What You Should Know about Credit Utilization

PayingwithCreditCardBlog

While the actual formula for calculating a credit score has never been revealed by the Federal Trade Commission, we know credit scores are based primarily on credit report information from the credit bureaus. One piece of this puzzle is your outstanding debt, which includes your credit utilization.

What is credit utilization?
Credit utilization is how much credit you are using compared to how much you have available on your credit card accounts. This amount is typically expressed as a percentage and may also be referred to as your credit utilization ratio. For example, if you have a credit card with a $10,000 limit and your current balance is $5,000; your credit utilization ratio is 50%.

Keep in mind that your credit utilization is comprised of the revolving credit card debt on all of your cards and not influenced by other types of loans you may have, for example a home or vehicle loan.

How much does it impact my credit score?
Most experts agree that your credit utilization ratio accounts for 30% of your credit score. Being almost a third of the potential calculation, your credit utilization can have a significant impact on your score and is something you should keep an eye on.

Is there a perfect formula for managing my outstanding debt?
Perfect? No. But, it’s generally advisable to keep your credit utilization ratio at no more than 30%. This means you’re using no more than 30% of your available credit lines across all of your credit card accounts. In addition, keep these tips in mind:

  • Track how much you charge each month to get a handle on your credit utilization.
  • In addition to tracking how much you charge, know your current limits for each of your credit cards so you can properly calculate your own ratio.
  • Set up automatic balance alerts on your cards so you know when you’re getting close to the 30% ratio.

If you’re looking for a great rate to help you manage your credit card balances, consider a Merchants Bank Visa ScoreCard Credit Card.* We offer 0% APR for the first six months on all balances transfers and purchases and an everyday low rate of 9.99% after that. View disclosures and apply now.

For more credit score education, visit our website or view our video series.

*Subject to approval.

Come See Us at These Home and Garden Shows

BlogHomeShows

Stop by and see us at the Merchants Bank booth at the following Home and Garden Shows this Spring.

For more information on upcoming events, visit our Facebook page.

2/19-2/21 Chippewa Valley Home and Garden Show
At the Eau Claire Indoor Sports Center
Show Hours
Friday, February 19: 1:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, February 20: 9:00 a.m. – 5: 00 p.m.
Sunday, February 21: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.Cost is $8 for a daily pass, $12 for a weekend pass. Children 12 and under are free.
2/20-2/21 St. Charles Area Home and Business Expo
At the St. Charles Elementary School

Show Hours
Saturday, February 20: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, February 21: 10:00 a.m. – 2: 00 p.m.

3/5-3/6 Winona Better Living Home and Builder Show
At Winona Senior High School

Show hours TBA.

3/21 Landscape, Home Expo and Consumer Showcase
At Lakeville North High School
9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
4/7 Builders Association of the Twin Cities Builders and Remodelers Show
At the Minneapolis Convention Center Hall E
2:00 – 8:00 p.m.
4/16 Cottage Grove Area Chamber Business Showcase
At the Cottage Grove Ice Arena
10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Loans are subject to approval.

Change to Online Banking Login Screen on Merchants Bank Website

Click here to login to your Merchants Bank Online Banking Account.

Previous Login Box (Before 1/12/2016)

Online Banking Login Box Before 1/12/2016

New Login Box (After 1/12/2016)

Login Box AFTER 1/12/2016

What’s changing? After clicking on the Online Banking Login button featured on the home page of our website, you will be redirected to a Secure Online Banking login screen where you will enter both your Login ID and Password on the same screen, rather than having to enter them on separate screens. For your protection, if we do not recognize your Login ID, Password, or the device you are logging in from, you will continue to be presented with your personal challenge questions to verify your identity, just as you always have been. Your security is always our top priority.

This is a temporary change. We are in the process of redesigning our website and will be launching our new website in the first quarter of 2016. For your convenience, as part of our new site design you will be able to enter your Login ID and Password directly from the home page of our new website.

If you use Internet Explorer and the login box appears to be cut off, you can solve the problem by clearing your cache. Follow these instructions how to clear your cache in Internet Explorer.

We thank you for your patience as we make this temporary, but necessary change. Your information security is always our top priority. If you have any questions, please contact Merchants Bank Electronic Banking Customer Support at 866-496-0522.

Merchants Capital Resources, Inc. Changes Name to Merchants Bank Equipment Finance

BrolsmaBrad

Bradley Brolsma, President

Merchants Capital Resources, Inc. has changed its name to Merchants Bank Equipment Finance as of January 1, according to President Bradley R. Brolsma.

“Our new name better describes what we do best, and that is financing the equipment needs of our customers,” Brolsma said of the company, founded in 1988.

Merchants Bank Equipment Finance primarily provides equipment financing options to businesses located throughout the central U.S. and also partners with other finance companies in equipment finance transactions outside of their marketing footprint.  The company finances tangible assets over terms of 2 to 10 years, on equipment with values generally ranging from $50,000 to over $10 million.

Merchants Bank Equipment Finance tailors equipment financing options to best meet the needs of its customers across many industries, including construction, transportation, healthcare, manufacturing and food and agriculture. Brolsma pointed out the name change will not change the positive experience of current and prospective customers.

“Our same knowledgeable staff will be ready to help current and new customers with their equipment financing needs,” Brolsma said. “We’re looking forward to this next chapter in our growth.”

The name change also more closely aligns Merchants Bank Equipment Finance with the brand of its parent company, Merchants Bank, N.A., which is a business banking leader in southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin. Merchants Bank Equipment Finance will now operate as a division of the Merchants Bank parent organization, as opposed to a wholly owned subsidiary.

Merchants Bank was founded in 1875 in Winona, Minnesota, where it remains headquartered. Merchants Bank is a member FDIC and equal housing lender. Financing is subject to approval.

Prevent Fraudulent Charges to Your Business

Merchants Bank's Positive Pay

The 2015 True Cost of Fraud survey by Lexus Nexus estimates that every $100 of fraud actually costs businesses $223.* So how can you prevent fraud from costing your business its reputation and money? Use a service like Merchants Bank’s Positive Pay to detect fraud on a daily basis.

What is Positive Pay?
Positive Pay is a service that helps you detect fraudulent checks that are presented on your account. Only checks that match a pre-approved list, which you provide to the bank, are automatically paid. All other checks presented for payment must receive authorization or may be rejected by you.

How does it work?
Each day, you provide the bank with an electronic inventory of the checks you have issued. When the checks presented on your account each day are processed, Positive Pay matches your account number, check number and dollar amount of each check presented for payment against a list of checks previously authorized and issued by your business. All three components of the check must match exactly. When a check is reviewed that isn’t a match in the file, it becomes an “exception item”. The business reviews the image and can instruct the bank to pay or return the check.

Why should my business use it?
With Positive Pay, you can essentially eliminate the possibility of fraudulent checks being posted to your business account. Plus, in addition to the money you’ll save by preventing fraud, there is no need to purchase additional equipment to use Positive Pay.

How can I start using Positive Pay?
Contact one of our Cash Management specialists today.

*http://www.lexisnexis.com/risk/insights/true-cost-fraud-infographic.aspx

Welcome to New Staff

KunshierHaleyHaley Kunshier has joined Merchants Bank as a Teller in Hastings. Haley is currently attending Inver Hills Community College for an Associate’s Degree in Arts with an emphasis in Biology. Her hobbies include fishing, hunting, playing guitar and hanging out with her friends and family. She also enjoys photography and traveling.

 

 

MidtlienAbbyAbby Midtlien has joined Merchants Bank as a Teller in Onalaska. Abby previously worked at Festival Foods and Five Star Telecom. She is a Junior at UW-La Crosse where she is studying Accounting. Outside of school, she enjoys being active, running and playing sports. During the summer, Abby spends most of her time on the river with friends and family. She is also an aunt to two boys and two girls and spends a lot of time with them.

 

PalubickiCindyCindy Palubicki has joined Merchants Bank as a Teller in Winona. Cindy previously worked at Kwik Trip for 18 years and before that worked at Merchants Bank in Customer Service. Cindy and her husband, Duane, live in Goodview and have 5 daughters, Keelyn, Morgan, Alecia, Aubrey and Addysen. They love to play fast pitch softball and basketball as a family.

Shawn Sackman Named Senior Lending Officer for Merchants Bank’s Southeast Region

Shawn Sackman, Senior Lending Officer

Shawn Sackman, Senior Lending Officer and Senior Vice President

Shawn Sackman has been promoted to Senior Lending Officer and Senior Vice President for Merchants Bank’s Southeast Region, according to Southeast Regional President Jay Friedl.

“This is an excellent opportunity for Shawn, and one that he has earned and deserves,” Friedl said. “The people who will benefit the most from this are our other commercial bankers in the region, who will learn from him, and all of our customers throughout the area, who benefit from his dedication to serving their needs.”

Sackman will work as senior lending officer for Merchants locations in Rushford, Lanesboro, Spring Grove, Caledonia, La Crescent and Onalaska, where he has worked as a Commercial Banker and Vice President since 2011, when he joined the Merchants organization.

“This position allows me to help our commercial bankers to continue to build long-term relationships with our existing customers and meet the needs of new customers,” Sackman said. “My knowledge will help our team to be responsive to our customer lending and cash management needs. It’s a great team, and I look forward to mentoring and coaching them.”

Before joining Merchants, Sackman had worked as a Senior Business Relationship Manager in the area for a large national bank from 2000 to 2011. He’s a native of Montana and a graduate of Viterbo University in La Crosse. He is very involved volunteering in the area and was awarded the 2015 Volunteer Award by the Great Rivers United Way.

Visit our website for more information on our commercial and business loans, cash management tools and other business accounts.

Subject to approval. Equal Housing Lender.