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Get the most
for your travel dollar
If you are traveling abroad this summer, you’d be wise to pack your PFCU VISA Platinum Credit and Debit Card. For years, the generally accepted travel advice offered by both Consumer Reports and Smartertravel.com is to charge large purchases such as hotels and car rentals on your credit card and use your Debit or ATM card at ATMs for your local currency needs.
The primary reason for the recommendation is that card companies such as VISA are able to exchange currency at more favorable wholesale interbank exchange rates, a much better rate than you would be able to get exchanging currency on your own at a bank, credit union, or exchange bureau. This is true even though VISA charges a 1% conversion fee. The same is true when you use your Debit or ATM card at a local ATM, as long as you use a machine that is part of the Cirrus (MasterCard) or PLUS (VISA) networks.
While this recommendation still holds true, you have to do your homework to be certain you’re getting the most for your travel dollar. Check your card issuer’s terms for foreign transactions. Does your card issuer charge a foreign surcharge above and beyond the card company conversion fee? Some charge as much as 3% of your purchase amount. Does your card issuer charge a foreign ATM surcharge? Some charge as much as $5.00 per transaction. Of course, at PFCU, our VISA Platinum Credit, Debit, and ATM cards do not have such surcharges.
Another travel tip is to leave home without travelers cheques. They are becoming less widely accepted at many restaurants and shops. And when you do use them, you typically incur the same conversion fees associated with exchanging currency at a bank, credit union, or exchange bureau.
Finally, before you go it is suggested that you notify your card issuer of the dates you will be traveling, as well as your destinations, in order to reduce the chances of having your transactions frozen for suspicions of fraudulent activity. We will be happy to note your account, but no card issuer can guarantee your transaction every time. This is why we always recommend that you carry at least two forms of payment with you at all times.
Congratulations to the PFCU runners and walkers at the 2008 JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge. In addition to participating in the Run/Walk, PFCU won the T-shirt design contest this year. The prize was a $500 donation to our charity of choice. The Credit Union staff selected the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Friends with Children from China as the beneficiaries.
Going green pays off
More than 900 additional members chose to “Go Green” during our recent promotion. Now, more than 3,500 members have suspended their paper statements, conserving resources, securing their private information and reducing expenses. To complete the promotion, our tree planting initiative will take place this fall.
Originally, we had planned to purchase seedlings for each member that utilizes eStatements, but this plan meant the trees would be planted in Oregon. Recently, we’ve learned of an opportunity to work with the Town of Pittsford. We now expect to plant several nearly mature trees in Kings Bend Park after summer when the trees have the best chance of prospering.
Unfortunately, the park does not have room for all the trees we hope to plant, so we are seeking other local opportunities to plant additional trees. If you are aware of a local resource in need of trees, please contact Brian Scudder, Senior Manager, at ext. 5309.
Are you ready to join the thousands of Pittsford FCU members that have decided to conserve resources by going green? Register today with a visit to PittsfordFCU.org/GoGreen.
PFCU supports LifeSmarts
PFCU is proud to support area high school participation in LifeSmarts, a fun and rewarding consumer educational opportunity that expands the consumer and marketplace knowledge and skills of high school students in an effort to better prepare them as responsible consumers in today’s economy. Pictured here are this year’s participants from Pittsford Mendon High School: Casey Sanderson, Asst. Coach; Sheel Tyle; Sujay Tyle; Andrew Tschiderer, Captain; Nick Wendell; Katie Green; Billy Hallock; Jody Pecor, Coach; and Meggie Kist (not pictured).
College Prep 101
If you’re getting ready for college, don’t forget to take PFCU with you. PFCU has everything you need to keep your finances in order while at home or away at school – without any of the unpleasant surprises that you may experience at an unfamiliar bank.
When you do the research, you’ll see fees and charges are lower at PFCU because we’re here to help you get ahead financially.
PFCU offers key services students need:
ATMs: No matter where you go to college, PFCU is sure to be nearby with our network of more than 25,000 surcharge-free ATMs.
Free Checking Account: There’s no monthly service charge and no minimum balance. There’s unlimited check writing and dividends on average balances of $1,000 or more.
VISA Debit Card: This handy tool comes free with a checking account and makes everyday purchases simple and easy to track.
Online Access: With free, round-the-clock access to PFCU accounts, you can check balances, transfer funds, view transactions, and pay bills from your computer in the dorm.
VISA Credit Card: When you don’t have cash or can’t use a debit card, you can use our VISA with no annual fee and a low interest rate.