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News You Can Use

Does a home equity line of credit (HELOC) make sense for you?

A home equity line of credit, or HELOC, is where you borrow using equity in your home as collateral. The lender sets a borrowing limit, and you can choose to borrow as much of that as you want for an agreed upon period of time. It's similar to a credit card in that you withdraw money as you need it.

But don't confuse a home equity line of credit with a home equity loan. A home equity loan is where the lender gives you one lump sum and you make the same payment every month until the loan is paid off.

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9 reasons to love credit unions (and not big banks)

Credit unions exist to serve their members. What big bank can say that?

While out and about, you may have passed by the local credit union without looking twice. You have no need for their services, right? Well, at least that's what you thought.

Are you aware of how credit unions operate and what they entail? If so, you may be inclined to open an account at one close to you or even switch from your bank.

What exactly is a credit union and why is it better? Click here to find out.

credit unions come out on top

What's the best place to bank in America?

Based on a recent study, one could reasonably argue it's a credit union.

"Credit unions are among the highest-rated services we've ever evaluated, with 93% of their customers highly satisfied, on average, versus 69% for the four biggest national banks," stated the reporting agency.

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5 Ways Good Credit is your safety net

A healthy savings account is your best defense against life's curve balls. But sometimes setting aside some money every paycheck isn't enough - particularly when you're just starting out in life. 

A good credit score can be an additional safety net, providing you access to low-interest credit options that can help cover any expenses your emergency savings can't.

Here are your options.

take steps to refi your mortgage

Low mortgage rates and revived home prices are combining to make this a smart time for qualified home owners to refinance mortgages. The key word is "qualified." Many homeowners have stayed on the sidelines in recent refi rounds as they learned - or believed - they could not meet a lender's loan requirements. They should not assume they still are out of the running for a better mortgage rate.

Click here to see if it's a smart time for you to refinance.

payday loans can be eternal

Payday lenders are not a good idea - not ever. Once you are stuck in their cycle, it can be nearly impoosible to get out.

One reason why is they don't disclose the rate of interest. They might talk about their financing charges. Some might even suggest a rate of interest, but if they were held to the same strict disclosure rules as credit unions and other traditional financial institutions, fewer people would be convinced to visit them.

Consumer Federation of America tells you here how to calculate the actual interest rate you'd pay on a payday loan.

12 Smart Post-Holiday moves

After a busy holiday season filled with giving and getting gifts, some of us feel the financial pinch after December. Keep your finances on track with these smart post-holiday money moves

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What a fed hike means for you

The Federal Reserve raised its key interest rate by 0.25% in December. It was the first rate hike in nearly a decade. 

Millions of Americans will be affected as U.S. rates start rising. If you have a credit card or savings account, invest in a 401(k) or in the markets, or want to buy a home or car, now's the time to pay attention.

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Put these dates on your financial calendar

If you're planning to keep better track of your finances in the new year, here's a list of important planning and execution tasks that should be on your financial calendar in 2016.

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Mobile banking undergoes a major upgrade

Recently First South Financial rolled out many enhancements to its mobile banking platform - Quick Balance, Fingerprint Authentication, PayPal, PicturePay and most recently, Apple Pay.

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Our debit and credit cards now come with EMV chip technology

Little Chip. Big Protection. As consumers are demanding more security features for their cards, we've added EMV chip technology to help protect you.

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