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From CEO, Brad Canfield
  • If You Own A Small Business, Check Out These Apps

    Jul 30, 2013
    A couple of weeks ago I was at the farmer’s market buying some summertime bounties and struck up a conversation about Gonzaga basketball (one of my favorite pastimes) with an interesting gentleman. Turns out we had more than college basketball interests in common because he runs a financial consulting business in the Bay Area.  

    I went to trade business cards with him, and he held up his phone and asked, “Do you have Bump?” I found out Bump is an app that lets you trade contact information, files, photos and more simply by bumping two smartphones together. I thought it was cool, and he said it’s one of his favorite apps for small-business owners.

    When I went to research more about Bump, I discovered a slew of apps for small-business owners to help them become more efficient and organized…essential for entrepreneurs.

    The more I read, the more I saw some of the same apps mentioned over and over. Here are three apps that seem to be on most people’s list of best apps for small-business owners:

    • Square: You can turn your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch into a cash register that accepts credit card payments using this app. There are no sign-up or monthly fees required, and you’ll pay 2.75% per swipe.
    • Expensify: Track and consolidate your business expenses with your phone by scanning and uploading your receipts. Then Expensify lets you filed your expenses by trip and submit reports from your phone. 
    • TripIt: If you’re a California entrepreneur who travels a lot, TripIt can be valuable. Give it access to your email account and it will compile all of your reservations, itineraries and confirmations and streamline them into a calendar for your iPhone or iPad. You’ll see where you need to go and when, plus you get weather updates, maps and more for your destination.

    If you’re a small-business owner in the Bay Area, Silicon Valley or anywhere in California, you’ll find a tremendous amount of value in a lot of these apps. And a lot of them are free to download and use.

    Kevin Tofel, the mobile editor at GigaOM in San Francisco, highlights several of his favorite small-business apps in this recent interview on Fox Business. Entrepreneur Ilya Pozin, who also writes for Inc., Forbes and others, shares his own list of must-have apps for small-business owners.

    You’re sure to find something you can use. Meanwhile, as you’re looking for a California credit union to support your small business, KeyPoint Credit Union provides various business checking accounts, business savings and certificate accounts, and other products, such as loans, to help your small business grow. Let us know how we can help you!
    Go comment!
  • Secure Your Money When You Travel This Summer

    Jul 23, 2013
    What trips do you have planned for the summer?
     
    If you’re traveling overseas, it’s always a good idea to blend in with the locals and not stand out as a tourist who could be targeted by a pickpocket or thief. This is important even if you’re familiar with your travel destination, such as being a Silicon Valley software engineer who is visiting India.
     
    Safeguarding your money is vital all the time, but we especially want to make sure you enjoy your travels instead of dealing with the hassles of losing your valuables. There are several money-security tips that will apply no matter where you travel in California, the U.S. or the world.

    1. Keep your wallet light by bringing only the cards you absolutely need and removing the others before you depart.
    2. Carry the amount of cash you’ll need for a particular day and leave the rest locked up in a hotel safe or some other secure location. This way, if you lose your wallet, you won’t lose all of your valuables. 
    3. Consider using credit cards for major purchases. 
    4. Always keep an eye on your debit card while using only legitimate ATMs.

    These are just a few of the tips suggested by Lonely Planet and Bankrate. By the way, if Europe is in your current or future plans, I found some good information from travel writer Rick Steves, an expert on Europe, about the pros and cons of traveling in each season of the year.

    KeyPoint Provides Perks

     
    When traveling, it’s a good idea to contact KeyPoint Credit Union and let us know your plans just so we won’t be suspicious of any activity on your account. Also, KeyPoint Credit Union makes it easy for you to access your money overseas through our Unlimited Checking account.
     
    This account includes a KeyPoint VISA® Platinum Debit Card that provides rebates for any ATM fees and charges you incur overseas. Just fill out our rebate form within 60 days of your last statement and we’ll fund your account. Plus, your KeyPoint VISA® Platinum Debit Card enrolls you in our Passport Rewards Program that gives you on-the-spot discounts and freebies at various restaurants, retailers, attractions and entertainment venues.
     
    Start off your next trip and every trip thereafter on the right foot by opening your Unlimited Checking account today and start reaping the benefits.
    Go comment!
  • All Work and No Play Leads to Strained Relationships

    Jul 16, 2013
    The other day I texted a friend of mine who is supposed to be hiking and sightseeing through Montana and Wyoming with his family over a 10-day period. Here’s how the conversation went:
     
    Me: How are the views?

    Him: Not much different from the office. Have to finish some reports before we leave the hotel this morning.
     
    Me: So what was the point of your vacation?
     
    Him: I’ll get to it. 10 days…long time away from work. Some things have to be completed.
     
    My friend works in a stressful occupation that requires a lot of his time and attention. It’s difficult for him to unplug, especially with today’s technology that makes everyone instantly accessible nearly all the time. I’m not grousing about the convenience. After all, we’re living in the cradle of the industry that created it here in Silicon Valley. We all take pride in our careers and how we perform.
     
    I can only imagine what it’s like for a software engineer who’s new to the country brought here specifically for your work skills. The pressure must be significant, even beyond the culture of hard work that exists in America and specifically in Silicon Valley. The U.S. offers less paid vacation than many other wealthy countries and U.S. workers still don’t use all their time, or they feel guilty about doing so.

    But I think you have to turn off the screen and focus on the people and places right in front of you sometimes. I frame this in terms of family vacation because these are often the only times we have the opportunity to dedicate our full attention to each other in our busy lives.
     
    Balancing life and work requires effort during everyday moments, too. Go out to dinner and see how many conversations never start because people bury their noses in their smartphones. Missed opportunity. Distractions and obligations can quickly eat up the time that could be spent with family and friends. Squealing children become head-strong teenagers and soon the house is quiet. Your vibrant puppy running with you on the beach one day becomes sleepier and gray in the muzzle.
     
    Enjoy your loved ones, and make an effort to do so every day. When it’s all said and done, you’re not likely to say you wish you’d spent more time at the office.
    Go comment!
  • Ready to Pay Off Your Mortgage? Check Out the Finish Line Loan

    Jul 09, 2013
    When you think about it, a mortgage is a bittersweet thing. On one hand, your mortgage is an indication of many positive happenings in your life: you are a homeowner, your credit is good enough to secure a mortgage from a lender, and you are enjoying the American style of life common to Silicon Valley. As a software engineer new to this country, a mortgage often is proof that you are making it in America.
     
    On the other hand, a mortgage is a tremendous responsibility that often affects many other decisions in your life. You may feel pressured to stay at a job solely because your salary pays for your mortgage. Maybe you hold off on buying a car or taking a vacation because there isn’t enough money in your budget after you pay your mortgage.
     
    The sooner you pay off your mortgage, the sooner you enjoy greater financial freedom. This is true both for people still working and those heading into retirement. Imagine the burden lifted when you own your home free and clear. And if you ever sell your Bay Area home, you’ll realize greater profits.
     

    KeyPoint Helps You Reach the Finish Line with Your Mortgage


    With this in mind, KeyPoint Credit Union offers the fixed rate Finish Line Loan, designed to push people toward complete home ownership more quickly. You can refinance your first mortgage with this loan, get a lower rate and shorten the term of your mortgage so you’re not paying so much money in interest charges over the life of the mortgage. It’s most popular to refinance a first mortgage from a longer term to one of 3 to 15 years. With an annual percentage rate of 2.99%, homeowners often find they’ll pay nearly the same amount each month (or even less!) on their refinance as they did their original mortgage because of this lower, fixed interest rate.
     
    Pay the same amount each month for a shorter period of time? It’s a no-brainer. Plus, the Finish Line Loan is available with no points, no fees and no closing costs. You can borrow as much as $500,000 in the process, and if you need it, you also can refinance into terms of 16 to 30 years.
     
    If you’re a software engineer from India, you may not want to be saddled with a traditional mortgage term of 20 to 30 years. Consider how the Finish Line Loan can help you by using our charts to compare how your monthly payments could change with a different term. The Los Angeles Times also presented different financial scenarios to illustrate your potential savings.
     
    And if you’re close to retirement, there’s definitely appeal in getting rid of as much debt as possible before your current income flow is altered. You can apply for a Finish Line Loan today and, as always, we’re here to answer any questions you might have.
    Go comment!
  • Enjoy a Side of History with Your Grilled Food This Fourth of July

    Jul 02, 2013
    Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays. It’s always a time for food and fireworks, enjoying the summer weather and taking a moment to acknowledge the truly incredible events that led to our country’s creation.
     
    Granted, we in California don’t have the history and artifacts of the American Revolution surrounding us like our friends on the East Coast. After all, California didn’t become a state until nearly 80 years after the Declaration of Independence was adopted. But I’m always amazed to consider that a rag-tag group of Americans throughout the 13 colonies who lacked formal military training believed in their mission so completely that they defeated the mighty British forces (with a little help from our allies, of course). The American story of the Revolutionary War is a story of underdogs prevailing.

    And now here we are grilling steaks and kabobs instead of eating kidney pudding and jellied eels. Can’t we all celebrate that?
     
    It’s interesting to note that the Declaration of Independence has a place in California history, by the way. During June and July of 1846, American settlers around Sonoma revolted against the Mexican government, which controlled the region. They used the Declaration of Independence as inspiration to secede from Mexico and create the California Republic. They were unable to form a stable government, though, and never were formally recognized. Their revolt lasted 26 days before the U.S. Army arrived to claim the area in the midst of the Mexican-American War.
     
    The lingering effect? The California Republic adopted the grizzly bear for its flag, and the bear later was incorporated into the California state flag along with the words “California Republic.”
     
    OK, there’s your history lesson. Now go out and enjoy the holiday responsibly. By the way, if you’re looking for state-approved fireworks, there are 295 California communities that permit their sale and use. Have fun!

    Go comment!

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