Financial Steps to Take Before Buying a Car

Think about the effort it takes to search for the right new car and to negotiate the lowest price. Here are a few things to consider while looking for the best financing option.

Think about the effort it takes to search for the right new car and to negotiate the lowest price.

Unless you plan to pay cash in full, the third leg of the stool is finding the best possible financing. Because loans typically come in 12-month increments, we’re talking about a decision that will affect your household budget a minimum of two years and probably more like five or six.

Here are a few things to consider while looking for the best financing option:

Assess your credit

Your credit score is likely the single biggest factor a lender will consider in determining what interest rate to offer you. Your score is based primarily on your credit reports, which you can get for free by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com.

Check the reports for errors and take action to dispute any that you find, because a higher credit score usually leads to a lower interest rate on a loan.

Get preapproved for a loan

Borrowing options usually boil down to working with a financial institution or with the dealership. Too many people assume the latter is their only option. But you can find a loan at banks as well.

For customers with excellent credit, dealerships sometimes offer low- or even no-interest rates. On the other hand, dealers’ rates can be markedly worse than those available elsewhere.

If you go through a bank, ask for a preapproval letter. Walking into the dealership with that in hand gives you more bargaining power to negotiate a better price.

Decide what to do with your old car

If you have a vehicle already, trading it in may be enough to cover a down payment or at least serve as a credit against the cost of your new ride. Sites such as Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds can help you appraise the trade-in value.

The dealer may well offer less — sometimes substantially less — than you could get by selling your old car privately. The tradeoff is you’ll have the inconvenience and uncertainty of dealing with strangers.

Figure out how much you can afford

Take a look at your financial situation to determine how much vehicle you can afford. What other living expenses, such as mortgage or rent, utilities and other recurring payments already have a claim on your income?

When calculating costs, you might also check with your insurance agent about rates. Why? Because in addition to your driving record, insurance rates can vary depending on a vehicle’s maintenance costs as well as the history of claims tied to your specific make and model.

Buying a new car is a major financial commitment, typically second only to purchasing a home. Taking time to figure out how much car you can afford and finding the smartest financing are well worth the effort.

© Copyright 2016 NerdWallet, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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Ransomware

How We Protect Your Data from Ransomware

It is important to us to provide you timely information regarding the steps we take to protect our customers’ data in the event of a Ransomware attack.

Criminals use Ransomware to hold your data hostage. They will typically include malware as an attachment in an email or as an embedded link in the email. The recipient opens the attachment or clicks on the link and the ransomware installs to their PC or laptop. The malware will quickly encrypt the data stored on the workstation and other network resources and, when the encryption is complete, demand a ransom from the victim, typically payable in bitcoin. The criminals will promise to provide the victim with the key to decrypt the data, but there are no guarantees.

F&M Bank takes the following steps to protect our customers’ data from malware, especially Ransomware:

• The Bank trains its employees to recognize phishing email attempts and the Bank tests compliance with our polices on a quarterly basis.

• The Bank continuously patches and updates the operating systems of our workstations and servers.

• Software applications are patched to the latest versions and configured to reduce the risk of malware infection.

• Anti-virus software is installed to all workstations and servers and the virus signature files are continuously updated.

• We employ spam filters and secure email protocols to help prevent malware laden email from reaching our employees.

• An Intrusion Detection/Intrusion Prevention system also monitors traffic to alert the Bank and block malware infections.

• Web filters prevent employee access to sites known to host malware or other malicious material.

• The Bank performs daily backups of all customer data and the backups are segregated from the network to prevent a malicious encryption of the data.

We appreciate your trust in our financial institution. Please contact us online or at your nearby branch for any account-related questions you may have.

 

F&M Bank Grottoes Anniversary Celebration

Join F&M Bank Grottoes for a week-long anniversary celebration! Stop by the branch each day to enter to win the daily door prize, and be sure to join us Friday, the 21st, for the big event and grand prize giveaway – a 2016 Honda RECON!

WEEK OF GIVEAWAYS AT GROTTOES

July 17th -21st – Join F&M Bank Grottoes for a week-long anniversary celebration! Stop by the branch each day to enter to win the daily door prize.

On Friday, July 21st, you don’t want to miss the big event – hot dogs, face painting, Purple Cow Ice Cream, bluegrass music by the Walnut Ridge Boys, Sammy the Squirrel, the cash bag, prize wheel, and much more!

Plus, enter to win our grand prize – a 2016 Honda RECON!

 

Why Payday Loans Don’t Make Financial Sense

Life happens. The washing machine dies in the middle of a load, or you discover that your last visit to urgent care wasn’t covered by insurance. It’s not always possible to pay for these surprise expenses on the spot. This is when payday loans may become tempting. Here’s what you need to know about payday loans and why they shouldn’t be part of your financial strategy.

Life happens. The washing machine dies in the middle of a load, or you discover that your last visit to urgent care wasn’t covered by insurance. It’s not always possible to pay for these surprise expenses on the spot. This is when payday loans may become tempting.

Here’s what you need to know about payday loans and why they shouldn’t be part of your financial strategy.

What’s a payday loan?

Payday loans are small, short-term loans, often of $500 or less. They’re usually due within two weeks, or on your next payday. Many borrowers choose them because they’re so easy to get: Lenders don’t require collateral and rarely run credit checks. But you will pay for the convenience.

Most lenders charge a fee of $15 per $100 borrowed, according to a study done by the Pew Charitable Trusts. To be approved, you must allow the lender access to your checking account or submit a post-dated check for the amount you’re borrowing, plus the fees.

What’s so terrible about 15%?

Maybe you’re wondering what the big deal is: 15% sounds comparable to credit card interest. With payday loans, though, that 15% is due by your next payday, making your annualized interest rate almost 400%. If you can pay it back on time, one payday loan won’t bankrupt you, but if you don’t have that cash in two weeks, you can easily get trapped in costly ongoing debt.

In fact, more than 80% of payday loans are renewed or followed by another loan, with the borrower paying additional fees. This creates a vicious cycle of debt for those who can least afford it.

Statistically, people who take out payday loans are more likely to have relatively low incomes and long-term cash flow challenges.

Are there alternatives?

Payday loans are a bad deal, and if you need fast cash, you often have better options:

• Church-backed loans: Your church, temple, synagogue or mosque might offer small, low-interest emergency loans.
Life insurance loans: You might be able to borrow against an existing cash-value policy at low interest. You have your whole life to pay back these loans.
• Family/friend loans: Someone close to you might be willing to help.
• Payroll advances: Your employer might offer a cash advance on your salary.
• Personal loans: These installment loans are available through credit unions, banks and lending companies. They generally have fixed interest rates, don’t require collateral and provide comfortable repayment terms.
• Retirement accounts: The government allows you to withdraw funds from your IRA or 401(k) penalty-free, provided you put the money back within 60 days. This option only makes sense if you’re absolutely sure you can pay it back in time.
• Account or credit card advance: Your bank, credit union or credit card company might provide cash advances. Interest rates tend to be high, but are still lower than those for payday loans.
• Peer-to-peer lending: These online loans usually have high interest rates, but they’re also more affordable than payday loans.

Expenses often pop up at the worst possible times, but you don’t need a payday loan to bail you out. By exploring more affordable alternatives, you really can make it through today without stepping all over tomorrow.

© Copyright 2016 NerdWallet, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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