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Credit Unions vs. Banks

One of the biggest reasons a credit union is different than a bank is that we put people before profits—period! Because we are a financial cooperative, members are our owners… stockholders aren't. And as a member, you are our priority, so we can keep our loan rates and fees low just for you.

Why should you care about your credit union? Watch this video: Credit Unions vs Banks: Don't Tax My Credit Union!

BBB Scam Alert: Google Drive Phishing Scam

The Better Business Bureau Serving Northern Colorado and Wyoming advises users of Google Drive to beware of a sophisticated scam now infiltrating inboxes nationwide. The phony Google Drive emails prompt you to enter your username and password into the look-alike form.

How the Scam Works

You receive an email notice that someone shared a Google Doc with you, which can be accessed by clicking on a link. If you click through, you are taken to an exact copy of the Google login page.

The look-alike login form prompts you to enter your Google username and password. The data is sent to the scammer's server, but you are redirected to a real Google Doc. This means you are probably unaware anything even happened.

The scammers are using an actual Google Drive account to host the scam file, which lends a legitimizing URL to their con. Inputting your email and password into the fake form gives scammers access to your Google Drive, Gmail and any personal information stored within.

Tips for protecting your Google account

  1. Look for a phishing alert. Gmail automatically displays warnings on messages they suspect are phishing attacks. Always look for these warnings at the top of your email.
  2. Know when you are logged in. If you are already logged into Gmail to check email, you won't need to login again to view a Google Drive document.
  3. Report it. Help Google identify suspicious emails by reporting them. On an email message, click the down arrow next to "reply" and select "report phishing."
  4. Turn on two-step verification. If you fear your account has been compromised or you are worried about security, sign up for additional security for your Google account. Logging in will require both a username/password and entering a code sent to your cell phone.
  5. If your account may have been compromised, be sure to review this security checklist to make sure scammers aren't accessing your email. Topics include checking past login locations and making sure auto-forwarding isn't activated.

To find out more about this scam visit: BBB of Northern Colorado & Wyoming

You can also read some more good information from the FTC on scam alerts.

Financial Literacy Matters

Looking for a quality resource when it comes to your money? Here are some great resources to choose from that can help you navigate the finance world and make your money work for you.

Regarding the Financial Literacy and Education Commission has developed a new national strategy to promote financial literacy and education. Going to college? Buying a home? Planning for retirement? Whether you're a Gen Y, a parent, or a retiree, this is a great place to brush up on your financial knowledge.


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Monitor Your Credit Report Annually!

You can order a free credit report once every 12 months from each of the major three credit bureaus at

Beware of Scams

Northern Colorado Credit Union wants to do everything to protect you and money! Your identity and your money are important to you. NEVER give out sensitive information over the phone or in an email, especially with calls that you do not initiate yourself. Sensitive items can be your account number, debit card number, or social security number.

Also beware of phishing scams that try and solicit sensitive information through an email or a website.

If you think you may have been targeted, contact us directly and speak with someone personally about your account(s). We'll be happy to take the extra time needed to assure your accounts are safe—that's what we do.

More Information

Fraudwatch for Your Debit Card

Did you know your NCCU debit card comes with Fraudwatch Plus 24-hour protection?

Enroll in Online Banking and be able to check your account online 24/7.

Report a lost or stolen debit card

For added protection, you can keep transactions and your NCCU debit card purchases private with MasterCard® Online SecureCode Registration. (What is MasterCard Securecode?)
All of our credit cards have VISA® Fraud Prevention as well.

Five Golden Steps for Auto Buying

The best way to put you in the driver's seat of a new car is to research the model you're looking for and how you'll pay for it before you even set foot on a car lot.

Step One

Check your credit score. Your credit score influences your interest rate, so a higher score means a better loan package. Make an appointment with your credit union for a quick check-up. Everyone is eligible to use for a free credit report of all three reporting agencies once per year. This is the only truly free service with no strings attached. If you have a few dings on your report, our financial services representatives can offer advice on ways to clear them up.

Step Two

Check for the best rate and see what you can afford. Credit unions are known for having some of the best rates around and Northern Colorado Credit Union is no exception. In fact, we usually have the lowest rate in the market—check out our current rate schedules. Calculate your payment and find out how much you can afford with our financial calculator. Here's another tip: You will often save more money by financing a new car with a credit union and taking a dealer's rebate, as opposed to taking a dealer's low finance rate. Check out this rate vs. rebate calculator.

Step Three

Get pre-approved before hitting the car lot. While you're checking up on your credit score, get pre-approved for a car loan. You can do this in-person, on the phone, or online. Pre-approval will help you determine how much car you can buy, how much your monthly payment will be, and it will make the buying process quicker and easier. Use our Online Application and get pre-approved right away.

Step Four

Research. Research car models and compare prices before hitting the lot by visiting our AutoSmart Resource Center and the NADA website. Keep in mind car costs don't stop with the monthly loan payment. According to AAA, an SUV costs 67 cents a mile to drive compared to 41 cents for a typical small sedan when you factor in such costs as insurance, repairs, and depreciation. Before you head to the dealership, compare the five-year "true cost to own" of any vehicle model.

Step Five

Visit the dealer. Once you've secured financing and have a good idea of what car(s) you can afford, visit the dealer. Bring the car values you researched with you and compare them to dealer sticker prices. This information will give you leverage to negotiate when purchasing the vehicle that's right for you.

Even if you haven't gotten pre-approved, always ask for credit union financing at the dealership.

Car Buying Checklist

There's nothing like that new car smell, even if your car isn't brand new. Before you buy a new or used vehicle, it pays to do your homework. Use this checklist for tips to help save you money and to simplify the car buying process.


  1. Do your research. Researching and comparing vehicles is an important first step in finding out the value of any car you trade in and the new car you want to purchase. Good research is key and plays a significant role in helping you get the deal you deserve through dealer or a private party. It arms you with the best information to negotiate the price you can afford and a payment that will fit your budget;
  2. Before you go to the dealer, contact the credit union to get pre-approved;
  3. Find out what financing option is best for you. The term, vehicle year, and your credit history will help determine the interest rate you'll get for your loan and the payment that will fit your budget;
  4. Lock in your rate and find out what range of vehicles you can shop for;
  5. Consider the benefits and cost savings of purchasing additional insurances, such as Mechanical Breakdown Warranty and GAP Insurance. GAP Insurance covers you so you don't become upside down in your loan. Most dealerships will offer these services to you but at a much higher price than you can get with your credit union;
  6. At the dealership, test drive the vehicle to make sure it meets your needs and expectations. Does a 0% APR loan make sense for you? If doesn't include rebates, you could save more in the long run by financing elsewhere and getting the rebate from the dealership.
  7. Focus on the total price of your "new" car and what the end price will be with applicable rebates and interest. Dealers many times will focus on the payment and you could wind up signing for a higher interest rate or a lengthier term.
  8. Beware of "add-ons" through the dealership and feel free to ask questions. Are the add-ons, like alarm systems, rust protection, glass etching, and so on, necessary for you to purchase at the dealership?
  9. Upon purchasing your vehicle, contact your auto insurance company to inform them of your purchase so you can drive away—safely—in your new vehicle.

7 Do-It-Yourself Home Improvements

Stop and take a look around your house. Are you delighted with everything in it? This is where you spend a good portion of your day and where you and your family build happy memories. There's no reason why it should be anything less than your dream home.

It can be expensive to hire a professional to redo some part of your home, and choosing a contractor can be a stressful process. Instead of shelling out tens of thousands of dollars for a contractor, why not consider these great home improvement ideas you can do yourself!

1. The deck of your dreams.

With cooler fall weather on the way, you might be thinking about turning your boring outside space into an outdoor living room. Whether you're after a raised wood deck to give your guests someplace to sit or a classy brick patio for lounging by the grill, a usable outside space can make a big difference in how you enjoy your home. A charming, visual addition to the outside of your home is a great way to add value too!

While this is a big project, the rewards are big too. Start by drawing up some plans—remember, you're basically building a series of wood boxes that are bolted together. Draw up a shopping list of things you need and head over to NCCU to finance your new project. Then, head to your local home improvement store for lumber, bolts, and a few new power tools.

2. Paint a room… or the whole house!

If you're not feeling up to building much, you can make the inside of your house feel new again with a fresh coat of paint. Choose colors that complement your furniture and flooring, but choose slightly different shades for different parts of the house. For example, maybe you want to paint your kitchen and dining room in mellow earth shades to give them a sense of coziness, but you want to paint your bedroom a calming blue to help you sleep.

This can be a great project to get the kids involved in, too. Wall paint, sponges, and scissors allow children to paint fun and imaginative shapes on their bedroom walls. A sense of ownership over the design might encourage them to keep their rooms a little cleaner as well. You can get creative in main spaces, too! Try painting an accent wall to change the lighting effects in your living room! Aside from paint, brushes, and rollers, make sure you get covers for furniture and floors and painter's tape.

3. Fix up an entryway.

Your front door is the first thing people see when they come to your home. You want to make sure it says great things about you and your family. A little bit of time and effort can make this part of your house feel more welcoming while also saving you time and effort.

You can make relatively minor changes here. Metal house numbers, trim paint and a few planters can make your front stoop look much nicer. You can also make some serious changes. A new door can really liven up the front of your house. New weather stripping can make your front door more energy efficient to save on winter heating costs. Nice light fixtures can take a little time to install, but they can make your house both charming and safer. Sketch out some ideas, then head to your home improvement store to figure out what you need to make your front door the talk of the neighborhood.

4. Add a splash of class with a tasteful backsplash.

The section of wall above the bathroom and kitchen sinks can see a lot of water damage. Left uncovered, this can lead to mildew and even mold in hard-to-reach places. A backsplash is an attractive option for preventing that kind of damage.

While these are typically done in tile, there's nothing stopping you from looking at wood bead board, ceiling tile, or wallpaper. You could even turn them into a functional addition to your organization system with chalkboard, whiteboard, or magnetic surfaces! Write up a recipe or meal plan to help keep your prep work organized in the kitchen or write a fun morning greeting to your kids in the bathroom! There's no limit to what a backsplash can do for your home. Head down to your local home improvement store to see what kind of material you want to use, and don't forget to pick up adhesive to stick it all together!

5. Create a new outlook with new windows.

Installing new windows can seem like a daunting task, but they'll pay for themselves. Energy efficient windows with new molding and stripping can significantly reduce your energy bills. Plus, having new windows and screens will make your home look well-cared-for when it comes time to sell.

Do some research on energy efficient two- and three-ply windows. Figure out which will fit your budget and hold long-term value, but remember, you generally get what you pay for. Cheap windows won't conserve much energy.

6. Refresh a tired kitchen or bathroom with new fixtures.

Your faucets and knobs see a lot of abuse. They get touched by grimy hands, splashed by soapy water, and built up calcium and rust even if you're careful about washing them. Because they're usually metal, they tend to draw a lot of attention. Dull, streaky fixtures can suck all the energy out of a kitchen or bathroom.

Replacing them, though, is pretty easy. In the bathroom, you can get sleek, modern fixtures that will save you sink space for storage. In the kitchen, consider getting a detachable head with a vegetable sprayer to make cleanups easier. Whatever you do here, you'll end up with a nicer looking kitchen or bathroom.

7. Bring your stuff together with built-in storage.

If your house looks like most others, it's chock-full of memorabilia and keepsakes. Tossed about the room, this can look cluttered and dingy, not to mention it makes it hard to clean and dust. Adding more furniture, though, can make a space feel cramped and tiny.

Instead, think about adding more built-in storage. Whether you just want to hang a shelf over an entryway, put some coat hooks by the door, or build a bookshelf into a living room wall, built-in storage is a great way to display your treasured memories without shrinking a room with too much stuff. Many built-ins require lumber, mounting tools, and a few other gadgets that DIY experts should have no trouble identifying.

When it comes to improving your home, NCCU is ready to partner with you every step of the way. You may have heard about home equity loans and lines of credit, but you may have thought you can't use them for small remodeling projects. However, it's actually one of the most common uses for these types of financing.

Let's talk. You supply the ideas, Northern Colorado Credit Union can supply the home equity loan or line of credit to make your dreams a reality. Contact us or fill out our application and start enjoying the equity in your home today.