Community

Sponsorship March 2024

South West Slopes Credit Union is proud to be able to provide sponsorship during the month of March to the following local community groups and clubs: Lions Club of Young Young and District Multicultural Association Incorporated Young Lady Golfers Temora Rugby Union Club Temora Junior Australia Rules Football Club Harden Junior Red Devils    

Community

Telephone Banking to be discontinued on the 31st of March 2024

For many years SWSCU’s automated Telephone Banking platform served as an efficient way for members to check their balances and transfer money between accounts from the convenience of their landline or mobile phone device.   Due to a decision by SWSCU’s provider, this service will be discontinued for all of their customers in Australia. This means effective from the 31st of March 2024 as a consequence SWSCU members will no longer have access to Telephone Banking services.   We understand that this may cause some inconvenience for some members, but there is some good news. Technology has come a long way since Telephone Banking was first introduced and SWSCU have endeavoured to stay current with member trends and demands. SWSCU has added new services to their digital banking offerings such as the new SWSCU App which includes How I Spend and Savings Goals not to mention the inclusion of Digital Wallets via provider such as Apple, Samsung and Android.   Members who are actively using Telephone Banking are asked to register for an alternative service before 31st March 2024 to prevent disruption to their banking.

Financial advice

Bank impersonation scams robbing Australians of their life savings

Consumers are being warned to be wary of phone calls and texts that appear to be from their bank, following alarming reports of Australians losing their life savings to a highly sophisticated impersonation scam. Reports to the ACCC’s Scamwatch indicate scammers are using new technology to trick their victims, by making the call appear to come from the bank’s legitimate phone number or by sending a text that appears in the same conversation thread as genuine bank messages. Scamwatch received 14,603 reports about bank impersonation scams in 2022, resulting in more than $20 million in losses. Total losses to phone and text scams increased significantly last year, with over $169 million lost. “We are incredibly concerned about bank impersonation scams because they can be so convincing, they are very hard to detect,” ACCC Deputy Chair Catriona Lowe said. “What’s equally worrying about this particular scam, is that it is emptying every last cent out of victims’ savings accounts, with losses averaging $22,000 and more than 90 reports of losses between $40,000 and $800,000. This causes both financial and emotional devastation.” “We know of a man who lost over $500,000 after receiving a call from someone claiming to be from a major bank’s security department, wanting to know if a payment had been authorised.” “In another case, a man lost $38,000 after receiving a scam text message about a suspicious transaction. The scam text appeared in the same conversation thread as legitimate messages from his bank. He called the number in the text and was put through to a member of the banks’ fraud team. Unfortunately, it was an elaborate scam and he lost everything,” Ms Lowe said. Bank impersonation scams impersonate the big four banks as well as other financial institutions. Communications often have a sense of urgency to them, such as fraudulent activity raising red flags, or a frozen account. “It is critical to remember that no matter how legitimate the call or message seems, a bank won’t ask you to urgently transfer funds,” Ms Lowe said. “If you receive an SMS with a telephone number to call, do not use it. Instead, call your bank direct on a number you have sourced yourself. Likewise, hang up if you receive a call from someone claiming to be from your bank requesting you to transfer money to ‘keep it safe’. Ask for a reference number and call your bank back using contact details you have found independently.” Never provide online banking passwords, one-time security codes, pins or tokens to anyone over the phone. Contact your bank or financial institution immediately if you think you have been scammed. “Following recent mass data breaches, many Australians were encouraged to monitor their accounts for suspicious activity. Sadly, this has led to consumers acting on these scam calls and text messages out of fear that their accounts have been compromised,” Ms Lowe said. Top tips for avoiding scams Stop – take your time before giving money or personal information. Think – ask yourself if the message or call could be fake? Protect – act quickly if something feels wrong. Contact your bank and report scams to Scamwatch. Signs of a bank impersonation scam There is a sense of urgency or threat to the message – “your bank account has been accessed”, “your bank account has been locked” “a payment has been made from your account. If this was not you, please call (phone number)”. The message looks different to other messages in the SMS thread, such as different wording or phrases used. The message may contain a suspicious looking link. Never click on links. The SMS has a telephone number to call – always find your bank’s phone number independently. The caller will tell you to transfer money to a different account to ‘keep it safe’ or for ‘further investigation’. This is not standard procedures for a bank. It is a scam. Background Scamwatch is aware of scammers impersonating banks using ‘spoofed’ phone numbers and sender IDs (also known as alpha tags). Spoofing is where software is used by scammers to copy the phone number or sender ID of a business. These scams are a sophisticated form of phishing and are designed to trick victims into contacting the scammers. Both outgoing and incoming phone numbers can be spoofed. Scamwatch has seen examples where scammers send an SMS with the sender ID spoofed and tell the person to expect a phone call from their bank’s customer service. The scammer will then call the person on the spoofed bank telephone number. The ACCC’s Scamwatch continues to work with other government agencies, law enforcement and the private sector to share intelligence, disrupt scams, advocate for consumers and raise awareness in the community. In the October budget, the ACCC received seed funding from the government to scope and plan for a new National Anti-Scams Centre to support the community in the fight against scams. If you have experienced cybercrime and lost money online, contact your financial institution immediately. You can also report to police via ReportCyber. If you have given personal information to a scammer contact IDCARE. Australians, regardless of whether they have lost money, are encouraged to report scams to Scamwatch. Reports can be made anonymously. Learn more about how to get help on the Scamwatch website scamwatch.gov.au. Follow Scamwatch on Twitter or subscribe to radar alerts. For crisis support to help with emotional distress about scams contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or access support via the online chat between 7 pm and midnight. Beyond Blue also provides support for anxiety and depression 1300 22 4636 or chat online at Beyond Blue Source: ACCC https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/bank-impersonation-scams-robbing-australians-of-their-life-savings 

Community

Enhanced Security For Internet Banking

Dear member, SWSCU has moved to enable SMS One Time Passwords (OTP) for all members that use internet banking. Using an OTP will enhance the security of your online transactions, by providing an additional layer of authentication. When you log in to your internet banking account or initiate a transaction, you will be prompted to enter the OTP. The OTP is simply generated by clicking the 'Get OTP SMS' button, which will generate a 6 digit code via SMS to your preferred mobile number which you have previously provided to SWSCU. Once the OTP is entered correctly, you will be granted access to your internet banking account. 

Community

Account Name Update

As of 23rd February 2023, SWSCU will be making changes to some of our account names. Rest assured the access, features and functionality that you have come to know will remain the same.   Product Previous Account Name New Account Name S1 General Savings Account Everyday Account S2 Savings Account Card Free Account S4 Budget Savings Account Budget Account S6 Teenager Savings Teenager Account S7 7 Day Notice Goal Account S8 Super Saver Junior Account Changes to account names Effective the 23rd of February 2023.

Financial advice

Is a Self-Managed Super Fund right for you?

The growth in self-managed super funds suggests that they are an appealing option, but you need to consider the whole picture to make the best choice. Our financial planning partner, Bridges, explains the pros and cons. There is no doubt that self-managed super funds (SMSFs) are a popular choice for Australians when it comes to saving for retirement. The latest statistics from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) indicate that in June 2017, there were almost 600,000 SMSFs in operation1, and they controlled almost $700 billion in assets2. This represents nearly one-third of the country’s total super assets of 2.3 trillion. Almost 30,000 new SMSF funds were established in the 2016-17 tax year1, which continues a consistent pattern of growth in this sector. So what is the attraction? Being able to set your own investment strategy, and the increased scope in investment options — such as direct property investment and collectibles — has attracted many to this form of superannuation saving. Many also believe that costs can be minimised if they run their own show, giving them more flexibility on when they can move to retirement and start drawing a pension from their accumulated funds. Some may also be attracted to the idea of cycling some of their super investment back into their own business, such as through using their fund to purchase business premises. There are also some advantages that SMSFs provide in relation to estate-planning. For example, a death benefit can continue to be paid to a dependant in the form of a pension, which means the super fund doesn't have to be closed upon death. What’s the downside? Having an SMSF involves a commitment to running the administration, compliance, and investment strategy for your fund and there are stringent rules to be followed. If you slip up, there are significant financial penalties that may be applied. In short, the buck stops with you. Certainly, you can obtain advice and assistance to manage the administrative and investment burden, but this comes at a cost. A major factor in deciding whether an SMSF is right for you is the size of your super assets. Generally, you need a substantial starting sum in the hundreds of thousands to make it worthwhile, and to create the cost efficiencies that can compare favourably with using a retail managed fund. Are you better off in a managed fund? For some of us, a retail managed fund may be a better option, particularly if you are not prepared to take on the responsibilities that come with running an SMSF. Managed funds have the advantage of taking care of all the trustee responsibilities and fund administration on your behalf. For some, this can be the deciding factor. While managed funds cannot provide all of the investment options and flexibility that are possible in an SMSF, they can still provide highly sophisticated and diverse asset allocations that can match well with your desired investment preferences and risk profile. They also have the potential to generate significant returns. Cost-wise, you know upfront what a managed fund will charge in terms of entry, exit, and management fees. The question of whether this will be more or less than the costs of running your own SMSF does not have a simple answer. Generally speaking, it will depend greatly on the size of your super assets: The higher the balance, the more scope there is for SMSFs to have a cost advantage. Weighing up the pros and cons The telling factor in whether an SMSF is right for you will often come down to getting the right advice that takes your specific circumstances into account. There will never be a cut and dried answer on whether an SMSF is your best option because of all the variables relating to cost, investment strategy, administrative obligations, insurance, and personal desire to control your own fund. A financial adviser can help you weigh the benefits against the risks to make an informed choice that suits your personality and financial situation. They can also give you expert advice on how to best manage the responsibilities of running an SMSF using specialised service providers. Seeking such advice could well be the best first step to take. Sources: 1 Australian Tax Office SMSF Statistical Report. 2 Australian Prudential Regulation Authority. Take the next step To discuss your financial situation, make an appointment with a Bridges financial planner. We have an established alliance with Bridges, to provide our customers with financial advice. Bridges has been helping Australians with financial advice for 30 years. A Bridges financial planner will develop a plan specifically for you; one that’s tailored to your needs and circumstances to help you achieve your goals. To make an appointment with a Bridges financial planner, call 02 6384 1111. The initial consultation is complimentary and obligation-free. Bridges Financial Services Pty Ltd (Bridges). ABN 60 003 474 977. ASX Participant. AFSL 240837. This is general advice only and has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situation and needs. Before making an investment decision based on this information, you should assess your own circumstances or consult a financial planner or a registered tax agent. Examples are illustrative only and are subject to the assumptions and qualifications disclosed. Part of the IOOF group In referring customers to Bridges, South West Slopes Credit Union does not accept responsibility for any acts, omissions or advice of Bridges and its authorised representatives.

All

Verified by Visa is now Visa Secure

Visa has mandated issuer and merchant upgrades from 3D Secure 1.0 (Verified by Visa) to 3D Secure 2.0 (Visa Secure). This means that the way some online transactions are carried out will be different. Previously, if a merchant used the Verified by Visa service, they would ask for personal information to verify your identity as an added security authentication before a transaction is completed. Moving forward, Visa Secure will now ask you to authenticate a transaction by an SMS One Time Password. This means a text message with a code will be sent to you and this code will need to be entered into the display screen before the transaction can be completed. Due to this change, it is imperative that we have current mobile numbers on our system as if we don’t, this will mean transactions are declined. Not all online merchants use this service however it is becoming more prevalent due to the added security it facilitates for both the merchant and the purchaser. For more information visit Visa’s website.

All

SWSCU Covid-19 Response

South West Slopes Credit Union is here to help any members who are experiencing financial difficulty as a result of the COVID-19 virus, including those impacted by a loss of income with loan payments to meet. If you are a member and your income or job has been affected by COVID-19 we encourage you to talk to us as you may be eligible for a repayment pause on your loan. We remain open and continue to provide all services for business across all branch locations as we support our communities through this time. Members have the option to access 24 hours a day banking through SWSCU’s internet banking or via SWSCU’s App which includes instant payment options. Should any member wish to set up internet banking or the app, or just simply need some assistance, our branch staff are more than happy to help.We will of course continue to process all loan applications quickly and efficiently providing certainty for members during this time of uncertainty. Andrew JonesCEOSouth West Slopes Credit Union

Financial advice

How to set realistic financial goals

For some of us, setting financial goals may seem like an overwhelming chore that quickly ends up in the “too hard” basket. The key to overcoming this problem is to break things into a few simple steps that will get you off the ground and set you on a steady path toward financial freedom. Create a visionThe best way to start setting realistic financial goals is to determine what will motivate you. What are your dreams for your ideal lifestyle? What will you own? Where do you want to live? What car will you drive? What will you enjoy doing? Whether your answers to these questions are humble or huge, the important thing is to make them as specific as possible so you can visualise yourself enjoying them. Build positivity with quick winsWhile the first step is to think long-term about your big dreams, it is important to get some smaller goals under your belt. This might be aiming to go hard on paying off your credit card balances, or to start regularly depositing a modest amount in a savings account that is earmarked purely for future investment purposes. Reality check your spendingMany people fail to get their financial goals off the ground because they think they can rely on willpower alone to change spending habits, rather than using hard evidence about what they spend on and where changes can be made. Just one hour with your bank statements for the last 12 months will allow you to get a handle on exactly where your money is going. You may be surprised to find a much higher proportion of your income going toward discretionary spending than you first thought, such as eating out or impulsive purchases. This exercise allows you to quickly determine which areas can be cut back on, so that you can identify funds that can be redirected toward financial growth objectives. Save before you spendAnother quick and effective budgeting technique that can generate momentum is to follow the rule of “paying yourself first”. This simply means that the first thing you take out of your regular pay cheque is a set amount to put toward saving and investment plans before you start spending on anything else. By prioritising this one simple action, you are taking a significant step and forming an invaluable habit that will start growing your wealth, without any tedious record keeping. Of course, more detailed budgeting should be the ideal you are aiming for, but if you wince at the thought of crunching numbers, this step will at least get you started, and deliver a sense of progress and control. Set staged and realistic goalsOnce you have taken the above small steps, you can start to make more adventurous plans for the medium to long-term. This can involve bigger-ticket financial objectives that will make a real difference to your wealth creation, such as paying down your mortgage faster, setting targets on your superannuation nest egg, or building a diverse investment portfolio. Ask the expertsOne phone call could be the start of some profound and exciting changes in your goal-setting journey. Engaging the help of a financial planner can open up a whole range of opportunities and resources that can benefit your financial growth. This includes a structured approach to examining your lifestyle priorities and investment preferences, so you can map out a more comprehensive plan targeting a variety of goals and take the worry out of making investment decisions. You can lean on their research capabilities to create a durable ongoing plan that will help you reach your goals more effectively. Take the next step to discuss your financial situation, make an appointment with a Bridges financial planner. We have an established alliance with Bridges, to provide our customers with financial advice. Bridges has been helping Australians with financial advice for 30 years. A Bridges financial planner will develop a plan specifically for you; one that’s tailored to your needs and circumstances to help you achieve your goals. To make an appointment with a Bridges financial planner, call 02 6384 1111. The initial consultation is complimentary and obligation free. Bridges Financial Services Pty Ltd (Bridges). ABN 60 003 474 977. ASX Participant. AFSL 240837. This is general advice only and has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situation and needs. Before making an investment decision based on this information, you should assess your own circumstances or consult a financial planner or a registered tax agent. Examples are illustrative only and are subject to the assumptions and qualifications disclosed. Part of the IOOF group In referring customers to Bridges, South West Slopes Credit Union Ltd does not accept responsibility for any acts, omissions or advice of Bridges and its authorised representatives.