No more paper government checks
The U.S. government is retiring paper checks for those who receive Social Security or other government benefits.
As of March 1, 2013, anyone receiving federal benefits will need to have those funds deposited directly into an account. The retirement of paper government checks has been in the works for the past few years as a way to reduce federal spending. The U.S. Treasury Department says it will save taxpayers $1 billion over the next 10 years to move to direct deposit.
There are still more than 5 million Americans who have not converted their government payments to direct deposit, according to federal officials. Those mailed checks represent an additional $4.6 million in monthly costs since each mailed check costs 92 cents more than a direct deposit transfer, Treasury officials have said.
If you or someone you know hasn’t taken the step to have these payments directly deposited into an account, go to www.GoDirect.org, call the helpline at 800.333.1795, or contact one of Mid American’s financial service representatives at 316.722.3921, ext. 202 for help in setting up a direct deposit into your account.
Merchants in 40 states can pass on credit card swipe fees
Merchants in 40 states now have the option to pass on the swiping surcharge for certain VISA and MasterCard credit card point-of-sale transactions to consumers.
The surcharges won’t be allowed on debit and prepaid card transactions and in 10 states, including Kansas, that prohibit the surcharges. The other states where the surcharge won’t be allowed are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Main, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma and Texas.
According to financial experts, any credit card surcharges will be limited to the amount of money the merchant pays to the credit card company. So if a merchant is charged 50 cents per swipe by the credit card company, it can only pass on a 50 cent charge to the consumer. Retailers who add the surcharge must post a fee disclosure to the consumer at the point of entry, point of sale and on the receipt, according to experts.
The option became effective Jan. 27, 2013, and is the result of a lawsuit settlement between merchants and VISA and MasterCard.
IRA contributions, income limits change
In 2013, individuals will be able to save a bit more through an individual retirement account, according to new IRS limits.
Since 2008, the IRS had capped contributions to traditional and Roth IRAs collectively at $5,000, but for 2013, the limit has increased slightly to $5,500.
The IRS has also updated the income limits for being eligible to deduct contributions to a traditional IRA and for being eligible to contribute to a Roth IRA. To find out more, go to www.irs.gov.
The IRS has not changed the catch-up contribution limit of an additional $1,000 for persons older than 50.
Mid American offers both traditional and Roth IRAs, as well as a Simplified Employee Pension IRA. The SEP IRA is a low-cost option, with no start-up or administrative costs, to a traditional pension plan and contributions are tax deductible. Employers and self-employed individuals can set up this type of IRA.
If you are interested in an IRA account, contact a financial services representative, 316-722-3921, ext. 202. For legal and tax information, please consult a legal or professional tax adviser.
By Jim Holt, President/CEO
During the week of Jan. 14, Mid American will open its newest branch at 2993 N. Webb Road in Wichita. We’ve heard from many of our members about how convenient it will be to have a Mid American branch in northeast Wichita, right off K-96 at the Webb intersection.
While we’re excited to open this new location, which will feature a more interactive-style of working with members, this branch is just one of many convenient ways we have to make financial services available to you. We’ve worked to develop infrastructure and relationships so that you can access us 24/7 and even across the country.
Branches, service centers and ATMs
The addition of the northeast Wichita branch gives us five locations in Wichita, in addition to our Arkansas City and Larned locations. In two of the Wichita locations, we’ve partnered with other credit unions to make it cost-effective to provide services.
Mid American has embraced the concept of working with other credit unions for quite some time, as one of the first Wichita credit unions to join the national shared branching network of Credit Union Service Centers. The network allows members to do cash transactions at participating credit unions, including 25 in Wichita and nearly 5,000 nationwide.
Since we are part of the Co-op Network, members can use more than 28,000 ATMs nationwide with no access fees.
With desktop and mobile banking, Mid American makes it even more convenient to access your accounts anytime, anywhere. With desktop banking, available at our website, you can log in to view account history, make loan payments, and transfer money between accounts and even to other institutions. Our mobile banking app, which made its debut this year, also has those same functions. You also can sign up for text services to get account balances, recent transaction history and make transfers.
We now have two ways for you to access telephone services 24/7. In 2012, we started offering around-the-clock member service, in which you can talk to a live service representative, by calling 316-722-3921 and pressing 2. To reach the automated teller, press 3.
To find out more about any of these services, go to our website or contact a financial service representative at 316-722-3921, ext. 202.
Dixon, Jerrell named Wichita Community Heroes
Congratulations to Rick Dixon of P.B. Hoidale and Officer Steven Jerrell of the Wichita Police Department for being recently named Wichita Community Heroes by the American Red Cross Midway-Kansas Chapter.
The two have a close connection with Mid American Credit Union. For years, Dixon has served on the credit union’s board of directors. Jerrell spearheads a community-wide effort in which Mid American partners to help give Wichita-area children a positive activity during the summer break.
Dixon is president of the fourth-generation, family-owned P.B. Hoidale, which sells, services and installed high quality petroleum, lubrication and industrial equipment. Being civic minded comes second nature to Dixon, who regularly donates money to local organizations and his time by serving on various different boards in addition to Mid American. He also is a consistent blood donor for the American Red Cross.
He cares not only about the community where he lives and works, but those outside of it. The morning after the Joplin, Mo., tornado hit, Dixon called in workers to see how they could help with relief efforts. His company provided a generator and work crews also brought in bottled water for relief workers and the community.
Officer Jerrell was recognized for his work to reduce crime rates in the city of Wichita by building partnerships in the community. Ten years ago, Officer Jerrell came up with the idea of providing a positive activity, called Summer Activity Camps, to keep kids off the street. He partnered with the Wichita Parks and Recreation Department to provide a location for the activity and then sought community partners to help sponsor various activities. The venture grew from one single camp to five being held throughout Wichita. Mid American became a sponsoring partner, offering a financial literacy component in 2012.The activity, which has been recognized as the best financial youth literacy program among Kansas credit unions for the past two years, has resulted in a drop in crime rates for the neighborhoods surrounding where the camps are held.
Youth account gets national notice
Nerdwallet.com has ranked Mid American’s Preferred Youth Savings Account as one of the top youth and teen accounts among credit unions in the nation.
In its blog post listing the top credit union youth accounts, it noted, “Mid American Credit Union’s Preferred Youth Savings account offers your teen 0.50% APY, more than 5 times the national average APY for savings accounts.”
Mid American’s youth accounts, which earn dividends and have no fees, are available to anyone age 24 and younger.
Automated Calls SCAM ALERT
Members have reported receiving automated telephone calls claiming to be from Mid American Credit Union, which ask for personal or account information. Mid American does not use automated telephone calling systems, nor would we ever ask for any personal or account information from our members in this manner. These scam calls are an attempt to get you to reveal your account information. The best course of action if receive any such calls is to simply hang up.
This type of scam is typically generated in a random manner. Scammers know that by sending a large volume of calls that some will be received by actual credit union members. If you have any questions or are concerned that you might have revealed your account information to these scammers, please call our financial services department at 316-722-3921, ext. 202.
Mid American repeats parade award
For the second year in a row, Mid American Credit Union received first place in Arkansas City’s Arkalalah parade for best float by a business. The credit union also won the Queen’s Choice Award this year.
The theme for this year’s 81st annual fall festival was “Team USA.” The parade took place Saturday afternoon, Oct. 27.
The Mid American float featured a huge set of Olympic rings, a real flame-throwing torch (the only one of its kind in the parade), a look-a-like gold medal, and a 3D cutout of the USA.
Mid American Credit Union’s Arkansas City branch is located at 1610 N. Summit.
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