Choosing the Right Credit Card

Don’t sign up with the first offer that you get in the mail. Shop around. Read the contract carefully to make sure you understand the terms. Note and compare the important features of each card, including the:

  • Annual percentage rate (APR): This is the interest that you are charged on any balance that you carry over, or do not pay off, each month. If you pay off your balance in full every month, the APR is not important, but it doesn’t hurt to look for a card with a low or fixed-rate card just in case. If the card comes with a teaser rate – a low or no interest rate for a temporary period of time – don’t forget to check what the interest rate will be once the teaser rate expires.

Apple Federal Credit Union offers the eXtras Student Platinum Visa® credit card that has a low, fixed APR, $1,500 credit limit, no annual or balance transfer fees, and 24/7 fraud monitoring.

  • Credit limit: The credit limit is the maximum amount you can borrow at any given point in time. Having a higher credit limit is better for your credit score, but if you are worried you will overspend, it may be a good idea to look for a card with a lower limit.
  • Fees: It is standard for creditors to charge a fee for paying late or going over the credit limit. Some cards also charge an annual fee.
  • Rewards: Some credit cards offer perks, such as cash back or gift certificates, that come with using the card.

Keep it Simple

One card is all that you need to start building a good credit history. Plus, it’s easier to monitor your spending and pay one bill each month. If you happen to find that you get into trouble with your card by accumulating an outstanding balance, seek help from a family member or consumer counseling agency. A little help can eliminate a huge debt later down the line.

There you have it. The basics to credit card ownership. If are serious about using a credit card wisely and paying on time then you’re ready to find a card that best fits your lifestyle.


Stay tuned for our next posting How to Choose the Right Credit Card Limit next week!



Are You Ready for a Credit Card?

What many first time credit card users don’t realize is how beneficial proper credit card management can be. A credit card can be a great first-step to building a positive credit report.

What many first time credit card users don’t realize is how beneficial proper credit card management can be. A credit card can be a great first-step to building a positive credit report.

Having an excellent credit report and score makes you more likely to be approved for credit in the future and receive a lower rate (which will come in handy in if you want to buy a house someday), but it may also be easier for you to rent an apartment, get good rates on your insurance, and perhaps even get a job (yes, some employers check your credit).

It’s no accident that many of us WANT a credit card. After all, large companies and financial institutions pay a lot of money for flashy advertising.

It’s up to you to take a moment and think about if you really NEED to pump your wallet full of plastic. Ask yourself:

  • Can I currently pay for anything that I need with cash or a debit card?
    If so, you may not need a credit card.
  • Do I pay my existing bills on time?
    If you do, commit to always paying your credit card balance at the end of the month to minimize interest charges. This helps build your good credit history that will help you on later in life when getting loans or applying for a mortgage. Remember, your payment history is one of the largest factors in determining your credit score and this is a score that will follow you for the rest of your life.
  • What will you use the credit card for?
    Avoid using your credit card to finance your education, pay for living expenses or for purchasing things that you really do not need. A good way to decide if you should use the card is to ask yourself if you would pay for item(s) if you did not have the credit card. Deciphering what you want and need will eliminate a bunch of superfluous costs that can accumulate quickly when you are not paying attention. In the end, you will have to pay for whatever you charge and if you cannot do it when the bill comes in, you will spend more money than intended on those purchases with accumulating interest charges.

Stay Tuned for our next posting Choosing the Right Credit Card next week!

Use Credit Cards Wisely in College/Jeremy Vohwinkle

Credit Card Secrets You Can’t Live Without

You want to know the secret to successfully managing a credit card? I’m happy to tell you, it’s really not a secret. It basically boils down to simple common sense

You want to know the secret to successfully managing a credit card? I’m happy to tell you, it’s really not a secret. It basically boils down to simple common sense.

  • Stay out of debt.
    It doesn’t take long for a few purchases to add up to hundreds, even thousands, of dollars. Don’t charge more than you can afford to repay the balance when the bill arrives.
  • Pay it off.
    If you do get into debt, commit yourself to getting debt free as soon as possible. Pay more than the minimum, and don’t charge more on the cards until your balance is at zero.
  • Pay on time.
    If you miss a payment, your credit score can take a quick and hard hit. Furthermore, you may be charged a late payment fee and the late pay may stay on your credit report for years.
  •  Limit the number of cards you have.
    (2-4 is usually a good number.) The more open credit lines you have, the more you may be tempted to spend beyond your means. Also, applying for credit too often can hurt your credit score.

Stay tuned for our next posting Are You Ready for a Credit Card next week!

“The Road to Financial Independence: A Guide for 20-Somethings” BALANCE™ Financial Fitness Program. <>. 08 February 2013.

Depositing Made Easy

After you get over the excitement of getting a check or perhaps even some cash, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? For most people they think, ‘when can I get to my bank to deposit this?’ Let’s be honest, sometimes finding time to make it to a branch isn’t easy, and then on top of that – when you get to a branch, you might have to wait in line to make that deposit.

Well my friends, I’m here to give you two deposit options that involve virtually NO LINES and in one case NO TRIP TO THE BRANCH!

 1. ATM Deposit

Did you know you can deposit cash and/or checks at ALL Apple ATMs? I hate waiting in lines, I know, I know, sometimes you have no choice. But, if you’re at a branch to make a deposit there’s no excuse to stand in the teller line – just go to the ATM!

 All you have to do is:

  • Search by zip code for the Apple ATM nearest you at
  • Swipe your ATM/Check Card in the machine and enter your PIN
  • Select Deposit
  • Put your cash/check into a deposit envelope*, place it in the marked location on the ATM and Voila! – your money is deposited.

(*The following ATMs DO NOT require an envelope to make a deposit; just follow the on-screen instructions – Fair Oaks , GMU Fairfax (JC), GMU Arlington, GMU Prince William, Lockheed Martin, Manassas, Mt. Vernon, NVCC Annandale, Sudley Manor and Winchester.)

2. Scan Deposit

Yep, that’s right, scan those checks from the comfort of your home, dorm, apartment, friend’s house (you get the idea) for immediate credit to your account. Instead of linking to the  requirements, I’ve listed them below to save you time! Don’t be intimidated by the number of bullets, the time it takes you to read through them is a lot less than you’d spend driving to a branch to make a deposit. 😉

 So, to start using Scan Deposit you’ll need to:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be enrolled in NetBranch Online Banking
  • Have an active Apple Checking account (5 or more transactions a month)
  • Have been an Apple member at least 90 days
  • Be in good standing with Apple (no negative balances, no late payments on Apple Loans, not had an Apple Loan written off, etc.)
  • Not had a single non-sufficient fund (NSF) fee applied to your account within the past 24 months
  • Use Apple’s FREE Direct Deposit service
  • Have a valid email address on file.

Meet these requirements?

Login to NetBranch Online Banking and click the Products and Services tab to enroll! Check out a list of FAQs HERE.

And stay tuned… soon you’ll be able to make deposits with your Android or iPhone. It’s in development now.

I hope these options help alleviate some of your ‘deposit pains’. 🙂

PS-If the check you’re depositing is a paycheck, see if your employer offers Direct Deposit. It’s FREE at Apple and is the fastest way to have access to your cash. Plus, if you’re employed at a partner school district, we likely pay you a day early too. How’s that for speedy!?