Safety and Smart Links for Managing Your Money

FREE Annual Credit Report

Under amendments to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, members are entitled to one free credit report from each credit reporting agency every 12 months. It is a good idea to order one from each credit bureau at different intervals. That way, you can order one report every 4 months to see if there is any false information being reported by a bureau. It will allow you to catch false information sooner than waiting a full year. Getting your free credit report online is quick, easy and secure. Click here to order your free reports. This link will take you outside the CMECU site.

"Freeze" Your Credit Report
Under a new law, every Illinois consumer has the right to place a security freeze on their credit report, beginning January 1, 2007. A security freeze puts a lock on your files with the three major credit reporting agencies so that potential creditors cannot access your credit history without your permission. To learn more about this, visit the Illinois Attorney General's website and click on "Placing a Security Freeze on your Credit Report".

Identity Theft

Don't become a victim of identity theft. Learn the tricks used by "phishes" to gain personal information over email. Click here to learn about identity theft, find detailed guidance on how to monitor credit histories, use effective passwords, and recover from an identity theft. Click here to be taken to the Federal Trade Commission's online tool designed to help consumers avoid becoming victims of Internet scams.

Online Safety

The Internet is an exciting tool that puts vast information at our fingertips. Many of us rely on our computers and email every day of our lives. With so much information out there in the "cyber world", we must be "cyber smart" to make sure our online experience is positive. The following tips are just a few ideas to help you ensure privacy on your computer:

  1. Use protection software ("anti-virus software") and keep it up-to-date;
  2. Don't open email from unknown sources;
  3. Use passwords that are hard to guess and do not spell a word or name;
  4. Don't share your passwords or give them out to ANYONE either online or over the phone;
  5. Take advantage of your software's security features
  6. Protect your computer from intruders by using a firewall;
  7. Disconnect from the Internet when not in use.

For more information about each of these tips click here.

Also the Federal Trade Commission's website contains helpful information for protecting yourself and your children online for more information click here.

BE AWARE OF E-MAIL SCAMS!!! If you receive a suspicious email, please IMMEDIATELY forward it to reportphishing@antiphishing.org and then call the credit union at (312)236-2326 and alert us. We will NEVER ask for your account information or personal information over email. Any such attempt should be treated as fraud and reported to Chicago Municipal Employees Credit Union immediately so we may assist in protecting your account information. To help further protect you from internet fraud, NEVER reply to any emails or pop-ups that request your account and/or personal information and be sure to use updated antivirus software. Thank you!!

Internal Revenue Service

Click here to find all the IRS related information.

Your Roadmap to Vehicle Buying!

  1. Get pre-approved: Know what you can afford before you start shopping for your new or used vehicle. Getting pre-approved will give you negotiating power. At Chicago Municipal Employees Credit Union, we can help you figure out what kind of payment fits your budget and find a term that meets your financial goals. You can come into the branch or apply online.
  2. Check out car buying sites: Cars.com, Invoicedealers.com, Yahoo! Autos.com, CarsDirect.com, Edmunds.com, Autoweb.com, Autos.com, Car.com and CarFax

    These sites list dealer invoice cost, MSRP, option pricing, rebates, incentives, reviews and photos. You can also contact the dealerships in your area to have them email or call you with pricing on the vehicle you are interested in. When talking to the internet sales managers let them know up front that you are working with multiple dealers. Give them the details on the vehicle you are looking at and ask them to give you their bottom-line price including all the dealer fees. Tell them you are only interested in the price of the car, not financing or monthly payments. Once you have pricing from multiple dealers you will have a starting point for your negotiating.
  3. Figure out your trade-in value: Go to Kelley Blue Book or N.A.D.A. to determine your trade-in value there are different amounts that you can get for your vehicle based on how you sell it.
    1. Trade In. The amount you would get by trading in your vehicle to the dealer. This is the easiest way to get rid of your existing vehicle and it will save you money on the taxes you pay on your new vehicle.
    2. Private Party Value. The amount you should be able to get by selling your vehicle to a private party individual. You will get the most money by selling your vehicle on your own.
    3. Suggested Retail. The amount you would expect to pay for the vehicle at a car lot before a negotiated price is determined.
  4. Time to visit the dealer: when you visit the dealer you should be well informed about the vehicles you are interested in and organized. Just for your convenience and make the whole process easier CMECU is working together with the following dealers: Enterprise, Rogers Auto Group, Grossinger City Toyota, and Webb Chevrolet. You can find their links and more information by visiting our loan page.

    Bring with you the following:
    • Car loan pre-approval from Chicago Municipal Employees Credit Union
    • The information from the web sites you visited including new car purchase quotes
    • Accurate new car invoice pricing data
    • Rebate and incentive information
    • Insurance quote from your agent or internet sites for the coverage you want on your vehicle
    • Used NADA Book trade-in value and market value
    • Extended warranty quotes from Chicago Municipal Employees Credit Union to compare to the dealer's quote
  5. Know how to negotiate: Now that you have done your research on the vehicle, contacted dealerships to give you the vehicle pricing, excluding rebates, incentives or trade-ins, it's time for the negotiating to begin! When negotiating, don't let the dealer use your trade-in or financing to determine the price. You should negotiate solely on the transaction of the vehicle. Tell the dealer that you will be paying cash and you plan to sell your existing vehicle on your own.

    Negotiate up from the invoice price, not down from the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) or sticker price on a new vehicle. When negotiating the sale on your used vehicle, negotiate up from the trade-in value not down from the suggested retail value.

    Once you get the best price from each dealer it's time for round two! Contact each dealer to let them know the best price you have and see if they can beat it. By forcing the dealers to compete against one another you will get the best price. Once the price reaches its low and the dealers are no longer lowering their offer you can contact the dealer who gave you the lowest price to let them know you would like to purchase the vehicle.

    And one more thing...

    Don't Be Fooled by 0% Financing — Take the Rebate!

    Although 0% financing sounds fantastic, think again. Many times 0% dealer financing offers are available only to specially qualified borrowers at limited terms. You may not qualify for the 0% loan and, if you do, the payments will be higher because you finance more money and the term may be a shorter time-making your payments even higher. In most cases, you're better off taking the case rebate from the dealer and financing your loan through us.