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Home Equity Loan vs. Home Equity Line of Credit
What's the difference?
With the equity you’ve built up in your home over the years, you could be sitting on a lot of money! When you’re ready to put your home’s equity to work, you maybe wondering which option is best for you – a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit (HELOC).
One of the most common misconceptions is that home equity loans and HELOCs can only be used for home improvements. These loans can be used for a variety of needs, including consolidating high-interest debt, financing a college education, buying a new car or taking a dream vacation.
Choosing the loan option that’s right for you starts with an understanding of equity. Equity is the difference between the value of your home and the remaining unpaid principal balance of your mortgage. For example, a home worth $250,000 with a principal balance of $100,000 remaining has $150,000 in equity.
So what’s the difference between a home equity loan and a HELOC? A home equity loan is a one-time loan for a fixed dollar amount, at a fixed interest rate, with a fixed term of repayment. This type of loan has a pre-determined monthly repayment amount and an amortization schedule for up to 15 years. Home equity loans are great for specific, one-time purchases like a new car or a home remodeling project.
A home equity line of credit – also called a HELOC – is a variable-rate loan that can be drawn down either all at once or at different times. You can borrow up to the credit line maximum, but you’ll only pay interest on the funds you use. For example, if you’re approved for a $50,000 equity line but only borrow $15,000 right now, you are only charged interest on the $15,000. Once you have repaid the amount borrowed, your credit line is fully renewed and available for borrowing again. Most HELOCs feature a 10-year draw period followed by a 15-year repayment period. HELOCs are a smart way to pay for recurring expenses like college tuition.
A Hoosier Hills Mortgage Loan Officer can help you determine whether a home equity loan or line of credit is the best option for you. A member service representative can also take a home equity application.
Debit Card Fraud
WHAT IS CAUSING ALL THE DEBIT CARD FRAUD…You see it on the news, or possibly you have been victimized. Fact is debit card fraud is on the rise and there are things you should know to best protect yourself from the bad guys perpetrating the fraud.
First, how are the bad guys getting access to your card number? Far and away the biggest problem is with large retail companies that have not protected the information they gather when you conduct a debit or credit card transaction at their store, or while you shop on-line. Here, the bad guys have broken into the company’s computer systems. They steal large numbers of customer’s card information. You have likely heard of many of these DATA BREACH cases on the news. Within the last year stores like Macy’s, Target, and Home Depot have all been breached. It does not matter whose bank or credit union card you carry. The crooks are getting the card numbers from the store's computer system. Retailers need to do more to protect consumer information. This is where the greatest amount of debit card fraud is originated.
Once the bad guys have the information, they typically sell the card numbers to another bad guy who either creates a duplicate (counterfeit) card, then goes out and buys merchandise or gift cards using the fraudulent card, or they simply use the card number to buys things on line.
Another criminal activity that is gaining ground today is SKIMMING. This is where the bad guys place a device, which is undetectable to the eye, on gas station pumps and ATM machines. Here, the data is collected each time the card is swiped to make a purchase or a withdrawal. This information is then used to create a counterfeit card.
HOW CAN YOU BEST PROTECT YOURSELF…
- Check your account balance and activity often. If you have a mobile app, simply check your account balance and activity. If you use phone teller, check your balance and activity. Do the same if you use text banking. If you notice anything suspicious and it is during regular office hours, call the credit union. If you notice suspicious activity and it is after hours or on the weekend, call 800.472.3272 and request your card to be blocked. Then give HHCU a call during open hours. You will have three business days to do this.
- We have a card fraud protection service which monitors account activity for suspicious transactions. This service will call you if suspicious activity is detected. When they call they will identify themselves by saying “This is the fraud detection center calling to verify recent transactions on your ATM/Debit account at HHCU.” At this time you can verify if the transaction was yours or if it is a fraudulent purchase. They will never ask for your card number or PIN.
For this process to work effectively, you need to be sure the Credit Union has the "best" phone number to reach you. Typically this is a cell phone number, or if you don’t have a cell phone, your current land line number.
We have additional information about Card Fraud on our website. If you have any questions, please call the Call Center at 812-279-6644.
Other Card Security Tips:
- Monitor your account online through Home Banking or Mobile Banking. Set notifications so that you are notified of transactions over a certain amount.
- Register for e-statements so you receive your account history quicker than paper statements.
- Use a Credit Card in lieu of a debit card. This will keep thieves from stealing the money you would use for your expenses.
- If you use a debit card in a store for your purchases, press the credit key and sign for the transaction rather than using Debit option. If someone would be “skimming” they would not have your PIN number as well as the card number.
- Inspect card readers and key pads-do not use them if they look odd or anything appears loose.
- Do not let store or restaurant employees walk away or get out of site with your card. When possible swipe the card yourself.
- Beware of giving card information over the phone. Remember, the person taking your information will NEVER need your PIN.
- When shopping online, never store card information on sites you order from frequently. This will protect your card so that if your account gets “hacked” there will not be a card listed for them to place orders with and ship elsewhere.
I Have Fraud on My Debit or Credit Card, What Do I Do Now?
Report the fraud immediately:
After Hours call: 800-472-3272
Business Hours call: 800-865-2612 or 812-279-6644
After you have reported the fraud, you will have 3 business days to file the appropriate paperwork with Hoosier Hills Credit Union.
How Long Until I Receive A Refund?
The Credit Union will make a determination and if there is no refund coming to you, you will be contacted by the Member Service Representative that assisted with the claim. Provisional credit will be given for the transactions deemed as fraud within 10 business days. If there were fees assessed due to the fraud, those will be refunded as well.
Will I Get To Keep The Refund?
The information from the merchants involved in the claim will determine whether you get to keep the refund. The only other reason you would not get to keep a refund that is passed to you from Hoosier Hills Credit Union would be if the merchant refunded you as well.
To report a lost or stolen credit or debit card after hours, call (800) 472-3272.
To activate your personal credit or debit card or if you have issues with your card, call (888) 429-1626.
To activate your business visa or if you have issues with your card, call (855) 519-9874
Every day, people lose money to telephone scams. Scammers will say anything to cheat people out of money. They may seem friendly, calling you by name and asking about your family. They may claim to be calling from a company you trust and do business with. Their caller ID may even say the call is coming from a trusted source. If you get a call from someone you don’t know who is trying to sell you something you hadn’t planned to buy or who is trying to get you to give up personal information - like your credit card or Social Security number - it's likely a scam. Just hang up. Whenever you're uncomfortable or in doubt, hang up. You can always call the business back at the number you know to be true to check on the reliability of the call. If you ever question a call that seems to be coming from Hoosier Hills Credit Union, please call us at 800-865-2612. We'll be happy to help you.