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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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.

April is Financial Literacy Month

Pledge to Be More Financially Literate This Year

F&M’s Community Classroom is a free, online financial education program that helps you manage your money more effectively, make personalized decisions that strengthen your financial future and gain confidence in your financial knowledge. Access our Community Classroom during the month of April and enter for a chance to win a $25 Visa Gift Card or a 22 oz. Stainless Steel Tumbler!

Register For a Free Account to Get Started: https://atwork.everfi.net/fmbank

Two entries will be randomly drawn and notified by email on or about May 1, 2017. One winner will receive a $25 Visa Gift Card, and one winner will receive a 22 oz. Stainless Steel Tumbler. No purchase necessary to win.

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.

Bank Safe, Bank Smart® with Multi-Million Dollar FDIC Insurance

With F&M Bank and the Insured Cash Sweep® (ICS) service, you can earn interest on public or private funds placed into demand deposit accounts, money market deposit accounts, or both, and rest assured knowing that your ICS funds are eligible for multi-million-dollar FDIC insurance.

You can also enjoy unlimited program withdrawals or up to six program withdrawals per month. Simply put, with ICS, you can have it all.

What Can I do with ICS?

• Enjoy peace of mind. ICS funds are eligible for multi-million-dollar FDIC insurance that’s backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government.

• Earn interest. Put excess cash balances to work in demand accounts, money market deposit accounts, or both.

• Save time. By providing access to FDIC insurance through a single bank relationship, ICS can help your public unit comply with investment policy mandates. And with access to FDIC insurance, you can reduce any ongoing collateral-tracking requirements. This means you can spend more time accomplishing your public unit’s goals. 

• Access funds. Enjoy unlimited program withdrawals using the ICS demand option or up to six program withdrawals per month using the ICS savings option.

• Support your community. Feel good knowing that the full amount of your funds placed through ICS can stay local to support lending opportunities that build a stronger community.
 

How Does ICS Work?

When our bank places funds for you using ICS, your deposit is sent from your transaction account at our bank into deposit accounts at other ICS Network banks in amounts below the standard FDIC insurance maximum ($250,000). This makes your funds eligible for FDIC protection. As a result, you can access FDIC insurance coverage from many institutions while working directly with just us, an institution you already know and trust.
It’s that easy.

What Else Do You Need to Know?

You receive a regular monthly statement from us for each option showing your ICS balances and other key information. And you can check your ICS balances and track other important information of interest to you, 24/7, through a specially designed Depositor Control Panel.

Your confidential information remains protected.

ICS can eliminate the ongoing tracking burdens associated with collateralization and the need to footnote uninsured deposits in financial statements if you are accustomed to these practices. 

 

Contact Us to Learn More

 

Placement of your funds through the ICS service is subject to the terms, conditions, and disclosures set forth in the agreements, including the ICS Deposit Placement Agreement, that you enter into with us. Limits and customer eligibility criteria apply. Unlimited program withdrawals are available with ICS only when using the ICS demand option. ICS, Insured Cash Sweep, and Bank Safe, Bank Smart are registered service marks of Promontory Interfinancial Network, LLC.     

For Public Funds:

Section 2.2-4518 of the Code of Virginia is Amended effective July 1, 2010, to read as follows: 
     § 2.2-4518.  Investment of funds in deposits. 

    A. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the Commonwealth and all public officers,     municipal corporations, other political subdivisions, and all other public bodies of the Commonwealth,     each referred to in this section as a “public entity,” may invest any or all of the moneys belonging to them or within their control in accordance with the following conditions:

1.    The moneys are initially invested through any federally insured bank or savings institution selected by the public entity that is qualified by the Virginia Treasury Board to accept public deposits;
2.    The selected bank or savings institution arranges for the deposit of the moneys in one or more federally insured banks or savings institutions, wherever located, for the account of the public entity;
3.    The full amount of principal and any accrued interest of each such deposit is covered by federal deposit insurance;
4.    The selected bank or savings institution acts as custodian for the public entity with respect to each deposit issued for the public entity's account; and
5.    At the same time that the public entity's moneys are deposited, the selected bank or savings institution receives an amount of deposits from customers of other financial institutions wherever located equal to or greater than the amount of moneys invested by the public entity through the selected bank or savings institution.

    B. After deposits are made in accordance with the conditions prescribed in subsection A, such deposits     shall not be subject to the provisions of Chapter 44 (§ 2.2-4400 et seq.), § 2.2-4515, or any security or     collateral requirements that may otherwise be applicable to the investment or deposit of public moneys     by government investors.

Making the Most of E-Banking

Gone are the days when visiting a branch during banking hours was the only way to take care of finances. E-banking lets you complete almost all transactions that used to require a trip to the bank. Here are four E-banking features that will help you get the most from banking remotely.

1. Online banking

Imagine settling in for the night and realizing you aren’t sure whether your account balance covers a check you mailed earlier in the week. With online banking, you don’t have to sweat it out and wait for the next day’s business hours. Free online banking lets you securely access your current savings, checking, CD and loan account information and also view your account history. Simply log in through your home computer, laptop or tablet to set your mind at ease while saving time, paper, postage and transportation costs. While you’re logged in, you can also pay bills, transfer funds between accounts and make loan payments.

2. eStatements

Not only does e-banking make money management more convenient, opting to go paperless with eStatements means you’ll have less paper clutter to contend with. eStatements are as easy to read as their paper counterparts; you can even view images of cancelled checks. With your secure login ID and password, these statements are for your eyes only, unlike paper statements that anyone might pick up and read. Typically, eStatements can be viewed online for a few months and saved to your computer for permanent storage and access.

3. Mobile banking

When banking needs arise on the go, mobile banking lets you securely do everything you can with online banking, all through your smartphone. Mobile banking uses a free, downloadable app to transform your phone into a virtual bank branch so you can pay bills, transfer funds, check balances and review history as you would at home with online banking.

One particularly nice feature unique to mobile banking is that it allows you to make deposits to your accounts from just about anywhere by simply endorsing checks, snapping a picture of them and filling in deposit information. Make sure to include the letters “MDC” (Mobile Deposit Capture) next to your signature on the endorsement line. This will help you remember if the check was deposited and avoid confusion. You’ll also be able to receive text message alerts when balances dip below a certain threshold, funds are received, or other activity occurs in your accounts.

4. P2P capability

Not long ago, if you wanted to make an electronic payment to a friend or business associate, you needed to have the recipient’s bank account information. P2P, a service now offered by financial institutions such as Farmers & Merchants Bank, allows customers with a debit card to make these person-to-person payments to any other individual with a debit card or checking account, using only the recipient’s email address or cell phone number. This service works even if the sender and receiver bank with different financial institutions. When funds are credited to the receiver’s debit card, P2P transfers can take place instantly. If the recipient prefers a bank account deposit, cash will arrive within one to two business days.

When you take full advantage of e-banking, branch hours and location don’t have to limit money management. You can save time and cash, and stay organized anywhere, anytime.

Sign Up for E-Banking Services or Contact Us.

 

Roberta Pescow, NerdWallet © Copyright 2015 NerdWallet, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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Using a HELOC to Pay Off High-Rate Debt. Is it a Good Idea?

Homeowners might wonder whether it’s a good idea to tap their home equity, or the market value of the property minus what is still owed on it, to pay down other types of debt, especially high-interest credit card balances.

Homeowners might wonder whether it’s a good idea to tap their home equity, or the market value of the property minus what is still owed on it, to pay down other types of debt, especially high-interest credit card balances.

One way to do this, using a home equity line of credit, is growing in popularity — more than $120 billion in HELOCs were created in 2014, an increase of about 22% over the previous year.

How a HELOC works

A HELOC, or home equity line of credit, is a bit like a second mortgage since your home serves as the collateral for the loan. However, a HELOC is a form of revolving debt, like a charge account, in that you’re able to withdraw money up to an approved limit, using a card or check, repay it and draw it down again. Since it’s secured, a HELOC usually has a much lower interest rate than the average credit card or a personal loan. You pay interest only on the amount you take out, and what you pay is often tax-deductible* on HELOCs up to $100,000.

Most lenders limit how much of your home’s value you can borrow. If your house is appraised at $400,000, you could borrow as much as $320,000 on it, including the first mortgage, at an 80% debt-to-value cap. So if your mortgage balance is $250,000, your home equity is $150,000, but the maximum you could borrow on that would be $70,000.

If you have significant debt, say, on a credit card with a 15% interest rate, a HELOC might seem like an easy solution. You could save on interest costs and lower your monthly payments. But proceed carefully. Unless you’re certain you have a stable plan for keeping up your payments, you could be putting your home at risk as a short-term solution to a financial jam.

Fees and risks to consider

Before you go too far, find out what obtaining a HELOC from your lender would cost — it might be substantially more than taking out a personal loan, for instance. A HELOC might require an application fee, property title search, an appraisal and attorney fees and even points, like on a mortgage. Lenders might waive some of these costs, but some also charge annual fees and withdrawal fees.

Most HELOCs have variable rates, so your monthly payments could go up or down periodically. Ask your lender how often the rate can be adjusted, and by how much. Some financial institutions offer fixed-rate HELOCs, but they might have higher initial interest rates than adjustable-rate credit lines.

Suppose your income drops unexpectedly, say from a job loss. If you were to default on unsecured credit card debt, the issuer wouldn’t be able to take possession of your property. But default on a HELOC and the lender could cause you to lose your home.

Using a lower-rate HELOC to pay down high-rate debt can be a savvy financial move as long as you fully understand all the costs and risks and have a stable plan for keeping up with your repayments.

*Please consult your tax advisor for questions.

© Copyright 2015 NerdWallet, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Interested in applying for a HELOC or other kind of loan? We can help. Start the loan process here.

 

Important information regarding the U.S. Government data breach incident

Government Data Breach
It was recently announced that the U.S. Government has suffered a data breach affecting multiple Federal agencies and approximately 4 million individuals.

June 9, 2015

It was recently announced that the U.S. Government has suffered a data breach affecting multiple Federal agencies and approximately 4 million individuals. The Federal Government has confirmed that the information hacked could be used to facilitate identity theft and fraud. The individuals affected are government employees and political appointees.

Below are recommended steps to remain vigilant against possible identity fraud:

1.    Be wary of emails or telephone calls that request information. Neither the U.S. Government nor our financial institution will ask you to provide any information in relation to this possible data breach incident.
2.    Check your Account Statements. Review your statements carefully and repeatedly. Any purchases, large or small, should be verified as a purchase you made.
3.    Check Your Mail and Your Email. Look for mail and emails addressed to you that you do not recognize. This may include credit card accounts, medical bills, or notices from companies with which you do not have a relationship.
4.    Get Help. You are not responsible for fraudulent transactions on your account, but you need to notify us as soon as possible if you see any suspicious activity. In addition, if you are concerned about fraud beyond the transactions on your current account, you may have access to an Identity Fraud Protection program that includes Fully Managed Identity Fraud Research, Remediation, and Recovery Services. We will submit your name to our Recovery Care Center and, within 24 business hours, you will be contacted by an Identity Recovery Advocate who will investigate the situation and work on your behalf to remediate any fraud. Contact us with any questions.
5.    Take Action. If you suspect that your identity has been compromised, you can place a fraud alert on your credit file by calling any one of the three major credit reporting agencies shown below. A fraud alert is a notation on your credit file to warn credit issuers that there may be a problem. The credit issuer is asked to contact you at the telephone number that you supply to validate that you are the person applying for the credit. This is not the same as credit monitoring.

TransUnion: 1.800.916.8800
Experian: 1.888.397.3742
Equifax: 1.800.685.1111

In accordance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, it is permissible for consumers to request a free copy of their credit report once every 12 months from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (TransUnion, Experian and Equifax).

To order a free credit report:
Online: www.annualcreditreport.com or by Telephone: 1.877.322.8228

If your F&M Bank account includes identity theft protection, and you suspect identity fraud of any kind, let us know. Whether it is financial or non-financial fraud, even if it is not connected to this incident or your account, we can help. You will be assigned to a certified, professional Identity Recovery Advocate at no cost to you. These professionals are standing by to answer questions, place fraud alerts, research potential fraud, dispute fraudulent transactions on your behalf, and perform the legwork to return you to pre-theft status, no matter how long it takes—all at no cost to you as a valued accountholder with F&M Bank.

We appreciate your trust in our financial institution. It is important to us to provide professional identity theft protection services for our F&M Bank accountholders for any identity theft incident that affects you and/or your family.

 

Mobile Banking For Business

Mobile Banking For Business
Are you considering mobile banking for your business?
Find out how these tools may provide more for your business than you previously thought.

Are you considering mobile banking for your business?
Find out how these tools may provide more for your business than you previously thought.

mobile banking for business
Mobile banking has been around for a few years, and today more people are utilizing it than ever.  According to a Federal Reserve poll, 42 percent of smartphone owners used mobile banking in 2011. These numbers increased to 48 percent in 2012, and 51 percent in 2013. Many small businesses, however, have resisted banking “on the go” because of security and functionality reasons. While 73 percent of small business owners say they use mobile devices to conduct social media marketing, only 18 percent use their device to manage accounts, according to Constant Contact Inc. survey data. So how beneficial is adding a banking app to your business phone?  Let’s address the main two issues:

Security
Just as online banking created its own set of new security risks, mobile banking does as well.  What happens if you lose your phone?  This is certainly a consideration when you are dealing with not only your money, but important business information. First, make sure to have your phone passcode or ID protected, with short “timeout” duration.  This means that once your screen saver goes on, the identification must be entered to gain access to the phone.  Next, make sure your bank uses a two-factor authentication to support its app.  The extra security means a hacker will need your username and password, as well as the mobile device, in order to login to your account. Also, be careful who you give access to.  Is your current bookkeeper going to carry out the same precautions with their mobile device as you would?  Make sure that anti-malware software is downloaded on every device with access to your business information.  Finally, as with any kind of banking, having a monitoring system in place with employees is a best practice, no matter how well they are trusted.

Functionality
Businesses have more banking data than consumers. Having a small display screen is not always conducive to accessing all this information. Also, businesses have a need for banking functions (wires, cash management, etc.) that aren’t always supported on your banking app.  As banking apps continue to become more sophisticated, however, these functions will become available with less of a security risk.  My suggestion would be not to focus on what mobile banking can’t provide your business, but what it can.  Checking balances or transferring funds, when you’re not at your desk, can save you a lot of time. Not to mention you have the ability to do your banking 24 hours a day no matter your location.  Another great feature is a mobile alert.  If your business account reaches a certain balance or a payment needs to be made, why not have the reminder get sent right to your phone?  Also fraud alerts can be set up if there is unusual activity on your account.

By Jonah Pence, Commercial Relationship Manager at Farmers & Merchants Bank located at 80 Cross Keys in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

>> Visit F&M Bank’s Mobile Banking Info Page