July 2020 Newsletter

 

Whether you already have a Colorado Rewards Credit Card or are thinking about getting one, there’s never been a better time to earn rewards. That’s because there are now more ways to earn extra points. Besides 3X points on everyday Colorado lifestyle purchases*, including gas and groceries, for a limited time, you can earn 5X points on purchases at select local restaurants and small businesses. Just visit BellcoColoradoRewards.com for a full list of your local merchants and their point offers.

Even if your lifestyle isn’t currently active as usual, you’re still spending on essentials like food delivery and home supplies. So why not reward yourself with cash back or great rewards? In addition to redeeming points for airfare (with no blackout dates or seat restrictions), hotel reservations, and cruises, you can also redeem points for purchases at sporting events, theme parks, concerts (including Bellco Theatre) and life experiences like golf lessons with a pro or driving a stock car.

Here are the main categories where you can earn bonus points

5X Points
Local Restaurants
Local Small Businesses 

3X Points
Grocery stores & wholesale clubs
Gas stations & pumps
Sporting goods & apparel

2X Points
Cable/satellite/streaming services
Internet/gaming services
Phone services

If you're interested in learning more about the benefits of a Colorado Rewards credit card, visit Bellco.org/ColoradoRewards. To learn about the many categories where you can redeem points, including local businesses that you can help support, visit BellcoColoradoRewards.com.

*Purchases do not include balance transfers; cash advances; quasi-cash transactions such as traveler’s checks, foreign currency, or money orders; returned merchandise; ATM transactions; any checks that access your account; overdraft advances; earned interest; unauthorized or fraudulent charges; betting that includes lottery tickets, casino gaming chips, off-track betting and wager; or fees of any kind, including an annual fee, if applicable.

Your home can provide you with more than just shelter—it can also offer equity to help you manage expected and unexpected expenses. In fact, refinancing a mortgage—whether you take cash out or not—can impact your monthly expenses in a number of ways. 

1. Ditching PMI (private mortgage insurance). If you first bought your home with less than 20 percent down, you may have been required to pay for monthly mortgage insurance. If your home’s value has increased since you bought it, the new loan-to-value ratio could allow you to refinance without the PMI, which can save you hundreds—or even thousands—of dollars every year, and over the life of your loan. 

2. Consolidating debt. If you owe on credit cards, on any other loan with a high interest rate (e.g., a car loan), you can use the equity in your home to pay all of that off. This could allow you to keep all of that debt in a lower interest rate loan, which would reduce your overall monthly payment. Plus, then you’ll have only one payment each month. 

3. Making home improvements. If you refinance with cash out, you can use the money to update your home—which in turn can increase its value. Tired of your kitchen? Want to finish the basement? Use the equity that’s available in your home to take care of those projects now. 

4. Speeding up your time to completion. If you refinance with a 15-year versus a 30-year loan, you could cut down the total amount of time before you own your home outright. Your monthly payment will be higher, but your rate will be lower, and along with the shortened overall term, you’ll wind up spending less on interest overall.  

Remember, too, that you can access the equity in your home without a full-on refinance. You can also establish a home equity line of credit, which would allow you to have cash available for things like emergency expenses, debt consolidation or home improvements without changing the original terms of your mortgage.

Home prices have increased nearly 20 percent over the past five years, and mortgage rates are at or near all-time lows, so now is a great time to leverage your home's equity. Speak with a Bellco Mortgage Loan Consultant today!

Equal Housing Opportunity Statement: We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. We encourage and support an affirmative advertising and marketing program in which there are no barriers to obtaining housing because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.

It's almost back-to-school time, which means that students will be getting reacquainted with the discipline of classes and homework. And that goes hand in hand with the discipline of learning how to save and manage money. The teen years are a great time to get practical experience in banking, especially in a controlled environment with adult oversight. Check out these frequently asked questions regarding student checking.

What's the right age for my child to have a checking account?
You know your child better than any financial institution can, so it's up to you as a parent to determine when they'll truly be ready to learn the skill of managing money. Most banks, including Bellco, offer checking accounts to children starting at age 13.

Why should my teen have a checking account?
Bank accounts provide teens with hands-on learning that is more informative than any classroom experience could provide. Your student can learn how to avoid things like overdraft fees and draining their balance. Having a debit card will give your teen access to practical knowledge that can gateway to larger topics such as budgeting, saving, and garnering interest. Plus, it can give your child a sense of independence with the benefit of your input and oversight.

How do I monitor my child’s banking? 
Because you will co-own your teen's account, you'll have access to all information relating to it. You can keep an eye on the account's balance and your child's debit card activity online and through monthly statements. Plus, you can sign up to receive overdraft or overspend notifications, so you can stay updated on unusual or unwanted spending activity.

What are the benefits of using a Bellco Student Checking Account?
When you and your teen open a Bellco Student Checking Account, you'll find the same features as with regular checking accounts, including a Visa® debit card, access to online and mobile banking, no requirement for a minimum balance, and surcharge-free ATM transactions at thousands of locations. Plus, the account requires no monthly maintenance fee and offers one waived non-sufficient funds fee each year. Finally, financial literacy is more important than ever. Opening a Bellco Student Checking Account with your teen will help your child achieve that knowledge in a controlled and safe way.

If you're looking for more ways to provide your teen with easily accessible financial education, our MoneySmarts program is a simple to use online educational tool that covers important topics such as creating a budget, building emergency savings, credit card basics, and more.

If you have elementary school-aged kids, Bellco's Coindexter Club is an award-winning program that engages them with fun videos and games while they learn how to earn, save, spend, manage, and invest. They also have access to our FUNancial $marts activity book, which can help prepare them to handle financial and economic challenges in their future.

Financial Possibilities

As a not-for-profit, Colorado-based financial cooperative, Bellco is passionate about providing tools and resources to help our members and the community feel financially empowered. One way we've done this is by collaborating with Denver 7 to provide communities across Colorado with helpful financial tips.

In a recent Denver 7 newscast, reporter Eric Lupher offers ways you can access needed funds using the equity in your home. You can view the segment below: