Congratulations to the Manvel High School Lady Mavericks who defeated Duncanville, 58-53, for the Class 5A Girls’ Basketball crown recently in Austin. Senior Brianna Turner was presented with the Championship Game MVP plaque by the “Alvin Express” and Baseball Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan.
During our We Finance Fun loan promotion, choose between 90 days no payment or a $200 MasterCard Gift Card when you finance a new or used travel trailer or motorhome or a new or used boat at Chocolate Bayou Credit Union.
*Travel Trailer/motorhome/boat loan promotion good for February and March, 2014. Rates subject to credit score, credit history and length of terms. Interest continues to accrue during the 90-day no payment option. Interest accrual during the 90-day no payment option may not exceed the monthly scheduled payment amount. Travel trailer promotion does not include horse trailers.
Switch to eStatements before February 14 and receive a $10 MasterCard gift card from your friends at Chocolate Bayou Credit Union.
eStatements is the quickest way to view your monthly statement. All the information found on paper statements – without the paper – and the flexibility to view, print or save statements from any computer with Internet access. And, eStatements are available the first day of the month.
Three ways to switch to eStatements: Mention this offer and let our trained Call Center representatives assist you at (281) 331-2253, go online at here or bring in this offer and let our friendly staff assist you personally in our Alvin or Pearland lobbies.
Switch today – it just makes sense!
*offer for a $10 gift card ends on February 14, 2014. Members who bring in this offer and switch to eStatements receive their Gift Card immediately. Others receive their Gift Cards through the mail.
Gift Cards For All Occasions! Redeemable wherever MasterCard is accepted
- Gift Cards available from $10 to $500 amounts
- $5 increments
- $3.95 per card
These gift cards are available at all four of our branch locations:
- Manvel High School
- Alvin High School
Just Ask – We’re Here For You!
This current scam involves debit cards, credit cards and pre-paid cards. PLEASE BE AWARE! The electronic voice calls a cell number and tells you that your card has been cancelled and to reactivate your card press 1. When you select the option to reinstate your card, the next automated voice tells you to, “Now enter your card number” and at that point the criminals behind this scam have your card information. Please understand that the scammers have obtained cell numbers only from some source that sells cell numbers and are now trying to gain access to your card number.
Please remember, here at Chocolate Bayou we will never ask for your card information – because we already have that information!
As always, give us a call at (281) 331-2253 should you have questions.
- Enroll by clicking the ENROLL NOW button above.
- Use your debit card for your everyday purchases.
- Exceed your monthly minimum of $900 in qualified non-PIN debit card purchases each month to start earning.
The Alvin ISD School Board presented Chocolate Bayou Credit Union with a Certificate of Commendation recently, in honor of our various partnerships with the school district.
Most recently Chocolate Bayou was a major sponsor helping to bring Rachel’s Challenge to Alvin and Manvel High Schools. Rachel’s Challenge is a series of empowering programs and strategies that equip students and adults to combat bullying and feelings of isolation and despair by creating a culture of kindness and compassion. The programs are based on the writings and life of 17-year-old Rachel Scott who was the first student killed at Columbine High School in 1999.
Chocolate Bayou was also honored for bringing Reality Fair to Alvin and Manvel High Schools last year. This unique financial literacy exercise provided students with a firsthand experience of what their parents go through every month managing the family budget. Reality Fair is less than three hours long, yet imparted a valuable snapshot view into the real world of financial reality. Participating students included seniors enrolled in economics classes.
Students met with high school counselors beforehand and received a monthly pay and a budget worksheet to instruct them on expected expenses. The students made decisions on typical monthly expenses like living arrangements, food, transportation, utilities, clothing, luxury items, pets, etc. At the end of the session they sat with a financial counselor and reviewed their financial profile – and most were surprised.
A large number of community volunteers assisted Chocolate Bayou Credit Union and the Alvin ISD to make Reality Fair possible. The event is also planned for this current school year.
Credit cards are a staple of American commerce, with consumers using them to make more than $2.2 trillion worth of purchases last year1. Cards fuel online shopping, provide an easier way to make purchases when travelling abroad, and allow you to spread payments for big-ticket purchases over time.
But that convenience has a downside: Credit cards can be the source of debt troubles that plague many households. That’s why it’s important to understand the role of credit cards in your overall financial strategy. Using credit cards in the right way can help you build wealth, get better loan terms, and plan your future spending by providing you with greater flexibility.
Here are seven steps to help you use credit cards safely and more effectively.
1. Build credit wisely.
A good rule of thumb is that your total debt payments – including mortgage, car loans, student loans, and credit card payments – shouldn’t account for more than 20% of your income. If you are near that threshold, you might need to pay down other loans or hold off on additional credit card purchases. Adding more debt than you can handle could jeopardize your long-term financial goals, such as retirement or college savings.
2. Check credit reports regularly.
Your credit information is compiled by three credit reporting agencies, TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. Those reports form the basis of your credit score, which potential lenders use to make decisions about whether to lend to you and what interest rate to charge.
Credit reports include the total amount you owe, whether you pay your bills on time, what types of credit you use, and how many new credit inquiries you’ve initiated. Errors in any of this information could lead to a lower credit score, which could disqualify you from more attractive interest rates – or from borrowing at all. So it’s important to review your report on an annual basis to check for errors. You can request a free copy of each of your three reports once a year at AnnualCreditReport.comOpens in a new window.. Or, for more regular monitoring, review one report from each agency every four months.
3. Manage credit well.
The most important factors on a credit report are your debt-to-income ratio and your payment history. So keeping your debt levels low and making on-time payments help make you more attractive to lenders.
But it’s not just negative actions such as missing a payment or carrying a large balance that can damage your credit. Canceling an older card or closing down an account that you don’t use much can also lower your credit score. The reason: Lenders care about your credit history, and the longer that history the better.
The ratio of available credit to the amount of credit you are currently using is another factor that affects your credit score. Closing down a little-used card will lower the amount of credit available to you without reducing the amount of credit you are using. That could skew your credit ratio and make you seem like a riskier debtor.
4. Read policy agreements.
Not all credit cards are created equal. Some charge annual fees, while others charge fees for balance transfers, cash advances, exceeding your credit limit, or other actions. To keep your fees manageable, choose a card with rates and fee structures that match your expected behavior. For instance, if you plan on carrying a balance, choose a card with the lowest interest rate you can find.
To make these decisions, you’ll need to read and understand the issuer’s credit card policy agreement. Look for how and when your interest rate might increase, what actions carry fees, and how the issuer will charge for overseas transactions. If you still have questions, reach out to the issuer by phone or online. Most issuers make resources available to help explain the agreement.
5. Use cards safely.
Credit card fraud and identify theft are major risks for the modern-day consumer. Most cardholders aren’t liable for fraudulent charges on their cards, but consumers still have a responsibility to keep their information safe. Fraud prevention works best when consumers and credit card companies work together.
Be proactive to reduce the risk of fraud by reviewing your credit card statements at least once a month, if not more frequently. Keep your receipts in a safe place so you can compare them with your monthly statement. Then, notify your card issuer if you spot any transactions that you don’t recognize. And, of course, report a lost or stolen card immediately.
6. Pay off balances strategically.
Thanks to the Credit CARD Act of 2009, credit card statements now show cardholders how long it will take to pay down their balance if they only make the minimum payment – not to mention how much more it will cost. Naturally, the faster you can pay off those balances, the less debt will cost you. If you can’t pay a card balance in full each month, review your budget to determine how much you can earmark for that payment without sacrificing other long-term goals, such as saving for retirement.
Making minimum payments on one card can make sense if it’s part of a strategy to pay off higher interest rate cards first, which likely will save you money over time. And because credit cards typically charge higher rates than other forms of debt, it often makes sense to focus on reducing card debt before paying off other loans. That said, it’s important to always continue making payments on all your debt, or else your credit rating will suffer.
Remember that although we might use them like cash, credit cards are not just a tool for transactions. They’re another debt product that can have a big impact on your financial goals. Take the time to consider credit cards in the context of your overall budget, debt picture, and other financial priorities and you can better use cards to your advantage.
You have been with us this far, fighting to protect your credit union from new taxes – taxes that are really just new taxes on the 97 million Americans who, like you, belong to credit unions.
Thousands of Americans just like you have written, emailed and called Congress to say “Don’t Tax My Credit Union.”
And you are being heard. More than 800,000 messages have been sent to Capitol Hill. Every day another Member of Congress publicly declares his support for credit unions.
But now we are entering a critical stage. Congress returns to Washington next week and will start putting pen to paper on tax reform legislation – legislation that could include taxation of credit unions.
We think this calls for a big response. That is why we are holding a #DontTaxTuesday Social Media Campaign on Tuesday, September 10th.
On Tuesday, September 10th, Tweet your Representative or Senator with the hashtag #DontTaxMyCU or post a similar message on your lawmaker’s Facebook page.
Engaging is easy – just visit www.DontTaxMyCreditUnion.org on Tuesday, September 10th to post a Tweet or Facebook message to your legislators in a few short clicks.
Remember to include #DontTaxMyCU in your posts.
#DontTaxTuesday is a great opportunity to use social media to share with your elected representatives why you love your credit union so much – and why they should leave your credit union alone when writing tax reform.
So join us next Tuesday as we tell Congress: “Don’t Tax My Credit Union!”
Chocolate Bayou Credit Union is proud to sponsor Rachel’s Challenge at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 4 at Manvel High School. The presentation is free to the public. The program is also being made available to students at Alvin and Manvel High Schools.
Rachel’s Challenge is an empowering program started by Rachel Scott’s family, based on her life and writings. Rachel was the first student killed in the Columbine High School shootings in 1999. The program equips students and adults to combat bullying and feelings of isolation and despair, while showing the profound positive impact that students and adults can have on those around them. It is an effort to spread kindness and compassion while building tolerance for one another,
“Rachel’s Challenge can be a life changing experience for everyone,” said Gary Davis, president/CEO at Chocolate Bayou Credit Union. “We are pleased to partner with the school district to bring this program for the students and the community.”
Rachel’s Challenge encourages participants to examine their own lives in the light of the following five challenges: look for the best in others, dream big, choose positive influences, speak with kindness and start your own chain reaction.
The challenge motivates participants to consider where they are personally in relation to the five challenges. It also prompts the listener to reflect on their relationship with and impact on the people around them. Additionally, Rachel’s Challenge renews the participant’s hope that their life has purpose through service to others. Rachel’s story gives participants permission to start their own chain reaction of kindness and compassion, which positively affects school climate.
For additional information about Rachel’s Challenge visit www.rachelschallenge.org.