Credit union informs: Building credit for #FirstTimers

Youth with credit cardHow do you get a loan or a credit card? By showing prospective lenders that you're responsible enough to pay your loans and credit cards on time. 

Therein lies the catch-22 of credit. How are you supposed to get approved if you've never had a credit card or loan before?

Here are a few simple steps to begin building credit:

1. Sign up for a loan with a co-signer who already has good credit. A co-signer is simply someone who agrees to be responsible for the loan if you are unable to pay for any reason. Financial institutions are more likely to approve a loan for somebody with no credit history if there is a responsible co-signer. 

2. Get your own starter credit card. Many financial institutions offer secured credit cards. These cards allow you to put money in your account on hold to be used as collateral. So if you want a card with a $500 limit, you would need $500 in your bank account to cover that. Keep in mind while secured cards sound similar to debit cards, they are different. Secured credit cards report to the credit bureaus; debit cards do not. 

3. Only charge what you can afford to pay off. Building good credit means demonstrating the ability to pay back the money you owe. By charging small amounts and paying them back in full and on time, you're proving that you can manage credit responsibly. 

4. Stay well under your credit limit. You’ll be scored favorably if you keep below 30% of your total credit limit.

For more tips on establishing credit, check out our Twitter page. 

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Established in 1927, Unity One Credit Union is the oldest credit union in Texas. A member-driven and not-for-profit cooperative, Unity One CU served the employees and families of the BNSF Railway for 70 years. However, after transferring its corporate headquarters to Fort Worth in 1998, the credit union expanded its field of membership to include other non-railroad companies, organizations and individuals.

Today, anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in Fort Worth, Blue Mound, Saginaw, Haslet, Keller, Colleyville, Bedford, North Richland Hills, Southlake, St. Paul, MN and Kansas City, KS may apply for membership. Unity One CU has seven branches to serve over 30,000 members nationwide. For more information about Unity One Credit Union, visit Think outside the bank.™

Credit union informs: Teen Advisory Board

Teen Advisory BoardUnity One Credit Union is now accepting applications for our Teen Advisory Board! 

This group meets monthly during the spring semester (January - May) to help Unity One staff develop products and services and to explore banking and financial education needs to Generation Y.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Must be a high school student, juniors and seniors preferred
  • Must be able to meet once a month with Unity One staff
  • Must be able to commit time and effort to the Board, special events and special projects
Applications are due December 15, 2014!

Receive an application now!

Financial education for teens: checking accounts

Checking account reality shop 2013
Sign up!

Credit unions nationwide are celebrating youth April 22-27. Unity One Credit Union is included. Visit our Web site for more details.

Financial education for teens

"Money doesn't grow on trees." Try telling that to your teen or young adult, and he/she may look at you puzzled. We can all agree that financial education for teens is much needed, and not enough support is given to educators to adequately teach it. Enter your local credit union. financial education for teensCredit unions, because of their not-for-profit status, consider financial education an integral part of their operations. It is one way in which they can provide value to their members and the communities surrounding their branches. Unity One Credit Union is no different.

In December and January, high school students from Birdville ISD, specifically the Birdville Center of Technology and Advanced Learning, participated in Unity One's award-winning financial education program, Build Your Own Credit Union or BYOCU.

Participants quenched their entreprenuerial thirst by creating a grassroots financial institution like a credit union one step at a time--starting with identifying an underserved population that could benefit from low-cost banking. Lessons in managing money were infused throughout the creation process. They discussed financial products like savings and checking, services like mobile banking and borrowing and debt management. Special guests, including Unity One's CEO, COO, managers and staff, acted as coaches and offered their expertise and advice.

Eric Hohler, Unity One vice president of finance, judged the final credit union presentations. "I was very impressed by how much creativity the kids put into their credit unions. One group proposed a digital wallet with some very cool features."

Each group used PowerPoint or Prezi as visual aids, dressed in business attire and provided handouts for the judges.

"Many of the students are about to compete in an upcoming SkillsUSA competition, a couple in a finance category; so, this is good training," said Lisa O'Connor, a forensic science instructor at BCTAL.

The six-session program compensated students for consistency and effort, and a "most valuable group" was selected by the experts at the close of each session. Teams distributed their cash prizes according to each team member's level of participation.

Instructor Cindy Valenta said, "As teachers, we tell students about being smart with their money, but when an outside organization like Unity One reinforces what we say it is so much more powerful."

"This was the most competitive and money-savvy group of students we have ever had for BYOCU," said Erayne Gee Hill, director of community and public relations at Unity One. "Their energy was contagious."

Below are the winners of BYOCU at BCTAL and their presentations. Congratulations, students!

First Place - With You CU (WUCU)

Click here to see the WUCU presentation.

WUCU brochure

WUCU flier and loan application

Members: Michelle Gonzalez, Kelly Ly, Kimsa Pham, Jim Nguyen

Second Place - Fresh Start CU (FSCU)

Click here to see the Fresh Start CU presentation.

Members: Ruben Cerda, Gabby Rodrigues, Armando Villareal

Third Place - eCU

Click here to see the eCU presentation.

Members: Jamie Anderson, Adam Busch, Taylor Clift, Charlie Dreyer


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