So often, we find out about great financial deals from our friends and family and wonder why we were not offered the same deal. Sometimes, it’s because you didn’t know who to ask or what to ask for. Suzanne Klenk from Washington State Employees Credit Union is willing to tell you what some financial institutions would rather you didn’t know.
To learn more about the programs offered at Washington State Employees Credit Union, please click here.
To ask Suzanne a question, or request a financial workshop for your business or organization, email her: SKlenk@wsecu.org
Here are some tips Suzanne shared today:
Q: There are a few ways, really just by placing a phone call or putting a request in writing, that you can get a better deal on financial services?
A: That is correct. Sometimes it is just a matter of knowing what to ask for. For instance, credit card companies are fiercely competitive and they do not want to lose your business. If you get one of those temping offers in the mail that offer a lower rate or perks that your card does not offer, call your card holder and find out what they have that is comparable. They may not be able to beat a “teaser rate”, but they may be able to offer a reduction in your rate, a waiver of your annual fee or offer a mileage or rewards program.
Q: You say “What you don’t know can COST you”. What do you mean by that?
A: It’s a bit of the twist on the old “What you don’t know can’t hurt you”…now a days it can hurt you in the wallet! With so many of us opting out of marketing materials and other forms of communication from places of business, we succeed in paring down our mail, but we also alienate ourselves from some important information that can save us…or make us money. For instance, we at WSECU are pretty diligent about member education, but there are still members that are surprised to learn that we have Investment Representatives and Financial Planners in our branches. Investment services are not historically a service provided by credit unions, but these are the credit unions of today, not yesterday. We have wonderful services beyond just savings and checking accounts and chances are, so does your financial institution.
Q: So what types of questions do you ask?
A: Let your current financial need be your starting point. It could be a payday loan alternative, maybe a first time home buyer program, budget assistance or debt management. One situation comes to mind and is near and dear to the heart of this region. Members of the National Guard and Military Reservists that were called up for active duty can suffer serious financial setbacks. They may be eligible for the Soldiers & Sailors Relief Act. This particular act allows for relief in the interest rates on certain loans while the reservist is on active duty….the catch is, if you don’t ask, most financial institutions will not volunteer the information.
Q: Any other specific requests people can make that can save them money or increase what they are earning on their money?
A: At WSECU we are is the business of working for our membership. We encourage questions! Begin by stepping into your financial institution and asking them to pull up your accounts…everything, savings, checking, investments, loans, etc... Set an appointment for about a week out…depending on YOUR schedule. (Remember, they work for you.) Tell them that when you return, you would like for them to have researched your accounts and identified three to five services that will do one of the following:
1. Save you time.
2. Save you money
3. Make your financial life more convenient
4. Secure your financial information
They key factor is that none of these services can cost you anything! They must be complimentary. Ask about dividend bearing checking accounts, such as dividend bearing checking, free checks, free bill pay services, etc. This should be done on an annual basis. For a small commitment of time, you can reap huge rewards.