6 Tips for Spring Cleaning your Finances
Spring is the perfect time to get things done and organized. In honor of spring cleaning season, American Bankers Association recommends you follow these six tips to help you organize your finances
- Review your budget. A lot can change in a year. If you’ve been promoted, had a child, or become a new homeowner or renter, be sure to update your budget. Determine what expenses demand the most money and identify areas where you can realistically cut back. Develop a strategy for spending and saving – and stick to it.
- Evaluate and pay down debt. Take a look at how much you owe and what you are paying in interest. Begin paying off existing debt, whether that’s by chipping away at loans with the highest interest rates or eliminating smaller debt first.
- Set up automatic bill pay. By signing up for automatic bill pay, you’ll never have to worry about a missed payment impacting your credit score. You can set it so that money is withdrawn from your checking account on the same day each month.
- Sign up for e-statements, paperless billing and text alerts. Converting to paperless billing will help keep your house—physical and financial—more clean and organized, and will help protect you from fraud.
- Check your credit report. Every year, you are guaranteed one free credit report from each of the three credit bureaus. Take advantage of these free reports and check them for any possible errors. Mistakes can drag down your score and prevent you from getting a loan, or cause you to pay a higher than necessary interest rate.
- Manage your money on the go. Utilize your bank’s mobile app to check your balance, pay your bills, transfer funds, deposit a check and send money to friends from wherever you are.
Drive-In Locations Open December 23
Lufkin, Center and Haslam Drive-In locations will be open regular hours Saturday, December 23 for your convenience. All locations will be closed on Monday, December 25th. Merry Christmas from your friends at Texas State Bank!
Shopping Safely Online
As Cyber Monday and the season for online shopping quickly approaches, it’s worth taking a few moments to ensure you’re not giving the gift of your personal or financial information to online criminals! Identity theft, scams, frauds, and malware infections are serious problems that target shoppers during the holiday season and can arise from using your devices to find the perfect gift. Below, we will explore some key tips on how to follow safe online shopping practices in order to make your holiday purchasing more secure.
Create and maintain your online shopping accounts safely
- Establish a strong password for each online shopping account. Always use more than ten total characters consisting of upper case letters, lower case letters, numbers, and special characters to create a strong password.
- Use different passwords on each of your online accounts. If one retailer experiences a data breach in which your credentials are leaked, using the same password between accounts makes it quick and easy for criminals to exploit you and your information. If you have trouble remembering all your unique passwords, consider using a pattern for your password or a password manager. .
- Check out as a guest to avoid saving payment information online. The inconvenience of having to enter your credit card information each time keeps you safer because a data breach at a retailer will not expose your financial information. It also means your payment information is not saved or ready to be used by anyone who gets access to your account.
- Use one credit card online or pay through a secure online mechanism. By using only one credit card online you’re limiting the damage that can happen if malicious actors gain that information. Alternatively, use one of the online payment mechanisms, such as PayPal.
Shop with trusted online retailers while browsing safely
- Use well-known online retailers that have an established reputation for cybersecurity. Verify that they have good contact information listed on their site, and check with the Better Business Bureau or the FTC if you have questions or concerns.
- Look for the lock symbol at the top of your browser or “https” in your URL bar. These mean that your communications with the website are encrypted and safe from prying eyes.
- Never shop or login to personal accounts when on public Wi-Fi or a public device. Public Wi-Fi can make all the personal information that you transmit visible to criminals. Public, shared devices, such as kiosks or library computers, can be infected with malware that will steal your information.
- Do not leave your browser open on a shopping site for long periods of time. Websites that use advertising feeds have occasionally had them hijacked by cyber criminals, who are then able to put malware on your device. This malware can steal your personal information or encrypt your device and demand a ransom to return it to your control.
- Keep your devices up-to-date. Always apply updates to your devices and software when they are available. Keeping devices up-to-date means you have applied all the available fixes for known problems and vulnerabilities. This makes you more secure.
Be smart when it comes to email confirmations and tracking information
- Be careful which links you click in your emails. At this time of a year a favorite trick among cyber criminals is to send emails purportedly from the major shipping companies with a link to track your package. These may be a scam to download malware. They count on the fact that you’ve ordered many things online and are waiting for a package. Instead, cut and paste the tracking number into the shipping company’s website in order to track it. Additionally, always head directly to the site of the company you want to shop with by entering the URL into your browser when aiming to log in. Avoid clicking links directing you to log in, as they may send you to a malicious site that looks real, but can just steal your information.
- Do not use your work email address for retail accounts. By using one of the free webmail accounts, such as Gmail or Hotmail, it will be much easier to identify a potentially malicious email coming to your work email, since the online retailers should not know that email address. This can also help you prevent criminals from knowing where you work, which is information than can potentially use to hack into your work account!
Disclaimer: These links are provided because they have information that may be useful. Texas State Bank does not warrant the accuracy of any information contained in the links and neither endorses nor intends to promote the advertising of the resources listed herein. The opinions and statements contained in such resources are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Texas State Bank.
As you’ve likely heard, last week credit reporting bureau Equifax announced a major data breach affecting approximately 143 million Americans. The company said that from mid-May through the end of July, criminals exploited an Equifax website vulnerability to access names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and in some cases driver’s licenses.
- Equifax is updating this webpage with important consumer information regarding the breach and you can protect your credit.
- The Federal Trade Commission is offering steps consumers can take to help protect their information from being misused.
Believe Team Raises Money for Relay for Life
Great job to the Shelby County Believe Team! They raised just under $5,000 for the American Cancer Society and Relay for Life to help fight cancer. The Believe Team is made up of employees from our Joaquin, Haslam and Center branches.
Huntington Middle School JA in a Day
Shelby Pryor volunteered to teach Junior Achievement’s It’s My Future program to 8th graders at Huntington Middle School. The It’s My Future program provides student with career options and helps them understand the importance of having a positive personal brand.
TEAM TSB WINS CATFISH FESTIVAL COOKOFF
Congratulations to Team TSB for winning the Catfish Cookoff at the Huntington Small Business Owners Association Catfish Festival. Their secret recipe wowed the judges taste buds! Pictured are team members George Wagner, Cortney Wagner, Pam Whittemore and John Whittemore.