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Top 10 Tips to Be Financially Successful in College

  1. Avoid Fraud & Scams. Become scam-savvy so you can identify scams when you see them. An important red flag to remember: If someone sends you a check or money order and asks you to wire them money in return, it's likely a scam. Also, we will never call you or send an unsolicited email or text message that asks you to "confirm" or "update" your password, PIN or account information. Report any unusual transactions or activity to us immediately.
  2. Take Advantage of the Free Web Services We Provide for You. Use our online bill pay system in Web Branch. Set up recurring payments, one-time payments or set up an Auto Pay in Web Branch for your credit card or other line of credit bills. Your payments are automatically sent electronically—no need to write a check. Pay your cell phone, utilities, credit card, tuition bills and more. Also, take advantage of Email & Text Alerts so you can receive notifications when your account balances are low, when a bill is due or any notification you think will be helpful. Learn more about our free online services »
  3. Be Smart About Credit. Getting credit while you're in college can be a great way to start building your credit history, if you use it responsibly. If you do get a UW Credit Union Visa® Student Credit Card, or any other credit card, be sure to use it only for emergencies, or for small purchases, and then pay the bill in full each month. In addition, don't use your reserve line of credit for cash unless you can handle the payments to pay it back.
  4. Check Web Branch Every Day & Your Credit Report Three Times a Year. Stay on top of all your UW Credit Union accounts by logging into Web Branch daily. Access Web Branch at uwcu.org or by using Mobile Banking, m.uwcu.org on your Web-enabled mobile device. Check your balances every day to avoid overdrafts and set up Bill Pay, Email & Text Alerts and more. If you are aware of the amount of money you have in your checking account, chances increase that you won't overspend. Plus, now you're able to see your credit score with My Credit Score in Web Branch. Also, check your credit report to ensure that the information documented is accurate and up-to-date. Review and confirm that all accounts listed are yours and that no unauthorized activity has taken place. Visit annualcreditreport.com to get your free report.
  5. Avoid Unnecessary Fees. Use UW Credit Union ATMs so you don't get charged ATM fees for your transactions. All of our ATMs are surcharge-free. Also, we will never charge you for using another financial institution's ATM, though keep in mind that that institution may charge you a fee. Also, pay attention to due dates on your bills, movie rentals and anything that may charge you a late fee. Late fees are a waste of your hard-earned money, especially because you can avoid them altogether by paying and returning items on time.
  6. Start Saving Money & Investing. Pay yourself first. Put money into a savings account that you don't touch. Or, start investing early by opening a certificate of deposit or an IRA. Putting aside a little money each month can add up to significant savings and growth.
  7. Set a Budget & Track Your Spending. Overspending and getting into debt can become bad habits that are hard to break. Set a budget to ensure your expenses don't exceed your income. Then, use Money Management Tools in Web Branch to track your spending to make sure you're sticking to your budget.
  8. Get a Part-time Job. Earn spending money by getting a part-time job, if it fits with your schedule and school workload. Most campuses offer job options for students that are on or near campus, and are often affiliated with the school. Check your school's website for on-campus job resources.
  9. Cut Back on Expenses. Shop for used textbooks. Walk, ride a bike, or take public transportation to get around town. Shop at second-hand stores for furniture and clothes. Limit entertainment expenses like cable and going out to eat. These costs can add up quickly. Look for student discounts on computers, travel and other expenses.
  10. Ask for Help if You Need It. If you have questions or run into any trouble with your accounts, we're here to help. We offer many ways to help you budget, get out of debt, learn about financial topics and more. As a member you can take advantage of financial education seminars and personal consultations with our financial specialists, which can all help you learn to be financially successful. Please don't hesitate to stop by a branch or contact us.

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