Protect your finances with travel tips

2020 Travel TipsSummer is officially here. As the days are longer and the weather warmer, many folks are preparing for their annual summer vacation. While travel is an exciting time, it can pose a risk to your finances.

When planning for out of state travel it is important to cover all your bases, including your bank accounts. It is true that paying with debit and credit cards offer more security on larger purchases compared to cash only. This is because both debit and credit cards offer protections, such as zero-liability for fraud charges. Having this protection in place can ease anxiety and offer peace of mind while traveling.

At Ohio Valley Bank, protecting customers from fraud is a top priority. To do this there are protocol that sometimes may take place, such as a hold on a transaction that comes from an unknown location out of the bank’s general area. To avoid this potential headache and keep your travel carefree, Angie Kinnaird, OVB Assistant Vice President Bank Card Department, encourages folks to place a travel alert on all cards, including both debit and credit.

“If travel alerts are not placed, customers take the risk of their cards being blocked by Fraud Center detection as a precautionary measure of preventing fraud. When cards are blocked, customers would not have access to their funds until the customer can contact the FI to remove the block,” Kinnaird said.

Customers should place alerts on all cards they plan to use during travel. According to Kinnaird, customers should request travel alerts 24-48 hours prior to arrival.

“Customers are welcome to call, email or visit a local branch to report travel plans,” she said. “Any travel outside of local normal pattern of use or within a 40-50-mile range I strongly recommend a travel alert to avoid any inconvenience to the customer.”

Along with travel alerts, there are additional things you can do to make travel worry-free. We recommend the following tips:

  • Bring a minimum of two cards to use on vacation. Should one card have issues, you would be covered with having a second one available. Traveling as a couple? Even better. If you each bring a card, that will provide backup coverage.
  • Only use ATMs that look safe. Avoid ATMs in secluded or poorly lit locations. Check each device to confirm that the card reader does not appear to be tampered with or have a removable piece attached to it. If anything seems off, find another machine. Remember you can take advantage of cash-back options with your debit card at certain stores.
  • While on vacation, save all receipts. Should you have an issue arise, having your receipts available will help you identify the potential problem quicker.
  • Limit what you share on social media. While it is fun to post photos while on vacation it can put you at risk. If you have public social media accounts it is a good idea to share photos once you return home. Unfortunately, if criminals know you are out of town, they may seize the opportunity.
  • Pack a list of emergency phone numbers, including a number for your bank. Should any issues occur, having a list of contacts ready will help you get things solved faster and in turn, get you back to vacation-mode.
  • Keep your cash out of sight, in a secure place. While a vacation might make you more relaxed, you still need to be aware of your surroundings. Whether you are out shopping or in a public location, such as a restaurant or a beach, flashing cash can bring unwanted attention. Organize your money before heading out each day.
  • Make sure all Wi-Fi you connect to is secure. For example, if you are staying at a hotel ask what their official Wi-Fi network is. It is quite common for hackers to set up fake Wi-Fi networks at hotels. Often these networks appear to be legit and are set up to take advantage of unsuspecting guests.
  • Password protect all devices. You are only as strong as your password, but this mantra rings even more true during travel. Losing your phone, laptop or tablet can put your financial information at risk. By password protecting these devices, your information will be kept safe should these items fall into the wrong hands.

In addition to financial protection, there are additional travel concerns this summer due to COVID-19. For more information on how to travel safely during the pandemic, check out the CDC’s recommendations https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-in-the-us.html.

 

Contactless banking with OVB e-Services

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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to sweep the nation, we are finding ourselves more reliant on technology than ever before. From distance learning in schools to remote work environments, technology is making it possible to navigate our “new normal.” Many have also moved to safe and easy contactless banking through OVB NetTeller, OVB Line Telephone Banking, OVB Text Message Banking, and the OVB Mobile App.

“Our e-Services line of products offer numerous benefits,” Andrew Bush, OVB online banking manager, said. “First and foremost, among them is time and convenience. When you can pay your bills with our Online Bill Pay service, send money to a friend, see your balances, transactions and more all without needing to make a trip to your local branch, it frees you to do the things that matter most to you.”

Bush also described OVB’s e-Services products as an asset for dealing with the “new normal” that COVID-19 has created.

“Along with the time and convenience, I’d be remiss to not point out the peace of mind these products can provide. As the COVD-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on our daily lives, the ability to perform contactless banking is a huge relief to many,” he said.

Do you have older relatives who are less technology savvy, but unable to visit their branch due to being in a high-risk category for the virus? If so, you are not alone. According to Bush, ensuring that all of the bank’s e-Services products are user-friendly is the primary focus.

“One great thing about our e-Services platform is its ability to adapt to each user’s individual needs and habits. If they prefer to use a tablet or smartphone our OVB Mobile Banking app is available on both Android and iOS. Does your relative like using their desktop or laptop computer? No problem. They can log into NetTeller via our website, no app necessary,” Bush said. “What if your relative doesn’t like using computers at all? I’d invite them to use Text Message Banking, as well as our OVB Line service, which was recently upgraded to include new features.”

If you are not familiar with OVB’s e-Services options available, we are here to help! Perhaps you never gave them much thought before the pandemic or maybe you need a refresher? Below are the different e-Service options available at OVB:

  • Mobile Deposit – OVB Mobile Deposit has grown in popularity over the years and has become an especially helpful product during the pandemic. It is the fastest way to deposit funds safely. Deposits made before 5 p.m. eastern are processed on the same business day with funds available after nightly processing. To use this product, you must have either an Android or iPhone with the most current version of the OVB Mobile Banking app installed. Mobile Deposit is available for use on Android and Apple tablets with cameras as well. For more information, check out our Mobile Deposit FAQ.
  • Text Message Banking– Along with Mobile Deposit, additional Mobile Banking technology is a great asset to meet your banking needs. OVB’s Text Message Banking is a quick way to get your bank balance or recent history. To activate Text Message Banking, simply go to www.ovbc.com on a desktop or laptop computer. Sign in to NetTeller with your credentials and click on the Text Banking tab. From there you simply complete and submit the form. Once you confirm the information provided, you will receive a text confirming activation. Voila! Now you can comfortably bank via text.
  • OVB Line Telephone Banking – Would you rather not rely on your computer when it comes to banking? No problem. Check out OVB’s Line Telephone Banking at 888-FONE-OVB (that’s 88-366-3682). This service is available 24/7 to serve your basic banking needs, including getting your balance; listening to transaction history; deactivating your OVB debit card; reporting your lost or stolen card; transferring money between accounts; and making loan payments from your OVB account. OVB Line Telephone Banking was recently upgraded last month and now includes features such as voice recognition. You can also now activate your OVB debit card. More Info.
  • Benjamin Tracker – Looking for some budgeting help made easy? Check out OVB’s Benjamin Tracker. With the pandemic many folks have had to rework their budgets and this product is the perfect tool to help you stay on track. Benjamin Tracker enables users to manage their money, monitor spending, set goals, and actually see where their money goes. This free product is available through both NetTeller and the OVB App.
  • NetTeller – We have already mentioned NetTeller many times in this post as it is such a great tool to manage your banking from the comfort of home and when you are on the go. Through NetTeller you can easily check balances, make transfers, research transactions, and download all your financial information in the privacy of your home. Applying for NetTeller is a simple process, click here to get started.
  • Bill Pay – Looking for ways to make paying your bills quicker and easier? Simplify your process with Bill Pay. To get started, just click on the Bill Pay tab in NetTeller. From there you will be able to start paying your bills immediately. Bill Pay is free. A nominal fee applies for special services, such as FedEx rushed payments and stylized special occasion gift checks.

One of the best ways to keep up with OVB banking news and rates is by subscribing to Rate Watchers, which is a weekly newsletter. As the pandemic continues to bring many changes, Rate Watchers is a great way to keep up on your community bank’s updates. Also, don’t forget to stop by the bank’s COVID-19 update page for the latest banking-related pandemic news.

For more information on OVB’s e-Services options and to view tutorial videos on how to use the products, visit www.ovbc.com and click on the e-Services tab.

 

Summer financial fun

As we wrap a very unconventional academic year, plans are now underway for what could be an unusual summer. The COVID-19 virus has made life different for many people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to enjoy summer vacation.

There are many activities you can do as a family, such as movie and game nights; camping in your backyard; taking neighborhood walks; cooking meals together; working on home projects; and more. While many parents are likely exhausted from distance learning, it is still important to not only continue to teach children valuable lessons but spend quality time together as well. The world is different for all of us, and as things continue to rapidly change one of the best things we can do is enjoy time with our loved ones.

Financial literacy lessons do not have to be boring, in fact there are many fun activities that you can do with your kids. By using project and game formats, some children might not even realize that they are learning something too! As many folks are having to rework their budgets due to the virus, the importance of saving money is more vital than ever. It’s never too early to teach kids how to save their money and plan for the future. Here are some of our recommended financial activities that you can do as a family:

  1. Encourage competition. Sometimes a little sibling rivalry can be a good thing. Create a savings challenge. Urge kids to save their allowance funds as well as money they may receive from holidays and birthdays. Create a stats chart by using a dry erase board. Update the stats on a weekly basis – this visual aid will inspire your kids to keep saving with hopes of winning. As for the winner’s prize, add a bonus to their amount saved. If you are able, match the amount they saved as another incentive. For families with one child, perhaps work with neighbors and/or cousins for the savings competition. Send updated charts via email or have video call in sessions to keep momentum going.
  2. Let the kids decide on dinner. Do your children often complain about their meals? Here is a way they can pick what they want to eat, but with a twist. Provide your children with a “budget” and price various items in your pantry/refrigerator. Once they pick their recipe, they will need to see what ingredients their budget allows for. This not only encourages kids to spend wisely, but also shows them how to not be wasteful. Cook the meal together as a family. If you have leftovers, consider sharing with family and friends, but remember to practice social distancing.
  3. Create a “mock mall”. Put together various items from clothing and shoes to video games, movies, toys, and food. Let your kids use play money to shop. After they make their purchases, go over each item. Determine if each purchase is a want or a need. Discuss the value of the items as you emphasize the importance of spending wisely. For older children, consider giving them a pretend credit card as well, which will teach them to understand the cost of borrowing money.
  4. Plant flowers. Just like plants and flowers need regular maintenance and attention to grow, so does your bank accounts. Planting flowers together will allow you to spend quality time outside, while also learning an important financial lesson. Discuss how finances need regular maintenance just like plants. Explain how just like the seeds or initial flowers start small, savings accounts begin small too, but with regular maintenance and care they grow as well. This activity can span the entire length of summer vacation. Bonus? Flowers might just be what you need to brighten both your mood and yard.
  5. Create savings jars. To explain how saving works, this fun craft allows kids to use their artistic creativity. Use four jars to represent four ways to categorize saving: spend, give, grow, and save. Have your children label each jar and then decorate as they please. For more on this activity, check out our video lesson here.
  6. Pizza party game. Generally, most kids love pizza, so this activity is just the thing to keep them happy while learning valuable financial skills. Whether you order pizza or make your own, use the pizza to showcase the basics of budgeting. For example, the pizza represents your family’s monthly income, while each slice represents its own expense category, such as utilities; food costs; taxes; childcare; entertainment; and more. The best part? You can enjoy a family pizza night together afterwards!
  7. Make movie night a learning experience. While movie theaters across the country are currently closed due to COVID-19, you can still demonstrate the cost of entertainment activities by setting up your personal family theater experience. Have each child pick a movie to watch first. From there, create pretend tickets as well as a snack bar featuring delicacies, such as microwave popcorn, soda, and candy. Switch off between yourself and your children when it comes to “working” the home theater. Using play money, have each family member purchase their own ticket and snack item of choice. This game teaches kids the expense of entertainment activities, while also showing how to budget money properly. For example, they might decide to share a bag of popcorn with their siblings, so they have enough left to spring for candy too.
  8. Play with “coin caterpillars”. A popular financial activity for younger children is the coin caterpillar game. It works by using coins to create wiggly lines on a piece of paper. Children are encouraged to draw their caterpillar’s legs and antennae. Once their caterpillar is finished, have children count the coins to determine the value of their new insect friend. This activity not only teaches addition skills, but also helps youngsters differentiate between the types of coins.
  9. Uncover a secret message by determining what is a want and what is a need. Check out our wants vs. needs activity here. Write down the items on the list shown in the video on either a dry erase board or large piece of paper. Have your children play the game by deciding which item is a want and which is a need. As done in the video, circle the first letter of the items that are wants. Once finished, reveal the secret message!
  10. Show the importance of giving back. We strive to make Community First our focus at OVB. We encourage our neighbors to apply that mission to their daily lives as well, which will ultimately make us a stronger community. The importance of community is stronger than ever. It is never too soon to share with your children the importance of giving back. While in-person volunteering may not be available, there are many other things you can do while still practicing social distancing. For example, use your quarantine time to go through each family member’s closet and select items for donation. Search your pantry to gather items to donate. Many food banks are still in need of donations. Make sure to call your donation place of choice before going to see what their drop-off procedures are.

These are just some of the many ways to help kids grasp the concept of saving, budgeting, and managing their money wisely, while also having fun as a family. Another step you can take to teach your children about finances is to include them in family money discussions. For example, show them how you budget for monthly expense. Also, consider opening a savings account for your child. You can easily open a student savings account online at www.ovbc.com.

For more financial literacy video lessons and activities, check out our new Virtual Classroom. Remember to visit frequently as we plan to continue adding new content.

OVB BANKit recognizes program winners

Pink piggy bank with a dollar bill in the slotThe 2019-2020 academic year was certainly different, but thanks to support from area teachers and schools, Ohio Valley Bank was once again able to offer the BANKit program.

OVB partnered with area high schools in Ohio and West Virginia to present the program, which brings real life banking lessons to the classroom. Lessons are presented throughout the entirety of the academic year or semester. Created in 2010, OVB BANKit utilizes a game format, where students open mock bank accounts, including savings, checking, money market and certificate of deposit. Students also have the option to both buy and sell shares of Pseudosoft stock, the fictional OVB BANKit company. In addition, students draw a “Real Life” card for each BANKit session, which may provide them with unexpected cash or force them to pay a bill. Students are expected to manage their accounts throughout the program with the goal being to end the year with the highest portfolio total.

OVB BANKit features a variety of banking lessons, including:

  1. Bank account types
  2. Check writing as well as basic bank paperwork, including deposits and withdrawals
  3. Credit/Credit Scores/Credit Reports
  4. Debit vs. Credit
  5. Budgeting
  6. Identity Theft

While this school year presented challenges due to flu outbreaks in February and eventual closures due to COVID-19, thanks to cooperation with partnered teachers, the program was still able to wrap in an adjusted format. Teachers were sent BANKit materials and lessons to include in their distance learning plans, while student portfolio totals were updated and adjusted to close out the academic year. OVB Financial Literacy Leader Hope Roush commended area teachers for being both flexible to work with as well as their efforts to still have a successful BANKit year.

“The teachers and schools we partner with for OVB BANKit have always been very welcoming and excellent to work with. This year was quite different, but we were able to make things work. I am still proud to recognize this year’s program winners,” Roush said. “I appreciate the work our area teachers do not only with our program, but also with their own class curriculum. Our teachers have stepped up in a time of crisis to make sure our area kids continue to get an education. That is the epitome of Community First, which is something we value very much at OVB.”

OVB BANKit reached students at Gallia Academy High School and River Valley High School in Ohio as well as Point Pleasant High School and Wahama High School in West Virginia. Due to scheduled visits being canceled with school closures, South Gallia High School and Mason County Career Center BANKit sessions were unable to be completed, however both schools are still valued partners with the program. Approximately 352 students completed the program this academic year.

Once again, this year’s OVB BANKit program was competitive across the board. All participating students did a great job, however, a few stood out as the overall BANKit winners at their respective schools.

Congratulations to the following school winners:

  1. River Valley High School (semester 1): Elijah Garnes
  2. River Valley High School (semester 2): Shaelyn Huffman
  3. Gallia Academy High School: Brant Rocchi
  4. Point Pleasant High School: Cheyenne Durst
  5. Wahama High School: Wesley Plants

Individual classroom winners also included the following students:

  1. River Valley High School: Nathan Brown, Morissa Barcus, Ethan Campbell and Eric Swartz
  2. Gallia Academy High School: Yahshua Parks, Aryan Cox, Grantland Bryan and Tristan Preece
  3. Point Pleasant High School: Brady Sayre, Blake Towe, Caleb Stewart and Kaydean Ella
  4. Wahama High School: Kody Hollis, Chris Jones and Dalton Berkley

Winners are typically awarded a prize at the end of the program, however as final in person visits were canceled, prizes were either awarded as bonus points to final class grades or will be presented during the upcoming academic year.

Finally, OVB also wants to give special recognition to South Gallia High School’s Jeff Fowler, who will be retiring this month after many years of incredible service to his community and students. Fowler has been a wonderful support system for OVB’s education programs, especially BANKit, and will be greatly missed.

“It’s been a pleasure to work with Mr. Fowler over these past several years. When I started this job, he welcomed me into his class as if we were old friends. He is supportive of BANKit as well as OVB. He always brought his students to the bank’s annual shareholders meeting as he not only wanted them to learn, but also wanted to stress the importance of community. I, along with my fellow OVB bankers, wish him a happy, well deserved retirement,” Roush said.

For more information on OVB BANKit and other financial education programs, e-mail hdroush@ovbc.com. Also, be sure to check out our new Virtual Classroom, which has a variety of financial lessons and activities.

 

OVB celebrates Get Smart About Credit campaign

October might bring spooky frights with Halloween, but it’s also when the American Bankers Association celebrates its Get Smart About Credit campaign. While Oct. 17 was designated as Get Smart About Credit Day, OVB has celebrated the initiative all month with plans to continue doing so this fall and winter.

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OVB Financial Literacy Leader Hope Roush presents Adventures in Credit to area elementary school.

Get Smart About Credit is a national campaign comprised of bank volunteers who help youth understand credit and other important financial lessons. Now in its 17th year, this year’s event once again reached children across the country. According to the ABA, the primary purpose of Get Smart About Credit is to prepare students to join the workforce by making sure they have an understanding of credit and other money management skills.

OVB celebrated Get Smart About Credit Day at Point Pleasant High School on Oct. 17. The credit lesson was worked into the OVB BANKit program, which features interactive lessons on financial topics throughout the school year. OVB also presented credit focused lessons at River Valley High School. Additional credit presentations are scheduled to take place later this fall at area high schools in both Ohio and West Virginia.

Michelle Alderman, personal finance teacher at River Valley High School, emphasized the importance of teaching students how credit works.

“I think it is important for students to learn about credit early because for some in just a couple of years they will be out in the ‘real world’ making financial decisions for themselves,” Alderman said. “During the credit lessons covered by myself and through the OVB BANKit program, students learn that credit can be a positive and negative source in their lives. Students do not have any experience with credit at this point and these lessons illustrate how interest, time and monthly payments can affect the amount borrowed. We also discuss how credit can affect their ability to obtain employment and finance certain items they will need later in life. Credit is an important lesson and should be touched on as much as possible to prepare these students for borrowing for college, a home or automobile.”

In addition to OVB BANKit, credit lessons are incorporated into OVB’s other financial education programs, which include elementary grade levels. OVB plans to present Adventures in Credit, featuring the Centsables, at area elementary schools this fall and winter. The presentation includes an interactive lesson where students must help their superhero friends determine whether or not to use credit for the purchase of a new mega bike. As students learn the pros and cons of credit, they also get experience in calculating the cost of interest.

Get Smart About Credit teaches students that credit education is more than paying for college, credit cards and loans. The campaign aims to show that a true understanding of credit also encompasses budgeting, credit report comprehension and identity protection. By promoting these important lessons in area schools, OVB hopes to make an impact on our future community leaders.

Looking for ways to work in the Get Smart About Credit initiative at home with your family? We’ve got you covered with these helpful tips:

  1. Pay your bills on time. This sounds like a simple concept, right? However, too often people find themselves making late credit card payments. To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, set up alerts on your phone as a reminder to get those bills paid on time. If you are able, pay your bill in full. If not, at least make sure to pay the minimum when due.
  2. Watch for warning signs of credit trouble. If you find yourself using credit for all purchases or always making late payments and/or barely scraping by to afford your minimum amount due, you’re already in trouble. The best thing to do in this situation is pay what you can and avoid making any more purchases with your credit card. If you are feeling overwhelmed ask your bank if they have any suggestions to help you get back on track.
  3. Budget, budget, budget. Setting and sticking with a budget is the first step to financial freedom. By adhering to a spending plan and working to build your savings, you will be less likely to overspend on credit cards, which will also help you save on added fees, such as interest costs.
  4. Think before you spend. Often those who encounter credit issues make the common mistake of purchasing items via credit without truly thinking about what it is they are purchasing. Do not pay for things using credit without understanding how it may affect your budget first. Make sure that you will have the means to make payments on your purchase before you reach for the credit card.
  5. Take advantage of your annual free credit report. It is recommended to have your credit checked annually to review for any possible errors on inaccuracies. By doing this you also help protect yourself against the dangers of identity theft. Check your credit for free annually by going to annualcreditreport.com, the official site set up by law from the three national credit reporting agencies. Be sure to type in the address exactly as is since there are many “lookalike” sites, which can charge you for the report or a subscription fee as well as collect information from you for marketing purposes.
  6. Utilize your bank services. Banks are more than money in a vault. They offer valuable services that students can benefit from, including student checking accounts, debit cards, mobile and online banking, balance alerts, personal loans, direct deposit and more. OVB also offers Benjamin Tracker, a helpful tool to help you stick with your budget and not overspend. In addition, OVB also offers a variety of financial education programs.
  7. Ask questions. Whether you are a student looking for advice or an adult wanting to improve your financial circumstances, ask for help. Your local banker is a great place to start.

For more information on OVB’s financial education programs or to schedule a presentation, e-mail OVB Financial Literacy Leader Hope Roush at hdroush@ovbc.com.

 

 

Share the season without breaking the bank

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Did you know that the average person spends more than $1,000 on holiday shopping? And that doesn’t include travel, entertainment and all the other fun stuff the holidays entail.

That’s why Benjamin Tracker from Ohio Valley Bank wants to help you stay on top of your spending now, before it turns into a blizzard of bills in January.

It’s easy to set spending targets with Benjamin Tracker. And once you have them, they can keep you grounded when the festivities get going in earnest.

Setting spending targets may be the best decision you make all season! And we’ve made sure doing it is just as easy.

There are other great features that Benjamin Tracker provides like monthly cash flow, spending patterns and the like.

But let’s keep it simple. Set your spending targets before the holidays heat up. You’ll be glad you did.
How to Set a Spending Target Read more of this post

OVB Boot Camp brings financial fun to 4-H

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Campers learn how to budget with candy.

Summer and 4-H camp go together like peanut butter and jelly. Ohio Valley Bank was pleased to once again teach a class at Mason County 4-H Camp this year. The class, OVB Boot Camp, was offered at both older and younger camps.

OVB Boot Camp has become a tradition in Mason County 4-H, and several campers returned to enjoy this year’s class. In addition, several new campers participated as well. In total, 21 campers completed the program.

“I really enjoy seeing familiar faces return and choose to take our OVB Boot Camp class each year. It’s nice to see their progress. It’s especially enjoyable when a camper moves up from younger to older camp and continues to take the class. We really get to know many of these kids and it is so much fun seeing them learn and grow,” Hope Roush, OVB financial literacy leader, said. “I also enjoy welcoming new campers into the OVB Boot Camp family. I really like seeing the veteran campers take an active role in helping the first-timers because it again shows me how much they’ve learned.”

OVB Boot Camp covered a variety of financial topics at both camps. Lessons were presented in a fun, interactive format. For example, students had to make financial decisions based on a candy budget. Additional lessons and games included the following:

  1. Basic account types
  2. Basic bank paperwork, including check writing as well deposits/withdrawals
  3. Interest
  4. Debit vs. Credit
  5. Budgeting

Along with each daily lesson, campers participated in a game where they had to juggle a mock portfolio of their bank accounts. Each day they drew a Real Life Card, which either required them to pay a bill or provided them with unexpected cash. Campers also had an opportunity during this time to make deposits and withdrawals from their accounts. In addition, campers could choose to give in to their sweet tooth temptation and spend their money on snacks or continue to save. This year’s older camp portfolio winner was Olivia Stanley, while Audrey Reynolds took top honors at younger camp.

On the final day of both camps all accounts were liquidated. Campers had the opportunity to use their mock money to bid on real prizes at the annual OVB Boot Camp auction. Everyone was able to purchase at least one fun item. Prizes included a range of snacks, toys, games, movies and gift cards. Campers were excited to take home all of their purchased prizes.

“The auction is really fun for our campers, but more importantly it’s where they really see the importance of saving money and making wise budget choices. They quickly learn that the kids who practiced those skills have the advantage as they are able to provide the highest bids for the more popular prizes. It’s another way to really show them the value of money in a semi-real world setting,” Roush said.

Both older and younger campers did a great job this year. Campers showed how much they learned every day with banking trivia and other activities. Camper Molly Fisher has taken the OVB Boot Camp class many times and said that she always learns something new.

“In OVB Boot Camp I learned about investing in the stock market, money market accounts, certificate of deposits and much more. The valuable knowledge I have gained in this class will help me with my future endeavors. This class was very beneficial to me,” she added.

Camper Lyndsey Ward, like Fisher, is another camper who has participated in OVB Boot Camp multiple times. As this was Ward’s first time in older camp, she said she was able to learn even more money management skills.

“I also learned about credit and debit cards. This is my favorite class and I learned the most here,” she added.

Camper Riley Oliver described OVB Boot Camp as a good place to learn the importance of budgeting.

“I learned how to control my money. I learned how to work with banks on loans and other things. I also learned about how interest works with credit cards,” he said.

Camper Kate Henderson agreed that learning about budgeting was important.

“In OVB Boot Camp I learned how to manage my money. I learned the different types of accounts you can have and the rewards and consequences of each. I also learned how to write a check and how to do deposit and withdrawal slips,” she said.

Camper Aiden Wallis said the budgeting game was fun because it made him appreciate his parents.

“I had to think about what my parents spend and pay each month,” he said. “I also learned how to save money and how you need to pay for insurance.”

Credit vs. Debit was an interesting lesson for Camper Cara Russell.

“I’ve learned a lot in OVB Boot Camp. One thing I learned was the difference between debit and credit cards. I also learned some of the downfalls you can encounter with a credit card. This class was really fun and I’m ready to come back again next year,” Russell said.

OVB Boot Camp was created in 2005. To schedule OVB Boot Camp or for more information on the bank’s other financial education programs, contact Roush at 740-578-3452 or e-mail hdroush@ovbc.com.

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OVB ready for Get Smart About Credit campaign

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Halloween is just around the corner. While ghosts and goblins might scare you, don’t let your credit do the same. To help promote the importance of maintaining good credit, Ohio Valley Bank is once again taking part in the American Bankers Association’s Get Smart About Credit initiative.

Get Smart About Credit is a national campaign comprised of bank volunteers who help youth understand credit and other important financial lessons. Now in its 16th year, this year’s event will again reach children across the country. Get Smart About Credit Day will be held Thursday, Oct. 18, however, OVB is set to celebrate the event throughout the month of October and the fall season.

Credit lessons will be incorporated into OVB’s financial education programs, which include elementary through high school grade levels. OVB will present Adventures in Credit, featuring the Centsables, to area elementary schools. Get Smart About Credit lessons will also be a focus in the OVB BANKit program, which is currently being conducted on a monthly basis at six local schools in Ohio and West Virginia.

The primary purpose of Get Smart About Credit is to prepare students to join the workforce by making sure they have a strong understanding of credit and other money management skills. Get Smart About Credit works to teach students that credit education is more than paying for college, credit cards and loans. The campaign aims to show that a true understanding of credit also encompasses budgeting, credit report comprehension and identity protection. By promoting these important lessons in area schools, OVB hopes to make an impact on our future generations.

Looking for ways to improve your credit or topics to help teach your kids about credit? We’ve got you covered with these helpful tips:

  1. Pay your bills on time. This sounds like a simple concept, right? However, too often people find themselves making late credit card payments. To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, set up alerts on your phone as a reminder to get those bills paid on time. If you are able, pay your bill in full. If not, at least make sure to pay the minimum when due.
  2. Watch for warning signs of credit trouble. If you find yourself using credit for all purchases or always making late payments and/or barely scraping by to afford your minimum amount due, you’re already in trouble. The best thing to do in this situation is pay what you can and avoid making any more purchases with your credit card. If you are feeling overwhelmed ask your bank if they have any suggestions to help you get back on track.
  3. Budget, budget, budget. Setting and sticking with a budget is the first step to financial freedom. By adhering to a spending plan and working to build your savings, you will be less likely to overspend on credit cards, which will also help you save on added fees, such as interest costs.
  4. Think before you spend. Often those who encounter credit issues make the common mistake of purchasing items via credit without truly thinking about what it is they are purchasing. Do not pay for things using credit without understanding how it may affect your budget first. Make sure that you will have the means to make payments on your purchase before you reach for the credit card.
  5. Take advantage of your annual free credit report. It is recommended to have your credit checked annually to review for any possible errors on inaccuracies. By doing this you also help protect yourself against the dangers of identity theft. Check your credit for free annually by going to annualcreditreport.com, the official site set up by law from the three national credit reporting agencies. Be sure to type in the address exactly as is since there are many “lookalike” sites, which can charge you for the report or a subscription fee as well as collect information from you for marketing purposes.
  6. Utilize your bank services. Banks are more than money in a vault. They offer valuable services that students can benefit from, including student checking accounts, debit cards, mobile and online banking, balance alerts, personal loans, direct deposit and more. OVB also offers Benjamin Tracker, a helpful tool to help you stick with your budget and not overspend. In addition, OVB also offers a variety of financial education programs.
  7. Ask questions. Whether you are a student looking for advice or an adult wanting to improve your financial circumstances, ask for help. Your local banker is a great place to start.

For more information on OVB’s financial education programs or to schedule a presentation, e-mail OVB Financial Literacy Leader Hope Roush at hdroush@ovbc.com.

OVB BANKit back in action

It might feel like summer with these recent sizzling temperatures, but the 2018-2019 academic year is well underway. With school in session, Ohio Valley Bank has once again resumed their BANKit program in area high schools.

The OVB BANKit program, which spans the entire length of the school year, reached approximately 390 students last year from participating schools in Ohio and West Virginia, including Gallia Academy High School, South Gallia High School, River Valley High School, Point Pleasant High School, Wahama High School, and the Mason County Career Center, which is comprised of students from Point Pleasant, Wahama and Hannan High Schools. Students ranged from freshmen to senior grade levels.

Created in 2010, the OVB BANKit program brings real-life banking lessons to the classroom in a fun, interactive format. OVB Financial Literacy Leader Hope Roush conducts each lesson, which typically takes place on a monthly basis at each participating school. The program works as a game in which students are given $100 in “buzz bucks,” the OVB BANKit currency. Students have the option to invest their buzz bucks as they wish among different accounts, including CDs, money market, basic checking and savings. They also have the option to purchase and sell shares of stock in the game’s mock company, Pseudosoft.

During each visit students draw a Real Life Card, which may force them to pay an unforeseen bill or provide them with expected cash. Students also have a chance to manage their banking and make deposits/withdrawals in their accounts. This interactive portion of the program is essential as students learn to fill out basic bank paperwork as well as practice vital money management skills.

In addition to the game aspect, each BANKit visit includes a lesson on a financial topic. Lessons set for this academic year include:

  1. Basic differences in bank account types
  2. Filling out bank paperwork, such as deposits and withdrawals; check writing; updating check register
  3. Reading a bank statement
  4. Credit/Cost of Credit/Credit Reports/Credit Scores
  5. Budgeting
  6. Identity Theft
  7. Credit vs. Debit
  8. Interest

For more information on the OVB BANKit program and other financial education programs, visit http://www.ovbc.com and/or contact Roush at hdroush@ovbc.com.

Don’t get bogged down by college costs

2018 College Savings Pic

Starting college is an exciting, challenging time for many young adults. With college comes new responsibilities, such as living away from home for the first time. One of the most difficult aspects of college is the expense.

Managing money as a college student can be made easier by opening a checking account. A checking account is a great tool that can help students stick to their budgets as well as keep money safe and secure. Students who will be going away to school can still choose the comfort of their hometown bank with Ohio Valley Bank’s Right Start Checking for customers ages 16-25. This account has no monthly service fee and allows five free non-OVB ATM transactions per month. In addition, Right Start Checking enables access to eDelivery statements and free online mobile banking. For students who are away at school, mobile banking is a great asset. Through this feature, students are able to deposit a check using their smartphone from the comfort of campus.

Parents should also make having a conversation about budgeting with their college-aged children a priority. By keeping the lines of communication open, college students may not feel as overwhelmed knowing they can still turn to parents for financial advice.

Creating a budget with your college student doesn’t have to be complicated. A simple budget outlining money coming in compared to projected monthly expenses is the first step. Once that has been determined, calculate an “allowance” amount, which can go toward the expense of extra activities including special events, games and concerts. Make sure to keep track of all expenditures. Take advantage of helpful budgeting tools, such as OVB’s Benjamin Tracker.

If you have a student starting college this fall, or are headed off to school yourself, we’ve put together some additional tips to help you stick to your budget:

  1. Explore campus events. It might be tempting to go out in your new college town, but with that comes added expense. Fortunately, most college campuses offer a variety of free or low-cost events to students. From concerts to dances to cook-outs, your university most likely has a schedule of campus events on tap.
  2. Seek out student discounts. You might be surprised at the amount of student discounts available. Most places that offer discounts simply need to see a copy of your student ID. If you aren’t sure where to start, visit your campus student union to see if they have a list of restaurants and businesses that offer student discounts.
  3. Sharing is caring. If you have roommates who don’t mind sharing, divvy up the items needed for your dorm/apartment to both save money and avoid having duplicates. Consider going in together for snacks, cleaning products, and other necessities. For example, splitting the cost of a coffee maker for your dorm can be a cost-saver in the long run as it will help you avoid the temptation of buying gourmet coffee every morning.
  4. Look for work study opportunities or a part-time job. If you are confident you can balance it with your classwork, a part-time job can be a great way to earn extra money while at school. If you qualify for a work study program, look into that opportunity. If not check out what part-time jobs are available on or close to campus. Even better if you can find a job that works as an internship, which could give you class credit as well as valuable experience.
  5. Purchase used textbooks if available. College textbooks can be very expensive, but are absolutely necessary. Many university book stores offer used textbooks at a much cheaper price. Also, a great way to make money is to sell your textbooks after the semester. Many campus bookstores will buy back both used and new textbooks. If you have a classmate you trust, consider going in together to purchase textbooks to share.
  6. Look for deals on computers. The start of the academic year usually brings sales on laptops and desktop computers. If you’ve already purchased your computer make sure to protect it with virus software. That may be an extra expense at first, but it will not only keep your computer secure but can save you money in the long run by avoiding repair costs. If a computer is simply out of your budget, fortunately most colleges have free computer labs on campus.
  7. Be wary of credit. Overusing credit cards is a common problem with all ages, but often first-time users are affected. If you have a credit card make sure to only use it knowing you will have the funds to make your payments on time. Avoid cards with an annual fee and look for ones with a low interest rate. Do not rely on credit for day-to-day expenses.
  8. Avoid eating out. It might be tempting to dine out with your friends, however, that can make quite a dent in your budget. If you are already paying for a school meal plan, absolutely make sure you are using it. When you want a change of pace split the cost of a pizza with roommates or plan on going out to eat only once a week if your budget allows.
  9. Cut cable. If your campus housing provides cable, great and lucky you. If not, cable is an expense that really isn’t necessary while in school. With the accessibility of streaming services you can easily survive without cable and your wallet will thank you.
  10. Look for free transportation. If you are on a large campus rather than drive everywhere wasting gas, see what type of free transportation is available. Many large campuses offer complimentary shuttle services to students. When going out with friends chip in for the cost of gas money or split the cost of a transportation service, such as Uber or Lyft.
  11. Watch application dates. Many scholarships renew as long as you fill out the necessary paperwork/application on time. Do not miss these dates as they could drastically affect the cost of your classes.
  12. Remember to save. Saving money might seem difficult when you are running a tight budget, but any amount can help you in the future. It’s a good idea to always have money tucked away in a savings account. Any amount you can save will be helpful, even if it’s the spare change you find in your car.
  13. Save on laundry expense. It’s always a great idea to do your laundry for free when you visit home on the weekends. However, if you aren’t able to do so consider purchasing a drying rack, which can help you save money by avoiding dryer expense. Keep a jar of change to use for laundry so you can avoid having to withdrawal cash from your account.
  14. Focus on school. The most important tip is to remember that classes should be your number one focus. By keeping school itself as your top priority you will be less likely to spend in other places.

Remember that college is an opportunity to grow into adulthood, and making sound financial decisions is the right step to being successful. OVB wishes all first-time and returning college students a great semester!