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Highmark Federal Credit Union

Highmark Helpers Blog

To inspire and educate our Highmark family so together all can achieve success. 


September 12, 2022 - What is MFA?

What is it?
Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) is the process of verifying that you are who you claim to be when logging in to a device or an account. If you're reading this from your work computer, you probably logged in to your computer - that's single-factor authentication. But single-factor authentication is no longer enough to keep your accounts secure. Learn more below about the various ways you can digitally authenticate your identity.
Understanding the Types of Identity Claim Factors:

Something you own.

This is using a mobile phone or device that you have in your possession to prove your identity. Typically, the device provides a code via an application, text message, email, or voice call. You then enter this code, and for successful authentication, your code must match what is expected by the service you’re attempting to log in to.

Something you know.

This is something you’ve memorized or stored somewhere, such as a PIN. You must supply the correct PIN to log in to your device or service.

Something you are.

This factor is something about your physical body that cannot be altered, such as your fingerprint or retina. Biometric scanners or readers are used to confirm you’re physically the person that you’re claiming to be.

Why do I need it?
In our digitally-driven world, passwords are no longer enough to keep your information safe. These days, it takes minimal effort for hackers to break into, or social engineer their way into, accounts that are only protected by passwords. Adding an extra step to access your accounts, such as entering an authentication code, means that hackers would also need to have your phone to break in.
Create an additional layer of security and make it harder for criminals to access your data by using two-factor or multi-factor authentication. Consult your IT or Security department to see if your organization has a preferred method of multi-factor authentication.

August 3, 2022 - 10 Ways to Save On Back-To-School Shopping

According to the National Retail Federation, the average American household spends $685 on back-to-school shopping for children in elementary through high school and $943 for young people going to college. Here are 10 ways to save this fall and throughout the year.

1. Create a checklist of items and stick to it.

Before you begin shopping, empty your kids’ backpacks to see what was left over from the previous year. Mark them off your checklist and then buy only the items still remaining.

2. Check to see if your state has a tax-free shopping holiday.

Some states hold tax-free holidays multiple times of the year for particular products. Check out to see if your state is one of them.

3. Consider shopping without the kids.

They’re more likely to fall for the strategically placed items stores want you to buy. Backpacks and notepads with your kids’ favorite superhero or Disney character can be 30% or more expensive than generic kinds. If your children insist they need an expensive, trendy backpacks, buy stickers and have them decorate their less expensive gear themselves.

4. Comparison shop online before going into stores.

You’ll save on time and gas money.

5. Give your kids a clothing budget and a list of necessities.

You decide what items they must have, then with the remainder of the budgeted money, let them choose what they want.

6. Set up e-mail alerts for sales.

Websites like,, and will let you know when coupons or great deals are available for specific items.

7. Buy school supplies in bulk.

Although you’ll have a large initial expense, in the long run the supplies will be cheaper, and you’ll have them on hand for several months.

8. Follow your favorite stores and brands on social media.

You’ll be one of the first to find out when they’re offering deals and special promotions.

9. Go to garage and yard sales (or consignment/used clothing stores) for clothing.

Websites like,, and are great online resources for finding bargains in your area.

10. Wait until August or September to buy your school supplies.

That’s when the prices drop significantly. You can even buy for the following year.

June 28, 2022 - Teach Kids Money Management With a Debit Card

Like many parents, you may have opened a savings account for your child when he or she was a baby. If you've been teaching them money management skills and they have shown financial responsibility, then, when they become teenagers, a debit card/checking account from Highmark Credit Union can be a great next step.

As kids hit middle-school age, they start spending more time with friends. That means you're not always around when they buy treats or movie tickets. Those early-teen years can be good opportunities for them to use a debit card and practice financial responsibility.

Though most teens, like most people, no longer write many checks, when the opportunity arises for your teen to write one, jump on it. For example, perhaps your teen pays part of the cell phone bill each month. Have your teen write a check to you for his or her part of the payment. It would be easier just to transfer money from your teen's account to yours but getting practice writing a check once in a while can be beneficial for them.

Explain to your teen the importance of keeping track of the balance in their account either by writing each transaction in a check register or by frequently checking their account online. Also remind your kid that online balances might not show the actual balance in the account if transactions haven't posted or if checks haven't been cashed.

Our team at Highmark is eager to help your teen take this next step financially. Stop by with your teen and we'll show them how to open an account of their own, as well as explain how to use a debit card and our online banking service. 

For those of you in the Gillette area, ask about our High School Mascot debit cards  - the Camels and the Bolts. 

June 21, 2022 - Tap Your Home's Equity

Was your home damaged by the recent hail and heavy windstorms that have been rolling through our area? If so, you might be needing to make repairs or make some changes to your home, and a  home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC) might be your best bet.

These loans let you borrow money using the equity in your home as collateral. Unlike almost any other consumer loan type, the interest on a home equity loan or HELOC of $100,000 or less is likely to be tax-deductible ($50,000 if married filing separately).

With a home equity loan, you borrow a lump sum of money repayable over a fixed term, usually 5 to 15 years, giving you the security of a locked-in rate and a consistent monthly payment. A HELOC is much like a credit card or any other type of open-ended credit. You can borrow money as needed, up to the credit limit your lender assigns, by making a transfer into your checking account. A HELOC is usually a variable-rate loan, so your monthly payments will change based on your outstanding balance and fluctuations in the prime rate.

Talk to the our lenders here at Highmark Credit Union today for more details about our home equity loan products. Stop by or call us at 800.672.6365

June 6, 2022 - 

From our friends at Savvy Money, here are some basic tips for savings at the pump:

With gas prices at an all-time high, some ways to save money at the pump

You’ve likely noticed that gas is extremely expensive right now. Your powers of observation are astute: Gas prices are actually at an all-time high. According to the app GasBuddy, the average price of a gallon of gas is now $4.72, the highest it has ever been. Now would be a good time to try and save on gas expenses. Here’s how to do that.

Use an App

Gas tracking apps like GasBuddy and AAA will help you find the cheapest gas near you. This is helpful, because the prices of gas can vary from town-to-town, even street-to-street.

Take Advantage of Clubs

Are you a member of Costco or Sam’s Club? If you are, fill your tank there. These retailers offer members discounted gas and that can save you a ton.

Use Cash

Another way to save money at the pump is to use cash. As USA Today notes, using cash can save you anywhere between 5 and 10 cents per gallon. That might not seem like a lot, but it adds up over time.

Get Rewards

You should sign up for gas station loyalty programs. Pretty much every station has some kind of program. Right now consumers who are members of 7-11’s program get an 11 cents per gallon discount on their first seven fill-ups.

Go Monday

If you can time it right, filling up on Mondays is the way to go. According to reports, Mondays are the cheapest day for gas. Sundays are the runners-up.


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