It’s Nice to Earn Twice

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Earn Double Credit Card Points Now-6/30

The spring shopping season has begun – and we have something to make it even better. From now through June 30, earn double points when you shop with a Merchants Bank Visa ScoreCard Credit Card.

When can I earn double points?

Anytime you make a purchase or balance transfer between May 1 and June 30, 2018 with a Merchants Bank Visa ScoreCard Credit Card.

How will I earn double points?

It’s automatic. You’ll see double points applied when you log in to your account on mycardstatement.com and on your monthly statements for May and June.

What if I don’t have a Visa ScoreCard Credit Card yet?

Start the application process online now or visit your local Merchants Bank branch.

Visit our website to learn about the terms and conditions as well as the other benefits of our card, like our 0% APR introductory rate for the first six months and a great every day rate of 9.99% APR after that.

To learn more, contact our Credit Card department:

Marcus Krings Promoted to Credit Card Manager for Merchants Bank

Marcus Krings, Credit Card ManagerMarcus Krings has been promoted to Credit Card Manager, according to Sue Hovell, Senior Vice President and Director of Retail Banking Performance for Merchants Bank.

“Marcus is focused on providing the best in customer service to our credit card customers,” Hovell said. “His knowledge will be a benefit to both our retail and business customers.”

Krings has been in banking for more than 11 years, including experience in customer service supervision. He has been with Merchants since 2012, starting in the Electronic Banking area. He joined the Credit Card department in 2016.

“Our credit cards are more than competitive. People will be pleased about how we compare to big bank credit cards and provide that community bank level of service. Plus, we take great care to help protect our customers from fraud,” Krings said.

Krings said Merchants offers a credit card security app, and the department makes it a point to contact people if there is suspected fraud on a credit card. Another area of emphasis is merchant processing, which helps businesses process card transactions.

“I’m looking forward to helping our cardholders,” Krings said. “If anyone has any questions about their credit cards, they should give us a call. We’re here to help.”

Krings is from Winona and is a graduate of Winona Senior High School and Winona State University. He succeeds Deb Kemp, who recently retired.

Merchants Bank has 21 locations, including Minnesota locations in Winona, St. Charles, Goodview, Rochester, Rushford, Lanesboro, Caledonia, La Crescent, Spring Grove, Cannon Falls, Red Wing, Hampton, and the southern Twin Cities metropolitan suburbs of Apple Valley, Cottage Grove, Hastings, Lakeville and Rosemount. Merchants has Wisconsin locations in Eau Claire and Onalaska. Additionally, MFGI also owns Twin Cities-based Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, a division of Merchants Bank, N.A.

Meet Carol Bell, Credit Card Specialist at Merchants Bank

Carol Bell, Credit Card Specialist

Carol Bell, Credit Card Specialist

Get to know Carol Bell from the Credit Card department at Merchants Bank.

When did you start your banking career? What are you looking forward to in your new position?

Carol: I started at Merchants Bank in 2002 and have worked in departments everywhere from compliance to mortgage processing to loan servicing to underwriting and now I’m here in credit cards. I’m looking forward to taking the knowledge I’ve gained from other departments to help our credit card customers as much as I can.

What is your best banking tip?

Carol: I think it’s really important to bank locally so you can build a trusting relationship with people that understand your area and can provide reliable, personalized service.

What’s one thing your mom or dad taught you about money?

Carol: My dad says, “If you don’t have the money for it, don’t buy it.” Of course, there are exceptions to this, such as larger, long-term purchases like a car or college tuition, but it is still a good thing to remember for day-to-day purchases. Simply put: be responsible with your money.

If you had $1,875,000 what is one FUN thing you’d do with the money?

Carol: I would travel somewhere warm…with a beach…clear waters…and cold beverages!

Besides money, what’s your favorite green thing?

Carol: Honestly, Christmas trees!

Subject to credit approval.

Meet Marcus Krings, Credit Card Manager at Merchants Bank

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Marcus Krings (right), Credit Card Manager at Merchants Bank, pictured with his brother, Adam at a tough mudder competition.

Get to know Marcus Krings from the Credit Card department at Merchants Bank.

When did you start your banking career?

Marcus: I started in 2006 at Winona National Bank as a Lead Teller. Then, I came to Merchants in 2012 to the Electronic Banking department. I moved to the Credit Card department in 2016 and was recently promoted to Credit Card Manager.

What is your best credit card tip?

Marcus: It sounds simple, but make your payments on time and don’t spend beyond your means to keep yourself out of trouble. If you’re not sure where you stand, call your credit card company (which is hopefully the friendly, local people at Merchants Bank!).

What’s one thing your mom or dad taught you about money?

Marcus: Money doesn’t grow on trees; you have to earn it to spend it. It’s kind of funny that I’m in credit cards now, but the principle still applies.

If you won $1,875,000 what is one FUN thing you’d do with the money?

Marcus: I would take my family to Disneyland (or maybe build a zombie bunker).

Besides money, what’s your favorite green thing?

Marcus: Sour apple gummies. Those are still delicious.

What are you looking forward to most in your new position as Credit Card Manager?

Marcus: I’m excited to continue to grow our customer base, work with the wonderful team at Merchants Bank and provide an exceptional experience to our customers. Helping our customers understand credit products and use them wisely is very rewarding.

Subject to credit approval.

What You Should Know about Credit Utilization

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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.

What Should You Know About Merchants Bank EMV Chip Credit Cards?

Merchants Bank, credit card

What is an EMV chip card?

The term “EMV” stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa – the original developers of chip cards. These cards increase the security of in-person transactions by generating a one-time use code that can only be read by a register enabled to read chip cards. The code is created from the small chip on the front of your card and is hard to counterfeit, which prevents fraud.

How do I know if I have a chip card?

If you have a chip card, you will notice a small chip icon on the front of the card. At this time, Merchants Bank Visa Credit Cards offer EMV chip technology and have the chip icon. If you are a current Merchants Bank Visa Credit Card cardholder, your EMV chip card will be sent to you upon expiration of your current card. New cardholders will be issued a chip card upon credit approval.

Is paying with a chip card different from paying with my other cards?

Yes, making a payment with a chip card is slightly different than the card transactions you are used to. Instead of swiping your card at the register, you’ll simply follow these instructions:

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Step 1: Insert the chip end of your card into the terminal with the chip facing up.

Step 2: Keep the card in the terminal during the transaction and follow the prompts on the screen.

Step 2: Keep the card in the terminal during the transaction and follow the prompts on the screen.

Step 3: Take your card when prompted. It’s that easy!

Step 3: Take your card when prompted. It’s that easy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Do all stores accept EMV chip cards?

Not yet, but the trend is growing and if a store does not yet accept chip cards, you can still swipe your card to pay.

What happens if I swipe my EMV chip card instead of inserting it into the register?

The terminal will display a message asking you to insert your card instead.

To learn more about EMV chip technology, contact the Customer Service Representative at your local Merchants Bank.

If you are a business and would like to accept cards, or have a terminal that does not currently accept EMV chip cards, contact our Credit Card department.

Credit cards are subject to credit approval.

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Do You Use Your Personal Credit Card for Business Expenses?

Business credit cards at Merchants BankWhile you may be tempted to use your personal credit card when paying for business expenses, it’s important to consider the risks you’re taking if you do. Plus, there are benefits to your business using a dedicated business credit card.

Here’s why it’s important to apply for a business credit card:

1. Minimize risk. While it may seem harmless to use a personal card for business expenses, you never know when you’re going to need to prove the difference between a purchase for yourself and a purchase for your business. Why blur the line?

Consider using one card solely for business expenses to keep from mixing personal and business purchases. In addition, mixing personal and business credit can harm your personal credit score, if your business is unable to pay off future debts.

2. Make things easier for your staff or accountant. Having dedicated business credit cards for yourself or other staff members helps you track business expenses more accurately. With a Merchants Bank Visa Business Credit Card, your employees can even have separate statements to make tracking even easier.

Plus, with a dedicated business credit card, you won’t be placing personal and business purchases on the same card, which can cause extra work for those handling the company finances.

3. Build credit. If you have plans to expand your business in the future, your business will need to be credit worthy. You can build credit for your business in a number of ways. A good first step is to open a basic business deposit account, like checking or savings, and apply for a business credit card. With these accounts, you can build a credit history of on time or early payments – much like you’ve done with your personal credit – which will be viewed favorably by potential lenders.

4. Credit card term advantages. Typically your business credit card will allow a higher credit limit and you may be able to get a better rate than a personal credit card. Be sure to read all the terms associated with the business credit cards you are researching to accurately compare your options.

Contact us today to learn more about business credit cards for your business.

Credit cards are subject to credit approval.
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