Get Smart About Credit this October

Credit CardsOctober is time for spooky thoughts of Halloween. While ghosts and goblins might give you a fright, don’t let your finances give you nightmares too.

Credit doesn’t have to be scary. To equip youth with a better understanding of credit, the American Bankers Association is hosting Get Smart About Credit Day this October. Once again, Ohio Valley Bank plans to participate in the program.

The 14th annual event will be celebrated Oct. 20, however the American Bankers Association encourages participants to host Get Smart About Credit presentations throughout the entirety of October as well as anytime in 2016.

To celebrate the event, OVB will be working credit lessons into their financial education programs. At the high school level, Get Smart About Credit will be incorporated into the OVB BANKit program. In addition, Adventures in Credit presentations, featuring the Centsables, are planned for area elementary schools. Ohio Valley Bank is also offering a smart, limited-time offer on new Visa Platinum credit cards. Details on the offer are available at any Ohio Valley Bank location.

The main goal of Get Smart About Credit is to share with students the “credit facts of life.” According to the American Bankers Association, the event stresses the importance of credit in all aspects of life. The campaign aims to show students that credit education isn’t just about paying for college, credit cards and loans, but also encompasses budgeting, understanding a credit report and identity protection.

What can you do to raise your credit score? Check out the following tips:

  • Take advantage of your annual free credit report. You should have your credit checked once a year to review for errors or inaccuracies. Visit for more information.
  • Pay your credit card bill on time. Also, pay your bills in full if you are able to do so.
  • Set and stick with a budget. Adhering to a spending plan is really your first step to financial freedom. By following a budget and saving money you will be less likely to overspend on credit cards, which will also help you save on added fees such as interest costs.
  • Watch for warning signs of credit trouble. For example, if you find yourself continually making late payments, are only able to pay the minimum each month, or find yourself using credit for every day expenses, you’re already in trouble.
  • Think before you buy. Do not pay for things using credit without thinking about how it could affect your budget first. Make sure you will have the means to make payments on your purchase before you swipe your credit card.

For more information on Get Smart about Credit or to schedule a presentation for your school/event, contact OVB Financial Literacy Leader Hope Roush at

Saving Money In College

Jar with label and money on the table.

College is an exciting time. For many college freshmen it’s the first step to “freedom.” However, with that freedom often comes a new responsibility; managing money on your own for the first time. Doing so without the watchful eye of mom and dad can be quite stressful as well. There are ways to avoid becoming the “broke college student” stereotype. Being mindful of your finances and creating a budget is step number one.

A college student’s budget doesn’t have to be overly complicated. A simple budget outlining how much money you receive and what your expected expenses are each month is a good way to start. Adding an allowance for extra activities, such as special events, games and concerts, is another aspect to include in your budget. By setting an allowance, you are less likely to overspend. This also means you will still have money available for necessary purchases, such as textbooks and meal plan costs.

Opening a checking account is another great tool for college students to better manage their money. Not only does a checking account provide a safe and secure place to keep money, it also can make sticking with a budget easier. At Ohio Valley Bank, customers’ ages 16-25 are eligible to open a Right Start Checking account. This account is perfect for students on a tight budget as there is no monthly service fee. Right Start Checking customers are also allowed five free non-OVB ATM transactions per month. In addition, Right Start Checking enables access to eDelivery statements as well as free online and mobile banking. Mobile banking is especially beneficial to college students who are attending school away from home. Through this feature, students are able to deposit a check using their smartphone from the comfort of their dorm room! By taking advantage of mobile banking students can keep their relationship with their hometown bank.

There are other steps college students can take to cut costs. We recommend the following tips to make the most of your college experience without breaking the bank:

1. Look for student discounts. Many businesses and restaurants offer student discounts, however this is not always advertised. Make sure to keep your college I.D. with you at all times and ask if there are student discounts available. This can help you save tremendously.

2. Avoid spending too much on textbooks. Of course textbooks are a necessary item for most classes, however the cost for such items can vary greatly. Most new versions of textbooks in campus bookstores will carry a high price tag. However, many bookstores offer cheaper, used versions of the same textbooks for purchase at a much lower cost. In addition, retailers such as, usually offer textbooks at a significantly reduced price. At the end of the semester, most bookstores will allow you to sell back your textbooks as well.

3. Limit off campus dining. If you are already paying for a college meal plan, make sure you are actually using it. While it may be tempting to frequent restaurants with friends or order pizza with roommates, it can also be a contributing factor to quickly running out of spending money.

4. Avoid extra ATM charges. Be careful when using ATMs that are not affiliated with your financial institution. Additional service fees often result if you do not have an account with the ATMs institution. If your bank does not have an ATM near campus, take advantage of cash back opportunities when using your debit cards at businesses that offer this service, such as grocery stores. Also, ask your bank if they belong to a surcharge free network such as Money Pass.

5. Use credit wisely. College might be a time when you get your first credit card. However, it’s important to remember that a credit card doesn’t equate to “free money.” A credit card can be a great way to build your credit if you use it responsibly. Make sure to not spend more than you have with a credit card. Only use the card when you know you have enough money to pay the balance. Before choosing a credit card be sure to research the card’s annual percentage rate as well as any annual fees and penalty fees that might be associated with it.

6. Consider working a part-time job. If you have time to balance a part-time job while you are in school it can be a good way to earn extra money. Many colleges offer work study programs on campus to qualifying students.
7. SAVE. Even though college budgets are usually pretty tight, try to always keep money aside in savings. Saving money while in college can help you pay off your debt faster when you graduate. It’s never too early to think about your future, especially when it comes to your finances.

College is a time of learning, growth, and excitement. Hopefully these tips will help you on your successful college journey. Best wishes for what is sure to be a wonderful school year!

Back to School Time

Back to school vector sketch lettering and hand drawn watercolor alarm clock.

It’s back to school time!


Now that students have soaked up the summer sun, it’s time to dust off the books and head back to school.

A new school year brings with it change as well as many new challenges. Often these challenges can cause many parents financial stress. From the increasing costs of school supplies, clothing, athletics, and meals, many families find their budgets becoming a little tighter during the academic year. However, there are ways to save money with proper planning.

When it comes to school lunches the amount parents spend can vary greatly. Fortunately in our local area, many schools offer a free lunch program. However, if your child’s school does not have such program in place or if you have a picky eater you can still find ways to cut costs. Budgeting is key when making school lunches. Advance planning is also helpful. By knowing about how much lunch costs will be you can create menus early. Take advantage of coupons and deals when grocery shopping. In addition, stock your pantry with lunch items that have a long shelf life so you will be set for weeks to come. Involve your child in the planning of meals as well. Not only do they learn a financial lesson on budgeting and costs, but it also assures that the food you pack won’t go to waste.

School supplies are another costly back to school expense. If you missed out on your state’s tax free holiday or if your state did not have such event, there are still ways you can save money. With many retailers having rolled out their school supplies mid-summer, now is the time to check for sales. Once your child begins classes be sure to look through their school provided items. If you purchased items that the school also provided, either return your items or put them aside for next school year. In addition, many schools gladly accept donations of school supplies.

If you still haven’t finished your back to school clothes shopping, check area retailers for seasonal sales. Generally as late fall/winter clothing are already front and center on the racks in most stores, many retailers often have their summer/early fall clothing prices slashed. Taking advantage of off-season sales can make a huge difference on your wallet. Keep this in mind as you shop throughout the school year as well. Also, take advantage of your local consignment shops. Many consignment shops offer fashionable clothing for kids at a significantly lower price. Purchasing clothing at consignment shop prices also can be the perfect opportunity for parents who find themselves buying more kids clothing than usual due to their child’s ongoing growth spurts. In addition, many consignment shops will offer credit in exchange for gently used clothes.

Locally, Cabell County students returned to school last week. Other area schools are scheduled to start on the following dates:


  • Jackson City Schools – Wednesday, August 17
  • Wellston Local Schools – Wednesday, August 17
  • Gallia County Schools – Wednesday, August 17
  • Mason County Schools – Thursday, August 18
  • Oak Hill Union Local Schools – Monday, August 22
  • Gallipolis City Schools – Tuesday, August 23
  • Meigs Local Schools – Wednesday, August 24
  • Western Local Schools – Wednesday, August 24
  • Southern Local Schools – Wednesday, August 24
  • Waverly City Schools – Thursday, August 25
  • Eastern Local Schools (Pike) – Thursday, August 25
  • Eastern Local Schools (Meigs) –Thursday, August 25


Ohio Valley Bank offers best wishes for another great school year. For information on OVB’s financial literacy programs, visit or e-mail OVB Financial Literacy Leader Hope Roush at

Ohio’s “Tax Free” Weekend Kicks-Off Aug. 5

Back to School.

It’s Back To School Time!

Temperatures might still feel hot, but summer is already coming to a close as students prepare to head back to school in the coming weeks.

Going back to school means it’s time for most students to stock up on school supplies. As new clothing for school as well as other items, such as binders and notebooks, can be quite pricey it is a good idea to take advantage of Ohio’s upcoming tax free weekend. The tax free weekend begins Friday, Aug. 5 at midnight and will continue through Sunday, Aug. 7 at 11:59 p.m.

The tax free holiday will give customers and students the chance to purchase many school-necessary items at a lower price. Items that will be exempt from sales and use tax include clothing priced at $75 per item or less; school supplies priced at $20 per item or less; and school instructional material priced at $20 per item or less. Ohio is one of only 20 states participating in this year’s tax free holiday.

Clothing is perhaps one of the most expensive items needed for school, and tax free weekend is the perfect time to buy. Since the rule states under $75 PER individual item, you may purchase any number of clothing pieces within that price. Most clothing that meets the under $75 price tag is included in the tax free holiday. Examples of items not eligible include sports equipment, such as ballet shoes, spiked athletic shoes; and mouth guards. Accessories, such as hair bows, purses, wallets, and sunglasses, also are not eligible. Items purchased for use in a trade or business are also excluded.

According to the following types of clothing are under the tax free umbrella:

  1. Shirts
  2. Blouses
  3. Sweaters
  4. Pants
  5. Shorts
  6. Skirts
  7. Dresses
  8. Uniforms (athletic and nonathletic)
  9. Shoes
  10. Underwear/socks/hosiery/pantyhose/
  11. Coats and jackets
  12. Gloves/mittens/hats/caps/ear muffs
  13. Belts
  14. Neckties and scarves
  15. Aprons (household and shop)
  16. Lab Coats
  17. Bathing suits and caps
  18. Baby receiving blankets
  19. Diapers (including children and adult)
  20. Formal Wear and wedding apparel

With a large variety of basic school supplies eligible for the tax free holiday, plan to save money on these items as well. School supplies accepted include: binders; book bags; calculators; cellophane tape; blackboard chalk; compasses; composition books; crayons; erasers; folders (expandable, pocket, plastic, and manila); glue; paste; paste sticks; highlighters; index cards; index card boxes; legal pads; lunch boxes; markers; notebooks; paper; loose leaf ruled notebook paper; copy paper; graph paper; tracing paper; manila paper; colored paper; poster board; construction paper; pencil boxes and other school supply boxes; pencil sharpeners; pencils; pens; protractors; rulers; scissors; and writing tablets. Items excluded from this list are taxable. In addition, any item purchased for use in a trade or business will not be tax free.

School instructional materials eligible for the tax free holiday include only the following: reference books; reference maps; globes; textbooks; and workbooks.

If you have a coupon offered by the retailer to reduce the price of an eligible item to $20, the item will qualify for tax exemption. For more information on what types of coupons/discounts accepted as well as more details regarding tax free weekend, visit

As always we encourage you to shop local and think Community First as you purchase your back to school necessities!

Save Money During Your Summer Vacation


School is out, the sun is beaming and temperatures are rising. This can only mean one thing: summer has arrived! Along with warmer weather, summer is typically vacation season for many families.


Summer vacations are a great way to relax and take in new experiences. However, the stress of money spent on trips can often damper the getaway fun. Typically food costs along with the expense of experiences during vacations means shelling out more cash than your budget generally allows.


With proper planning the stress of vacation money troubles can be eliminated. If you plan to fly, check for airlines that offer special deals, such as a free bag check. If this isn’t an option consider only bringing a carry-on for your trip. Take advantage of the free beverage and snacks available on the plane instead of spending money on overpriced food at the airport and during your flight. Avoiding extra airline fees can make a world of difference when it comes to vacation costs.

Read more of this post

OVB BANKit! wraps another successful year

By Hope Roush, OVB Financial Literacy Leader


The 2015-2016 school year ended about as quickly as it started. Once again Ohio Valley Bank worked to promote financial literacy within our area high schools. This year’s OVB BANKit! program took place in six participating schools.

The program, which was launched in 2010, reached students at Gallia Academy High School, River Valley High School and South Gallia High School in Ohio as well as Point Pleasant High School, Wahama High School and the Mason County Career Center in West Virginia. Approximately 360 students completed the program this year. Read more of this post

Presidential Trivia Time

A collage of various people appearing on United States currency

American presidents have been appearing on United States currency for almost 200 years now. Over that time designs have changed, denominations were introduced and removed from circulation, and the entire American economy has switched how it is backed. From starting with the silver standard, then to the gold standard, to being backed by no precious metals during the Civil War, then to a bi-metal standard, and finally to the gold standard again with the Gold Standard Act of 1900.

Several types of banknotes have been issued by the U.S. government over the years, with multiple types of banknotes even being circulated at the same time. Federal Reserve Notes were issued in 1914 and have been the only type of banknotes issued since 1971, which is the last year that United States Notes were issued. The present denominations of U.S. currency in production are $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100. U.S. coins are currently made in six denominations: cent, nickel, dime, quarter, half-dollar, and dollar. In honor of Presidents Day, here is a little bit of trivia regarding the POTUS that appear on those notes and coins:

  • Most Common: Our first president, George Washington, appears on the $1 bill. The average lifespan of these bills is just 22 months, thus their production accounts for approximately 45% of all U.S. paper currency.
  • Most Misunderstood: Thomas Jefferson is depicted on the $2 bill. Due to the bill’s low demand a very low number are printed. Since it is so infrequently seen in circulation, this has led to confusion among many as to the bill’s legitimacy as legal tender. The Treasury Department receives so many inquiries about this bill that they have included it on the FAQ portion of their website.a screenshot of explaining that $2 bills are valid legal tender
  • Still Standing: Ulysses S. Grant adorns the $50 bill, and has since 1913. This is despite two separate attempts by Congress to replace his likeness with that of Ronald Reagan.
  • About Face: President Abraham Lincoln’s profile graces the U.S. one-cent coin, and has the distinction of being the only person depicted facing right rather than left. According to the Treasury, they have no explanation for this and suggest it was a decision made by the original artist.
  • Isn’t it Ironic?: The $20 bill depicts 13th president Andrew Jackson, a fact he might not be too fond of. Jackson actually cautioned America to abandon the paper money system in his farewell address. Whoops.
  • Marching Forward: Franklin Delano Roosevelt has graced the dime since January 1946, just 11 months after he passed away. But why the dime? FDR founded the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis to help eradicate polio, the foundation had huge success with a campaign asking people to mail in just a dime to help support the cause. You may know the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis by another name though: The March of Dimes.
  • Hair Raiser: After the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Congress moved quickly to honor him. Originally intending to replace Washington on the quarter his widow, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, nixed the idea and less than a year after his death half-dollar coins bearing his likeness were issued. However the first proofs made were not met with the former First Lady’s approval as she felt the coins made JFK’s hair stand out too much. Changes to the dye made the president’s hair appear less prominent and the coins were released to the public. Those proofs became known as the “accented hair” half-dollars and are now quite valuable among coin collectors.
  • Double Duty: Several presidents appear on both paper currency as well as coins. President Abraham Lincoln has the distinction of appearing on both the $5 bill and the penny; and George Washington is on the $1 bill and the quarter; while Thomas Jefferson resides on the $2 bill as well as the nickel.


While we’ve focused on presidents appearing on currency and coins in production today, here are some bonus tidbits for you

  • Three historical figures share the distinction of having their likeness on United States money today: Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, and Sacagawea. Franklin appears on the $100 bill, and was of course one of America’s founding fathers, a noted inventor, author, scientist, and diplomat. Hamilton appears on the $10 bill, was another founding father, famous for writing The Federalist Papers, and was the first Secretary of Treasury. Sacagawea appears on the dollar coin, she was the Shoshone interpreter who was vital in guiding the famous Lewis and Clark expedition.
  • Despite having never been president, Benjamin Franklin has the distinction of appearing on the largest bill, as production of the $500, $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000 bills ended in 1959.
  • As mentioned above there have been two attempts to replace Ulysses S. Grant with Ronald Reagan on the $50 bill. In total however seven pieces of legislation have been introduced to put President Reagan on U.S. currency. Twice on the $50 bill, twice to replace Hamilton on the $10 bill, once to replace Jackson on the $20 bill, once to replace JFK on the half-dollar, and once to replace FDR on the dime.
  • President Woodrow Wilson made his appearance on the $100,000 bill. This note is the largest denomination of currency ever produced. It was used only for official transactions between Federal Reserve Banks and was not circulated among the general public.

Despite being a relatively young nation the currency of the United States has a long and interesting history, too varied to cover in this blog post. For example, did you know that Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court (and namesake of Marshall University) John Marshall was once featured on a $20 Treasury Note and a $500 Federal Note? It’s true! Also other presidents have been featured on U.S. money, including James Madison, Grover Cleveland, and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Recently the Treasury announced they were redesigning the $10 bill and launched to accept feedback and keep the public updated on their progress. Since the process of selecting portraits and designs of U.S. currency falls under the sole purview of The Secretary of the Treasury this level of transparency is unprecedented and of great interest to numismatics. If you are interested in learning more about America’s money we recommend visiting the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s website at and your local library.