Monthly Archives: August 2023
Congratulations to our 2023 Jump Start Scholarship winners
Left to right, top to bottom: Aiyanna Solomon, Alesia Holmes, Anna Delk, Antonia Butler, Brooklyn Hinson, Candice Price, Holland Jarvis, Israel Hill, Jameriah Wimberly, Joseph Reed, Kayla Sims, Kelsey Woods, Landen Wiggins, Mary Thomas, Meredith Conger, Skyler Love, Timia Mitchell, and Zaria Davenport
Congratulations to our 2023 Jump Start Scholarship winners. We awarded $1,000 to 18 graduating students selected by a panel of judges who considered academic record, school and community service, and an essay telling us their goals for the future. Meet this year’s winners:
Aiyanna Solomon | Fort Valley State University
Alesia Holmes | University of West Georgia
Anna Delk | Georgia Southwestern State University
Antonia Butler | Albany State University
Brooklyn Hinson | Georgia Southwestern State University
Candice Price | University of West Alabama
Holland Jarvis | ABAC
Israel Hill | Mercer University
Ja’Meriah Wimberly | Georgia Southern
Joseph Reed | ABAC
Kayla Sims | Kennesaw State University
Kelsey Woods | Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Landen Wiggins | Georgia Southwestern University
Mary Thomas | Georgia College and State University
Meredith Conger | University of Georgia
Skyler Love | Georgia Southwestern State University
Timia Mitchell | Georgia Southwestern State University
Zaria Davenport | Savannah College of Art and Design
Meet our 2023 Student Loan Payoff Contest winners
Student loan debt is an issue that affects more than 40 million Americans. We decided to do our part and help our members who have already graduated by giving three deserving people $10,000 each—a total of $30,000—to help pay off their student loan debt. Meet our first two winners!
Round 1 Winner
Travis Reid, from Loganville, has been a member of Georgia’s Own since he was a teenager and currently works as a nurse. He’s also newly married, and his wife is a veterinary student at the University of Georgia.
After his father passed away last year, he bore the responsibility of taking over a mortgage with his mother, leaving him financially responsible for two households—on top of tackling his student loan debt.
Get to know Travis below:
Round 2 Winner
As a first-generation college student growing up in a single-parent household, Simon Chang has had to work throughout college and graduate school to fund his own education—racking up nearly $100,000 in student loan debt. When his mother, a cancer survivor, couldn’t work during COVID, Simon picked up an extra role to help with the bills while continuing to work towards his doctorate of physical therapy at Augusta University.
Simon’s dream is to partner with the Georgia Department of Health to open a mobile clinic and serve people who live in rural areas across the state.
Check out Simon’s story below:
Stay tuned for our final winner who will be announced in December!
Are credit card rewards points worth it?
Are credit card rewards programs worth the hassle—or the cost? It all depends on you and the rewards you want. For example, airline miles can be difficult to redeem, with blackout dates, limited seats, and inconvenient flight times being just a few of the challenges. Comparably, hotel and merchandise points are relatively easy to earn and redeem, as are cashback rebates. At the same time, it can be easy to get carried away by reward-earning potential while you spend—so it’s important to use your card responsibly. Below are a few tips to consider about your credit card’s rewards points:
Get the right credit card
For example, cash back is a straightforward way to earn rewards on your card. The redemption process is simple—you can redeem cash back for statement credits or direct deposits to your checking or savings account. If you’re a frequent flier, a card that earns you airline miles may be a better option.
Or, if you want more flexible redemption options, a points card is a great choice. You can cash in your points for gift cards, merchandise, travel purchases, like flights or hotels, or other entertainment, like concerts and sporting events.
Finding a card that works best for your spending is crucial to maximizing your rewards.
Understand your credit card
You need a clear and detailed understanding of your credit card’s rewards program. Many programs set minimum spending requirements each month before points can be earned, while others have minimum redemption requirements.
Miles sometimes can only be redeemed on one named airline. Big cashback advertisements may be for a limited time or restricted to specific shopping categories. Each program is different and unique, so heed the small print.
There are also credit card terms to consider. Rewards credit cards typically have a higher APR than a non-rewards card, so make sure you can pay your statement balance each month. If you can’t, the cashback bonus won’t dent the interest you’re accruing. And some credit card companies charge a hefty annual fee.
Don’t be tempted to overspend
If you’re spending money—which you probably are—why not get something in return? Credit card rewards points are an excellent option for consumers who love to travel, can be flexible, and are organized enough to keep track of offers and deadlines. The points that can be redeemed for cash are even better! But it’s crucial to keep your spending in line. While increasing your spending to earn more points may be tempting, remember to spend within your means.
Stick to a budget so you aren’t spending more than you can pay off monthly. Generally, you never want your minimum credit card payments to exceed 10% of your monthly income. You also want to keep your credit utilization below 30%—a high utilization rate shows lenders you may be unable to pay your bills on time.
Maximize the benefits
To make the most of a rewards program, you should plan to use your credit card frequently—you should also try to maximize the benefits. You don’t need to change how you spend. Still, it doesn’t hurt to be aware of your credit card’s rewards categories—especially if you use multiple credit cards.
For example, many travel cards award more points for dining out. You may want to use that card next time you treat your family to dinner or for your morning coffee run to get you closer to paying for your vacation. Some credit cards also offer rotating bonus categories, either monthly or quarterly, so keep an eye out for those, too.
Ask any group of people why they chose a given credit card, and most will say the rewards reeled them in. For some consumers, they work. For others, they sound too good to be true. But understanding the details and your spending habits will help you choose the card that best suits your needs and maximize your reward points.
If you’re looking for a credit card that offers tremendous rewards, competitive rates, and more, then a Georgia’s Own Visa® contactless credit card is for you. You’ll enjoy fantastic features, including Flex Rewards to redeem for cash back, gift cards, and more. Ready to make your purchases count? Click here to start earning now.
Share with care: How to safely enjoy social media
Social media platforms have become an integral part of our lives. Social media is a great way to stay connected with others, but you should be wary about the information you post. Posting too much personal information makes it easier for hackers to access your passwords, steal your identity, or worse. Don’t let that scare you, though! You can still enjoy posting on Facebook or Instagram—just be mindful of the content you share. Below are a few tips to help you safely partake in social media:
Check your privacy settings
When you sign up for a new social media account or download a new app, immediately configure the privacy and security settings to your comfort level for information sharing. Regularly monitor these settings to ensure they are set to your preference. The National Cybersecurity Alliance resource page has a tool that compiles privacy-setting information for most digital providers.
Don’t post personal information
Be cautious about how much personal information you provide on social networking sites. The more information you post, the easier it may be for a hacker or someone else to use that information to steal your identity, access your data, or commit other crimes, like stalking.
For example, you may have seen your Facebook friends posting their answers to surveys with questions like: What’s your favorite color? How many TVs are in your house? Or how many pets do you own? These questions seem harmless. But they’re often similar to security questions used by websites to identify you. Posting your answers to these questions puts you at risk of your accounts becoming compromised.
Watch what you post
Protect your reputation on social networks—what you post online stays online. Think twice before posting pictures you wouldn’t want your parents or future employers to see. According to one survey, 67% of employers use social media to research potential job candidates.
Clean up your social media before applying for jobs. Conduct a digital footprint analysis—review your social content and think about how others may perceive those posts. You should also Google yourself and look through the information that appears to decipher whether any of it will negatively affect your chances of getting hired.
Know and manage your friends
Social networks can be used for various purposes. Some of the fun is creating a large pool of friends from many aspects of your life—that doesn’t mean all friends are created equal. Just like cleaning up your social posts, you should occasionally purge your friend list.
In the past, you may have added people you barely know or have never met before. A lot has changed since the dawn of Facebook, and these days, people tend to keep their circles small. Protect your privacy by scrubbing your friend list and removing old acquaintances, people you don’t recognize, or even an ex you don’t want to be in contact with anymore.
Enable multi-factor authentication
Use two-factor authentication or multi-factor authentication (MFA) (like biometrics, security keys, or a unique, one-time code through an app on your mobile device) whenever offered.
When you log in to your account, the first step is giving your password or passphrase. The second step is to provide an extra way of proving your identity, like entering a PIN, texting/emailing a code to your phone, or accessing an authenticator app. Enabling MFA makes it twice as hard for hackers to access an online account or obtain personal information.
Use long, unique passwords
Length trumps complexity. A strong password is at least 12 characters long and a combination of upper- and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Focus on positive sentences or phrases that you like to think about and are easy to remember.
If you have trouble remembering your passwords, consider using a password manager. Password managers securely store your online credentials in an encrypted database, giving you peace of mind that your information is safe. It’s also easier to use unique passwords on different sites because the password manager remembers your login information.
Think before you click
Links in tweets, texts, posts, and social media messages are the easiest way for cybercriminals to get sensitive information. Be wary of clicking on links or downloading anything that comes from a stranger or that you were not expecting.
Social media can be a great way to stay connected with friends and family, but it’s important to be mindful of the information you share. By following the above tips, you can safely enjoy social media without risking your personal information.