Credit union answers to COVID-19 financial concerns

on "April 01, 2020 10:35 am"

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a “new normal” for all of us. Among health and safety concerns, many people are worried about their money. Credit unions are and have always been about people-helping-people, especially during challenging times. This information can help separate facts from fears as you navigate a new way of life.

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Should consumers be taking large amounts of cash from their local credit union?

  • There are a lot of things to worry about these days, but the safety of consumers’ money in their credit union accounts isn’t one of them.
  • Money is safe with credit unions and accounts are fully insured by the National Credit Union Administration up to $250,000.
  • COVID-19 has canceled, postponed, and slowed down much of American life, but it hasn’t touched how our nation’s financial system operates. That includes transferring money and depositing money and paying bills through your debit card, credit card, or electronic transfer.
  • Unlike most natural disasters, there’s no reason to expect this emergency to affect power or access to funds. For those consumers who use electronic payment methods, whether credit or debit card, there’s no reason to expect such forms of payment to remain useable for the foreseeable future.
  • There is no risk to keeping money in a credit union account, but there are countless risks to holding cash.
  • It is important to remember that if you lose your debit or credit card that they can be replaced. There is no replacement for money that is lost or stolen.
  • Using credit or debit cards for payments is especially important now when we all are being asked to practice social distancing. Consumers can still meet most of your obligations without leaving your home, thanks to your credit union.
  • Credit union staff can help members online, over the phone, and for many, at drive-through windows.

What other precautions should consumers know to keep themselves safe?

  • While many are focused on physical health and adequate supplies, we’re seeing an uptick, nationally, in cyber incidents around COVID-19. This may be phishing scams inviting victims to click on malware installers or provide their financial credentials, criminals setting up fake charities, and other ways of exploiting concerns around this pandemic.
  • It’s as important as ever for everyone to maintain proper cyber hygiene at this critical time. That includes double checking the sender before clicking links, never sharing your credentials, and using two-factor authentication wherever possible.
  • To avoid fraudulent charities, focus on local organizations that you’re familiar with, rather than national relief efforts. It’s possible that your local credit union is organizing or working in concert with such relief efforts, which can help you find legitimate causes rather than giving to bad actors.

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