Charter Bank

1010 West Clairemont Ave
Eau Claire, WI 54701


(715) 832-4254

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Charter Bank Chronicle Newsletter

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Each quarter we send out a newsletter to our customers, packed with great information. Here are the highlights from our latest issue, and a few previous editions. Enjoy!


Spring 2015 Edition:       

Tips for summer travel

Planning ahead carefully is critical to a successful travel plan, and it definitely will help with savings and safety.  A proven way to get past what can be chaotic is to plan with a detailed checklist to help assure everything is covered before departure. You know the list -- packing, unplugging appliances, getting a passport, etc., but add some key financial management items to your list to prevent frustration  en route to and at your destination.  Start with details about stretching your budget as far as you comfortably can.


Fly when most travelers do not

Airline ticket prices rise and fall with demand, and the best deals can be found when fewer people are traveling. During the busier seasons, the best prices should be on Tuesday and Wednesday, or on Saturday afternoon. For example, if your plan is for a week-long trip, consider leaving on Saturday and returning on Monday. You could save up to 16 percent on your airfare!


Know travel insurance options

When you book a vacation, you may be asked if you wish to purchase travel insurance. Before spending the extra money, familiarize yourself with what travel insurance options are available to you. Travel insurance can cover trip cancellation, accidental death and dismemberment, loss of luggage or personal possessions, and/or protection against the bankruptcy or default of your cruise line or tour operator.

But, many homeowners' and renters' policies provide coverage for theft and other losses away from home, and your medical and auto insurance may cover you while you're traveling. Ask your insurance agent to see if your current policy will provide you with similar coverage to the travel insurance you're considering.


Draft your travel budget now

You may not purchase your airline tickets for several weeks, depending on price fluctuations, but draft your travel budget first and start saving now. If you plan your entire vacation in advance, you will have an accurate picture of the cost of accommodations, travel and planned activities. Build up your "vacation fund" now to avoid the stress of needing to pay for a lot of the travel after your trip.

How much cash could you need?

You may want to take some cash to pay for small purchases where credit cards may not be accepted. But for your own security, it's not a good idea to take a lot of cash anywhere. If your cash is lost or stolen, you cannot replace it.

What are smart alternatives to cash?

Research the alternatives and their potential costs, the limitations on their use, and your protections if they are lost or stolen.  Debit cards, which can be used at stores and ATMs, deduct funds automatically from a bank account. Prepaid debit cards, which are generally not linked to your bank account, allow you to load a specific amount of money on the card for purchases and ATM cash withdrawals.

Going a long distance?  Plan more!

Be certain your financial institution knows you will be traveling and your destination.  To protect customers against fraud, most banks monitor normal spending habits, including geographic location. If out-of-area purchases suddenly show up on your account, the bank may flag or block those transactions as potentially fraudulent.

"Transaction fees and other costs can add up, so do some advance research," advises Luke W. Reynolds, Chief of the FDIC's Outreach and Program Development Section.

He continues, "Identify what you will be charged by your credit card issuer for foreign transactions and consider using a credit card to charge expenses instead of converting your cash to local currency. But also be cautious of offers by overseas merchants to process a credit card transaction in U.S. dollars because that may result in additional fees."

Take a couple of credit cards

Major credit cards are generally widely accepted (even in other countries) and easy to replace if lost or stolen. But Reynolds cautions, "Just as when you are not travelling, it is best not to carry any more cards than what you expect to use, in case you lose your wallet."

He suggests taking two credit cards, each with a different payment network logo on the front, such as American Express, Discover, MasterCard, or Visa. That  increases the likelihood -- particularly when you are travelling internationally --  that you can pay with plastic if a merchant does not accept cards licensed or issued by a certain payment network you want to use.

Pay bills before departure

Pay your bills before you go, especially if you're going to be away for two or more weeks. Doing so will eliminate hassles when trying to pay bills from the road, which could include finding a secure Internet connection to log into your financial accounts. You will also avoid the risk of forgetting to make a payment during your trip and incurring late fees.

Check with your bank while you travel

Services like online banking, text alerts and mobile banking can help you monitor your spending and your account balances even while vacationing.  This is particularly important since you will likely be making withdrawals from unfamiliar ATMs and making purchases at new places. With our mobile banking, debit card transaction text alerts and account text alerts, you can closely monitor your accounts while you are traveling. Simply set up these features before you leave by visiting our Electronic Services page.

Using these tips, you can be safe and have a summer vacation to remember happily. Bon Voyage!

Sources:  WBA, FDIC


The importance of multi-factor authentication


Although data breaches and identity theft cases have not been in the news as much lately, consumers and businesses are still being targeted. This May, Charter Bank will launch a new “virtual token,” which will be available to all of our customers to provide an additional level of login security with Online Banking accounts. This service is optional, and our business customers can choose between the current hand held token or the new virtual version. We are excited to provide this new level of security to our customers to help protect your identity and your Charter Bank accounts.

It Could Happen to You!

One myth some business owners believe is that "It won't happen to me.”  Some small business owners may feel that they are too small for criminals to bother with targeted attacks, phishing scams, and sophisticated malware.

If that was ever true, it is certainly wishful thinking today. It's increasingly clear that cyber-criminals do not consider the size of the company when launching their attacks. Data is data, and even the smallest organization has valuable data the criminals can steal and sell. The days of "I'm-too-small-for-them-to find-me" are long gone. In many cases, the small business may just be a stepping point in a chain of attacks, with the criminals targeting the smaller and weaker networks as part of a comprehensive campaign against larger partners.

Both the volume and sophistication of attacks are growing, it is becoming difficult for small to mid-sized businesses to keep up their defenses.

Why two-factor authentication?

While two-factor authentication may sound complicated and cumbersome, it is the only way to properly secure critical assets. Two-factor authentication by design separates what you know and what you have.

For businesses that regularly make remote access to the network, whether through a virtual private network (VPN) or by checking email on a smartphone, two-factor authentication is much safer and more secure than a simple password. Yet, small businesses too often decide not to implement this type of authentication.


Small businesses should also consider two-factor authentication for internally shared environments. This adds a layer of protection to keep employees from accessing unauthorized files and applications. Adding two-factor authentication to applications can be as simple as turning on the options already available. Web-based email, social media sites and cloud applications like Dropbox now utilize two-factor authentication.


Whatever type of two-factor authentication a business uses, experts have said in the end it justifies the time and the expense.  Luckily, many of today's soft-token methods make the practice easy and affordable for the average small business.

Watch for further information regarding our new Virtual Tokens to help you and your business stay safe while using our Online Banking system.


Source:  Originally published on Business News Daily. 


Scammers Never Stop. Tax Scams are a Year-Round Threat

“Tax season” has ended but that does not mean the end of tax-related scams. The IRS has issued specific tips and information regarding tax-related scams.  Keep and share this information and use it if you are targeted by a tax scam.

IRS Impersonators’ Phone Scam

Scamming callers claim to be employees of the IRS, but they are not. These con artists can sound convincing when they call by using fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. They can even alter the caller ID to appear like the IRS is calling.

Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are threatened with arrest or suspension of a business or a driver’s license.  

Email Phishing Scams

An old yet tried and true method of scamming, fraudulent emails, are still a popular method for criminals to take advantage of people. These emails appear to be from the IRS and include a link to a bogus website intended to mirror the official IRS website. The emails ask the recipient to update their IRS e-file immediately. The emails mention and IRSgov, but the links to a bogus website are not legitimate links. Taxpayers who receive these messages should never respond to the email or click on the links. The IRS has set up a special email account to report fraudulent activity:

Identity Theft Scams

The IRS has issued several consumer warnings about the fraudulent use of the IRS name or log by scammers trying to gain access to consumers’ financial information to steal their identity and assets. Communication will be via regular mail, telephone, fax or email for the criminals to set up their victims. Please remember, that just like here at Charter Bank, the IRS does not initiate taxpayer communication through email.

Inflated Refund Claims

Taxpayers must beware of anyone promising inflated refunds. Taxpayers also should be wary of anyone who asks them to sign a bank return, who promises a big refund before looking at their records, or who charges fees based on a percentage of the refund.


The IRS will never take these steps

  • The IRS will not  call to demand immediate payment, Furthermore, the agency will not call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill
  • The IRS will not demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe
  • The IRS will not require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card
  • The IRS will not ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone
  • The IRS will not threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying

 If you think you have been targeted:

  • If you know you owe taxes or think you might owe, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. The IRS workers can help you with a payment issue.
  • If you know you do not owe taxes or have no reason to believe that you do, report the incident to the TIGTA at 1-800-366-4484 or at
  • If you have been targeted by a scammer, also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their FTC Complaint Assistant at

 When in doubt, call your friends at Charter Bank.  We are not tax experts, but we can probably refer you properly.



April is Community Banking Month


Eau Claire, WI (April 1, 2015)—During ICBA Community Banking Month, the Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) celebrates Charter Bank and the nation’s more than 6,000 community banks, which build stronger communities by lending to local small businesses and helping local entrepreneurs get their start or continue in their career as small business owners.


“Community banks make over half of all small business loans in this country, serving a vital role in maintaining the flow of credit to small businesses in their neighborhoods, which create local jobs and create local economic stability,” said ICBA Chairman Jack Hartings. “Often when other banks won’t lend, it is the local community bank that steps up and helps Main Street succeed. And since community banks are small businesses themselves, they are able to provide their small business customers with localized business perspective and advice.”


There are more than 6,000 community banks in the nation, including commercial banks, thrifts, stock and mutual savings institutions. Assets may range from less than $10 million to $10 billion or more. Across the nation, community banks operate 52,000 locations, employ 700,000 Americans and hold $3.6 trillion in assets, $2.9 trillion in deposits and $2.4 trillion in loans to consumers, small businesses and the agricultural community.

“By driving our local economy and creating local jobs through lending to small businesses and entrepreneurs, Charter Bank helps keep the Chippewa Valley thriving,” Paul Kohler, President & CEO of Charter Bank said. “Community banks such as ours are an integral part of our country’s financial system, and we will continue to serve our communities well into the future—making Main Street a better place for all residents.”

To celebrate Community Banking month locally, Charter Bank is donating $500 to one non-profit in our area. Simply like our Facebook page and comment with your non-profit of choice from the five organizations we have named. The group with the most votes will receive $500.



Past Newsletters:

January 2015 

Winter 2014

Spring 2014