Archive for Learning Center – Page 3

Why To Get (Or Not Get) a Personal Loan

No one knows what tomorrow may bring. It’s even more true given the uncertain times we are in. Until our national and local economies are set on a more stable and predictable path, it’s probably a good idea to take a more measured approach to spending, and especially to borrowing money.

When it comes to applying for a personal (unsecured) loan, take the time to give it proper consideration. There are always good reasons to borrow. But in the current environment of economic uncertainty, there are also good reasons to hold back.

Reasons to get a loan

  • Pay off high-interest debt – If you qualify for a loan at a low interest rate, using the funds to pay off high-interest debt makes good financial sense and saves you money.
  • Consolidate debt – If you have multiple loans with varying interest rates and due dates, consolidating them into a loan at a lower rate will help you save and make bill paying simpler (and harder to miss) with just one due date.
  • Essential purchases – Your car breaks down, the refrigerator doesn’t chill, and the washing machine just quit in mid-wash. It happens, and these are all items you can’t be without. You can easily justify the need to make these types of purchases.

Reasons to NOT get a loan

  • Unnecessary impulses – Ask yourself if the purchase is really a “need” and not simply a “want” that may change over time. Can you live without it? Can you put off the purchase until a better time? If you had the cash, is this how you would spend it?
  • Unaffordable status symbols – We are bombarded by TV shows, movies and advertising that create a desire for luxury items most of us really can’t afford. Resist the urge! Make it your goal to live within your means.
  • Unsustainable lifestyle – Constantly spending more than you can afford leads to an unhappy and unfulfilling life that is unsustainable as well.

Use credit wisely. At some point, everyone should have the personally satisfying experience of paying off debt, and that can only be accomplished through the responsible use of credit.


VITA Program Provides Free Tax Help

Complex tax laws and complicated forms present a challenge for many people each year when income tax filings are due. The Internal Revenue Service understands that some people may not be able to pay a tax preparer, especially in these challenging times. That’s where the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program can help.

Established more than 50 years ago, the program offers free basic tax preparation help to:

  • People who generally make $57,000 or less;
  • Persons with disabilities; and
  • Limited English-speaking taxpayers.

All VITA volunteers who prepare returns are trained in tax laws, privacy and confidentiality. They must also meet or exceed IRS standards to be certified in tax preparation. In addition, the IRS requires that every return prepared by a VITA volunteer undergo a quality review check prior to filing.

Hawaii FCU will continue to offer the services of its VITA volunteers to those in the community who qualify, even as the IRS reports that many VITA sites will be closed or not operating at full capacity this year.

“We have always been committed to serving our community,” said Steve Goo, Hawaii FCU President and CEO. “As we do our part to rebuild the state’s economy, we must also ensure assistance is provided to those in our community who are often overlooked and underserved.”

Appointments are being scheduled for February 1, 2021 through March 31, 2021. To schedule an appointment and obtain a list of documents to bring with you, please call Hawaii FCU at (808) 441-4285.

Cash In Your Coins!

Have you noticed signs at cash registers around town requesting that customers make purchases with exact change? No, we are not having a nationwide “coin shortage,” but the pandemic has indirectly left financial institutions and businesses a little “short changed.”

With more people staying at home and shifting to online purchases, there has been a dramatic decrease in coin circulation. As a result, coin allocations delivered to financial institutions have been limited, affecting the amount they can distribute to their business members or customers.

We could use your help. If you have a lot of coins in your loose change jar at home, cash them in at Hawaii FCU so we can help our members and local businesses. Check your car cup holders, dig between your sofa cushions, and empty your piggy banks, too.

Hawaii FCU is happy to provide coin wrappers to make it easier for you to bring in your coins. We will also accept unwrapped coins, but ask that you please count and separate your coins by denomination. Mahalo for helping us to keep coins in circulation!

How To Get the Assistance You Need

We’re all facing the same challenges. All of us. So if you could use a helping hand, don’t keep it a secret. Reach out to get the help you need.

Talk to creditors. If shutdowns have made it difficult to meet your financial obligations, the worst thing you can do is to stop paying your bills without communicating with creditors. Call each one, let them know you’re having financial difficulties and work out a repayment plan together. They’ll understand.

Check with utility companies. You may have fallen behind in your payments, but having your service turned off will only create additional service reconnection fees for you to pay. And the electric, gas and water companies would really prefer not to cut your service anyway. So give them a call and ask for assistance in scheduling affordable payments.

Feed your family. Even nonprofit organizations like the Hawaii Foodbank are experiencing difficulties with limited resources and increasing demand. Fortunately local farmers, businesses, labor organizations and community groups are stepping forward to assist with food drives that are feeding thousands of hungry families around Oahu. Tune in to the news and social media for information on the next event.

Call 2-1-1 for Aloha United Way. Or go online to the AUW website at See if you qualify for any of the available programs: 1) State of Hawaii Rent Relief and Housing Assistance Program; 2) City & County of Honolulu – Household Hardship Relief Fund; 3) Department of Hawaiian Home Lands – COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistant; and 4) Aloha United Way COVID-19 Rent & Utility Assistance.  AUW can also refer you to a wide range of other community services.

Contact your community leaders. Your congressional senator and representative and your city councilperson can also provide useful information.  Call their offices to inquire about the latest pandemic assistance programs.

Banking Options to Keep You Safe

There are many ways to access your financial accounts without having to physically enter the credit union.  Today’s technology has made banking virtually contactless. Keep safe with these banking options.

Online Banking gives you access to your accounts 24/7. Use your computer to sign in at your convenience to check your account balances, view your transaction history, transfer funds between accounts, make a loan payment, pay your bills1, receive e-statements, and more!

Mobile Banking2 enables you to do your banking on the go. Just download the Hawaii FCU mobile app from the Google Play store for Android smart phones or the Apple App store for Apple smart phones or iPads. Then use your device to access your accounts to check balances, view transactions, transfer funds, and make a loan payment.

Telephone Banking with our Personal Access Line is available day or night at 888-776-9627. Start by entering your account number and PIN, then follow the voice  prompts. Check your balances and account history, transfer funds between accounts, request a withdrawal by check, and much more!

ATM Banking3 provides cash on the go through a large statewide and nationwide network that includes First Hawaiian Bank ATMs and CO-OP ATMs. Withdraw cash, check balances and perform other important transactions as you run your essential errands. And please be sure to sanitize your hands after using an ATM.

If your situation requires in-person banking transactions, please keep yourself and others safe by remembering to wear a mask and maintain social distance from others.

  1. Must be enrolled in Online Banking. Online Banking and Mobile Banking uses the same log in ID and password.
  2. A checking account is required. There is no charge to enroll in Online Bill Pay.
  3. You will be charged $1.00 for each ATM transaction over 25 per month. Transactions made at the ATM at 1244 Kaumualii St. Hon, HI are not included in the 25 transactions per month.