Congratulations on opening your first checking account! Having a checking account will provide you with the flexibility to make purchases with a debit card, access your funds through an ATM, deposit paychecks or allowance money, and monitor your transactions through online banking. It can also help you establish a good financial track record to pave the way for future financial opportunities.
How to access your account:
There are several different ways you can make deposits and withdrawals to your account:
- Visa Debit Card – Make purchases at merchants or online, anywhere Visa is accepted.
- ATMs – Use your debit card to get cash or make deposits at any ATM—look for free CO-OP Network ATMs.
- Westerra Branches – Use the Westerra branch most convenient for you.
- CO-OP Shared Branching – Most credit unions share their branches, so you can access your Westerra account at other credit union locations.
- Online Banking – Check your balance, make online payments or transfer funds between accounts.
How to use your Visa Debit Card:
- Learn money management—without fees! Using only a Visa® debit card (no checks), you eliminate the possibility of overdrawing your account and being assessed a fee. If there are no funds to cover a debit card purchase or ATM transaction, the transaction will simply be denied.
- Make purchases online or in person—Purchase movie or concert tickets, pay at the pump for gas, split the bill at lunch with your friends, make store purchases and much more!
- Make ATM deposits or withdrawals—Westerra provides surcharge-free ATM access through the CO-OP Network with 1000 free ATMs in Colorado, and 30,000 nationwide. Look for CO-OP Network ATMs at credit unions, 7-Eleven® locations and even at Denver International Airport. If you use another ATM network, Westerra will not charge you a fee; but, the ATM owner may charge a fee.
- Earn reward points—Earn 1 point for every $3.00 you spend when you sign for your purchase. Redeem your points for cash, gift cards, merchandise, travel or charitable donations!
How to manage your account for success:
You will want to pay careful attention to your checking account transactions and balance. Make it a habit to record all banking activity as it occurs. A little maintenance each day goes a long way. The following tips can help you manage your account.
- Keep track of all your check, ATM, debit card, and online transactions. Be sure to maintain a record of all spending activity in your check register, or review your online transaction records, to make sure that you are aware of your account balance at all times. Click here for a sample checking register.
- Write down all your transactions. Every time you use your Visa debit card at a merchant or ATM, record it. Write down the date, the payee, and the amount. Then, subtract each transaction to keep an accurate running balance.
- Don't spend more than you have. By using only your Westerra Visa debit card (no checks), at a merchant or an ATM, you will not have to worry about overdrawing your account or being assessed a fee. If there are no funds to cover a debit card purchase or ATM transaction, the transaction will simply be denied. This can also help members earn a better credit score. If you are 18 or older and you would like your debit card transactions covered when there are insufficient funds in your account, click here to learn more. If you do use paper checks, be sure there is enough money in the account for payment of the check. If the check is returned for insufficient funds, there is a $31 fee. Many students prefer to use only a debit card to avoid this possibility.
- Do not assume the ATM balance is correct. If you have used your debit card at a merchant or submitted online bill payments that have not cleared yet, the balance on your ATM receipt will be more than what you really have available.
- Balance your checking account every month. At the end of each month, compare your eStatement, or print a copy of your online account, in order to balance your checking account. Compare the credit union’s information with your records. Review your math and see if you come up with the same final balance as Westerra shows. If you see discrepancies or you do not understand how to do this, call us for help. We will help you at no charge!
- Do not share your PIN with anyone else. You will be issued a Personal Identification Number (PIN) to use at ATMs or with debit card purchases. For security purposes, do not keep your PIN with your card. Do not share your PIN with anyone else.
- Credit or Debit. When you make purchases with your debit card at businesses, they may ask you to choose Credit or Debit. You can choose Credit and will not need to enter a PIN. The payment is then processed through the Visa network, which the merchant pays a fee to utilize. Or you can choose Debit and enter your PIN. This is processed through the Electronic Funds Network, which is more economical for the merchant. It also can provide you the opportunity to receive cash back as part of your transaction.
- Report any suspicious activity to Westerra immediately. If necessary, we can place a freeze on your account so someone else doesn't use it.
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