For Consumers

Overview

Consumer Center

Do you have questions about things like mortgages, credit cards, fighting fraud or saving for college? Our Consumer Center offers resources for consumers to learn about these topics (and more) so that you can make knowledgeable financial decisions.

Overview

Protect Your Money

California banks invest millions of dollars annually to protect consumers’ information and defend against fraud. Below are several resources you can use to help protect your financial information. 

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CBA Releases 2017 Incident Response Playbook

The CBA has partnered with the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FSISAC) and the American Bankers Association to provide the 2017 Incident Response Playbook, which delivers guidance to banks in California on actions to consider taking before a cybersecurity incident as well as needs and information-sharing protocols in response to and during recovery from a cybersecurity incident as well as recommendations for actions to take following a cybersecurity incident.

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CBA Launches Radio Advertising Campaign
Ad Focuses on Banks Ongoing Investment in Technology and Keeping Customer Information Secure

This two-week public awareness and education campaign will focus on the following timely themes: California banks’ ongoing investments in technology to make banking safer and more convenient for customers, including the deployment of chip-based credit cards; their ongoing commitment to protecting customers’ financial information and ensuring their customers are made whole financially in the event of a data breach at a retailer.

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Protect Your Identity

Identity theft continues to be one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States. In the U.S., 12.6 million people – or 1 out of every 20 consumers – were victims of identity fraud last year. The California Bankers Association recommends following these tips to keep your information – and your money – safe.

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Borrowing

Borrowing money can be intimidating, whether it is to purchase a home or using your first credit card. Defining your needs and finding the right solution can be a timely process but is worth the effort. Below are some tips on how to better understand your borrowing options.

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Credit Card Facts and Tips

Credit cards have become an everyday tool for people to make purchases and manage their personal finances.  Access to credit enables families to purchase homes, deal with emergencies, obtain goods and services and build a credit history for larger purchases such as a car or home.  Today, roughly 73 percent of all families have at least one credit card. About 60 percent of cardholders are “convenience users” – they avoid interest charges by paying balances in full each month.

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Credit Do’s and Dont’s

Credit Do’s

DO know the power of credit. Banks look at your credit history as an indication of your future financial behavior.  By using credit wisely, you can build a good credit history making it easier to get loans with low interest rates, rent an apartment, purchase a car or home, and may even help you get a job. 

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Choosing the Right Loan and the Right Lender

Borrowers have lots of choices among types of loans and lenders. Choosing wisely can save you a lot of money. Protect yourself from paying more for credit than you need to by understanding the different types of loans and lenders. Remember, if you borrow money that you cannot repay, you can lose your home, your car, your savings and your investments. Also, a court can order that your employer “garnish” your earnings, that is, withhold some of your pay on behalf of a creditor.

For some loans, called “secure loans,” you must put up “collateral” – something you own that the lender can take if you don’t repay the loan. Cars, homes and savings and investment accounts are common types of collateral. “Unsecured” loan, like credit cards, do not require collateral.

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Budgeting and Saving

Money is a necessity of life. This is why it is so important to manage your money wisely and start saving early. Making smart decisions now will prepare you for the future and will make your financial dreams come true. 

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7 Tips To Establish Good Saving Habits

Pay yourself first
If you wait to see what’s left over, you are less likely to save. Determine in advance how much money you plan to keep on deposit each month. If you receive a raise, increase the amount of money deposited into your savings account.

Take advantage of bank technology
Consider automatic payroll deductions or automatic transfer from checking to savings. Arrange to have a specific amount transferred to your savings account every pay period.

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How to Develop a Financial Plan

The key to a good budget is including as much information as you can, so that you can adequately prepare and plan. It’s important to keep accurate records of your spending so you’ll spot places where you can save money and know how much you can reasonably spend.

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Planning for Retirement

Ensuring your financial security in your older years requires planning, starting now, whatever your age.

You will need at least 70 percent of your pre-retirement income to maintain your standard of living when you stop working. People with relatively low incomes may need 90 percent. Social Security will probably pay you less than half of what you’ll need, so you must develop other sources of income to make up the difference.

Take the following steps to ensure that you’ll have an adequate retirement income when you need it:

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Kids and Money

When it comes to talking to your kids about money, the sooner the better. There are opportunities at every age to teach your child the importance of handling money responsibly to ensure they live financially smart lives.

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How to Talk to Your Kids About Money

How soon is too soon to talk to your kids or grandkids about money?

If they are old enough to ask for a toy or a bike, they are old enough to start learning financial lessons that will last a lifetime.

The best financial lessons are part of everyday experience. Look for opportunities to talk about money, read books aloud and play games that center around spending money wisely. Be open and honest when you discuss your financial experiences—good or bad.

Here are some examples of teachable moments to help you get started:

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Personal Finance Tips for Children

Anytime is the right time to begin teaching children about money, and the California Bankers Association has tips that can help parents teach money at home.

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Top 10 Tips for College Students

They understand GPAs and test scores but how can we help them better understand their credit score or the value of saving? These top 10 tips are designed to give students an edge on mastering personal finance.

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Banking Services

With a better understanding of what you need from a bank, finding the right one for you should be easy. Below are some important tips to help you decide what your needs are.

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What You Need to Know About California Banks
FAQ's and Fact Sheets Now Available

The California Bankers Association is pleased to announce the availability of resources designed to help communicate the positive role California banks play in our communities and the economic value we provide to the state.

We encourage you to browse these materials, which include a frequently asked questions document and two fact sheets: one outlining the basic elements of the recently enacted Homeowner Bill of Rights and a second piece describing how banks operate.

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Choosing a Bank to Fit Your Needs

For nearly 200 years, banks across the state have provided Californians with the means to fulfill their dreams. Banks today continue to safeguard your savings and provide assistance in managing your finances.

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Helpful Links

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Personal Finance Links

  • Consumer Credit Counseling Service – Information and budgeting strategies to help manage your money
  • Salary Calculator – Compares the cost of living in hundreds of cities. Calculate the salary you need to live in the same style in another city
  • Kelly Blue Book – Find out the value of your old car. Provides current prices for new cars as well
  • MyMoney.gov – Provides calculators and tips to managing your money
  • Social Security – Provides information on the cost of living, welfare reform, medicare information. You can also compute your own Social Security benefit estimate.
  • The Universal Currency Converter – Allows you to conduct foreign exchange rate conversion on the Internet
  • Learn how direct deposit is the best way for you to get your federal benefit payments
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Federal Government Sites

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