $400 a month for your car loan, $300 for your student loans and $300 for the rest of your monthly debts. This totals $1,000 a month in debt payments. If your gross income per month is $3,000, your debt-to-income ratio would be calculated as follows:

$1,000 / $3,000 = 0.33 = 33%

Your monthly debt-to-income ratio is 33%.

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Debt to Income Ratio: What It Is and How It Helps (or Hurts) Your Chances of Getting a Loan

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