Thank You VITA Volunteers!

Tue, May 15th, 2018

As we celebrate the end of another tax season, we congratulate our VITA Program Coordinator, Lori Scott and VITA volunteers for another amazing year!  A big thank you to our outstanding IRS VITA certified tax preparers and greeters who assisted in the FREE preparation and e-filing of income tax returns.  We couldn't have done it without you.

To become a Certified Volunteer Income Tax Preparer, or for other VITA job opportunities, contact Lori Scott by email lori.scott@centerforsiouxland.org, by telephone 712-252-1861 ext. 29, or visit our website at www.centerforsiouxland.org.

Money Monday - Using Public Wi-Fi

Sun, May 13th, 2018

Money Monday - Using Public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi connections are convenient but not always secure. Using them for sensitive transactions can let thieves misuse your accounts. Many mobile apps don’t encrypt information, so you might be at even greater risk by using them on unsecured Wi-Fi networks. 

Tips

  • The key to security is encryption – software that scrambles information you send online. On a secure wireless network, all the information you send on that network is protected. Secure networks usually require you to enter a password. Most public Wi-Fi hotspots aren’t secure. If you visit encrypted sites, only the information you send and receive from that site is protected.

  • If you need to enter financial or sensitive information, use only secure networks and websites that encrypt your financial information.

  • If you need to conduct a financial transaction using an app, use a secure wireless network, or your phone’s cellular network (often referred to as 3G or 4G).

  • If you must use an unsecured network, skip the app and check whether the company’s mobile website shows that it’s secure. Look for ‘https’ in the web address. Encrypt your personal information before sending.

Center For Siouxland shares weekly Money Monday tips to help protect you and promote personal financial stability. Our Consumer Credit Counselors are here to help.  Services provided by Center For Siouxland’s Consumer Credit Counseling include Credit Counseling, Education/Community Outreach, Budget Assessment, Credit Report Reviews, Debt Repayment Solutions, Pre-Purchase Housing Counseling/Education and Mortgage Delinquency/Default Counseling.  Contact our office with any questions you have about our services at 712-252-1861 ext. 47.  You can also find us on Facebook.

 

Money Monday - Payday Loans

Mon, May 7th, 2018

Money Monday - Payday Loans

Ads for payday loans are everywhere. On the radio, television, the Internet and even in the mail – enticing you with the promise of cash, fast! They go by many names - payday loans, cash advance loans, check advance loans, post-dated check loans, deferred deposit loans. According to the Federal Trade Commission, regardless of their name, these small, short-term, high-rate loans all come at a very high price.

Here’s how they work: You, the borrower, writes a personal check payable to the lender, for the amount you want to borrow PLUS the fee the lender is charging to borrow the money. The lender gives you the amount of the check less the fee and agrees to hold the check until the loan is due, usually your next payday. But it’s the exorbitant fees that give these loans a bad rap. The fees on these loans can be a percentage of the face value of the check, or they can be based on increments of money borrowed such as a fee for every $50 or $100 borrowed. And while the fees may seem like a small price to pay for instant cash, the fees can easily equal an interest rate of 400% or more. Additionally, the borrower is charged additional fees each time the same loan is extended or “rolled over.”

Before you decide to take out a payday loan, consider some alternatives:

  1. Consider a small loan from your credit union or a small loan company. Some banks may offer short-term loans for small amounts at competitive rates.
  2. Shop for the credit offer with the lowest cost. Compare the APR and the finance charge, which includes loan fees, interest and other credit costs. You are looking for the lowest APR.
  3. Contact your creditors or loan servicer as quickly as possible if you are having trouble with your payments and ask for more time.
  4. Contact your local consumer credit counseling service if you need help working out a debt repayment plan with creditors or developing a budget.
  5. Make a realistic budget, including your monthly and daily expenditures, and plan, plan, plan.

The bottom line on payday loans: Try to find an alternative. A payday loan will never be your best option.

For more information on payday loans or help with an alternative to payday loans, please contact Center For Siouxland’s Consumer Credit Counselors at 712-252-1861 ext. 47. You can also find us on Facebook.

 

Money Monday - Buried in Debt? Center For Siouxland Can Help!

Mon, Apr 30th, 2018

Money Monday - Buried in Debt?  Center For Siouxland Can Help!

The Sioux City Journal reported on the services that Center For Siouxland's Certified Consumer Credit Counselors can provide to Siouxlanders buried in debt.  Whether that be student loan debt, medical debt or payday loan debt, help is available to dig yourself out.  Center For Siouxland offers a free, confidential Consumer Credit Counseling program.  Counselors can help clients put together a monthly budget, obtain and improve their credit scores and develop a plan to pay down their debt.  Read the Sioux City Journal's story here.

 

Money Monday – Money Smart Week is This Week!

Mon, Apr 23rd, 2018

Money Monday – Money Smart Week is This Week!

What Is Money Smart Week?

Money Smart Week was started by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in 2002.  Events hosted by local nonprofit organizations, municipalities, libraries and schools promote financial literacy across the United States every April, this year April 21-28.  They cover everything from car insurance to credit repair.  All events are free and open to the public.

The timing of these events couldn’t be better, they’re right after April 17th Tax Day.  You can learn how to save your tax refund the right way. Learn how to open a checking account, a savings account, about interest rates, and even how to set up a Roth IRA or traditional IRA for retirement.

How Do I Find Money Smart Week Events Near Me?

Last year, over 100,000 people attended Money Smart events across the country. You can search for your zip code on the Money Smart website to look for events near you.

If you can’t make it to an event or there aren’t any in your area, that’s okay. The Money Smart Week website has a number of resources to help you figure out your finances. It’s filled with videos, blogs, and interactive games. You can even get connected to free or low-cost professionals like those at Center For Siouxland that can help you overcome major financial problems, like bad credit or unbearable debt.

 

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