All Holyoke Credit Union branches will be closed on Monday, May 27 2024 for Memorial Day. Online and Mobile banking are available 24/7.

Financial Education

Warning!  Newest Scam to Hit the Web - US Trading Commission Impersonation

HCU has recently been notified about a new scam that is making the rounds out there and we want to bring it to your attention. 

This fraud attempt comes from the “US Trading Commission” and uses the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) seal and address in an attempt to steal your money and identity.  They are claiming that they operate a “personal data protection fund” to compensate people whose personal information has been exposed on the web.  The site says you can “instantly receive” a cash payment by clicking on some links and giving the site your personal data and bank account or electronic wallet information to validate the cash payment. 

This could lead to a loss of your money, a downloaded malware on onto your device and misuse of your personal information by scammers. 

This is an international scam and pops up as a You Tube link.

Although the FTC does shut down scams and returns money to people who have lost it to dishonest or unfair business practices, they will never ask for money or your bank account, credit card or Social Security number.  In any instance, this should be considered a big red flag! 

As a Holyoke Credit Union member you have the added protection of having identity theft protection, or IDRestore.  Click here for further explanation of HCU/IDRestore.  For a mere $1.95 per month, this service provides access to a comprehensive suite of services to address fraud created by identity theft if it should happen to you or a member of your family. 

If you do not have HCU/IDRestore, simply call us at 413-341-0133 to opt-in.   

If you’ve encountered this scam or any other, go to to report the crime. If you’ve given your personal information to someone you don’t know, you may be at risk for identity theft. Visit to learn what to do. And, to learn more about imposter scams of all sorts, visit

Financial Forethought for Fido

By Ed SanFilippo, CUInsight

According to a 2018 survey, almost 70% of households in the US own a pet, and approximately a third of these will need an emergency trip to the veterinarian each year. This can be a major expense, with the average annual cost of this care ranging from $800 to $1,500 for cats and dogs. However, with careful planning, you can meet your pet’s health needs without depleting your savings account. Here are a few ideas…

Pet Insurance: According to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association, more than two million pets in North America are insured. This option is growing in popularity, with some employers now offering pet insurance in their benefits packages. Monthly premiums can range from $10-100 per month, but compare this with paying more than $5,000 out of pocket for your pet to receive cancer treatment. If possible, get pet insurance when your pet is young and healthy – pre-existing conditions are frequently excluded.

Family Budgeting: Adding a line item to your family’s monthly budget for your pets can cover the cost of pet insurance or provide a dedicated financial resource as issues arise (or both!). Including an allocation for your pet in the family emergency fund is a similar strategy for larger-scale concerns. This includes natural disasters, which could result in medical emergencies and other challenges for your pets.

Preventative Medicine: Annual check-ups for your pet can save you money by helping avoid pet emergencies or major medical bills altogether. Spaying or neutering your fluffy friend can also help prevent health problems, including some cancers. An inexpensive topical solution can help your pet avoid parasites such as fleas and ticks, which means avoiding life-threatening anemia, Lyme disease, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Talk to Your Vet: If you already have a pet, your vet can educate you on which vaccines you can skip. While some prevent serious and costly diseases, others are for more mild conditions and aren’t always effective. If you’re thinking about getting a new pet, your vet can talk to you about genetic conditions common to certain breeds, which can help you plan early and more realistically for your new pet’s ongoing care.

Ed SanFilippo

Ed SanFilippo

Edward J. SanFilippo is a freelance writer, editor, and researcher with expertise across a broad range of topics. He has nearly 20 years of experience writing for public agencies, private ... Web:

Understanding APR

By Derek San Filippo

According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, 65% of Americans lack financial literacy. With this in mind, let’s look at a common financial phrase that you’ve heard if you’ve ever borrowed money before, be it credit cards or student loans.

The APR (Annual Percentage Rate) refers to the actual cost of borrowing money, which includes the interest rate,closing costs,broker fees, etc. The important point here is that the actual interest rate can be, in many cases, be only one component of the APR calculation. APR was adopted as a standard so that consumers shopping for loans can really compare apples to apples.

For example, suppose you’re considering two options for a $10,000, one year personal loan. One charges 12% and no application fee. The other charges 10%, but also a $250 application fee. Which is the better deal? In other words, which loan will cost you fewer total dollars?

Whether the loan fee is paid up front or withheld from your loan proceeds also affects the APR. For this example, we’ll assume the loan fee is paid up front.

Based on these parameters, the loan that charges “only” 10%, but adds a $250 loan fee, carries an APR of 14.813%. However, since there are no fees associated with the other loan, the interest rate and the APR are the same – 12%. In short, the loan with the higher interest rate is the better deal in this instance.

The lesson here is that when you’re shopping for a loan, don’t be fooled by an interest rate that looks too good to be true. It often is. All lenders are required to disclose the APR on any loan they make, so always use APR as your point of comparison. Otherwise, you may find yourself paying way more for credit than you realized.

Derek San Filippo

Derek San Filippo

Derek is a freelance writer who spends his off time either working with his rescue animals or writing children’s books. He lives in San Diego with his beautiful wife ... Web: www.financialfeed.