What’s a money market and who should open one?

We all have savings goals – purchasing a new puppy, finding a dream home, taking a tropical vacation. But, how do you make those goals achievable? Consider opening a money market account to help boost your savings.

We all have savings goals – purchasing a new puppy, finding a dream home, taking a tropical vacation. But, how do you make those goals achievable?

Consider opening a money market account to help boost your savings.

But first, what is a money market account and how does it work?

If you’ve run across the term at your bank, you’ve probably wondered what it means. Put simply, a money market (MMA) is very similar to a savings account, but it’s more desirable as interest rates and terms are typically far superior. MMAs are also FDIC insured up to federal limits and have a limited number of withdrawals or outgoing payments during each statement cycle.

Who should open a money market?

A money market account is worth considering if you’re looking for a low-risk way to grow your savings.

It’s also a great fit if:

  • You want an account more liquid than a saver but earns higher interest than a checking.
  • You aren’t willing to part with your money for the period of time a CD would require.
  • You want some check writing ability.
  • You want quick access to funds in case of an unforeseen expense.

While MMAs are typically associated with big balances, at F&M Bank, you don’t need a huge deposit to get our attention. You can bank like a millionaire (without being one) by taking advantage of our money market special! From now until April 15, 2019, earn 1.79% APY* on a new money market account.

If you think a money market account is a good fit for your finances, be sure to contact us and book an appointment with one of our branch representatives! We’d love to help you set up an account so you can start earning today!

*Annual Percentage Yield. The interest rate on this account is 1.776% with an annual percentage yield of 1.79%. The special APY will be paid on new Money Market accounts opened between 08/01/18 to 04/15/19. A $10.00 deposit is required to open this account. A monthly service fee of $10.00 will be imposed monthly on the statement cycle if the average daily balance for the monthly statement cycle fall below $1,000.00. Effective 04/16/19, this Money Market special rate will automatically convert to our Money Market Plus account with the rate tiers in effect at that time. Please refer to the disclosures provided upon account opening for current Money Market Plus tiers and fees associated with this account. Member FDIC.

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Best Apps for Money Management

With the proper tools, it’s never been easier to build your financial literacy, monitor daily transactions, and grow your accounts to meet short and long-term savings goals.

Do you like to use technology to problem solve and create more efficiency in your life? If you said yes, then “fintech,” a term that describes the merging of tech and finance, is a good match for you. With an ever-growing number of money management apps, access to everything from personal accounts to global markets is at our fingertips. People of all ages from kids to retirees, as well as business owners, can not only get a detailed overview of their financial situation but have fun tracking every dollar and cent. With the proper tools, it’s never been easier to build your financial literacy, monitor daily transactions, and grow your accounts to meet short and long-term savings goals.

Whether it’s creating a budget, organizing your personal finances, saving for vacations and retirement, or managing your small business’ spending, all aspects of your money can be managed directly from your smartphone. We’ve identified some of the best personal finance, investment, business, and kids’ apps to streamline your time and resources. All are free to download and use unless otherwise noted.

Best Personal Finance Apps

From credit cards to bank and retirement accounts, our financial lives are complicated. Understanding what you have and how to make it work for you is critical. Whether you’re trying to improve your credit score before making your first home purchase, or you want to save for a vacation or big purchase, these apps can help you take those specific steps as well as basic ones like creating a budget.

Know Your Credit Score

As your credit score is the backbone of your financial life, consider downloading Credit Karma. It gives you a free copy of your credit report as well as advice on steps you can take to get your score where you want it to be. In this age of online security threats, Credit Karma also provides you with notifications to alert you to new activity reflected on your report.

Banking Apps

Your bank account is at the heart of all you do, from paying bills to buying lunch on the go. A sound banking app, such as F&M Bank’s Mobile Banking app will make you the master of your domain from the convenience of your phone or tablet.  Your account is kept safe via passcode or touch ID entry to the app, where you can view transactions, pay bills, deposit checks through mobile deposit, and transfer funds between F&M bank accounts. Using the F&M mobile app will not save any sensitive information to your phone.

Budgeting Apps

While on-the-go access to your accounts is essential, creating objectives for your money is just as critical. Squirrel is F&M Bank’s no-cost Personal Financial Management Tool and it enables you to track your spending, create budgets, and set goals. While you’ll need an F&M Bank online account login to use Squirrel, you can link your Squirrel account to other accounts you have such as a 401(k) or other retirement account. With access to 15,000 financial institutions, Squirrel provides you with a full financial picture, including a cash flow calendar and visual tracking of progress to your goals.

With a complete financial picture, including your total net worth after debts and assets are combined, Squirrel offers the same information as the mobile banking app as well as so much more. Don’t just watch your money go in and out on your account ledger. Take control and set goals for saving and debt repayment, check cash flow before making discretionary purchases, and feel empowered to take the steering wheel of your financial life

F&M Bank Squirrel App

Best Apps for Business Owners

Companies with a business checking account can also use their bank’s mobile app to keep track of daily transactions and cash flow.

Beyond you’re a business banking app, inDinero is a tax compliance and accounting app that compiles information from all of your business bank accounts and credit cards to present a clear, comprehensive view of your company’s spending. Discover where your money goes and when, and obtain forecasts of future spending based on current trends. inDinero allows you to gain insight into the total picture of your business’ finances. Plans start at $295/month.

To take the pain out of small business accounting, consider adding Freshbooks to your life. This software makes your billing process seamless and straightforward, creating attractive, professional invoices in seconds. You can track your time on projects and follow-up with clients directly from Freshbooks, freeing you from cumbersome paperwork and administrative tasks. Freshbooks allows you to track your expenses and, because it’s cloud-based, you can have a snapshot of all of your business expenses anytime, anywhere. After a 30 day free trial, Freshbooks offers monthly plans starting at $10.

F&M Bank Treehouse Club ScreenshotBest Money Apps for Kids

F&M Bank Treehouse Club makes saving fun.  Kids can access their savings account as well as play games designed to increase their financial literacy. The app makes earning and learning can be exciting for little ones.

PiggyBot is a virtual piggy bank to make savings a more hands-on experience for kids. They can feature photos of the items they are saving for in PiggyBot for additional incentive to keep adding to their bank, combining the popularity of picture-based platforms into the app.

How will you use “Fintech” to manage your money?

Whatever your current financial situation and future goals, the range of quality personal finance and business apps can make the path to a sound financial future easier and more manageable than ever. With just a few apps added to your tablet or mobile device, you can understand your money in new ways and, more importantly, make it work for you. F&M Bank customers, and those who would like to open an F&M Bank account, can take advantage of our free Personal Financial Management Tool, Squirrel. It’s just another way we fulfill our mission as a community bank to meet the needs of our customers and community by offering the best financial products.

Join the Treehouse Savings Club!

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Maximize Your Mobile Banking Experience

Mobile banking is more than just a convenient way to check your accounts on the go – it’s a toolbox.

In fact, when you log-in to your account, you have dozens of tools at your disposal, and the best part, they’re free! If you’re enrolled in mobile banking, but not taking advantage of various alerts and account preferences, use the below tips to turn your digital banking into an aid for managing your money and monitoring your account activity.

Mobile banking is more than just a convenient way to check your accounts on the go – it’s a toolbox.

In fact, when you log-in to your account, you have dozens of tools at your disposal, and the best part, they’re free! If you’re enrolled in mobile banking, but not taking advantage of various alerts and account preferences, use the below tips to turn your digital banking into an aid for managing your money and monitoring your account activity.

1) Set Up Alerts

In the F&M Bank mobile app, customers can set up various text alerts based on account activity. Here are a few alert options you can access in minutes.

Balance

If you are not proactive at checking your account balance on a regular basis, you can receive a text either daily, or monthly, depending on your preference. This is a great way to ensure your checkbook and online account balances match!

  • Daily balance – This will send an alert of your daily balance for a particular account.
  • Monthly balance – This will send an alert once a month of your current balance on a particular day.

Balances Above/Below

You also can set up alerts that notify you when your account balance falls below or goes above and indicated amount. For example, if you establish an alert and indicate $1,000 as your preferred checking account balance, you will be alerted via text if an expenditure drops your balance to $950. This tool can serve as a wake-up call for overspending, or a pleasant surprise for those trying to achieve a savings goal.

  • Balances above/below – This will send an alert when your balance falls below or goes above the amount you define.

Transaction

This tool alerts you when certain transactions are made. You can select which transactions interest you (ACH, Debit Card, Wires, etc.), or, you can select all. A dollar amount must be established. For example, if you want to receive a text every time a debit card transaction is made greater than $50, you can set up that alert in minutes. This is a great way to monitor fraud, and ensure you are aware of the purchases being made on your account.

  • Transaction – this will send alerts when particular transactions are applied to your account.

To begin setting up alerts, visit the “Text Banking” tab in the mobile app.

2) Make Savings Automatic

Take advantage of the automatic transfer tool in online banking to build your savings. If you know your paycheck posts to your account every Friday, schedule a weekly transfer from your checking account to savings. If you don’t think you can afford to save a large amount each week, start small. By setting up an auto-transfer, you’re consistently saving, and that is what is important. Just click, the “Transfers” tab in the mobile app to get started.

3) Protect Your Accounts with Touch ID

F&M Bank’s mobile app is extremely secure – it uses 128-bit SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption to protect your information and we don’t store any information on your phone. You are required to log in each time you access your account information or bill pay services through Mobile Banking. Instead of entering your username and password every time, use your thumb print instead! Just visit the “User Options” tab to set up this feature.

4) Deposit Checks on the Go

Deposit checks quickly and safely with the F&M Bank mobile app!

  • Sign in to the app.
  • Click on “Mobile Deposit Capture”.
  • Choose deposit checks. Or, click transactions to view recent deposits.
  • Follow the prompts on your mobile screen.
  • Confirm the details are correct and press “submit”.
  • You will come to the final screen – press “I agree”, and you are finished.

 

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.

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.

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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Take advantage of the My Rewards™ platinum debit card and gain access to convenient short term loans!|fa-money|792|Short-Term Loans|1

How to Avoid Pay Day Loan Fraud

The bank has noticed an upswing in this type of fraud and would like to help educate our customers as to how this occurs, and what you can do to protect yourself or a loved one from such a scam.

“Pay day” loan fraud is a new trend our bank is seeing where customers apply online for a loan, and as part of the application process, are instructed to enter the online banking ID and password for their financial institution.  Applicants are also asked for the answers to their online banking security questions. The bank has noticed an upswing in this type of fraud and would like to help educate our customers as to how this occurs, and what you can do to protect yourself or a loved one from such a scam. 

Once a person enters their banking information into the online application, the unknown fraudster then enrolls in mobile banking on behalf of the applicant, submitting fraudulent checks for deposit through the bank’s mobile app. When the customer comes into the bank to receive their “pay day” funds, they are struck with returned checks that are fraudulent.

Customers applying for loans online that share their sensitive information are not taking into consideration that they have given scammers direct access to their checkbook, including the ability to issue checks from the bill pay feature of online banking. 

It is never wise to share online banking credentials! In these cases, an applicant can unknowingly become a criminal suspect themselves as they are referred to as “money mules”, participating in moving money fraudulently. The applicant must then bear the burden of proving that they did not willingly engage in fraudulent activity often involving the police.

When enrolling in online banking, be sure to never share a banking ID, password, or security questions and answers with anyone. A reputable lender will never ask for that information. By following these guidelines, one can avoid a significant loss through a scam.

Protecting Your Small Business Account

Corporate account takeover is a type of fraud where thieves gain access to a business’ finances to make unauthorized transactions, including transferring funds from the company, creating and adding new fake employees to payroll, and stealing sensitive customer information that may not be recoverable. The American Bankers Association recommends following these tips to keep your small business safe.

Educate your employees. You and your employees are the first line of defense against corporate account takeover. A strong security program paired with employee education about the warning signs, safe practices, and responses to a suspected takeover are essential to protecting your company and customers.

Protect your online environment. It is important to protect your cyber environment just as you would your cash and physical location. Do not use unprotected internet connections. Encrypt sensitive data and keep updated virus protections on your computer. Use complex passwords and change them periodically.

Partner with your bank to prevent unauthorized transactions. Talk to your banker about programs that safeguard you from unauthorized transactions. Positive Pay and other services offer call backs, device authentication, multi-person approval processes and batch limits help protect you from fraud.

Pay attention to suspicious activity and react quickly. Look out for unexplained account or network activity, pop ups, and suspicious emails. If detected, immediately contact your financial institution, stop all online activity and remove any systems that may have been compromised. Keep records of what happened.

Understand your responsibilities and liabilities. The account agreement with your bank will detail what commercially reasonable security measures are required in your business. It is critical that you understand and implement the security safeguards in the agreement. If you don’t, you could be liable for losses resulting from a takeover. Talk to your banker if you have any questions about your responsibilities.

 

How To Report Lost and Stolen Cards

Customers are now able to use online banking to report debit cards as lost or stolen, or to activate new cards that are mailed to them. This feature is available in the Options tab in F&M Bank's Online Banking portal. 

To report your debit card as lost or stolen, or to activate a card, click on the ATM/Debit Card tab. A screen will appear listing the cards associated with your accounts, and will indicate the card is in one of the statuses below:

  • Active  
    • You will have the option to mark as Lost/Stolen.
       
  • In Process Card Order
    • You will have the option to mark as Activate. This means you can now activate a new card without visiting an ATM!
       
  • Mark as Lost/Stolen
    • Use this in the event that the card appears to be lost in the mail.

When you click the box that indicates Lost/Stolen, you will be directed to a confirmation page to verify that the card is to be blocked. At that point, the card will be instantly hotcarded on our card system, meaning transactions will be blocked.  Please contact the bank for a new card. New cards can either be mailed to you or instantly issued at your local branch.

*Please note that once a card is reported as Lost/Stolen the card cannot be switched back to Active if the card is found.*  

A member of our Customer Support team will monitor hotcards from Online Banking on a daily basis and will make up to three attempts to contact you by phone to determine which options for a replacement card best suits your needs (either mailed or issued at a branch). 

Customers can still use the phone hotline to report lost or stolen cards or to activate their card and can still contact any bank employee. 

We hope that you will enjoy this additional option for your convenience!

Upgrade to My Rewards™ and you can earn up to 5X the points

At F&M Bank, we love to reward our customers. And now, it’s even easier to earn rewards when you sign up for the My Rewards™ Gold or Platinum Debit Card! As a Gold or Platinum Debit Card Holder, you’ll enjoy premium benefits and perks such as cash back, bonus points, access to convenient short-term loans, emergency roadside assistance, prescription savings and much more! And if you enroll by June 30, 2016, you’ll receive your first 90 days absolutely free! Just be sure to enter promo code 383727

You’re already shopping with your debit card – why not rack up extra points?  Upgrade to the My Rewards™ Gold or Platinum Debit Card and you can earn up to 5X the points on everyday purchases! And you’ll even MORE points when you shop online through F&M’s Bonus Rewards Website: www.fmbonusrewards.com.  Some card holders have earned enough points to redeem for a Caribbean cruise!

Visit us for a full list of benefits and enroll today! Remember to enter promo code 383727 for your free 90-day trial! http://Card.fmbonusrewards.com.

 

Fee applicable following advertised promotional period. Finance charges associated with the convenient, short-term loan benefit remain applicable. The loan benefit is available only to My Rewards Platinum Debit Card holders, however, the card holder still must qualify for the loan. Please visit www.fmbonusrewards.com/CardTerms for card program terms and conditions.

Fraud Alert for Cardholders Living or Traveling in New York

FRAUD ALERT – on Friday, May 6, 2016, F&M Bank began receiving notifications from our fraud detection system regarding some of our Virginia customers’ cards being used in stores in the state of New York, with confirmations of fraud.

As a precautionary measure, F&M has placed a block that requires the use of your PIN for transactions conducted in the state of New York. Your PIN must be used when using your debit card until this matter is resolved.  If you do not know your PIN, please notify the bank and we will order a new PIN to be mailed to the address on file for your account.

For customers who notify F&M Bank to obtain a new PIN and are Kasasa Accountholders: The Bank will pay the higher rate of interest for the statement cycle that ends in May to allow time for delivery of a PIN in the mail.  Customers would be expected to meet their 12 required transactions for the statement cycle that ends in June to qualify for the higher rate of interest.

We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause for you, our valued customers.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact our customer support team at (540) 896-8941.