October Is Cyber Security Awareness Month

 

Each year, the world becomes a little more connected through technology. The Internet touches more areas of our lives on a daily basis than we probably even realize. That’s why the Department of Homeland Security has named October Cyber Security Awareness Month and reminds us all to take some time to make sure our digital lives are as secure as they can and should be. Plus, with online holiday shopping around the corner, you’ll want your credit cards and bank accounts to be as protected as possible.

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If you’re not convinced you need to revisit how you interact with the web, here are some sobering statistics:

  • More than 169 million personal records were exposed in 2015, stemming from 781 publicized breaches across the financial, business, education, government and healthcare sectors (ITRC Data Breach Reports – 2015 Year-End Totals // ITRC)
  • In 2015, there were 38 percent more security incidents detected than in 2014 (The Global State of Information Security Survey 2016 // PWC)
  • The number of identity theft incidents has reached 9 million a year (FTC.gov)
  • Every minute about 19 people fall victim to identity theft (FTC.gov)
  • It takes the average victim an estimated $500 and 30 hours to resolve each identity theft crime. (FTC.gov) That’s not counting the dollars lost to fraudulent use!

Thirty hours of time fighting ID theft can potentially be prevented with a few minutes of protective measures on a regular basis. Here’s how to get started:

  • While it will certainly make your passwords harder to remember (but also harder to hack), using a password generator for your accounts may enhance the security of these. The strongest passwords have random letters, numbers, and special characters.
  • Use 2-step verification whenever possible. Two-step, or two-factor authentication, requires you to provide an additional piece of information after you give your password to get into your account. The most common second step is receiving a text message with a unique string of numbers that you enter to get access to your account. Generally, you only have to use the second step on a new device, if you’ve forgotten your password or if you’ve cleared your cookies. But the idea here is that someone would have to have access to your password AND your phone to get access to your accounts, which is much less likely. Speaking of your phone, password protecting it adds another great layer of security to your personal information.
  • Use different passwords. It’s a best practice to have different passwords for each of your online accounts, but it’s especially important to use a different password for sensitive and financial information than you would for accounts of everyday use, like email.
  • Remember to log out of accounts. This is so important when you’re using public computers (better yet, if you’re on a public computer, browse in incognito mode). But also think about how easy it would be for someone to access your personal information if you’re logged in on your phone—and then you lose your phone.

Visit our branch locator
to find a Popular Community Bank near you.

Our bankers are waiting to answer any questions you may have.

The information mentioned in this article is for informational purposes only, is intended to provide general guidance and does not constitute legal or tax advice. Each person’s situation is unique and may materially differ from the information provided herein. You should seek the advice of a financial professional, tax consultant and/or legal counsel to address your specific needs before any financial or other commitments regarding the issues related to your situation are made. Banco Popular North America does not make any representations or warranties as to the content contained herein and disclaims any and all liability resulting from any use of or reliance on such content.

Copyright © 2016 Banco Popular North America. Member FDIC

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Year-End Tax Strategies for Homeowners

It’s October and you probably have Halloween, costumes, and sweets on your mind—not taxes. But if you want to make the most of your home sweet home at tax time, it’s important to prepare in the fourth quarter. The steps you take now can save you big on your tax bill.

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For starters, it’s never too early to get organized. If you itemize on your taxes and you’re a shoebox receipt saver, the fall is a good time to start sorting out what you’ve been accumulating all year. Home repairs, new energy-saving appliances, refinanced mortgage? Get it all in order. Plus, if you just bought a house (congratulations!) you’ll want to have your closing documents handy for your tax preparer. Here are a few deductions that can help homeowners save at tax time.

  • Mortgage interest is tax deductible, so make an extra mortgage payment before January 1, 2017. Here’s why: When you pay rent, you’re paying to occupy a unit for the upcoming month. But when you pay a mortgage, you’re paying for having occupied your home for the previous month. This means that your January 1st mortgage payment is for the month of December, making the interest portion tax deductible for 2016.

    Mortgage interest can be also deducted on a refinance, a home-equity loan, or a home-equity line of credit.

  • Property taxes are also tax deductible as long as you own your home. The amount of property tax you paid for the year should be on your end-of-year statement. If you just bought your house, the current year’s tax liability was divided between you and the seller. Your share of these taxes is fully deductible. You can find the amount you paid on the settlement sheet you received at closing.
  • Points paid on your mortgage or a refinance are tax deductible. The IRS considers points to be prepaid interest. And mortgage interest, as we’ve mentioned, is tax deductible. There are a handful of rules surrounding this, such as:
    • Points you paid to lower the interest rate on your mortgage may be deducted in full for the year in which they were paid
    • Points paid on a refinance must be amortized over the life of the loan

You’ll definitely want to talk to your tax advisor to make sure you’re deducting mortgage points correctly.

  • Loan origination fees may also be tax deductible. If your fees were calculated as percentage of your mortgage, were paid at closing and were for your main home, you can deduct them when you file. You’ll want to check your HUD Settlement Statement to see how your fees were calculated.
  • If you have a home office, you can deduct expenses such as phone lines, internet, heating and electric expenses, even a portion of mortgage interest, property taxes and insurance.

If you own a home, you’ll definitely benefit from related tax expenses. If you have any questions about whether or not the above deductions apply to you, or how to take advantage of them, speak with your trusted tax preparer.

If you’re just starting to think about buying a house, tax breaks are certainly something to look forward to. If you have questions about securing a mortgage, what you qualify for, or what you can afford, our bankers can get you started.

At Popular Community Bank, we aim to make the
home-buying process a smooth one, from pre-approval to closing.

Visit our branch locator
to find a Popular Community Bank near you.

Our bankers are waiting to answer any questions you may have.

The information mentioned in this article is for informational purposes only, is intended to provide general guidance and does not constitute legal or tax advice. Each person’s situation is unique and may materially differ from the information provided herein. You should seek the advice of a financial professional, tax consultant and/or legal counsel to address your specific needs before any financial or other commitments regarding the issues related to your situation are made. Banco Popular North America does not make any representations or warranties as to the content contained herein and disclaims any and all liability resulting from any use of or reliance on such content.

Copyright © 2016 Banco Popular North America. Member FDIC

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The Basics of Savings

It’s never too early to start thinking about a long-term savings plan. In fact, the younger you are when you start, the better off you’ll be when you retire. But retirement isn’t the only life event you should be saving for. It’s good to have a cushion in the event you lose your job or have to take care of unexpected home repairs or medical problems. If you have children, there’s college savings to consider as well. Basically, it’s just an all-around good idea to be putting money away for a rainy day.

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At Popular Community Bank, savings is what we do.
Understanding account basics is an important first step on the path to savings.
We’re giving you the information you need to know to get started.

Ways to Save
Basic Savings
At Popular Community Bank, our entry-level savings account is called Relationship Savings. Basic savings accounts generally have a minimum opening amount requirement, as well as a monthly balance requirement. If you don’t maintain the required monthly balance, you will probably have to pay a small monthly fee. While these accounts come with withdrawal limits, they do provide easy access to your money, while earning a small amount of interest.

Money Market Accounts
Not to be confused with Money Market Funds, Money Market accounts help you earn interest on your money at higher rates than basic savings. These accounts often come with additional features such as check writing and debit cards, but require higher minimum and opening balances. Money Market accounts, like basic savings, come with transaction limits. To get information about the Money Market accounts Popular Community Bank offers, please contact our Customer Care Center to assist you at 1-800-377-0800, or visit your nearest branch.

Certificates of Deposit (CDs)
If you’re saving money that’s not for immediate use, you may want to look at a Certificate of Deposit. These accounts offer fixed interest rates that are higher than basic savings or money market accounts—you just can’t withdraw the money for a pre-determined period of time or you’ll face a penalty. Many banks offer several CD lengths, ranging from a few months to a few years. Generally, the longer the term you select, the higher the interest rate will be.

Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs)
If you’re ready to start saving for retirement, you’ll want to consider an IRA. Even if you have access to a 401(k) or pension through work, funding an IRA may still make sense, depending on your financial situation. There are two types of IRAs: Traditional and Roth. Both accounts carry different tax benefits but these benefits phase out at certain income levels. If you withdraw money before the age of 59½, you will have to pay a 10-percent penalty. There are some penalty-free exceptions, which include college, medical, or first-home bills.

Read more about PCB Savings options.

How Much to Save
Emergency Fund
While not everyone agrees on how much you should keep in an emergency account, the minimum should be between three to six months worth of income. If you were to lose your job, that would give you three to six months to find something else, while still being able to cover your expenses. This is money that should be easily accessible (i.e., don’t have your emergency fund tied up in long-term savings accounts like an IRA).

Retirement
Just like the varying opinions on how much you should have in your savings account, there are a lot of ways to look at retirement. Essentially, you want to save as much as you can. Blanket advice says 10 to 15 percent of your income starting in your 20s. However, if you really want to have a solid plan, you’ll want to sit down with one of our bankers  to create a tailored plan that suits your life and your goals. A banker will also take into account savings you already have, your current age, and when you plan on retiring.

Have questions on how to get started saving, or augment your current savings?
Visit our branch locator to find a Popular Community Bank near you.
Our bankers are waiting to speak with you now.

The information mentioned in this article is for informational purposes only, is intended to provide general guidance and does not constitute legal or tax advice. Each person’s situation is unique and may materially differ from the information provided herein.  You should seek the advice of a financial professional, tax consultant and/or legal counsel to address your specific needs before any financial or other commitments regarding the issues related to your situation are made.  Banco Popular North America does not make any representations or warranties as to the content contained herein and disclaims any and all liability resulting from any use of or reliance on such content.

Certain products are not guaranteed by Banco Popular North America or any of its affiliates, not FDIC insured, not a Deposit, not insured by any Federal Government Agency, and may lose value including loss of principal.

Copyright © 2016 Banco Popular North America. Member FDIC

 

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5 Ways to Prepare for Purchasing Your First Home

Buying your first home is a big step! There’s nothing quite like stepping out of the world of renting and into the world of homeownership. But there’s also a lot to learn and have ready before you begin the actual process. So, before you take the leap, here are five tips to help you have your financial ducks in a row.

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Thinking about purchasing a home can quickly become overwhelming. That’s why we’re giving you five simple steps to get you started.
At Popular Community Bank, we’re here to help you reach your financial goals.

1. Know your credit score (and take the time to fix it if you need to)

Credit scores are calculated by three major agencies: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Your score is based on factors such as the length of your credit history (how long your credit cards have been open and your recent activity), your historic ability to repay debt, and your amount of available credit.

When you’re applying for a mortgage, your credit score is one of the factors that help determine the interest rate you will be offered; the higher your credit score, the lower your rate can be. It’s a good idea to review both your credit report and score before applying for a mortgage. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you can request a free copy of your credit report from each of the three reporting agencies once every 12 months

2. Have a good sense of your budget

Most people are actually surprised when they take the time to put down on paper how much money is coming in each month versus how much is going out. Sure, you’re aware of the big things—the car payment, the college loan payment, the phone bills—but when is the last time you considered how much you’re spending on things like eating out, Netflix, iTunes, or transportation? Now is the time.

Make a spreadsheet with all of the bills and outgoing expenses you can think of so you have a clear picture of your monthly cash flow. If what you find is news to you, don’t worry—this is the perfect time to reassess spending habits and start redirecting money into savings or paying down debts.

3. Be realistic about what you can afford

Once you have a clear picture of your budget, you can start to determine how much you can really afford. You also don’t want to forget to factor in property taxes and home insurance costs. (We have a handy tool that can help.)

While it’s generally a good idea to be able to put down 20 percent of the purchase price to avoid mortgage insurance, you also want to ensure that you still have savings in the bank. Not only are there costs that can come up during the buying process, there are certainly things that will come up once you own a home. And if you can’t afford to put that 20 percent down, there are still plenty of options to get you into your first home.

4. Prepare for a lot of paperwork

When it comes to applying for a mortgage and buying a house, there is no shortage of paperwork. Staying organized throughout the process will help you stay sane. Start a filing system both for physical paperwork and digital documents so you have everything you need in a safe and easily accessible place.

You might also want to get a head start on the documents you’ll need to apply for your mortgage. These typically include recent paystubs, tax returns, W-2s, a list of assets as well as debts and copies of checks from recent rent payments.

5. Get prequalified

So you’ve done all of the above, you’re in good shape, you’ve got a realtor, and you’re ready to start looking. Now is the time to get prequalified so you know what a bank is willing to lend you. To get prequalified, you’ll likely just need to verbally provide the bank with information about your income, assets, and debts. Sometimes the bank will also perform a credit check.

If you are prequalified for more than you’ve determined you can afford it’s also important to remember to stick to your budget. You’ll thank yourself for not overspending when that first roof leak or property issue bill makes an appearance!
 

Have questions on how to improve your credit score, apply for a mortgage, or find help determining what you can afford? Visit our branch locator
to find a Popular Community Bank near you.

Our bankers are waiting to speak with you now.

The information mentioned in this article is for informational purposes only, is intended to provide general guidance and does not constitute legal or tax advice. Each person’s situation is unique and may materially differ from the information provided herein.  You should seek the advice of a financial professional, tax consultant and/or legal counsel to address your specific needs before any financial or other commitments regarding the issues related to your situation are made.  Banco Popular North America does not make any representations or warranties as to the content contained herein and disclaims any and all liability resulting from any use of or reliance on such content.

Copyright © 2016 Banco Popular North America is an Equal Housing Lender and a Member of the FDIC.

 

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2016 Operation Backpack

OB_2 OB_1Popular Community Bank once again partnered up with the 2016 Volunteers of America “Operation Backpack” campaign. From July 11th – August 5th, our branches in the NY Metro Region, as well as in our corporate office, collected filled backpacks and a variety of school supplies for students. These donations came not just from our staff but from many of our customers as well. Popular Community Bank staff successfully collected over 120 filled backpacks that will be distributed to thousands of school age children, from grades Pre-K through 12, who live in NYC shelters. These children will be able to approach the new school year with the supplies that they need to have a successful school year. The stigma of being homeless weighs heavily on them and with our help we are providing them not just with a backpack with supplies, but with the confidence of starting the school year looking and feeling like their classmates, and not like a “shelter kid”.

 

Copyright © 2016 Banco Popular North America. Member FDIC.

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Popular Community Bank Gives Back to Over 20 Local Organizations

We’ve always been driven by service and giving back. As we continue to work hard to provide the best financial services to our customers, we also look to strengthen the social and economic well-being of the communities we serve. During the first six months of 2016 we distributed more than $200,000 in sponsorships to organizations that are committed to offer critical services and community empowerment in Florida, New York and New Jersey. Through these partnerships Popular Community Bank continues to support education and community development. See the full list of organizations below.

New York and New Jersey Organizations:

  • The Puerto Rican Family Institute, Inc.
  • Gianna Nicole’s Heart of Hope
  • Morris Heights Health Center
  • The National Puerto Rican Day Parade
  • Foundation Fighting Blindness
  • The Latino College Expo
  • BedStuy Campaign against Hunger
  • Legal Services NYC
  • Kidney & Urology Foundation of America
  • Business Initiative Corporation of New York
  • Union Settlement
  • Hispanic Federation
  • Loisaida Inc.

Florida Organizations:

  • Chapman Partnerships
  • CIASF
  • Communities in Schools of Miami
  • Junior Achievement Organization
  • Miami Dade College Foundation
  • MAD DOG Mandich
  • Miami Dade Parks
  • Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic Church
  • South Florida Hispanic Chamber
  • South Florida Progress Foundation
  • United Way of Miami Dade Organization
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Back-to-School Budget Planning

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With summer days waning and school days approaching, you may be thinking less about vacation and more about getting the kids back to school. School supplies, new clothes, haircuts, textbooks, athletic fees, and recreational fees can add up to a bundle. But developing a back-to-school budget can help you plan for and manage expenses at the start of and throughout the school year.

Popular Community Bank wants to help you plan for your child’s back-to-school and ongoing school expenses.

According to the National Retail Federation, back-to-school expenses are typically about $700 for families with children in kindergarten through twelfth grade.1 Expenses can be higher for children in private school, of course, because they often include tuition, textbooks, and uniforms.

To stay on track with your child’s school expenses, create a comprehensive expense list that includes costs for:

    • After-school programs
    • Athletic apparel, equipment, and fees
    • Babysitting
    • Clothing for school, including school uniforms
    • Computer
    • Electronics
    • Meals and snacks
    • Medical and dental copays
    • Mobile phone
    • Private music and sports lessons
    • Recreational fees
    • School supplies
    • Textbooks
    • Tuition
    • Tutoring
    • Travel expenses

Although you may spend less than a planned amount on certain weeks, other weeks may yield unexpected expenses like class trips, gifts for classmates’ parties, or extra healthcare costs. If you stick closely with your budget overall, extra costs will likely average out to a reasonable amount over the course of the year.

Once you’ve completed a comprehensive expense list, break down the expenses by the week, month, and year. Keep a calendar handy and check the week ahead for reminders of upcoming expenses, including supplies, tuition, and fees, among others. Make a note of possible additional expenses to minimize unwanted financial surprises.

Track Your Spending
To understand where your back-to-school money goes each week, keep a record of how much you spend and what you spent it on. You’ll be surprised how quickly small amounts add up. For example, giving your child cash to eat from school vending machines or at the school cafeteria can add up to larger amounts than you planned. A record can help you quickly see and eliminate or adjust unnecessary costs.

Recycle School Supplies
One way to cut back-to-school costs is to go through closets and drawers to find forgotten supplies from the previous school year. You also can ask parents of children a year older than your child to pass down textbooks and other pre-owned school supplies. Because electronic devices, computers, notebooks, art supplies, and athletic equipment don’t usually wear out in just one school year, they often can be successfully used again.

If you have more than one child, keep in mind what you can recycle from your older to your younger child. If you’re younger child is going to receive hand-me-downs, be sure to present them with a positive attitude. For example, explain that saving on certain hand-me-down items will allow you to gather funds for something your younger child will eventually need. Recycling (or handing down items) with other goals in mind is great way to teach your child the value of trade-offs.

Shop With Coupons
When it’s time to make your child’s back-to-school purchases, use as many coupons as possible to lower your overall bill. Many stores and merchants offer online discounts and coupons that you can use when checking out online or print and take with you to the store. Local circular flyers also are likely to include savings coupons for back-to-school items. Clip them and keep them in your wallet to cash in at the register.

Shop Without Your Child to Stay Focused
Taking your child along when you shop can have some benefits, including getting him/her to make choices and understand the value of a dollar. But some parents may find it easier to avoid impulse purchases when they don’t have a kid pressuring them to buy unnecessary items. If you’d like your child to weigh in on back-to-school choices, shop online together and make a list before you visit the stores. In addition to having a definitive list of purchases, online shopping allows you to see and total prices before hitting the cash register.

Make Back-to-School Expenses the Foundation of Financial Literacy
At Popular Community Bank, we encourage you to use back-to-school budgets to teach your child how to wisely manage finances. Explain about comparison shopping for good deals, the difference between wants versus needs, and how saving now can result in a healthy nest egg for something important in the future, such as college tuition.

Popular Community Bank is all about helping you
achieve your financial goals.

Search our branch locator today to find a Popular Community Bank near you.

Our bankers are waiting to help you now,
whether it’s opening a new savings or checking account
or learning more about our products and services.

Reference
National Retail Federation. Economy. Parents preparing their back-to-school budgets with caution. nrf.com/news/parents-preparing-their-back-school-budgets-caution. Accessed May 17, 2016.

The information mentioned in this article is for informational purposes only, is intended to provide general guidance and does not constitute legal or tax advice. Each person’s situation is unique and may materially differ from the information provided herein.  You should seek the advice of a financial professional, tax consultant and/or legal counsel to address your specific needs before any financial or other commitments regarding the issues related to your situation are made.  Banco Popular North America does not make any representations or warranties as to the content contained herein and disclaims any and all liability resulting from any use of or reliance on such content.

Copyright © 2016 Banco Popular North America. Member FDIC

Posted in Personal Banking | Leave a comment

Fabulous Family Savings Tips

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Even the most dedicated of parents admit that having young children home for the summer can get ho hum once the dog days of August roll around and the kids get restless.

If you’ve already spent money taking your children on vacation, you might want inexpensive or cost-free ways to entertain them until school starts.

That’s why Popular Community Bank gladly shares ideas for low- or no-cost activities to keep your kids happy through the end of summer.

When you’re at a loss for inexpensive or free ideas for fun with your kids, use our handy list. There’re bound to be activities on it you and your kids will enjoy doing together.

If you choose something from the list that you’ve never done before and you need instructions, check out the Internet. It’s a good source of instructions and links to sites with details, including locations, maps, recipes, and ideas for new twists on familiar activities!

Activities

  • Ask your child to teach you something
  • Badminton
  • Basketball
  • Bathe the family dog
  • Bicycle
  • Blow bubbles
  • Camp out at home with a tent and sleeping bags
  • Cool off in a sprinkler
  • Fly a kite
  • Go canoeing
  • Have a yard sale
  • Hike
  • Interview an older relative to learn about the family
  • Make an indoor fort with blankets, pillows, chairs, and tables
  • Nap outside on a porch or under a tree
  • Paddleboat ride
  • Picnic in your backyard
  • Picnic at a local park
  • Play catch or Frisbee
  • Play miniature golf or hit balls at a golfing range
  • Practice batting at a batting cage
  • Rock climb at a safe, indoor facility
  • Roller skate/roller blade
  • See a movie
  • Set up a bicycle washing stand
  • Set up a lemonade stand
  • Soccer
  • Swim
  • Take a sewing class
  • Tennis
  • Train ride
  • Volleyball
  • Walk
  • Walk in the rain
  • Walk your dogs

Art and Music

  • Attend an outdoor concert
  • Brass rubbing at a graveyard
  • Check out craft day at the library
  • Create a family album
  • Create a family cookbook
  • Create a chalk mural on the driveway or sidewalk
  • Finger paint
  • Get books at the library
  • Go on a photo walk and create a follow-up scrapbook
  • Go to an art museum/art opening
  • Help your child write and illustrate a book
  • Help your child write poems, illustrate them, and put them in a collection
  • Help your child write a letter to and draw pictures for someone special
  • Make a family tree and match pictures to the names
  • Make a playlist of favorite songs and sing along to them
  • Make edible play-dough
  • Make origami art
  • String beads

Cleanup

  • Attic
  • Basement
  • Bedroom – try rearranging the furniture after cleaning up
  • Garage
  • Wash the car together

Cooking

  • Bake a favorite dish
  • Bake cupcakes
  • Cook pasta
  • Make homemade ice cream
  • Make homemade pizza
  • Make homemade popsicles with fruit
  • Make smoothies
  • Make tacos

Exploring

  • Go on an historic town/city walk
  • Go on a walking tour
  • Go on a mystery walk, where only you know the destination
  • Local playgrounds
  • Ride a train
  • Take a ride in the country
  • Tour the town or a city on a bus
  • Tour a local business, including the newspaper, a radio station, or city hall
  • Travel to a destination on a city bus
  • Try Geocaching
  • Visit a graveyard to see names and dates
  • Visit the airport
  • Visit the fire station
  • Visit the train station
  • Visit a fish hatchery
  • Visit the local farmers’ market

Games for Inside

  • Boggle
  • Bowling
  • Ping Pong
  • Scrabble

Museums

  • Aquarium
  • Check out free or discounted museum days
  • Nature museum
  • Planetarium

Nature

  • Bird watch
  • Fish
  • Garden
  • Go on a scavenger hunt
  • Go to the beach and build a sandcastle
  • Hang a birdhouse
  • Pick berries
  • Pick wildflowers and make arrangements to give to friends
  • Plant a tree
  • Put up a bird feeder
  • Stargaze
  • Visit an arboretum
  • Visit local county, state, and federal parks
  • Visit the zoo
  • Walk on nature trails

Reading

  • Attend a poetry reading
  • Attend story or poetry time at a café or bookstore
  • Attend story or movie time at the library
  • Read a book and then see the movie
  • Spread a blanket on the grass and read together
  • Start a book club

Volunteer Opportunities

  • Clean up trash at a local park
  • Donate clean towels, used leashes, dog food, or leftover dog toys to an animal shelter; offer to walk and brush dogs
  • Do something special for someone who needs help, like cook, help clean up, help with his/her dog
  • Garden at a local arboretum
  • Help out at a nature center
  • Pick up trash on park trails
  • Visit a retirement home and play an instrument, read stories, or write letters for residents who need help
  • Visit someone who needs company

Popular Community Bank is eager to help you save money
whenever possible so that you can make decisions
for the overall health of your finances.

Visit our branch locator
to find a Popular Community Bank near you.

Our bankers are waiting to speak with you now.

The information mentioned in this article is for informational purposes only, is intended to provide general guidance and does not constitute legal or tax advice. Each person’s situation is unique and may materially differ from the information provided herein.  You should seek the advice of a financial professional, tax consultant and/or legal counsel to address your specific needs before any financial or other commitments regarding the issues related to your situation are made.  Banco Popular North America does not make any representations or warranties as to the content contained herein and disclaims any and all liability resulting from any use of or reliance on such content.

Copyright © 2016 Banco Popular North America. Member FDIC

Posted in Personal Banking | Leave a comment

Financial Tips for Traveling Abroad

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Although the globe may seem more intimate since the Internet has brought many of us closer, there are differences in banking processes, ways to access money, and ways to make purchases in some foreign countries that can complicate your travels. With planning, you can avoid many unwanted financial surprises when traveling abroad.

Popular Community Bank gets you.
We want to smooth your path for traveling abroad.

Try these helpful steps before and when traveling abroad:

  • Ensure you have more than one option for accessing cash and making purchases, including a debit and credit card
    • Always carry cash for trains, buses, and other transactions that require cash
    • Ensure the cards are up to date and that expiration and travel dates don’t overlap
      • Get new cards well in advance of your trip if needed
    • Check your bank’s daily cash withdrawal limit, daily purchase limit, and daily credit limit for each debit and credit card
    • Ensure your cards will work in the country you’re visiting
      • For example, most European banks use chip and personal identification number (PIN) technology, and fewer merchants now accept magnetic-strip cards
    • Make copies of all of your cards and keep them in a separate, secure place
    • Separate the cards while traveling to prevent them from being lost
      or stolen at the same time
    • Memorize and test your PINs for each card before traveling
    • Use automatic teller machines (ATMs) your bank recommends
      • Some banks list them on the back of debit/credit cards
  • Use safe ATMs
    • Avoid ATMs in a remote or desolate area as well as those surrounded by a small group of people
    • Complete your transaction before allowing anyone to enter an ATM booth;
      don’t enter a booth when someone else is using the ATM
    • Before using the ATM, ensure there are no loose, taped, or Velcroed® parts,
      which indicate tampering
    • Use an ATM that is well lit and equipped with a security camera
  • Alert your bank and debit/card card companies to your travel dates and locations
    • If you use your cards in nonroutine locations, your bank/credit card company is likely to suspect fraud and suspend the card
      • It can take a day or more to reactivate a card
  • Save contact information for your local bank somewhere other than your wallet/purse
    • Identify a bank employee who will know and be ready to help you if you call
  • Exchange your money for foreign currency at your bank at least a week or more before you depart
    • Get information on conversion rates before traveling to ensure you accurately calculate expenses
    • When converting money abroad, visit a bank or ATM in the country for which you’d like cash
      • Conversion centers in the airport and city can charge high conversion fees and sometimes not provide exact conversion rates
  • Get entrance/exit fees for each country
    • Many entrance/exit fees, which can range between $25 and $200, are excluded from the price of your airline ticket
  • Sign up for online access to accounts
    • Monitor activity on them with secure devices
  • Check out-of-country sales vouchers carefully and ensure the amount
    in the total box is accurate before you sign when paying with a credit card
  • Keep copies of all ATM transaction records and sales receipts
    • Check them against your online or written statement

General recommendations

  • Make copies of your passport
    • Keep a copy with you at all times and leave your passport in a hotel safe when sightseeing
    • In addition to paper copies, keep a copy of your passport in an electronic file that’s accessible on your phone
    • Leave a copy of your passport with someone you trust at home
  • Register with your embassy so that your government can more easily reach
    and guide you to safety if problems arise
  • Consider health issues
    • Confirm that your health insurer will cover overseas emergencies; consider supplemental health insurance for your travel dates if necessary

Popular Community Bank financial counselors can guide you
to financial products and services to help you prepare
for an awesome vacation abroad!

Visit our branch locator
to find a Popular Community Bank near you.

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The information mentioned in this article is for informational purposes only, is intended to provide general guidance and does not constitute legal or tax advice. Each person’s situation is unique and may materially differ from the information provided herein.  You should seek the advice of a financial professional, tax consultant and/or legal counsel to address your specific needs before any financial or other commitments regarding the issues related to your situation are made.  Banco Popular North America does not make any representations or warranties as to the content contained herein and disclaims any and all liability resulting from any use of or reliance on such content.

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Popular Community Bank Gives Back to Over 20 Local Organizations

We’ve always been driven by service and giving back. As we continue to work hard to provide the best financial services to our customers, we also look to strengthen the social and economic well-being of the communities we serve. During the first six months of 2016 we distributed more than $200,000 in sponsorships to organizations that are committed to offer critical services and community empowerment in Florida, New York and New Jersey. Through these partnerships Popular Community Bank continues to support education and community development. See the full list of organizations below.

New York and New Jersey Organizations:
• The Puerto Rican Family Institute, Inc.
• Gianna Nicole’s Heart of Hope
• Morris Heights Health Center
• The National Puerto Rican Day Parade
• Foundation Fighting Blindness
• The Latino College Expo
• BedStuy Campaign against Hunger
• Legal Services NYC
• Kidney & Urology Foundation of America
• Business Initiative Corporation of New York
• Union Settlement
• Hispanic Federation
• Loisaida Inc.

Florida Organizations:
• Chapman Partnerships
• CIASF
• Communities in Schools of Miami
• Junior Achievement Organization
• Miami Dade College Foundation
• MAD DOG Mandich
• Miami Dade Parks
• Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic Church
• South Florida Hispanic Chamber
• South Florida Progress Foundation
• United Way of Miami Dade Organization

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