Beach Party!

April 15, 2009

Summer is about to get underway in Danville!  Here’s an announcement that we got in the mail today that deserves to be shared with the community.

From the Piedmont Credit Union inbox:

On Saturday, May 30, 2009 from 5pm to 8pm the Danville Science Center will host a Beach Party by the Dan.  The entire family is invited to a fun-filled evening featuring music by the C. Shells, a musical duo from Virginia Beach.  With a delightful mix of songs and musical styles, the C. Shells will have children of all ages laughing, smiling, and stamping their feet.  Guests will enjoy a summer buffet, beach music, shag dancing and kid’s activities– to support a great Danville resource– the educational programs at the Science Center.

Ticket prices: Children age 4-9:$5; Ages 10-18: $10; Adults: $20; Children 3 and under are free.

My family has benefitted quite alot from visiting the Danville Science Center.  Over the last several years it has really expanded and begun to offer many new programs and exhibits.  Just to say the words “Science Center” causes my kids to celebrate and talk about what they’re going to do and see there.


First Impressions of NetBranch Mobile

March 27, 2009

NetBranch Mobile has been live for two weeks now.  My first impression is “Wow I love this!”.  I find that I’m using it more often at home than I thought.  I’ll use NetBranch Mobile if the computer is turned off or if my wife is using it.   I’ve used it to quickly pay a bill while sitting at the dinner table or waiting at swim lessons.  I’ve been using it on my Palm TX wherever there’s a wifi connection.  If I had a mobile phone I think I would use it all over the place.

The security features are just as strong as NetBranch because the features are more limited.  NetBranch Mobile cannot create new bills, only pay existing ones.  It can only transfer within your accounts at the credit union.  It is not able to transfer outside of the credit union like our full Online Billpay can.  I like how it doesn’t show any private or personal information on the screen.

The only tip I have for using NetBranch Mobile is this.  Double check your MFA security questions and choose more simple answers for them.    A simple, short one word answer is best.  That makes it a little faster to logon to NetBranch Mobile.  I’m interested to hear what other Piedmont CU NetBranch users think of NetBranch Mobile.  So far I really like it alot!  I may finally decide to ditch my Palm TX get a real mobile phone!


Thank You Whoever You Are!

January 21, 2009

Today’s local headline was about fraudulent charges posted against a few of our member’s accounts.  This was related to the breach which also made headlines late yesterday and today.  Heartland Payment Systems has issued a statement about the security breach at www.2008breach.com.  You can read what we said about it here on our main website.  You can also rest assured that there was no breach at the credit union or with any of our vendors. But right now I want to say “Thank You” to the anonymous member who, just 15 minutes after the initial story came out on the Register & Bee website, went online to speak up on our behalf.  Here’s what was said:

“PCU is doing an excellent job of handling this. I had my money back within 1 hour of discovering the fraudulent charges. They also said they are going to call people who have suspicious activity on their account who may not do online banking and find the error.
It’s nice to know when something like this happens that they are going to do everything to make it right for you.”

Thank you!


e-Signatures Frequently Asked Questions

February 7, 2008

This week we began using our new fraud prevention and e-Signature System. Our staff has really picked up on it well, learning the subtle nuances of scanning driver licenses and resetting the occasional frozen signature pad.  What surprised me most about this new setup is that very few credit union members have asked any questions about it.  So here is my starter list of e-Signature questions and answers.

  1. Where does my signature go? Signatures are attached to an electronic copy of your receipt.  They are stored in a secure database which is only accessible by designated credit union staff.  In the past, signed receipts were stored in a box in our storage room.  The new electronic storage is actually much more safe and secure than the previous method.
  2. What else are you going to put my signature on? When a signature is captured electronically, it is actually merged to become a permanent part of the document you are signing, just as if you had sign an actual piece of paper.  Our e-Signature system does not have the ability to move your signature once you have tapped the “OK” on the signature pad.  At that point it is made permanent and can only be slightly re-sized for legibility.
  3. Why is my signature still on the pad when I’m ready to leave? Your signature will disappear from the pad as soon as our teller has completed the transaction.  The teller may have more work to do on your transaction such as scanning some kind of document relating to the transaction, such as a Power of Attorney or a Marriage Certificate.
  4. Why do you need to scan my ID? We’re required by law to accurately identify everyone who does business with us.  Since most of our members come in regularly, we know them pretty well and don’t need to request ID for each and every transaction.  By scanning ID’s into our computer system, we’re making it so that we don’t have to ask for ID in the future because we’ll already be able to see that you look like the ID we have on file.  So it not only saves time, it potentially eliminates any possibility of face to face fraudulent activity on your account. 
  5. Do you need to scan my driver’s license every time I do a transaction? No. Once we scan your ID the first time it is saved once and for all. This way we can pull it up on our screen every time you come back for a transaction and we can be sure it is you.
  6. Will this help make my money more secure? Yes. Having the ID quickly assessable by our computer system will ensure that no one can just walk in pretending to be you and try to transact business on your account.  In the long run it’s also faster than having to ask for ID and virtually eliminates face to face fraudulent activity.

A Brief Guide to Billpay Features, Part 1

October 11, 2007

This week our Online Bill-pay received a few updates including some new features and just a few things might look a bit different than before. There really aren’t any sweeping changes to the way transactions are processed. It is as reliable as ever and best of all it is still free! Probably the most obvious change is the former “Make a Single Payment” screen. Here is an example of what it used to look like:

Old Style of Single Payment

Once you selected the dot beside “Bill” it showed all your payees below. Then you had to choose a single payee and scroll down to the “Next” button at the bottom.

The new screen layout is not much different. When you click on the Payments menu and then choose “Single Payment” as shown here…

Single Payment

…it immediately shows you all of your payees listed on the left sidebar. You can simply scroll down the list and select which bills you want to pay during this Billpay session. As you click each bill it will appear in the center of the screen as shown here:

New Style Single Payment

When you have selected all your bills to pay and typed in the amount and date to send payment, simply click on “Next” at the bottom. Then you will see the familiar screen which asks you to verify the details of these payments. The only difference is that now Billpay lets you pay more than one bill at a time.

If you would like some help with any of the new features you may call Billpay support at 1-888-221-0163, use the live chat feature in Billpay, or contact me at the credit union. Just for fun I locked myself out of billpay and called the toll-free support. I was on-hold for about 60 seconds and when the agent answered she was quick, friendly, and efficient at getting me logged back on. She did ask me a few challenge phrases though, so be sure that you know them. They can be reset if you need them to.

Over the next few days I’ll follow up this post with one or two more which highlight the other new features such as email payments, transfer accounts and challenge phrases.


DCC Leading the Way

September 26, 2007

In her blog called Smart Communities, Suzanne Morse wrote about some of the great strides Danville Community College has made over the last few years. Specifically the addition of the Regional Center for Advanced Technology & Training(R-CATT). This facility provides current and future workforce training to our area. Much of this training is on the cutting edge and not only prepares local employees for their current jobs, but prepares students for the jobs of the future, some of which may not exist yet! A few local HR managers whom I have spoken with recently have also been impressed with the training their employees have received through this facility.

In regards to being proactive about the future of our region Morse writes,

“That is where community colleges are so critical–they can literally change the future of our workforce by preparation, but just as important, by working with industry to determine the needs of the future.”

Way to go DCC! Keep up the good work!


Electric Cars, follow up.

September 17, 2007

In a post last month titled Electric Cars or Really Fast Golf Carts I calculated my payments on the new Tesla Electric Powered Roadster. The payment was $1872 per month for 72 months! My new friend Matt from Members CU in Winston-Salem commented “But think how much you’ll save on gas! 🙂 “. While typing a response to Matt I thought it worthy of it’s own post so here it is:

When I bought a used motorcycle last summer I calculated that I would need to drive it approximately 10,000 miles for it to pay for itself. Even though it gets 55 mpg that 10,000 mile goal continually grows as I find more and more things to do to it. Stuff like change the oil, buy a new tire every so often, and buy some warmer clothing to wear!

Here’s a rough calculation to try and justify the cost of the Tesla: I drive about 9000 miles per year without kids in the car. My Corolla averages 29 mpg. That’s 310 gallons of gas per year. If gas averages $2.75 per gallon that’s $853.44 per year spent on gas. Since the Tesla takes no gas I’ll save that money, every penny! But the total cost of the Tesla including interest on the loan is $134,827. So I would need to drive it for 157.98 years to break even on it! Or that’s 1,421,825 miles!

So, as totally cool as it may be, the only way I’ll ever drive one of those cars is if I get a part time job as a valet in a major city! 🙂