FAQs

Credit Union Basics (8)

What’s a credit union?

A credit union is a cooperative, not-for-profit financial institution organized to promote thrift and provide credit to members. It is member-owned and controlled through a board of directors elected by the membership. The board serves on a volunteer basis and may hire a management team to run the credit union. The board also establishes and revises policy, sets dividend and loan rates, and directs certain operations. The result: members are provided with a safe, convenient place to save and borrow at reasonable rates at an institution which exists to benefit them, not to make a profit.

What is the purpose of a credit union?

The primary purpose in furthering their goal of service is to encourage members to save money. Another purpose is to offer loans to members. In fact, credit unions have traditionally made loans to people of ordinary means. Credit unions can charge lower rates for loans (as well as pay higher dividends on savings) because they are nonprofit cooperatives. Rather than paying profits to stockholders, credit unions return earnings to members in the form of dividends or improved services.

How did credit unions start?

The first credit union cooperatives started in Germany over a century ago. Today, credit unions are found everywhere in the world. The credit union movement started in this country in Manchester, New Hampshire. There, the St. Mary’s Cooperative Credit Association, a church-affiliated credit union, opened its doors in 1909. Today, one in every three Americans is a credit union member.

Who owns a credit union?

Most financial institutions are owned by stockholders, who own a part of the institution and intend on making money from their investment. A credit union doesn’t operate in that manner. Rather, each credit union member owns one “share” of the organization. The user of credit union services is also an owner, and is even entitled to vote on important issues, such as the election of member representatives to serve on the board of directors.

Who can join a credit union?

A credit union exists to serve a specific group of people, such as a group of employees or the members of a professional or religious group. This is called a “field of membership.” The field of membership may include where they live, where they work, or their membership in a social or economic group.

Why would I choose a credit union?

Credit unions typically offer lower fees, higher savings rates, lower loan rates, and more personalized service. Credit unions focus on their members and return their profits to the members by giving higher savings rates and lower loan rates.

Why are credit unions important?

Credit unions give a competitive edge to the marketplace by offering favorable rates and services. In turn, they create benefits to consumers of all financial institutions.

Who regulates credit unions?

The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) regulates federally-chartered credit unions like NFFCU. Credit unions are subject to much of the same consumer regulations as other financial institutions. In some cases, such as investments and mortgage lending, credit unions must adhere to more strict regulations.

Debit / ATM Cards (12)

How does a NFFCU debit card work?

You use a debit card much like you use a Credit Card, but the money is coming directly from your checking account. The amount of your purchase must be available in your checking account at the time the purchase is made. It also functions as an ATM card.

How do I use my debit card at an ATM?

Simply insert your card into the Automated Teller Machine (ATM), enter your Personal Identification Number (PIN), and the screen will lead you through the transaction. You may make deposits, withdraw cash, transfer funds between accounts, and check your account balances. 

What if my ATM or debit card is lost or stolen?

If your debit card has been lost or stolen, it must be reported to NFFCU immediately by calling 973-589-7199. To protect your account from unauthorized use, memorize your PIN. Do not keep the PIN with your card.

How much cash can I withdraw at an ATM?

You can withdraw up to $500 per day, provided the funds are available in your account.

At which ATMs can I use my card?

Access to your funds is available through Funds Express, PLUS and Star Network of ATMs.

Are there any fees when I use my card for ATM transactions?

There are no fees when you use your cards at Funds Express ATMs. However, when you use your cards at ATMs that are not Funds Express, there may be a fee.

What is the difference between a credit card and a debit card?

Although you use a debit card much like you use a credit card, the method of payment is different. When using a debit card, you are using the money from your checking account. The amount of your purchase must be available in your checking account at the time the purchase is made. When using a credit card, you are borrowing money against your available credit line. You pay that money back when you make your monthly payment.

Does my debit card have spending limits?

The Debit Card has a spending limit of $2,000.00 per day. The spending limit is equal to the available balance in your checking account minus outstanding purchases that have not posted, with a daily total of $2,000.00. 

What does it mean when I use my debit card and the clerk asks “debit or credit”?

There are two types of debit card transactions: debit (PIN) and credit (signature). When paying for a purchase, the clerk will ask “debit or credit?” When you reply “debit” to the clerk, it becomes a PIN transaction. You are required to enter your Personal Identification Number (PIN) after the card has been swiped through a point of sale terminal. With PIN transactions, funds are withdrawn from your checking account immediately at the time of the transaction. When you reply “credit” to the clerk, it becomes a signature transaction. Signature transactions do not require your PIN but you do sign a slip to accept the transaction. With signature transactions, funds are held in your checking account at the time of purchase until the transactions post to your account in one to three days. You have up to 5 free “debit” transactions per month. Beyond the 5 free “debit” transactions, you will be charged a $1.00 fee each time. 

Is there a fee to use my debit card for purchases?

There is no fee to use the debit card to make a purchase when you select “credit” at the point of sale. You have up to 5 free “debit” transactions per month. Beyond the 5 free “debit” transactions, you will be charged a $1.00 fee each time. It is the fast and simple way of paying right from your checking account. 

How do I keep track of my debit card purchases?

You receive a receipt from the merchant every time you use your card for a purchase. Record the amount of the purchase in your check register. Even if you lose your receipt, all purchases are detailed on your monthly checking account statement or you can view your transaction history online.

Does overdraft protection on my checking account work with purchases I make with my debit card?

Yes. If the funds are not available in your Checking Account at the time of purchase, but you have overdraft protection through a NFFCU savings account or line of credit, the transaction will be processed.

Deposit Accounts (9)

Are savings deposits insured?

Yes. All savings accounts are insured up to $100,000 by the NCUA, the National Credit Union Administration, an agency of the federal government.

Do deposits post the same day they are made?

Yes, all deposits are effective immediately unless the teller informs you that there will be a hold placed on the check. Immediate credit does not apply to ATM deposits.

What is the difference between my balance and my available balance?

All of our members maintain a share in the credit union of $25. This stays in your savings throughout the life of your account. The balance represents the amount in your account including shares, check holds, and loan pledges. The available balance is the actual amount that you may withdraw from your account.

Why can’t I do more than six automatic transfers a month?

Regulation D is a federal regulation limiting the number of transfers from a “Savings” (non-transaction) share account. A “Savings” share account includes primary savings, money market, and secondary savings. The federally mandated limit is six (6) automatic, preauthorized, and/or telephone transfers per month. A transfer using any one of the following methods will count against the six (6) transfer limit: internet account access, automatic transfers from a “savings” share account to a checking account to clear items due to insufficient funds. To be in compliance with Regulation D, transactions will not be processed on the “savings” share account with the above-mentioned methods once the six (6) transfer limit has been reached. However, you may make additional transfers at NFFCU or by contacting the credit union at 973-589-7199. There is a $5 fee accessed to the account when a member calls the credit union and requests a transfer.

What’s the easiest way to transfer my checking account from another institution?

Establish your NFFCU account, then write a check from your account at the other institution. Once all your checks from your other account have cleared and you’ve received your new checks from NFFCU, close the account at the other financial institution.

What happens if I bounce a check?

NFFCU may protect your account in the event that you are accidentally overdrawn. However, anytime you have non-sufficient funds in your checking account NFFCU charges a $32 service fee. 

How much does it cost to stop payment on a check?

If you call the credit union to process a stop payment and speak to an employee the fee is $20. 

What if a purchase posts to my checking account that I did not authorize?

If your NFFCU debit card has been lost, stolen, or you suspect unauthorized use, have peace of mind knowing you will not be responsible for unauthorized purchases. Report it to NFFCU immediately by calling 973-589-7199. To protect your account from unauthorized use, memorize your PIN. Do not keep the PIN with your Debit Card.

What do I do when I am locked out of my internet account or forget my password?

Call the Credit Union at 973-589-7199. We will unlock the account or reset the password once your ID is verified.

Miscellaneous (4)

Why do I need a savings account? I just wanted a loan.

Your savings account establishes your membership with the Credit Union. Once your savings account is opened, you may apply for any other service or loan product we have to offer.

How do I change my address?

Contact the credit union office for instructions. 

Why would I choose a credit union?

Credit unions typically offer lower fees, higher savings rates, lower loan rates, and more personalized service. Credit unions focus on their members and return their profits to the members by giving higher savings rates and lower loan rates.

Why are credit unions important?

Credit unions give a competitive edge to the marketplace by offering favorable rates and services. In turn, they create benefits to consumers of all financial institutions.