You’ve received your college acceptance letters – congratulations! If you’ve been accepted to multiple schools, one of the biggest determining factors for your final choice may be the out-of-pocket cost for each option. Along with your acceptance letters, you should receive an award letter outlining the financial aid for which you are eligible at each college.
Award Letter – An offer sent from a college or university to the student that details how much financial support the student is eligible for. The award letter is sent following the student’s submission of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and application to attend a college or university.
Cost of Attendance (COA) – A figure provided by college financial aid offices that estimates the total costs of attending that particular school for a period of one year. Included in the estimate are expenses such as tuition, room and board, books and supplies, personal expenses and transportation. Keep in mind that some of these expenses are not set in stone! For example, your costs may be less if you opt to live in a double dorm room versus a single room; select a smaller meal plan; purchase used books, or do not park a car on campus.
Financial Aid – Your award letter provides a list of the aid for which you qualify at each school. You will let the school know which pieces of your financial aid package you wish to accept. (Hint: take the free money first!)
Types of Financial Aid Offered (not all are available to every student):
• Scholarships and Grants (FREE money for college!)
• Federal Direct Loans
• Federal Direct PLUS Loan
• Federal Work Study Program
Comparing Costs – Unfortunately, there is no standard layout for an award letter, so you will need to carefully look at each offer and be sure you are comparing apples to apples. What type of dorm room or meal plan does each school include in their COA? Do both include the cost of books? Are miscellaneous expenses or other fees broken down and labeled? If you’re not sure about any of the numbers, reach out to the school’s financial aid office for clarification.
Can I appeal the decision for my financial aid package?
Yes! You can always reach out to the financial aid office to discuss your award package, especially if your family’s situation has changed. The following situations can be taken into consideration:
• Recent unemployment of family member(s)
• Medical, dental, or nursing care expenses not covered by health insurance
• Changes in the family’s income and/or assets
• Disability/death or divorce
• Homeless youth
• Parents incarcerated
Need more information about paying for college?
You can also schedule a one-on-one consultation with our College Counselor! Send your questions to email@example.com or visit our College Counselor page to access a submission form and more resources. You can also apply online here.
Seeing people pay with their cellphones or watches has become the new normal. The days of printing out your boarding pass before you check into your flight are now in the past. Digital wallets are a new way to stay organized and safe.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, digital payment adoption has seen a large increase. Because of its contactless nature, digital wallets have become popular with the number of cashless businesses in the U.S.
What is a digital wallet?
Digital wallets are a digital version of your financial accounts made easily accessible via computer, smartphone or smart device. In other words, this can eliminate the need to carry around your actual wallet and gives you a contingency plan in case you forget your actual wallet.
Currently, ApplePay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay are three of the most popular digital wallets.
How digital wallets work
Before you get started with a digital wallet, you want to figure out which one you want to use. The device you use will normally dictate which digital wallet you go for. As an example, if you’re an iPhone or Apple Watch user then you’ll probably want to use ApplePay but if you’re an Android user you’ll want to use Google Pay or Samsung Pay.
Click here for instructions on how to add your SRIFCU Visa-branded credit or debit card to the digital wallet of your choice.
In order to make a contactless mobile payment, you simply have to authorize the digital wallet and hold it close enough to the card reader so that your information can be transmitted. Not all retailers accept mobile payments, but you can easily look for the contactless payment indicator on the retailer’s point-of-sale (POS) system or card reader. This symbol looks like a sideways WiFi icon.
What else can digital wallets do?
Digital wallets don’t only make paying for items quick and easy, they also help keep other important documents organized and easily accessible.
Here is a short list of items you can store in a digital wallet to stay organized:
- Credit or debit cards
- Boarding passes
- Hotel reservations
- Airbnb reservations
- Concert tickets
- Gift cards
- Loyalty rewards cards
- Insurance cards
Are digital wallets safe?
A common concern is over safety and security. What happens if your phone gets stolen? Can hackers easily steal your information?
No — digital wallets are actually more secure than your physical cards.
This because mobile payments are heavily encrypted and tokenized, in other words, none of your actual card or account numbers are stored within the digital wallet.
How does that work?
When you add your information to a digital wallet, that information is then converted into a unique code via encryption that can only be accessed by authorized entities. Digital wallets go a step further by also adding in tokenization, which takes that sensitive encrypted data and replaces it with a non-sensitive digital equivalent known as a token. These unique tokens are randomly generated every time a user makes a payment and only the merchant can match this token to accept the payment.
Ultimately, your information is useless and unreadable to fraudsters when encryption and tokenization are used together.
Not only is your information more secure thanks to that technology, but also through user verification. This added layer of security is usually done by fingerprint, facial recognition or PIN.
Digital wallets offer an easy, quick and safe solution for virtual payments, tickets, gift cards and more. While this doesn’t mean you should leave your physical wallet at home, digital wallets and contactless payments will likely see an increase in adoption by U.S. consumers and merchants in the not so distant future.
SRI Federal Credit Union’s 63rd Annual Meeting will be held virtually on Wednesday, September 16th at noon.
Zoom Meeting ID: 881 7459 8848
In addition to showcasing the Credit Union’s 2019 financial performance, accomplishments, and featured products, we will be electing Board Members.
As always all attending members will have a chance to win a Raffle prize. Winners will be picked at random.
Be sure to save the date, Wednesday, September 16th, at noon. See you on-line!
Access to the credit union continues to be by appointment only. Click here to make an appointment.
Amid ongoing concerns about the Coronavirus COVID-19, we want to reach out and share a few of the ways we are here to serve you during this time:
If you’ve been impacted by COVID-19 and need our support, we’re here to help. Send a message through online banking, contact us or call us at 1-800-9863669 to talk to one of our staff members for assistance. They will be happy to go over all your available options, such as Emergency loans, credit line increases, Special Student Loan Forbearance and Skip-A-Payments.
We encourage you to access your account from home 24/7 using SRIFCU Online or the SRIFCU Mobile App to view transactions, check balances, make payments, and more. We’ve made a number of enhancements that make it easier than ever to manage your account digitally.
We will continue to closely monitor the situation and evaluate additional measures to support our members as needs arise.
Thank you for being a valued member.
For additional information about the Coronavirus COVID-19, get the latest report from the Centers for Disease Control at cdc.gov or your local health department website.
Due to the current state of “shelter in place” in the San Francisco Bay Area.
March 16, 2020 – April 6, 2020, the Credit Union Lobby will have limited access
SRI Federal Credit Union Annual meeting has also been officially postponed
Amid ongoing concerns about the Coronavirus COVID-19, SRI Federal Credit Union is closely monitoring the latest reports from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and has taken a number of precautionary measures for the health and safety of our members and employees.
One of the steps is to limit the in-person access to the branch during this current state of “shelter in place”. As an essential service, SRI Federal Credit Union will be open.
At this time we encourage you to access your account from home 24/7 using SRIFCU Online Banking or the SRIFCU Mobile App to view transactions, check balances, make payments, and more. We’ve made a number of enhancements that make it easier than ever to manage your account digitally. Should you need in-person assistance please fill out the contact form HERE to set up an appointment (Monday – Friday from 9 am to 4 pm).
For more local (Menlo Park) info please click HERE.
SRI Federal Credit Union’s 63rd Annual Meeting will be held virtually on Wednesday, March 18th at noon. This change in venue is to aid local efforts in preventing the spread of the Coronavirus.
Your safety is our first concern.
A link to attend virtually will be posted on our website.
The credit union will be closed on Wednesday, March 18th from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm so that our staff can attend and participate in the virtual meeting.
In addition to showcasing the Credit Union’s 2019 financial performance, accomplishments, and featured products, we will be electing Board Members.
Door prizes will be available for pickup at the Credit Union after the meeting. Raffle prizes will be available to persons that log in and will be picked at random.
Be sure to save the date, Wednesday, March 18th, at noon. See you on-line!
Our text alert service allows you to instantly keep tabs on suspicious
At SRI Federal Credit Union, we want to make sure that using your debit or credit card is always as safe and convenient as possible. That’s why we use text alerts as part of
our ongoing fraud monitoring program.
How It Works:
With text fraud alerts*, if our system detects suspicious activity on your card, you’ll receive a text message with details about the suspected transaction. All you have to do is respond to the text to confirm the transaction.
If you indicate the transaction is fraud, you’ll receive another message with a number to call for follow-up. If not, you’re all set. The system will mark the transaction as legitimate and you can get on with your day – simple as that.
If we have your mobile phone number on file, you don’t have to do anything. It’s really that easy. If there is suspicious activity, we’ll send a text alert right away.
To verify or update your mobile phone number give us a call at 800.986.3669.
* All texts will be sent from 37268.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently warned taxpayers and tax professionals about a new IRS impersonation scam email.
The email subject line may vary, but according to the IRS, recent examples use phrases like “Automatic Income Tax Reminder” or “Electronic Tax Return Reminder.” The emails include links that are meant to look like the IRS website with details about the taxpayer’s refund, electronic return or tax account. The emails contain a “temporary password” or “one-time password” that purports to grant access to the files. However, these are actually malicious files. Once the malware files are installed on your computer, scammers may be able to secretly download software that tracks every keystroke, giving the bad guys access to information like passwords to your financial accounts.
Don’t be fooled: The IRS does not send unsolicited emails and never emails taxpayers about the status of refunds.
KEEPING YOUR MONEY SAFE
Fraud and scams are realities in today’s world. Here are just a few of the most common schemes fraudsters may use:
“Is this too good to be true?” If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Read on for some typical fraud tactics.
- “Buy it now – this offer is only good today!”
- Pay first, before any of the details or contract are provided.
- Offers that discourage potential customers from taking the time to research the product or company thoroughly before purchasing.
- Offers in which a fee has to be paid to receive a large amount of money back.
Extremely alarming or threatening messages – threats of account closure and/or jail for yourself or a loved one. Fraudsters use fear in hopes that people will panic and be frightened into providing their personal information.
Promises of money for little or no effort. “Free” trips, life insurance, lottery winnings, etc. They ask you to pay a small processing charge in order to receive your money/gift.
Buy gift cards to pay for services/fees. A legitimate business will not ask for services to be paid with a gift card.
Email or text messages – claiming to need to verify or update your information. Never send your account numbers, card numbers, PIN(s), passwords, Social Security number(s), or any other personal identification information via text or email.
Love of your life (or a really good scam artist?). Be very cautious when a long-distance romance interest, a relative of a romantic love interest or anyone else that you know little about “needs money” or “has passed away and left you a large sum and you just have to send money to get it”.
How do I protect myself? Here are some ways to protect yourself.
PROTECT YOUR IDENTITY
Never share account or card information. This includes your internet banking login/password, account numbers, social security number, personal identification number(s)/PIN(s).
Do not provide personal information via email. Email is not a secure way to communicate.
Wait to “share”. Avoid posting on social media when you are on vacation and when you will be returning advertising that your home will be empty. Wait until you get back to post those fun photos!
Secure your mail. Place outgoing mail in a post office collection box and not in your own mailbox. If you are going to be away from home for more than a couple of days, have the US Post Office hold your mail. SRIFCU online banking and electronic statements are a great option!
Review your account regularly.
Safely dispose of personal information. Shred any documents that have personal or financial information.
Review your credit report annually. Request a free copy of your credit report at: www.annualcreditreport.com.
If you believe your identity and/or account information may have been compromised, contact the Federal Trade Commission immediately for guidance and to report identity theft.
How to protect your SRIFCU debit card from fraud and unauthorized transactions
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR SRIFCU DEBIT CARD FROM FRAUD AND UNAUTHORIZED TRANSACTIONS:
- Regularly review account transactions
- Do not provide your card number to via unsecure internet or to an unsecure website
- Log off any site after making a purchase with your card or close the browser completely
- Use a specific debit card tied to a specific account for online purchases only
- Track transactions carefully
- NEVER share your PIN with anyone
- Destroy old cards. Don’t throw them in the trash
- Protect your card as you would cash
- Use ATMs in well-lit and secure areas
- Shield the keypad when entering your PIN
What to do if you see transactions that you did not make?
- Contact the merchant immediately to discuss the charge and request reimbursement.
If the merchant will not provide a refund:
- Close your card: Call 800-986-3669 or stop by the branch to request that your card be closed immediately so no further transactions can be charged. A dispute form will also be provided for you to complete and submit.
On October 17, 2019, SRI Federal Credit Union will join with 56,000 credit unions around the world in celebration of International Credit Union (ICU) Day®.
There are 200+ million credit union members around the world—more than 100 million in the U.S. alone—and SRI Federal Credit Union joins them in celebration of the not-for-profit cooperative spirit that all credit unions share.
This cooperative spirit has led to life-changing opportunities for people all over the world who’ve wanted to start a small business, own a home or continue their education but were denied access to other financial institutions. In many parts of the world, people’s first taste of democracy is through their credit union, where “one member, one vote” is the governing structure.
At its most basic level, a credit union is people pooling their money to provide each other with affordable loans—it is literally people helping people. This is why we celebrate ICU Day. Because credit unions empower people, wherever they are in the world or life, to take control of their financial future.
Celebrate National Credit Union Day by referring a friend or family member. Remember that we will reward you for referring your friends or family. Referred new members will receive $50 when they open a new checking account. Referring members will also earn $50 for each qualified new member, up to $500 per year. Read here for more details. Spread the International Credit Union Day spirit and start earning Referral Rewards today!