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Paying off student loans doesn’t have to be a life sentence

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Picture yourself graduating from college. You may have landed a great job and moved into your own apartment. Or maybe you’re getting some work experience with an unpaid internship and you’ve moved back in with your parents for a few years. You may also have close to $30,000 in student loan debt that you feel like you’ll be paying off for the rest of your life.

You’re not alone. Before you go off to college, you might want to consider alternatives to student loans. Many people realize too late that they can’t afford the debt from their college expenses. Tuition, room and board, books and other costs over four or more years add up quickly. Not to mention if you choose to pursue an advanced degree.

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Student loan delinquencies in the U.S. are rising quickly. Student loan debt is also on the rise. The average student loan debt was $17,233 in 2005. In 2012, it had climbed to $27,253, an increase of more than 58 percent in just seven years.

Student Loan Delinquencies
Information from research done by FICO Labs

This debt increase combined with a slowly recovering economy has created an unstable situation; one that’s leading many to default on their student loan payments.

You might think defaulting on a loan isn’t a big deal. But, when you default on a loan, your credit rating drops and it’s more difficult to get approval for new credit. It’s a vicious cycle and it’s only getting worse. As more people default on their student loans, more of the population has lower credit scores, less access to credit and less opportunity to help grow the economy.

But this doesn’t mean you should skip college and go straight to working full-time. Student loans aren’t the only option to help pay for education. You do need to be prepared though. Don’t wait until you’re a senior in high school to start thinking about the following options:

  • Research scholarships and grants. As opposed to loans, students don’t have to pay back these types of financial aid.
  • Once you’re accepted to a school, research the least expensive options for non-tuition expenses (used books, on-campus housing, meal plans, etc.).
  • Get involved in the process so you can learn valuable financial lessons for the future. If you’re involved in the process from the start, you will have a better understanding of how to manage your money after college.

 

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.


Mr. Stone serves as vice president, financial center manager and is responsible for leading the execution of sales and client experience within the financial center. He joined UMB in 2005. Stone earned a Bachelor of Science in Management from Baker University in Baldwin, Kan.



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Why can’t I save my online banking password?

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You might be wondering why you saw this notice below the UMB online banking account sign in.

Login Panel Medium

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We promise we’re not trying to make your life harder by doing this. We know it’s not easy to remember all the passwords you use online these days, so you might see this as a hassle. But we try to do everything we can to make sure your information is secure … and remains secure. Privacy and information security are extremely important to us at UMB and we take it very seriously.

Identity thieves are usually looking for stored information that they can turn into a profit by selling it on the black market. Online banking information like your password and the site you use to access your accounts are valuable to people who make money from stealing and selling personal information. We’ve disabled the ability to save your online banking password on umb.com because otherwise identity thieves have a greater opportunity to steal your data and money.

For example, if your laptop is stolen and you don’t have it password-protected, the thief can easily login to your bank account if it automatically pulls your login information. Then this person has access to everything they need to steal your money. If you log in to your online bank account from a shared or public system, the next person that uses the computer could access your account. All it takes is a few clicks and they’ve used your money to buy a new flat screen TV or book a trip to Italy. It’s kind of like when you accidentally leave your laptop sitting out and you’re still logged in to Facebook, and then your roommate comes along and posts an embarrassing status update as you. Only it’s not your Facebook page, it’s your hard-earned money at stake.

Ultimately, we want what’s best for our customers even if it isn’t always the most convenient option. The privacy and the security of your information is our priority.




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We regret to inform you that your account has been compromised…now what?

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You can do everything right to secure your personal information, but your credit or debit card information can still be compromised. Unfortunately, retailers and restaurants can be victims of hackers just like individuals can. Except when an identity thief breaches a retailer’s point of sale (POS) system, more than one person is affected. The company’s system can hold hundreds, if not thousands, of card numbers and key card security details including card verification value (CVV) codes.

CVV Code

 

Exact location of the CVV number varies among the card brands. Consult your card’s instructions for the location of your card’s CVV code.

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Throughout a given year, you have a chance of having your information stolen in one of these security breaches. Reportedly 44.8 million records were breached in 2012. Companies continue to ramp up security measures and while they do a good job, the hackers find points of vulnerability and use malware to pull the credit/debit card information.

Fast food restaurants and small business systems are the most targeted. The high level of transactions makes fast food restaurants a prime target. Small businesses are usually targeted because they don’t always have the same robust security resources as bigger companies, but even large national retail chains can be a victim of these security issues.

When there is a security compromise at retailer or restaurant, it should not end up costing you any money. Your bank should take care of everything, from issuing you a new card and personal identification number (PIN) to recovering any lost funds.

Smart ChipThe current risk environment will not notably change until smart cards (also known as chip cards) are rolled out universally in the U.S. We should see this by the end of 2015. The chip card is different from the card with the magnetic stripe because there is a small microchip in the card with a dynamic security code continually changing, making it extremely difficult to counterfeit.

As a consumer, you have little control over these external events, but this shouldn’t stop you from using your credit/debit cards. You can help protect yourself, by regularly checking your online bank statements and taking advantage of any fraud alerts through SMS texting and emails offered by your bank. At the very least, check your paper statements each month for any suspicious activity. If you regularly monitor your accounts, you will be able to spot fraudulent activity and your bank can quickly fix the issue.

 

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.


Mr. Hanson serves as vice president and fraud manager in Card Operations. He is responsible for providing fraud detections, prevention, and investigation services to UMB’s credit and debit card customers. He joined UMB in 2010 with more than 15 years of credit card fraud prevention experiences. He earned a Bachelor of Science in political science from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah and a Master of Arts in national security affairs from the Naval Post-Graduate School in Monterey, Calif.



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Financial planning is a marathon, not a sprint

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Whether you have just started the race and you are at the beginning of your career, or you are closing in on the finish line of retirement, you should stay on track with your financial planning. Much like running a marathon is different than a sprint, planning long-term financial goals is different than simply paying your bills every month. A knowledgeable financial partner can coach you through this and make the process seem less daunting. Similar to a mile marker showing you what point you are at in a marathon, certain life events signal when and how you should financially prepare.

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  • Just starting out

    Start saving as soon as possible to set the pace for this long-distance run. Consider opening a savings account and set aside whatever you can from each paycheck. With most banks, you can set up an automatic transfer from your checking account to a savings account so you won’t even have to think about it. Also consider a retirement fund—either a 401(k) or similar employer-sponsored plan, or an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) separate from your current job.

  • Planning for a family

    Thinking about starting a family? This is an important decision and one that you must be prepared for financially. Much like training before you run a marathon, adjusting your budget and saving for having kids is important. Paying for medical bills when the baby is born or financing adoption fees is no simple task. Not to mention childcare and other expenses related to children once you have them. Bottles, diapers, clothes, toys, it all starts to add up quickly!

  • Children’s education

    If your children plan to pursue higher education after high school, you will need to save for that expense. A four-year degree is estimated to cost $442,697.85 for students enrolling in 2031 if tuition increases seven percent per year. Does that number make you nervous? Planning ahead and starting to save when your children are born will help with some of that anxiety.

  • Pre-retirement

    As you see the retirement finish line in the distance, it is important to meet with your financial partner(s) to understand when you can retire and feel comfortable with your finances at that time. Ask how your retirement fund(s) is/are performing and whether or not you need to increase/decrease your contributions. Want to spend your retirement vacationing at that lake house you have always dreamed of? It doesn’t have to be a dream if you start budgeting now.

  • Post-retirement

    Now it’s time for the post-run cool down and stretch. After you retire, it is more important than ever to monitor your finances. You aren’t contributing to a retirement fund or planning to pay for your children’s college; instead you are now working on a fixed income and have to ensure that it will last for the rest of your life.

Marathon runners train very hard for a long time to prepare for those 26.2 miles. Often they don’t do it alone and will work with a trainer who helps them through the preparation. Utilize the expertise available at your bank and start preparing for the long-term so you can reach the finish line when and how you want.

 

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.


Mr. Miles serves as assistant vice president and banking center manager in Denver. He is also a member of the UMB Consumer Advocate Team. He joined UMB in October of 2007. He is currently studying Organizational Leadership at Colorado State University.



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How to get your identity stolen

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You’ve read hundreds of articles about how to avoid identity theft, but if you actually want to lose your identity then just follow these ten simple steps:

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  1. Use your pets or child’s name as your email password
    Fluffy1234. Who would ever think of that? Identity thieves are using sophisticated technology to crack your passwords and steal your information. Using your dog’s name and a common number sequence will make it so easy that these identity thieves won’t even need a computer to figure it out.
  2. Over-share with your neighbor or a friendly stranger
    Always use the same personal identification number (PIN) or code for all your accounts, credit and debit cards. Remember when you had your neighbors watch your house and you gave them your garage code? Well now they also have your PIN for all your accounts. And what about that friendly stranger who offers to sell you a tropical vacation for pennies on the dollar? Once you give them your name, address and payment information, your identity could be as good as gone!
  3. Throw away personal documents without shredding
    Throw away receipts, old bill statements and credit card applications without shredding them. A more low-tech identity thief will just dig through your dumpster and use the information in receipts and bills to access your personal information. Then he will sign up for a credit card in your name with the application you threw away the other day. He’ll be sitting on a beach sipping a frozen drink after he spent all your money on that tropical vacation we mentioned while you spend months recovering your lost finances and clearing up your credit report.
  4. Make yourself an easy target for pickpockets
    Don’t pay attention to your surroundings in a crowd. Leave your fanny pack unzipped so anyone can reach right in and grab your wallet. This saves an identity thief from the trouble of looking for your information. He can just use your ID and credit or debit cards.
  5. Don’t password protect any personal devices
    Don’t password protect any of your personal devices (laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc.) and leave them out where anyone can access them. Why waste the time pushing buttons to unlock your smart phone when you could be taking a picture of your dinner!
  6. Respond to suspicious emails
    Even if it seems suspicious, respond to all emails asking for your personal information. Click on suspicious links too! This will route you to a website or file download that will make it really easy for you to share all of your online activity with the identity thief – user names, passwords, card numbers, you name it!
  7. Respond to suspicious requests on social media
    Easily hacked passwords on your social media sites allow identity thieves to pose as you and try to con your friends out of their personal information and even their money. Oh, and your ex really is stuck in London without a passport or money! Wire that $5,000 right away!
  8. Transfer money on an unsecure website or via email
    Speaking of sending money, be sure you give out your bank account info via email because it’s definitely a safe way to shop online. Throw in your Social Security number and your mother’s maiden name while you’re at it.
  9. Be careless with logins and personal information in public
    Openly log in to your personal accounts while you’re on a laptop or phone in a public setting. Balance your checkbook in a coffee shop and be sure you move out of the way so the identity thief can clearly read your account number.
  10. Never review your bank account statements
    They say ignorance is bliss. It’s true. If you never look at your account statements, you’ll never know if someone has your account information and is spending all your money. You’ll also never know when your spouse dropped a couple hundred dollars on a shopping spree!

Of course, we are joking and having a little fun with this post. At UMB we take privacy and security very seriously, especially when it comes to our customers. You might think identity theft can’t happen to you, but it is still very common and a few simple things can keep you protected. Just do the exact opposite of everything on this list. Or, take a look at our website to learn more tips and tricks to protect your information and your identity.

 

Bank deposit products provided by UMB Bank n.a., Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender


Ms. Flores serves as senior vice president and Chief Information Security Officer, providing oversight of UMB’s information security and privacy programs. She joined UMB in 2010 and more than 15 years of experience in information technology and information security. She attended Kansas State University with a focus on management information systems and is a Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US) and Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA).



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Your Bank: It’s more than a place to get free candy and custom checks

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Banks and technology have evolved in the past 20 years and this has changed the way you interact with your bank. Even though the buildings, technology and even the industry have changed, your relationship with your bank is still the same.

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You should still expect a partner in your bank. The professionals at your bank should walk you through financial situations so you can plan beyond simply paying your monthly bills.

Your bank should:

  • Help you create a financial plan that is a series of relatively simple steps that fit into your life in a practical way,
  • Advise on relevant, current topics, and
  • Connect the dots between global economic issues that could impact your goals

Banks have a responsibility to be transparent and to provide you the tools to achieve your financial dreams! Check out this video about what an advisor at your bank can do to help you do just that.

Bank deposit products provided by UMB Bank n.a., Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender




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