Posts Tagged 'online'

American 1: Everywhere you are, too

A fun video from Service 1 FCU up in Muskegon. The same principle applies to American 1, and most credit unions.

With services like online banking, online Bill Pay, A1 Access for your phone, and our giant network of no-surcharge ATMs, American 1 is pretty much everywhere you are.

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Your e-statement questions answered

E-statements

UPDATE: E-statement subscribers – your tax documents should be posted to the system by now. Thanks!

Over the past few months, we’ve heard from lots of members about e-statements – the efficient, convenient way to check your statements. For some members, e-statements are a brand new idea, and some may feel nervous about checking your account activity on the Internet.

For some members, e-statements won’t make sense. We understand that, and respect each member’s personal preferences.

But we can try to help clear up any misgivings about how the process works, and how safe it is.

We’ve heard you. And we want to help.

“I DON’T HAVE A COMPUTER.”

For members who don’t own a computer, the idea of e-statements probably seems silly. Why check your statement on the web when you can’t access the web?

However, ask yourself: do you open your statement when it arrives in the mail?

If you honestly don’t, e-statements are a good way to clear out your real-life mailbox. It’s one less piece of clutter you don’t have to toss out or recycle. And since “reduce” comes before “recycle,” reducing your mail is a good way to help the environment.

But if you don’t have a computer and you really do check your American 1 statement each month, then by all means – continue to receive the regular paper statement.

“I’M WORRIED ABOUT SECURITY.”

American 1’s home banking system uses the same Internet encryption that large online retailers use.

To test it, visit american1fcu.org. Look up at the address bar. At the beginning of our web address, it will say “https://” and then our secure web address. The “s” at the end of “http” means our site is protected by high-grade online security.

But that only protects your information on our side. If you’re really worried about security, the worst that could happen is someone finds out about your online banking username or password. To prevent that kind of identity theft, keep a username and password combo that’s easy for you to remember but hard for others to guess, and keep that information safe and secure.

Thousands of account transactions are posted to American 1’s home banking site each week, with no breaches in security. Odds are, your account information will remain your account info.

“I DON’T TRUST E-MAILS SENDING MY ACCOUNT INFO.”

Rest assured, e-statements are not sent over e-mail. Rather, a reminder is sent to your e-mail each month letting you know your e-statement is ready for viewing.

To view e-statements, you must log on to American 1’s A1@home online banking site. Your e-statement is stored there, and is not sent via e-mail. We do this to keep a copy of your electronic statement secured on our end, not sitting in your e-mail inbox for anyone to see.

“MY KID’S/JOINT/SHARED ACCOUNT DOESN’T NEED E-STATEMENTS.”

If you manage someone else’s account at the credit union, share an account with family, or oversee your child’s Eagle Earners Club account, e-statements are the perfect way to cut down on mail clutter.

Or if you have an American 1 account to simply make your loan payment, you may not need a paper copy of your statement each month. E-statements are perfect for these kinds of pass-through accounts that you probably don’t need to manage on a month-to-month basis.

A FEW OTHER THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND

  • Signing up for e-statements is a good way to store your statements as well, since we keep past copies of your e-statements archived on our system. E-statements are actually more secure than paper statements because they can’t be stolen out of your mailbox, missplaced, or accidentally wind up in the wrong hands.
  • Once you start receiving e-statements, you may not miss your old mailed statements. And it could be a gateway to more cost-effective banking options like online Bill Pay.
  • E-statements are a great way to see copies of your cleared checks. You can view them free with each monthly e-statement you receive.
  • If you’re away a lot on business, out of town at school, or if you move often, e-statements are a great way to ensure you receive your American 1 account information. Combined with online banking, it’s the perfect way to manage your account from anywhere.

If you’re unsure about how the system works, ask a Member Service Specialist at any branch to walk you through the setup. E-statements are easier than ever to access, and we’d love to show you how to do it.

Why it’s good to have a backup plan



The collapse of Washington Mutual was called the “biggest bank failure of all time,” meaning that – in today’s times – no one is “too big to fail.”

So it’s good to have a backup plan. That’s what blogger Khoi Vinh recommends, especially when it comes to anything you have stored online.

This advice is applicable to most areas of our lives: fire escape plans, fire-proof lock boxes for valuables, generators for power outages, etc. Planning “just in case” can be a real lifesaver.

Just this week, I had an instance where I’m glad we made a backup plan. Our marketing department stores our files (ads, newsletters, web site graphics, etc.) on a network disk. That network disk has failed before, and the first time we had no backup plan. We lost all our files in an instant. Then we started to store our files on our work computers, and copy them to the network disk. But that didn’t always happen, so when our network drive went down again, Marketing had a big scare. Luckily, we were able to recover most (but still not all) of our files.

After that crash, we bought an external hard drive to backup all of our files. I do this personally every other day or so: move files from the network disk to the external disk. So when we lost our network drive again this week (thankfully, only briefly), I didn’t freak out. We had a backup plan.

Do you? If you store files online, like we do over at our Flickr account, do you have them stored somewhere physical? What about your money? Do you have a few dollars of spare cash hidden somewhere, just in case? Maybe a spare gas can for those “uh oh” moments?

Vinh’s bigger point is that, anymore, no one is “too big to fail”:

The size of a company is certainly not a reliable shield against failure, but being small doesn’t necessarily guarantee a company will be around in the long term, either. I just don’t think that it’s realistic to assume that all of the data we’re storing online is safe. So a friendly reminder: back up.

He makes the point about online items (Facebook profiles, e-mail messages, banking information), but the point can go further to life in general.

What about American 1? What’s our backup plan?

For one, American 1 prepares for tough times by setting aside extra funds for things like delinquent loans. A lot of financial institutions get in trouble by not saving enough for a rainy day. Not us. We like to make sure there are enough reserves set aside to cover ourselves during times like these.

You know, just in case.

You don’t have to be a paranoid person to realize that unexpected things happen. A wise person will set time aside to think about the “what ifs” life throws at us, and plan for them as much as possible. That’s what American 1 is doing. How about you?


Keeping you informed when our system is down.

Sometime on Sunday, after we installed an update to our account management system, we crashed.

Members first noticed it on Sunday when they tried logging in to A1@home and Bill Pay; they got a message saying “try again later.” Later came and went, and by Monday our system was still down. It wasn’t until Tuesday that we got everything up and running again.

What a hassle. Members were limited to $100 withdrawals, we couldn’t check balances, and home banking was inoperable. It only happens once in a while (the last system crash was almost two years ago), but when it does happen it’s a pain.

We want to keep you informed of events like this. It may not help you see how much money is in your checking account, but it can help keep you informed of updates and news – like when the system comes back online.

To do this, we created a graphic to post on the A1@home login screen. It’s simple, but at least it lessens the surprise when home banking tells you “try again later.”

Also, we’re going to use this blog as an information tool. When the system goes down, we’ll post a graphic (right) on our homepage that leads you to a status blog post that we can update everytime something changes.

As always, you can call our Home Office to get system status updates, but sometimes our phone line gets clogged. With our online tools, you can find out for yourself.

We hate system crashes as much as you do. Sometimes, when we update the system, it doesn’t play nice, and Sunday’s crash won’t be the only time this happens. But to keep things sane, and to keep you informed, we hope to put in place a few tools to help communicate what’s going on.

Sorry for the hassle earlier this week.


Bill Pay maintenance on these dates

Just a heads up: Bill Pay will be down from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. the following dates for maintenance.

  • Sunday, June 8
  • Sunday, Aug. 10
  • Sunday, Sept. 7
  • Sunday, Oct. 12
  • Sunday, Nov. 2

All you late night/early morning bill payers will have to wait until a decent hour Sunday morning. Sorry for any inconvenience!