Banking

Are my deposit accounts FDIC insured?

Yes! Each individual customer's account is insured by the FDIC up to $250,000 per account.

How do I set up Direct Deposit of my payroll check?

After your checking application has been approved, you will receive our routing and transit number and your account number. If your employer participates in a direct deposit program, simply provide this information to the human resources or payroll department at your company, and your direct deposit will usually begin within thirty days.

Can I get information about my account by phone?

Yes! Account information is available 24 hours a day by calling our automated system, FIRSTConnection.

What products can I apply for online?

We have a variety of business and personal accounts. Check out the Personal Banking and Business Banking tabs to see which accounts you can apply for online.

Is interest paid on my checking account?

Yes! We have several accounts that pay interest. Check out the Personal Banking and Business Banking tabs to see which account is right for you.

Can I open an account if I don't live in the United States? What if I live in the United States but am not a citizen yet?

At this time, we only accept applications from persons residing within the United States with valid U.S. tax identification numbers. If you have questions, contact us. We'd like to hear from you.

Can I do all of my banking with you?

Yes! Thanks to the convenience of Direct Deposit and ATMs, everyday banking activities can be performed on your own time. Contact us with questions about your banking needs.

Can I look at all of my transactions at any time?

Yes! With Online Banking, you have access to your account information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!

How frequently is my information updated?

Your account information is updated every business day with new transactions that posted to your account the previous day.

Are wire transfers possible to and from my checking account?

Yes! Funds can be transferred to and from accounts by wire transfer or via ACH (Automated Clearing House) debits or credits. Contact us for details.

How do I make a deposit to my account from a remote location?

You can do most of your banking by using direct deposit, ATMs, ACH (Automated Clearing House) transactions, Mobile Banking, or Remote Deposit Capture. We also offer a bank-by-mail service, which allows you to mail non-recurring deposits. Contact us for details on a method that's best for you.

When do I have access to use online banking?

With online banking, you have access to your account information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!

Online Banking

What is online banking?

Online banking is a tool that allows you to use a personal computer with an internet connection to conduct your banking online.

What can I do with online banking?

You can view account balances and transaction history, transfer money, and download transactions to a personal financial manager and much more. Check out the online banking demo to see all the features of online banking and how you can personalize your online banking experience.

Is any of my personal information stored in the online banking product?

Yes, the online banking product stores your User ID, password and user preferences.

How current is my banking information?

Your account information is updated every business day with new transactions that were posted to your account the previous business day.

What accounts will I be able to access through online banking?

You can access your checking, savings, investment and loan accounts from the online banking service. Our online banking Product is intended to give you as much access, security, and versatility as possible.

How much account information can I view at once?

The system will automatically show the current month's transactions and information. However, by selecting User Preferences, you can choose to view the current month and the previous month. Or, you can choose to view your account from the current date to same date of the previous month.

Can I view my account details in more than one way?

Yes, you can view your accounts by date, check number, payee, amount or balance in ascending or descending order.

What formats can I download my transaction history in?

Online banking supports downloads to Quicken™, Microsoft Money™ or as a comma-delimited text file.

Can I schedule future transfers?

Yes, you can schedule future and recurring transfers.

When can I use online banking services?

With online banking, you have access to your account information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!

Is there a demo available for me to try?

Yes, we have an online banking demo that can be accessed by clicking on the “Online Banking Login” link.

How long can I be inactive before being logged out of the online banking product?

The inactivity time out default is set for 20 minutes. However, you can define the timeout period in the User Options area for 5, 10, 20, 45 or 60 minutes.

What is required to use the online banking service?

All you need to use online banking is a secure browser that supports 128 bit encryption. You can use any computer that has Internet access.

How do I access online banking?

You must first complete the online banking registration form and submit it to us. Once your registration is received we will process your request. You must have an existing checking, savings or loan account before banking online.

Can I create my own password that is easy for me to remember?

Yes, after you use your chosen password to log in for the first time, you can go to User Options and change your password.

What happens if I forget or lose my password?

Just call us and we will take you through the steps needed to get back into the system immediately!

Bill Pay

Is it possible to schedule recurring payments?

Yes. You can schedule weekly, semi-monthly and monthly recurring payments. The final payment of a recurring payment scheme is designated by a 'Final Payment Date.'

How do I register for electronic bill payment?

Bill Payment registration is easy! The first time you attempt to access the bill payment section of online banking, you will be prompted to begin online registration. You are first requested to read and accept the authorization disclosure. Failure to accept the disclosure terms prevents the registration process from proceeding.

Once the disclosure is agreed to, you complete the online registration form. The registration form is then forwarded to us for review. We are responsible for checking the information on the form and for assigning you a payment plan. The registration information is then transmitted to M&I Data Services for their approval process. After M&I approve the application, they send an acceptance 'welcome letter' to you via email. You should receive the welcome letter within 1-3 business days.

When I add a new payee to my bill payment account, or change my account number, how quickly will the change take place?

When you update the information for the bill payment account, the changes are implemented virtually instantaneously.

Can I receive an annual summary of my bill payments sorted by category or payee?

Not at this time.

Can I use electronic bill payment with all my accounts?

No, only checking accounts can be used for bill payment purposes.

When can I start using electronic bill payment?

You can begin bill payment once you have received both your Account ID and your Personal Security Code. These items are required for the initial bill payment logon screen.

When is bill payment available?

You can schedule payments 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Are my bill payment transactions reflected as online banking transactions?

All bill payment transactions become part of the online banking transaction history and show up in personal financial management applications when the transaction history is downloaded.

How do I add new payees?

You can add payees by accessing the Add Payee screen. New payees will be added to the payee list immediately.

Can bill payment be used when I am out of the country?

Bill payment provides you with peace of mind when you are traveling for an extended period of time. All you need is access to the Internet with a secure browser and you can pay your bills while out of the country. Payees must be located within the 50 United States and Territories.

Is there a limit to the number of bill payment accounts I can set-up?

Yes, you are limited to one bill payment account.

Who can be paid using the bill payment system?

Anyone in the 50 United States and territories who can accept a check can be paid using the bill payment system. You can pay practically anyone—charge accounts, utilities, auto loans, professionals, even a lawn service or a relative. However, tax payments (such as federal, state and local) and court directed payments (such as alimony and child support) cannot be processed through our online bill payment system.

Can I pay my bills on the weekend?

You can set up your payments during the weekend. However, the system will prohibit you from scheduling a single payment and the first of a recurring payment on the same weekend. This is because payments scheduled for the weekend are always processed on the Friday before. Therefore, when scheduling payments on a weekend, the first day for which you can schedule payments (single or recurring) is the first business day following the weekend. Generally, single or recurring payments that fall on a Saturday, Sunday or bank holiday are processed on the previous business day and are debited from your account within two business days. If a bank holiday falls on either a Friday or Monday, the debit will occur within three days.

If I schedule multiple bill payments for a single day, how will my account be debited- as a lump sum or separately?

Each bill payment is debited separately.

What if I do not have sufficient funds on the day FIS, our bill payment provider, debits my account?

Following is a summary of FIS's Insufficient Funds procedure:

A block will automatically be placed on all accounts that have an ACH debit returned to bill payment services. No additional bill payments will be processed until the account is properly funded and the return(s) cleared. If a payment request is received while the account is blocked, an email will be sent notifying you that the payment(s) will not be processed.

Upon the first return, FIS will automatically re-send all ACH returns under $100.00. Exception: debits for payments in which the credit portion was sent electronically will be resent regardless of the dollar amount without financial institution verification.

FIS will contact the financial institution to verify all returns exceeding $100.00. If funds are available, they will re-send the return(s). If funds are unavailable and if the payment was made by check, a stop payment will be placed.

Are all debits and credits sent out at the same time?

Yes, they are all sent out at the same time.

How is my account debited?

Your account is debited via ACH.

What is ACH?

Automated Clearing House is a funds transfer system which provides for the interbank clearing of electronic entries for participating financial institutions.

If I make an error in selecting an electronic payee and it results in a late fee, am I responsible for the charges?

If you select an electronic payee with an address that is different from that indicated on the payment coupon, then you are responsible for the late fee. You always have the option to manually enter a different address for a payee. If you select an electronic payee with the address that matches that indicated on the payment coupon, and M&I routes the payment incorrectly, then M&I data services will take responsibility for the late fee.

How do I place a 'stop payment' on a bill payment?

A payment may be edited or deleted anytime before the "process date." Payments that have been remitted electronically cannot be stopped.

EMV/Chip Card

What is a chip card?

As chip card technology will soon become the security standard in the U.S., many merchants are already beginning to accept chip card. You will enjoy greater security when making purchases at chip-enabled terminals since the chip provides better protection against counterfeit fraud. Chip technology is already used in over 130 countries around the world, including Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom.

A chip card is a standard-size plastic debit or credit card that contains an embedded microchip as well as the traditional magnetic stripe. You may hear chip cards referred to as "smart cards" or "EMV cards" – these are just different ways of referring to the same type of card. The chip stores the same information as the magnetic stripe found on the back of your credit or Debit Cards; however, the chip encrypts your transaction data with a unique code every time you use your card to keep your identity and personal information much more secure.

What does a chip card look like?

If a card has chip technology, you will see a small metal square on the front left of the card above the account number.

Are chip cards secure?

Yes. Chip technology has been around for over two decades and is already the security standard in many countries around the world. When purchases are made using the chip feature, the transaction is more secure because of a unique process that is used to determine if the card is authentic. This makes the card more difficult to counterfeit.

While magnetic stripe cards are still considered secure, chip technology is the next step to providing enhanced security to our customers. Whether you use the magnetic strip or the chip to make your purchase, you can have confidence in the protection and security features we provide for all credit and debit card accounts.

Remember, if you notice any suspicious activity on your account; notify us immediately by calling the number on the back of your card.

Will chip cards prevent third-party data breaches?

Chip card technology provides an additional layer of security to help reduce certain types of fraud resulting from data breaches; however, it will not prevent a data breach itself.

Will chip cards prevent all fraud from happening?

Absolutely not! As the industry continues to develop new ways to protect consumers, perpetrators continue to look for new ways to commit fraud. Chip cards provide an additional layer of security at chip-enabled terminals, on top of the fraud prevention monitoring we currently provide.

Will chip cards allow others to track my location?

No. Chip technology is not a locator system. The chip on your card is limited to supporting authentication of card data when you make a purchase.

Is a chip card the same as contactless payment (for example, Visa PayPass, MasterCard PayWave)?

No. Contactless cards employ near-field communication technology (NFC), which has a radio antenna that transmits account information, and work by waving or tapping your card in front of a device. Chip cards must be inserted face-up into a chip-enabled merchant terminal that allows the chip to make contact with the reader to authorize and complete a transaction.

Do I need a PIN to make purchases with my credit card? What is Chip & Signature and Chip & PIN?

No, you do not need a PIN to make purchases with your credit card. The term "PIN" or "Signature" here simply refers to how you will authorize the transaction – by entering a PIN or by providing a signature. When using your BankFirst credit card, you will be prompted for a signature to complete the transaction.

The enhanced security against counterfeiting is contained within the chip itself. The chip makes the transaction more secure by encrypting information when completing a transaction at a chip-enabled terminal.

How do I use my chip card?

It's easy. When making a purchase at a retailer with a chip-enabled register, simply insert your chip card into the terminal slot (often referred to as 'card dipping') and follow the prompts on the screen. You will still authorize the transaction by signing your name. If the retailer doesn't have chip-enabled registers, swipe the card and sign your name as you do today. When in doubt, follow the prompts at the register if you are not sure whether you should swipe or insert your card. There are no changes to phone or online transactions.

On credit cards you will be prompted for a signature to complete the purchase. When traveling internationally, on rare occasions, you may be asked to provide a PIN. Just communicate to the merchant that the credit card requires a signature only.

On debit cards you will be prompted to enter your PIN or provide a signature as you normally would to verify the transaction.

Now that I have a chip card, do I need to notify the bank before I travel internationally?

We recommend that you set a travel notice on any card you plan to use while traveling, so your card access isn't interrupted. It's also a good time to verify that your account has valid contact phone numbers listed. You can set a travel notice by calling the number on the back of your card and speaking with a BankFirst associate. For your protection, we will continue to monitor card activity even when a travel notice is set.

Will my chip card still work at an ATM?

Yes. You can continue to use your card as you do today by following the instructions at an ATM.

Are there any situations where I could experience issues using my chip card?

When traveling outside the U.S, some card readers at unattended terminals (such as public transportation kiosks, gas pumps) will require a PIN. However, this type of PIN technology is different than what you normally use for cash ATM PIN transactions in the U.S and the card won't be accepted. In these situations, you will need to locate an attended terminal to complete your transaction or plan for an alternative payment method, such as local currency.

You may request an ATM PIN for cash transaction by calling the number on the back of your card or by visiting a local BankFirst office. This PIN is for ATM cash transactions only.

Can the PIN be changed to a PIN of my choice?

On debit cards, the PIN can be changed to a PIN of choice. On credit cards, it cannot be changed from the original PIN that is sent out.

Are there any additional fees associated with chip cards?

No.

Where can I find more information?

Visit gochipcard.com for additional information.

Home Mortgage Loans

What is needed after I have received a Loan Estimate and disclosures and indicated the Intent to Proceed to expedite my mortgage application?

  • Two forms of identification (drivers license, social security card)
  • Two most recent bank statements of all deposit accounts and current 401-k or investment account statements
  • Two most recent pay stubs and last year's W-2
  • If self-employed, last two years complete personal and business tax returns
  • If a purchase, a copy of the signed sales contract
  • If a refinance, a copy of your warranty deed
  • A check for the $45.00 credit report or credit card information to be credited

What is Prequalification?

Prequalification is the process of determining what price a home can be purchased by a prospective buyer.

My real estate agent recommended that I get a commitment letter. What is a commitment letter, and why should I get one?

A prequalification letter is given by the lender stating the terms which it agrees to provide a mortgage to a homebuyer that meets all necessary financial and credit qualifications. Prequalification letters help you set realistic goals while you're house-hunting, provide the same negotiating ability as a cash buyer, and enable you to move quickly once the perfect home is found.

When mortgage lenders refer to "PITI" what exactly are they referring to?

PITI is Principal, Interest, Taxes, and Insurance- the components of a monthly mortgage payment.

When my loan officer asks me if I want to waive my escrows, what exactly does that mean?

When you waive escrows, you take the responsibility of paying taxes and insurance, as opposed to having them included in your monthly payment. Waiving escrows may add a small fee to your closing costs. You can only waive escrows if your loan to value is 80% or less on your first lien.

What does my mortgage lender mean by points?

One point is equal to one percent of the loan amount. Points are used to buy down the interest rate.

How does the annual percentage rate differ from the interest rate?

The annual percentage rate (APR) is the effective rate of interest for a loan if the calculation is based on the original loan amount less the closing costs. This is the rate that will appear on your Loan Estimate. Please note that the APR is higher than the interest rate on your Mortgage Note and the note rate is your true interest rate.

How do I know what my interest rate will be?

Upon your request, a loan officer will search for the lowest rate and "lock" your rate. The "lock-in" guarantees the homebuyer a specified interest rate provided the loan closes with the buyer within a set period of time. The lock-in also specifies the number of points to be paid at closing. You and the Mortgage Lender should agree to this lock-in in writing.

Do I need to have a certain amount of money left after I buy my home?

Most loan programs require a cash reserve sufficient enough to make the first mortgage payments (PITI).

What is the Loan to Value (LTV)?

The loan to value is the loan amount divided by the lessor of the sales price or the appraised value. Example: Loan amount is $80,000. The sales price is $100,000. The appraised value is $105,000. The lessor of sales price or appraised value is $100,000. $80,000/$100,000=80% LTV.

What is the Debt-to-Income Ratio?

A ratio used by lenders to determine whether a person is qualified for a mortgage. Debt-to-Income is the total amount of monthly debt, including house payment, credit cards and other loans, divided by the total gross monthly income.

What is the difference between an FHA and a VA loan?

An FHA loan is a loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration. FHA issues specified guidelines for mortgages. A VA loan is a loan guaranteed by the Veterans Administration. To obtain a VA loan, the borrower must have served in the armed forces for a certain period of time.

What is Private Mortgage Insurance?

PMI is insurance required to cover the lender should the borrower default on the loan.

Do I always have to have PMI on my loan?

PMI can be eliminated by having a down payment of at least 20% or by obtaining a second lien that lowers the loan to value to 80%.

Will I have two separate payments if I have a second lien?

The second lien is often from a different bank than the first lien. Therefore, borrowers with a second lien will make two separate payments each month- one on the first lien and one on the second lien.

What does my lender mean by "paper trail"?

A "paper trail" is copies of all paperwork necessary to prove a financial transaction: copies of all checks, deposit slips, loan paperwork, forms to liquidate assets, etc.

Why did I receive a Loan Estimate?

Loan Estimates are sent to all borrowers after loan application has been made. The Truth In Lending Act is a federal law requiring lenders to reveal all of the terms of a mortgage. The APR that appears on your Loan Estimate will be higher than the interest rate on your Real Estate Lien Note.

What inspections does the lender require?

The lender requires only a clear termite report and an appraisal. If the appraisal recommends repairs, the lender may require that those repairs be done before closing. The appraiser will then perform a final inspection to assure that the repairs were done correctly. If the termite report recommends treatment, treatment is required. We will need a receipt showing the name and amount of chemical used. If there is structural damage to the home from termites, these repairs may be required and an inspection done to assure the proper completion.

When will I find out what my final figure is for total cost to close?

The title company will prepare a Closing Disclosure detailing the closing figures. We will provide you with the Closing Disclosure no later than 3 business days before consummation. Remember to bring a cashier's check made payable to the company. Your Loan Estimate and down payment should be close to the final settlement costs.

Where do I go for closing?

Your closing will take place at the Title Company. The title company name and address appears in your sales contract. If you are refinancing a property, call your processor for the name and address of your title company.

Where do I send my first mortgage payment?

Refer to your "First Payment Letter" in your closing documents to find where to send your first mortgage payment. If you receive a statement from your new lender prior to the due date of your first payment, send your payment to the new lender. Otherwise, send your payment as detailed in your "First Payment Letter." If you have any questions regarding your first payment, call your loan officer.

I want to purchase another home, and my credit score is 750. But we had a foreclosure 18 months ago. Is there anything we can do?

Lenders are understandably cautious about giving mortgages to borrowers with recent foreclosures.

Most banks and mortgage companies won't approve a new loan until four years have passed and your credit reports show a consistent effort to keep up with all of your other bills during that time.

You can shorten the wait by qualifying for a federal program in which the government insures the lender will be repaid if you default again.

If you're a veteran or are currently serving in the military, your best option is a VA loan. The department of Veterans Affairs allows you to obtain a new mortgage only two years after a foreclosure.

The next best option is an FHA loan. The Federal Housing Administration will consider helping you only three years after a foreclosure.

What determines a loan a jumbo loan? Who determines this amount – the bank or is it an industry standard?

Jumbo loans are mortgages too big to be bought by the two government sponsored companies that provide the great majority of the money for home loans in this country.

Fannie Mae (the Federal National Mortgage Association) and Freddie Mac (the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp.) do that by purchasing more than 80% of the loans made by commercial banks and mortgage companies.

Some of those mortgages they keep. Some they bundle together and sell to investors.

These loans are sometimes called conventional or conforming loans because they "conform" to Fannie's and Freddie's rules.

But Congress limits the size of loans Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can buy. Presently, they're prohibited from buying loans larger than $417,000 in most places and no more than $729,750 in high-cost areas like New York and San Francisco.

If you want to borrow more than that, you must apply for a jumbo loan that banks must fund out of their own money or sell to private investors without any government help. Those loans always cost more (charge a higher interest rate) and usually require a larger down payment.

What are annual percentage rates (APRs) on mortgages? I've read that APRs should be compared when searching for a loan but do not affect your monthly payment.

In theory, the APR is a way to reflect the total cost of a loan once all of the points, fees and other costs are taken into account.

That cost is expressed as an annual percentage rate that will be higher than the interest rate on the loan and should allow borrowers to compare loans that have different interest rates and fees. The lower the APR, the better for the customer.

Remote Deposit Capture

How does it work?

After linking onto the BankFirst CCX website, you will start the web-based application and process the checks for deposit in the scanner. Start the capture process, and the checks are scanned and read. The scanner has a front and back image camera and MICR reader. The captured data passes through a courtesy amount and legal amount recognition (CAR/LAR) engine.

You only have to key in the items the CAR/LAR engine did not read. (Our read rate averages around 90%.) Once the deposit is balanced and approved, an electronic deposit slip is created, and the electronic deposit is transmitted to BankFirst.

You will receive same day credit for deposits approved before the 4:00 PM CST cut-off time; Deposits approved after this time will be credited the next business day. The images of the items captured are saved in a dedicated archive that can be accessed through a web-based application.

What do I need?

  • Windows Vista or higher PC
  • Internet Explorer 10 or higher
  • High speed internet connection (minimum 1.5 Mbps)
  • Adobe Reader (Free download)
  • Compatible check scanner

How much will this cost? 

We have developed a competitive pricing model designed to fit the budget of any business regardless of size. Pricing is tiered based on the number of items deposited each month. Pricing begins at $50 per month. BankFirst will provide a single-feed scanner at no cost. 

What are the advantages? 

  • Eliminate the cost and inconvenience of making daily deposits at the bank.
  • 4:00 PM CST cut-off time.
  • Enables you to define and input additional information tailored to your business such as invoice number, customer number, apartment number, vendor number, etc. and download to your account receivable or other in-house business application.
  • Dual controls to separate scanning/keying function vs. deposit approval authorization.
  • Duplicate item detection to minimize the possibility of double entry of items.
  • Extensive reporting capabilities provide you with consolidated reporting for all your locations and reduced administration fees.

Questions?

Contact our CCX Experts at (662) 726-6002.