FAQs

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You have questions, we have answers

Take a look at our frequently asked questions below. Can't find what you are looking contact us and a specialist will be able to assist you.

How do I get started? 

  • Download the Sacramento Credit Union App from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
  • Sign on with your Online Banking user name and password. (You must be enrolled in Online Banking to access your accounts.)

Is the App secure? 

Yes, our App is secure. The App uses the Wireless Transport Layer Security (WTLS) protocol, which provides the highest level of security available today. All data that passes between the wireless gateway is encrypted using the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) layer.
 

What device are supported?

  • Andriod devices
  • iPhone
  • iPad

What features are included?

  • Mobile Deposits (If qualified)
  • Bill Pay
  • Popmoney - Pay people
  • Fund transfers
  • Account balance and activity
  • e-Notices
  • Secure Messages
  • Branch and ATM locations

Can I use it if I don’t have access to Online Banking? 

No, you must sign up for Online Banking through our web site or mobile device, establish your user name, password and challenge questions before using the App. Online Banking and Mobile Banking use same set of credentials.
 

Do I have to buy the App, and is there a fee for usage? 

The App can be downloaded for free, and Sacramento Credit Union does not charge a fee for usage. However, your wireless service provider may charge fees for internet access and/or data usage.

How do I access Sacramento CU browser based Mobile Banking? 

Go to sactocu.org/ in the browser of your mobile device, and sign on with your Online Banking user name and password.
 

Is it secure? 

Sacramento CU Mobile Banking is encrypted using the Wireless Transport Layer Security (WTLS) protocol, which provides the highest level of security available today. Additionally, all data that passes between the wireless gateway and Sacramento CU’s servers is encrypted using Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificates.
 

What features are included?

  • Bill Pay
  • Popmoney - Pay people
  • Fund transfers
  • Account balance and activity
  • e-Notices
  • Secure Messages
  • Branch and ATM locations

When I use the Back button on my browser, I am returned to the wrong page, such as a blank page, or the previous page with error messages. 

Do not use the browser’s Back button. Use the links and tabs provided to navigate through the pages.

What is Text Banking

Text Banking allows you to quickly request and receive your account balances and recent transaction history via your mobile device’s SMS Text Message service using a short code and a set of commands.

What account types are supported? 

Deposit Accounts (such as Savings, Checking and Money Market) are supported.

How do I sign up to use Text Banking? 

Register your phone by pointing your mobile browser to the link here and using your Sacramento CU Online/Mobile Banking credentials.

Will Text Banking work on my phone? 

Yes, it will, as long as you have text messaging service (SMS) via your wireless carrier. Please check with your wireless carrier if you are unsure.

Will I be charged for Text Banking? 

We won't charge you, but standard carrier fees for text messaging may apply. Please check with your wireless carrier.

How do I cancel? 

You can text SCU STOP to 21443, or you can log into the Text Banking interface and remove the registration information for your phone. You can add a new phone or reactivate your old phone by logging into the Text Banking interface at any time.

I have a new mobile phone number. Can I change or add my number online? 

Yes. First, deactivate your current phone number then add your new phone number, which can be done by logging in to the Text Banking portal.

What if I change my user name, password or challenge questions? 

If you change your user name, password or challenge questions, you must login to the Text Banking portal with your updated Online Banking Credentials before you can continue using the Text Banking service.

Can I have more than one phone registered for my account? 

Yes. Each phone must be individually registered.

Is Text Banking secure? 

Messages will contain no sensitive information about your accounts.

What is the short code?

21443  

What are the commands? 

  • SCU BAL – Account balances
  • SCU HIST – Last three transactions on primary account
  • SCU WEA (zipcode) – Current temperature of any US location by ZIP code
  • SCU CMD – Show valid commands
  • SCU HELP – Send information on commands and how to use
  • SCU STOP – Cancel service

Are keywords case sensitive? 

No, keywords are not case sensitive.

To what number should I send keywords? 

The short code is 21443. This short code will work only if you have registered your mobile device via the Text Banking interface.

What is the maximum number of characters? 

Because of limitations placed by wireless carriers, 140 characters are the maximum number contained in each text message.

What happens if I exceed 140 characters in the middle of a transaction?

The response will be broken into segments shorter than 140 characters. This means you will receive multiple messages for a long response.

How many requests can I make? 

An unlimited number of requests are allowed.

How quickly does the message go through? 

Messages typically go through within seconds, although delays of several minutes or more may be experienced depending on your wireless carrier.

Is there any password needed for Text Banking? 

No. Once your mobile phone is registered, your mobile device is used to authenticate your account access.

I get text messages from other people but not from Text Banking. 

Some cellular data plans allow for text messages sent from phones but not from short codes. Please check with your carrier.

Does the message go through if I have no coverage? 

No coverage on your cell phone means that nothing can get to your phone.

Who do I call if there's a problem? 

Call Sacramento CU Customer Service at (916) 444-6070 or complete a Contact Us form and we will call you back.


Registration

How do I register?

  • You will need your member number, SSN and DOB to complete the registration. Business members, use TIN in lieu of SSN and business start date in lieu of DOB. You may register here.
  • Once successfully registered, create a new user name, password and security questions. The credentials you create will be used for both Mobile Banking and Online Banking.

Can I use my Member number to login to the Online Banking and Mobile Banking?

No, you will need to create a username to login, which can be letters or numbers, or combination, but for security reasons cannot be your member number. Usernames must be between 6-20 characters long and are case-specific.
 

Are there any password requirements?

  • Password must be between 8 and 16 characters
  • Must contain at least one numeric character
  • Must contain at least one alpha character
  • Must contain at least one symbol character
  • The following characters are not allowed: '|?|%|--|;
For tips on creating and securing online passwords visit https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/tips/ST04-002
 

How do I find my Member Number?

Your member number can be found on your SCU statement. 
If you are still unable to locate your member number, please call 916-444-6070 during normal business hours for assistance. 
Note: For your protection, your member number is not listed on your Sacramento Credit Union Visa Check or ATM Card, and can't be directly referenced from your Social Security Number.

What is an e-Notice?

An e-Notice is an electronic copy of a traditionally mailed notice such as NSF, courtesy pay, or notice of hold.

Who will receive e-Notices?

Members who are enrolled in e-Statements.

How will I know if I have an e-Notice?

An email will be sent to your email address notifying you of the availability to view the notice online.

Will all notices be provided as e-Notices?

Only certain type of notices will be delivered via e-Notices, and the rest will continue to be delivered via regular USPS mail. Over time we will be adding more notices to our e-Notices program.

How long will my e-Notices be available in e-Statements?

You will have access to last 50 e-Notices.

Will details of the notice be included in the email?

No. To protect account information, an e-mail from the credit union will be send directing members online, to view the notice through a secure format.

What if I do not currently have e-Statements or if I cancel e-Statements?

Members who are not currently enrolled in e-Statements will continue to receive paper notices in the mail. If a member decides to cancel e-Statements, statements and notices will be provided via regular mail.

Accessing SCU e-Alerts

 
  1. Log in to Online Banking
  2. Select "SCU e-Alerts/e-Statements" from the Online Banking menu
  3. Registering for the SCU e-Alerts Application
    1. Read the User Agreement
    2. Select Yes if you agree with the terms and conditions. Type in your Online Access Password to reconfirm.
    3. Click the Submit button.
    4. You will now be asked to enter a Primary E-mail Address so that you may begin to receive account alerts.
    5. Type in an Internet e-mail address to which you would like to receive alerts and e-statements. This will be your Primary E-mail Address. This address must be in the format e.g. xyz@aol.com
    6. Check the appropriate boxes if you want to receive promotional and informational notifications from the credit union.
    7. Click the Subscribe button.
Additional Notes
  • We recommend that the primary e-mail address be a "standard" Internet e-mail address, i.e. an address that receives mail onto a personal computer via the Internet. Examples of "standard" e-mail addresses are:
  • Yahoo Mail, Hotmail, AOL Mail, MSN Mail, and those of other Internet Service Providers (also known as ISP's)
  • Your company e-mail (as long as it is Internet-ready)
  • We do not recommend that the primary e-mail address be an Internet e-mail address that receives mail on a mobile device such as a pager, PDA (personal digital assistant such as Palm Pilot or Handspring Visor), or cell phone.
  • To set up additional e-mail addresses to receive alerts to, see To set up additional e-mail addresses to receive alerts to, see Creating Alert Addresses in a later section of this document. in a later section of this document.

Creating Additional (Alternate) E-Mail Addresses


In addition to the primary e-mail address, you may set up additional e-mail addresses to receive alerts to. In this version of SCU e-Alerts, you can set as many e-mail addresses as you wish.

You can set up either "standard" e-mail addresses or "mobile" e-mail addresses.
  • Yahoo Mail, Hotmail, AOL Mail, MSN Mail, and those of other Internet Service Providers (also known as ISP's)
  • Your company e-mail (as long as it is Internet-ready)
Examples of mobile device are:
  • Alphanumeric pagers with Internet e-mail capability.
  • PDA (personal digital assistant such as Palm Pilot or Handspring Visor)
  • Cell phones with Internet e-mail capability.
To add a new e-mail address, click the "Alert Address". You will be taken to the "Alert Addresses" screen.
  • Adding a Standard E-mail Address
    1. To add a "standard" e-mail address, click the "Add New" button in the "Alternate Email List" section.
    2. Type any name to describe the e-mail address in the "Name" section.
    3. Type the e-mail address that will be associated with this Name.
    4. Click OK.
  • Adding a Mobile E-mail Address
    1. To add a "mobile" e-mail address, click the "Add New" button in the "Mobile Email List" section.
  • Changing the primary E-mail address
    1. To change the primary e-mail address go to the "Alert Addresses" screen.
    2. Change the entry for the primary e-mail address.
    3. Click the "Change" button.
Additional Notes
Deleting Email Addresses: You can delete email addresses by selecting the check boxes in the far left column and clicking the "Delete" button. To delete all the addresses in a section, select the check box in the header row of the section. All the email addresses will be selected. Click the "Delete" button, and all the email addresses will be deleted.

Creating Account Alerts with the SCU e-Alerts Application

There are NINE types of Alerts that you can set to be notified of the status of your accounts:

Adding an Alert

First time user: Read this section if you are using the SCU e-Alerts application for the first time after registering.
 
Select "Add New Alert"
  1. From the "Alert Type" pull down menu, select the type of Alert that you want to set. For example "Deposit Account Balance"
    • Note: You can select from the above NINE alerts that are available to help you monitor your various accounts at the credit union.
    • In addition to the nine alerts provided above, your credit union will provide you with the option to receive timely updates about new products and services straight to your mailbox.
  2. Select the E-Mail addresses(s) you want to send these alerts to. See - Creating Alert Addresses for more information about how to set up additional e-mail addresses to receive alerts to.
    • Note: By default the primary address is selected to receive all alerts.
    • You can set up to four (4) different e-mail addresses to receive alerts to.
  3. Click the OK button.
    • Note: You will be taken to a screen that will help you set an alert for each of your accounts for which the specific alert type is valid. For example, if you selected "Deposit Account Balance", all your checking and savings accounts will be available, for each of which you can set alerts.
    • The next section guide you through setting alerts for each of the alert types that are available to you. You can set as many alerts as you like - for as many accounts as you have with the credit union.
    • Every alert you set is automatically "enabled". This means that you want to be sent this alert when your account status changes. At any time you can "disable" the alert, meaning you are choosing to not receive the specific alert.
    • Once you've set the first alert, you will be taken back to the "Alerts List" From here you can continue to create new alerts by clicking the "Create New Alert" button on the screen.
    • Repeat the "Create New Alert" process until you've completed setting up alerts.
Deposit Account Balance Alert
  1. Select "Deposit Account Balance Alert" from the Alert Type pull down menu.
  2. Select the e-mail addresses that you want to send this alert to.
  3. Click the OK button.
  4. Select an account from the pull down menu. You can select from all of your accounts at the credit union.
  5. Select from "above" or "below" and type in an amount in dollars. You will now be alerted every time your account balance goes above or below the amount you just selected.
  6. Select how often you want to receive the alert. You may choose to receive the alert as follows:
    1. Only once every time your balance goes above or below the amount you just specified.
    2. One time (or more than one time) a day for each day that your account is above or below the amount you specified.
    3. One time (or more than one time) a week for each week that your account is above or below the amount you specified.
Note:
  • You can set up as many account balance alerts as you choose for each of your savings and checking accounts.
  • Once you have set up an alert for one of your deposit accounts, you can repeat the process for all of your deposit accounts.
  • The number of alerts that you will receive per day or per week will depend on the frequency with which your credit union's computer system sends out these alerts.
Loan Account Balance Alert
Will alert you when any of your loan or credit card accounts goes above or below any amount you specify?
  1. Select "Loan Account Balance Alert" from the Alert Type pull down menu.
  2. Select the e-mail addresses that you want to send this alert to.
  3. Click the OK button.
  4. Select an account from the pull down menu. You can select from all of your accounts at the credit union.
  5. Select from "above" or "below" and type in an amount in dollars. You will now be alerted every time your account balance goes above or below the amount you just selected.
  6. Select how often you want to receive the alert. You may choose to receive the alert as follows:
    1. Only once every time your balance goes above or below the amount you just specified.
    2. One time (or more than one time) a day for each day that your account is above or below the amount you specified.
    3. One time (or more than one time) a week for each week that your account is above or below the amount you specified.
Note:
  • You can set up as many account balance alerts as you choose for each of your savings and checking accounts.
  • Once you have set up an alert for one of your deposit accounts, you can repeat the process for all of your deposit accounts.
  • The number of alerts that you will receive per day or per week will depend on the frequency with which your credit union�s computer system sends out these alerts.
Loan Payment Due Alert
  1. Select "Loan Payment Due Alert" from the Alert Type pull down menu.
  2. Select the e-mail addresses that you want to send this alert to.
  3. Click the OK button.
  4. Select an account from the pull down menu. You can select from all of your accounts at the credit union.
  5. Select a loan account from the pull down menu. You can select from all of your loan accounts at the credit union.
  6. Type in the number of days (in numerals - e.g. 7) before your loan payment due date that you would like to be notified. You may select any number from 0 to 99.You will now be alerted every time your loan payment is due.
  7. Select the maximum number of times that you would like to receive this alert. You may choose to receive the alert as follows:
    • Only once (XX days) before the loan payment is due.
    • Once a day for XX days before the loan payment is due.
Checks Cleared Alert
Will alert you when your checks clear.
  1. Select "Checks Cleared Alert" from the Alert Type pull down menu.
  2. Select the e-mail addresses that you want to send this alert to.
  3. Click the OK button.
  4. Select a checking account from the pull down menu. You can select from all of your checking accounts at the credit union.
  5. Select from one of the following options:
    1. Type in a specific check number (all numerals) to be alerted when that check clears.
    2. Type in an amount in dollars, e.g. $150.00. You will be alerted each time a check above the selected amount clears your account.
Note:
If you want to be alerted when all the checks that you write are cleared, create an alert with the amount of $0.00 in the "Alert Me When" section.


Certificate Maturity Alert
Will alert you when your certificates mature.
  1. Select "Checks Maturity Alert" from the Alert Type pull down menu.
  2. Select the e-mail addresses that you want to send this alert to.
  3. Click the OK button.
  4. Select a certificate account from the pull down menu. You can select from all of your certificates at the credit union.
  5. Type in the number of days (in numerals - e.g. 7) before your certificate matures that you would like to be notified. You may select any number from 0 to 99. You will now be alerted when the certificate is due.
  6. Select the maximum number of times that you would like to receive this alert. You may choose to receive the alert as follows:
    • Only once - XX days - before the certificate matures.
    • Once a day - for XX days - before the certificate matures.
Payroll Credit Alert
Will alert you when you receive credits into your account. These include payroll and direct deposits.
  1. Select "Account Credit Alert" from the Alert Type pull down menu.
  2. Select the e-mail addresses that you want to send this alert to.
  3. Click the OK button.Select the e-mail addresses that you want to send this alert to.
  4. Select a certificate account from the pull down menu. You can select from all of your certificates at the credit union.
  5. Type in an amount in dollars, e.g. $150.00. You will be alerted each time a deposit above the selected amount is received into your account.
Note:
If you want to be alerted when every credit is received into your accounts, create an alert with the amount of $0.00 in the "Alert Me When..." section.

 
Insufficient Funds Alert

Will notify you when your checking account(s) has an insufficient balance to cover a check(s) that you recently wrote. Typically, you will have about 8-10 hours to transfer sufficient funds into your checking account from the time this alert was sent to you by the Credit Union.
  1. Select "Insufficient Funds" from the Alert Type pull down menu.
  2. Select the e-mail address(es) that you want to send this alert to.
  3. Click the OK button.

Managing the SCU e-Alerts Application

  • Enabling and Disabling Alerts
    • You can enable or disable alerts by double-clicking on the "bell" icon. A yellow bell indicates that the alert is active. A gray bell indicates that the alert is disabled.
  • Deleting Alerts
    • You can delete alerts by selecting the check boxes in the far left column and clicking the "Delete" button. To delete all the alerts, select the check box in the header row. All the alerts will be selected. Click the "Delete" button, and all the alerts will be deleted.
  • Stop Alerts
    • To cancel the SCU e-Alerts service, click the "Stop SCU e-Alerts" Tab in the header row of the "SCU e-Alerts List" screen. All alerts will be deleted, and you will stop receiving alerts about your account status.
  • Product Updates
    • To receive credit union information and product updates on new credit union products and services select the "Information Alerts" tab in the main alert list. To stop receiving any information from your credit union, un-check all the boxes.

If you need additional help, please contact the Sacramento Credit Union member services department at (916) 444 6070.

What is QFX/OFX? 

Quicken Financial Exchange (QFX) or Open Financial Exchange (OFX) is an industry standard for electronic transfer of financial data between financial institutions (SCU) and our members via the Internet. It delivers banking transactions and other financial information from SCU directly to you.
 

What type of Personal Financial Manager service does SCU offer? 

SCU offers the Web Connect service for Quicken and Quickbooks.
 

What do I need to get started? 

In order to use this feature you need the following:
  • A supported version of either Quicken or Quickbooks
  • An active Internet connection
  • Online Banking access

How do I import a Quicken QFX file?

  • Sign on to your Online Banking and go to Account Research and Downloads under Accounts menu to download the appropriate file to import to your PFM software.

Report lost/stolen card

(916) 444-6070
www.reportmycards.com

Activate VISA debit/credit card

(800) 411-6390
www.activatemycards.com​
 

Traveling, let us know your plans

Our fraud detection system looks for unusual or suspicious transactions that fall outside your normal pattern of card usage. Avoid card interruptions while traveling by letting us know ahead of time.
Complete our Travel Notification Form
 

Verified by VISA

If you enjoy shopping online, you'll have added security with Verified by Visa. This free service protects your existing Visa card with a personal password, giving you reassurance that only you can use your Visa card online.
Register your Sacramento Credit Union Visa debit or credit card​
 

How do I dispute a card transaction?

Submit the claim form, and we will contact you within 5 business days with a resolution or an update about your claim. If you have incurred fees or overdraft charges as a result of the disputed charge, we will reimburse your account if the credit union determines it was an error.
ATM/VISA claim form​
 

Card expiring soon

You should receive your new card in the mail about two to four weeks before your current card expires. Your current card is good through the last day of the expiration month that appears on the front of your card.

If you do not receive your new card within two weeks of the expiration of your current card, or if your card has already expired, please call us at (916) 444-6070.
 

Damaged card

If your card is not functioning properly or is damaged, you may order a replacement card by calling (916) 444-6070. You will receive a new card with a new expiration date within 7 – 10 business days. For debit card, the Personal Identification Number (PIN) you are currently using will work with your new card.
 

How do I get a new PIN or change my existing PIN?

If you've recently opened a new Sacramento Credit Union checking account and requested an ATM/debit card, your Personal Identification Number (PIN) will be mailed separately from your card.

To change the PIN for your existing debit card, please visit your nearest Sacramento Credit Union branch.

To get a PIN for your ATM or credit card, please call us at (916) 444-6070 and we will mail you a PIN.
 

What are my daily purchase and cash withdrawal limits for my debit card?

Your debit card comes with daily limits on the dollar amount of purchases and cash withdrawals at ATMs. Please call us at (916) 444-6070 to find out more about your daily limits.
 

Need your debit/ATM card now?

Our H Street branch is fully equipped to produce both ATM and debit cards that are instantly activated and ready for use.

All other Sacramento Credit Union branches are fully equipped to produce debit cards that are instantly activated and ready for use.

Please call (916) 444-6070 to find out more.
 

What are card transaction alerts?

e-Statements/e-Alerts members get automated emails if card purchase or ATM withdrawal exceeds a specified limit. Limits can changed by visiting e-Statements/e-Alerts within Online Banking.
 

Fraud monitoring

Sacramento Credit Union screens your account 24/7 to detect suspicious card activity outside your normal pattern; we may contact you to make sure it's actually yours.
 

General Questions

Why does my card now have a chip?

Chip technology has proven successful in reducing fraud in countries around the world. It's already the standard in Canada, Mexico, South America, Europe and Asia -- and will be the standard in the U.S.

Do I still need to sign the back of my card?

Yes, you need to sign the back of your card for security purposes.

Does my new card have all the same benefits?

Yes. You can count on the same level of benefits you always have.

Using Your Chip Card

Where can I use my chip-enabled card in the U.S.?

Since your credit card has a magnetic stripe and an embedded chip, you can use your card anywhere in the U.S. that accepts VISA cards. You will notice that a growing number of merchants will be switching to chip card readers in the U.S.

Where can I use my chip-enabled card globally?

Having a chip-enabled card allows you to easily use your card when traveling internationally because chip card readers are already standard in Canada, Mexico, South America, Europe and Asia.

How do I pay at a chip-enabled terminal?

It's easy to make purchases with your chip-enabled credit card. Simply insert the chip end of your card into the terminal with the chip facing up. Leave your card in the terminal and follow the prompts on screen. Remove your card from the terminal when prompted, then sign for your purchase and take your receipt.

Why do I need to leave my card in the terminal?

While your card is in the chip-enabled terminal, the embedded chip creates a unique transaction code. This prevents stolen data from being fraudulently used. If you remove your card too soon, your transaction will be canceled.

Can I still swipe my card to pay?

Yes. If a merchant is not yet chip-enabled, you can still swipe your card.

Has my card information changed?

For your convenience, your card number and PIN have not changed. Your card may have a new expiration date, so be sure to update your information with billers that charge your card regularly.

Will I have to pay any fees to use my chip-enabled card?

No. There are no additional fees to use your new card.

How do I pay at a card reader that is not chip-enabled?

Your card will also have a magnetic stripe on the back, so you can still swipe your card at a traditional card reader -- just as you would today.

How does a chip-enabled card work for Internet and telephone transactions?

Your Internet and telephone transactions will work just as they do today.

Security

How does chip technology protect my information?

Every time you use your card at a chip-enabled terminal, the embedded chip generates a unique transaction code. This prevents stolen data from being fraudulently used.

Do chip cards use contactless, RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) or blink technology?

RFID technology is different from chip technology. Sacramento Credit Union cards with chip cannot be used for RFID payments.

What should I do if I see suspicious activity on my account?

Call the number on the back of your card to report any suspicious activity on your account.

What should I do if my card gets lost or stolen?

Contact us to report your card lost or stolen.

Qualification

What is required in order to get a reverse mortgage?

You must own a home, be at least 62, and have enough equity in your home.

Does my home qualify?

Eligible property types include single-family homes, 2-4 unit properties, manufactured homes (built after June 1976), condominiums, and townhouses.

Existing Mortgage

What if I have an existing mortgage?

You may qualify for a reverse mortgage even if you still owe money on an existing mortgage. However, the reverse mortgage must be in a first lien position, so any existing indebtedness must be paid off. You can pay off the existing mortgage with a reverse mortgage, money from your savings, or assistance from a family member or friend.

For example, let's say you owe $100,000 on an existing mortgage. Based on your age, home value, and interest rates, you qualify for $125,000 under the reverse mortgage program. Under this scenario, you will be able to pay off ALL the existing mortgage and still have $25,000 left over to use as you wish.

Proceeds from Your Reverse Mortgage

How Much Money Can I Get?

The amount of funds you are eligible to receive depends on your age (or the age of the youngest spouse when there is a couple), appraised home value, interest rates, and in the case of the government program, the FHA lending limit, which is currently $625,500. If your home is worth more, then the amount of funds you may be eligible for will be based on the $625,500 loan limit. In general, the older you are and the more valuable your home (and the less you owe on your home), the more money you can get. During the first 12 months after closing, a borrower cannot access more than 60 percent of the available loan proceeds. In month thirteen, a borrower can access as much or as little of the remaining funds as he or she wishes. There are exceptions to the 60 percent rule. If you have an existing mortgage, you may pay it off and take an additional 10 percent of the available funds, even if the total amount used exceeds 60 percent.

How can I use the proceeds from a reverse mortgage?

The proceeds from a reverse mortgage can be used for anything, whether its to supplement retirement income to cover daily living expenses, repair or modify your home, pay for health care, pay off existing debts, cover property taxes, or prevent foreclosure.

How does the interest work on a reverse mortgage?

With a reverse mortgage, you are charged interest only on the proceeds that you receive. Both fixed and variable interest rates are available. Rates are tied to an index, such as the 1-Yr. Treasury Bill or the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), plus a margin that typically adds an additional one to three percentage points onto the rate you're charged. Interest is not paid out of your available loan proceeds, but instead compounds over the life of the loan until repayment occurs.

Social Security and Medicare

Will I lose my government assistance if I get a reverse mortgage?

A reverse mortgage does not affect regular Social Security or Medicare benefits. However, if you are on Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), any reverse mortgage proceeds that you receive must be used immediately. Funds that you retain count as an asset and could impact eligibility. For example, if you receive $4,000 in a lump sum for home repairs and spend it all the same calendar month, everything is fine. Any residual funds remaining in your bank account the following month would count as an asset. If the total liquid resources (including other bank funds and savings bonds) exceed $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for a couple, you would be ineligible for Medicaid. To be safe, you should contact the local Area Agency on Aging or a Medicaid expert.

Is a Reverse Mortgage Right for Me?

Under what circumstances should I not consider a reverse mortgage?

Because of the upfront costs associated with a reverse mortgage, if you intend to leave your home within 2-3 years, there may be other less expensive options to consider, such as home equity loans, no-interest loans. Also, if you want to leave your home to your children, then you should consider other options, because in many cases, the home is sold to pay back a reverse mortgage.