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RiverWood Bank employee-owners take pride in what we do. Our blog is dedicated to our vision of being the most trusted and respected bank in the communities we serve.

 

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Checking Accounts Can Help Teens Keep Track Of Money

As a teenager, it’s probably time to open a checking account once you have more than a few dollars to keep track of.

Teen Checking

Putting money into an account can help you monitor your spending and teach you some valuable financial lessons, including:


• How to regularly track your spending.
• How to make deposits.
• How to budget your money.
• And how to use a debit card for purchases and withdrawals.

Having banking experience will come in handy as you start making more money and even when it comes to the time you might need to get a loan.

Monitoring your spending and budgeting are important first steps. To avoid falling into debt you’ll want to make sure you always have more money in your account than you are spending. You’ll be able to monitor your account balance 24/7 with your smartphone or computer by using online banking. You can also keep track of your spending and income by using a spreadsheet or a budgeting app, if you prefer. And once a month you’ll get an updated account statement you can view online.
When you use a debit card it’s like spending cash because the money comes directly from your account in real time. Checking your account frequently will let you know where you’ve been spending money and how much you still have. With online and mobile banking you can even set alerts to notify you when your account balance falls below a certain amount – meaning it’s either time to stop spending or to deposit more money.

You can also deposit checks by using your smartphone. It’s as simple as taking a couple of photos and following simple instructions in your mobile banking app.

If you find that you regularly have more money than you spend, you might want to open a savings account that will earn you a bit of interest.

Depending on your age, you might need to open your account with the help of a parent or guardian, and that will be a good time to ask about any fees or if there is a minimum balance you need to keep in your account.

Everything you do at this age is likely to be a new experience, but learning how to manage your money today will pay off in the long run.

   What Should You Do After Being Turned Down For A Loan?

You’ve just been denied for a loan. Now what?

Turned Down For A Loan?

First, you’re going to want to know why. Second, you’ll want to do something so it won’t happen again.


The ‘whys’ can vary. It could be that you already have too much debt, have missed or been late on payments, or that you don’t make enough money. It might be that your credit score is too low or that you don’t have enough credit history. Or it could be something as frustratingly simple as a mistake on your credit application.

In any case, there are things you can do to improve your situation for future loan applications.

When a loan request is rejected, the lender should explain why. Take that information and start working on making positive changes.


A low credit score can be the result of making late payments, defaulting on a loan, having big credit card balances, having too much debt, or even being a fraud victim. You have a right to check your credit report for free each year at the main credit bureaus and you should take advantage of that. Start at annualcreditreport.com and learn what you need to do. Inspect your report and work on fixing any errors you might find. If there are no errors, there are other things to start working on.


If the problem is too much debt, you can work on a plan of action. Start spending less whenever possible, and make sure you pay your bills. That means paying on time and getting things paid off. Lenders aren’t going to give you money if they don’t think you’ll be able to pay them back. Once you get your debt under control, try applying for a loan again.


Lack of credit history can also be a problem. If you have never borrowed money, a lender might be reluctant to give you credit because you have no track record of repayment. Getting a credit card or being added to someone’s account can help establish a credit record. You might even consider asking a family member or friend to co-sign on a loan with you. Just be sure you enter this option responsibly because a co-signer becomes obligated for the loan as well.


The easiest thing to fix would be a mistake – such as a wrong address, telephone number or Social Security number - on the loan form. Save yourself the hassle by double- or triple-checking any forms you fill out.


While being turned down for a loan can feel like a big setback, be sure to take the time to fix the things you can and begin work on improving your credit rating. By reducing debt and controlling your spending, you can improve your chances of getting a loan in the future. And a better credit rating can even lead to lower interest rates, which means you’ll pay less in the long run.

Things To Know About Overdraft Protection

If you’re considering overdraft protection for your checking account, you’ll want to spend time learning about your options.

Overdraft Protection 

Overdrafts happen when you spend more money than you have in your account.Overdraft protection can be used to cover that shortfall by moving money from another one of your accounts or by covering it as a loan or credit charge that would be repaid with interest.

For personal accounts, overdraft protection is an opt-in feature, meaning that unless you chose it, you probably don’t have it. If you’re unsure, call your financial institution and ask.

When you make an insufficient funds debit card or ATM transaction without overdraft protection the transaction will be turned down and you won’t be charged any fee. However, if that happens with a scheduled bill payment or a rejected check you could face both an insufficient funds fee and possibly a late-payment charge from whoever was supposed to be paid.

With overdraft protection, money will either be pulled from a linked account to cover the shortfall or it will be attached to a linked credit account. Either way, you’ll still likely be charged a transfer fee and possibly interest costs if credit is used, but at least your payment will be covered.
While overdraft services are an option to protect you in the case of an overdrawn account, you can and should closely monitor your account with online and mobile banking.

By setting up text or email alerts and closely monitoring your account balance, you’ll know when you’re close to overdrawing and you’ll be able to either transfer money on your own to prevent a shortfall or you’ll know not to spend that money until you have sufficient funds in your account.

Take the time to assess your needs and then schedule an appointment with a personal banker at your financial institution to review your options and make decisions about the best way to protect yourself from overspending on your account.

 Protect Yourself from Elder Financial Abuse

Scammers are always looking for new victims, and seniors are on their list.

elder fraud

These crooks use many ways to target your money or personal information. Here are some things to look for and some suggestions about what to do if you think you might be a victim.

Don’t rush into financial decisions. If you’re unsure about anything, ask for an explanation or say you need more time to think about it. Don’t feel pressured to make snap decisions.

Don’t give out personal information such as account numbers, your Social Security number, or your debit or credit card numbers unless you’re sure it’s necessary.

Lock up or hide your checkbook, bank statements, cash or other important documents if other people will be in your home.

Don’t panic if someone calls you and threatens to turn off your utilities or close your bank account unless you pay them money right away. Scammers will often do this and ask you to pay with a wire transfer or a gift card. If you’re unsure, hang up and call your bank or utility company at their official phone number and explain what happened.

Ask for references before hiring anyone, and don’t give workers information about your accounts.

Pay with a credit or debit card if you have them. These methods give you more protection than cash or checks.

Talk to your banker, financial advisor, attorney, a trusted family member or friend if you have questions about financial issues.
Use online banking and email or text alerts to monitor your accounts. If you’re unsure how to do that, ask your banker for information about learning how to use them.

Check your credit report at one of the three main credit bureaus for possible problems at least once a year. You can do it for free by starting at annualcreditreport.com.

If you think you might be an elder financial abuse victim, contact your bank and file a report with your local law enforcement agency and contact your local or state adult protective service agency to let them know what happened.

Being cautious can keep your money and information safe from crooks.

Are You Taking The Time To Balance Your Checking Account?

Do you get a little nervous when you pull out your debit card or checkbook to make a payment because you’re not sure how much money you have left in your checking account?

balance checking account

You can ease that stress by taking advantage of online and mobile banking and also taking a bit of time to balance your withdrawals and deposits either by hand or with software.

It’s important to know how much money is in your account so you don’t get hit with costly overdraft charges or fees when you spend more than you actually have.

With online and mobile banking you can quickly check your balance, see where you spent money, look at your monthly statements and even set alerts to let you know when your balance falls below a certain amount. These tools can help you from spending more than you actually have.
Another option that many financial experts recommend is keeping an ongoing ledger of your account balance, spending and deposits, either with a paper check register or via a software spreadsheet.

This method of balancing your checking is a great way of reconciling your bank statement with what you keep track of manually. It also allows you to get more into purchase details so you can use it to help cut spending if necessary.

Starting with your current balance, you’ll want to track the following things in rows and columns:

  • A check number if you still use checks to make payments.
  • The date of all purchases or payments, including ATM withdrawals and any account fees.
  • A description of who the payment was made to and what it was for.
  • The amount of any deposits.
  • And then you’ll want to deduct the payments from your balance or add the deposits so you always know where your account stands.

By keeping your own records you can match them to your monthly statement to check for discrepancies, or use them to help find where you can reduce your expenses. If you notice any issues between your records and those of your financial institution, contact them right away.

Regularly balancing your account can help you know when it’s safe to spend money, when not to, and to keep track of both your income and your purchases.

 

 

 

 

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