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Starting Point

Starting Point is a unique program, designed specifically for individuals who are new to the country, and recent college graduates. Starting Point provides essential, affordable financial services: First Auto Loan – First Credit Card – Free Checking Account – Personal Line of Credit.

KeyPoint has already helped thousands of new U.S. residents and college grads start a new banking relationship and build credit history. These important first accounts help create a successful financial future, and eventually lead to homeownership and a happy retirement. 

We make it easy with personal service and 24/7 digital access!

In addition, KeyPoint provides online and in-person education to help members navigate their complex new financial world, and ensure clarity and prosperity. 

    • Products
    • Loan Basics
    • Checking Account Basics
    • Get Started

Auto Loans

Buying your first car is exciting, but saving money to pay cash can take a long time. Starting Point can approve you for your first auto loan with a rate as low as 2.74% APR*, so you can purchase your first car now! Learn more about KeyPoint’s auto loan products, or learn basic information about loans.

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Credit Cards

A KeyPoint Visa® Classic credit card provides convenient access at merchants worldwide and online. Starting Point members enjoy rates as low as 15.24% APR*. Learn more about KeyPoint's credit cards or learn basic information about loans.


Free Checking

KeyPoint's free Organic Checking makes it easy to manage your paycheck and bills with free Online & Mobile Banking, and over 30,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide. You even get free Passport Rewards with discounts for travel, restaurants, entertainment and retail! 

Learn more about KeyPoint’s checking accounts, or learn basic information about checking accounts.


Personal Line of Credit

A personal line of credit lets you borrow cash when you need it, and helps you build that important credit history. You can borrow from your line of credit and pay back a little at a time, or all at once. Use the money to pay travel expenses, buy furniture or pay for a wedding!

Rates as low as 10.70% APR* with qualifying discounts. Learn more about KeyPoint’s personal line of credit, or learn basic information about loans.

*APR = ANNUAL PERCENTAGE RATE. APRs are accurate as of 2/16/16; are dependent on creditworthiness, qualification for discounts and other factors; and are subject to change without notice. Rates shown include discounts. Lower credit quality, longer terms and a different type of loan will affect the final rate. Your actual APR will be determined when a credit decision is made, and may be higher than the lowest rate available. Auto loan rates range from 2.74% to 19.00% APR. Pay $28.97 per month per $1,000 borrowed at 2.74% APR for 36 months. Pay $23.38 per month per $1,000 borrowed at 19.00% APR for 72 months. Personal Line of Credit rates range from 9.70% to 19.00% APR. The APR is variable and based on the Prime Rate as published in The Wall Street Journal Money Rates Table (the \"Index\") plus a margin. New Lines of Credit rates may be reduced by .25% for automatic loan payments. Pay $46.01 per month per $1,000 borrowed at 9.70% APR for 24 months. Pay $36.66 per month per $1,000 borrowed at 19.00% APR for 36 months.

Banking in the United States – Understanding the Basics


Glossary of Financial Terms
 

Loan Overview

Each country and culture views money differently. Here in the United States, we often rely on “credit” by borrowing money to pay for the things we want and need, instead of saving our money to buy them later.

As a result, there are lots of places to borrow money, or “get a loan” or Note. There are banks, credit unions, and many other types of financial institutions. All loans will require you to make monthly payments until you pay back the full amount of the loan plus the “interest”, which is the amount the lender charges you for getting the loan.

You can borrow money to buy a car, boat, take a vacation, pay for a wedding, buy a house, and more. When you buy an expensive item like a car or house, the car or house is called “collateral”, and you don’t really own it until you finish paying the loan. The bank or other lender is the owner. You can use the item as if you already owned it, but if you don’t make your monthly payments, the lender can take it back.

If you buy other things, like pay for a wedding or take a vacation, there is no collateral, so the loan is “unsecured”. Unsecured loans are usually more expensive than loans with collateral, because there is a higher risk for the lender if you don’t make your payments. They can’t take back your vacation!

Credit cards are unsecured loans, since you can use them to buy almost anything. A credit card is actually a “line of credit”—a loan that you can use over and over again. For example, if you get a $1,000 credit card line of credit, you can buy clothes, airline tickets, dinner at a restaurant, and more. After one month, you will need to make a payment on your line of credit—either a small minimum payment, or you can pay the entire amount that you purchased. The $1,000 is reduced by all the purchases you’ve made, until you pay them back in full.

The Annual Percentage Rate, or “APR”, is the cost of your loan stated as a yearly percentage rate. You should always compare APRs, not the interest rate, since the APR includes the interest rate and other finance charges.


How to Get a Loan

In order to get a loan, a person usually needs to have a “credit history”, or experience borrowing and repaying other loans. Your credit history tells a lender whether it is safe to lend you more money or not. If you have poor or no credit history, you are a bigger risk and will probably pay a lot more interest on your loan (if you can get approved for a loan at all). If you have an excellent history of borrowing and repaying loans, you are considered a good risk, and you will have no problem being approved for a loan at a low cost.

In addition to your credit history, you will also have to show a lender that you can afford to make the monthly loan payments. The lender will look at all of your income and all of your expenses, and estimate your ability to repay the loan. You will need to provide proof of your income, like a copy of your paycheck or your income tax forms.

If you do not have good credit history or enough income, the lender may ask you to have another person as a “co-signer” on your loan—someone who will make the loan payments if you cannot. The lender may also ask for “security”, such as locking up some money in your savings account until you repay the loan. 

Applying for a loan is usually free, except for home loans. A home loan will require you to pay a few hundred dollars for a professional “appraisal”, which will show you and the lender what the house is worth. There are other fees for home loans, which can add up to a few thousand dollars.

Once you are approved for your loan, the lender will show you all the details about your loan; such as the total amount of the loan, the monthly payment amount, the amount of money you will pay for getting the loan, and more. You are not required to accept the loan! If you are uncomfortable with the details of the loan, you can tell the lender “no”. Make sure that you completely understand the loan and fees, if any, since you are signing a contract when you accept the loan. 

All details about your loan are confidential, and cannot be shared with others. Each person’s financial situation is unique, and details about their loans cannot be shared, either.

Car Loan Example
Amount Borrowed $20,000
Loan Term
(length of loan)
48 months
APR (your rate may be different) 2.74%
Monthly Payment $440.39

Build Good Credit

Once you have a loan, it’s your responsibility to make your payments in full and on time. This is the most important way to build and keep a good credit history! Some people think if they make a bigger payment or pay off the loan early, they will have good credit. But this is not true. Just make your payments in full and on time, for every loan that you have.

Over time, you will earn a good “credit score”. This is a number usually between 400 and 800 that shows lenders if it is safe to loan you money. The higher the number, the better your credit score. The better your credit score, the lower the cost of your loan.

Be careful not to have too many loans. Even though a lender may be willing to loan you money, the responsibility is yours to repay all of your loans. Make sure you know how much you can afford for a monthly payment, even though a fancier car or bigger house may seem very attractive!

Also note that all loans have some fees once you get the loan. If you are late making your payment, there will be a late payment fee. And credit cards can have a lot of fees, like an annual fee just for having the credit card, or a fee for spending more than your credit limit.

Glossary of Financial Terms


Tips for a good credit score
Make your payments in full and on time
Apply for and keep only the loans and lines of credit that you need (too many will lower your credit score)
Keep your balances low on credit cards and lines of credit
(staying close to the limit will lower your credit score)
Get a copy of your free credit report every year at annualcreditreport.com
(to see your score and verify the report is accurate)

Banking in the United States – Understanding the Basics


Glossary of Financial Terms
 

Checking Account Overview

In many countries, workers are paid in cash, and they buy everything in cash—including paying for their homes, food, and telephone services. Most U.S. citizens use a “checking account” at a local bank or credit union to help manage their money. A checking account is a more secure way to manage your money, because the U.S. government reviews the banks and insures (guarantees) that your money will be safe.

Your employer can send your paycheck directly into your checking account. You can put other money into your checking account, too. You can transfer money from other accounts, receive money from an international wire, or “deposit” cash or checks into your checking account.

You can also pay for most of the things you need without using cash. You can write checks and pay bills directly from your checking account through your bank’s online banking system (see below for more information). You will also get a plastic “debit card” with your checking account. You can use your debit card to get cash at an Automated Teller Machine (ATM). There are thousands of ATMs in the world. Many stores also give “cash back” in addition to the purchase price when you use a debit card. You must be careful to keep track of the money you put in and take out of your checking account, so you do not “overdraw” too much money, or you could be charged very expensive fees.



Choosing a Checking Account

There are a lot of different kinds of checking accounts, and some of them can be expensive. Some of them will charge you a monthly fee, or will charge you fees for other services that are part of the checking account.

Some checking accounts will pay “dividends” or “interest” on your money. These checking accounts are good if you keep a lot of money in your checking account. A “free” checking account means that there is not a monthly fee. Some banks will tell you that your checking account is free, but you have to keep a certain amount of money in your checking account or you will be charged the monthly fee.

Make sure you understand how the checking account works before you open one. Checking account fees can add up to hundreds of dollars each year.

Be sure to choose a bank or credit union that is “federally insured”. This means that the U.S. government will repay your money up to a certain amount (usually at least $250,000) if something happens to the bank.



Using Your Checking Account

Once you open a checking account, you can give your employer your “checking account number”, so he can “direct deposit” your paycheck into your checking account each payday. This will save you a trip to the bank, and the money from your paycheck will be available sooner. If you receive other types of income, like from a business or retirement, you can have that money direct deposited, too.

When you open your checking account, there are several different services you can use to get money out of your checking account:

  • Paper checks – These checks are printed with the bank’s information and your checking account information, so you can fill in information about the person you’re paying and the amount you want to pay them. There is a fee to buy paper checks.

  • Debit Card – You can use this plastic card to buy things and to get cash. There are sometimes fees when you use your debit card.

  • Online Banking – You can use your computer or laptop to safely access your checking account. You can look at your checking account deposits and payments, and keep track of how much money you have in your checking account. Some online banking systems will let you send money to other people or other bank accounts. And if you have a loan with the same bank, you can transfer your monthly payment from your checking account to the loan, right on your computer.

  • Mobile Banking –You can use your smartphone or tablet to do most of the same things you can do in online banking.

  • Bill Payment – This is a special feature inside online banking and mobile banking that lets you pay your bills directly from your checking account. You can fill out the name of the company you’re paying and the amount of the bill, and send the money electronically to the company. Bill payment is good for bills that you pay every month; like your rent, home loan payment, car payment, water and electricity.

It is possible to take out more money from your checking account than you actually have, so be sure to keep track of all the money you put in and take out.


Glossary of Financial Terms


Tips for managing your checking account
Keep careful track of your transactions to make sure you don’t spend more money than you have (checks and debit card purchases can take a few days to be deducted from your balance)
Review the activity in your checking account to make sure all the transactions are yours (fraud can occur with debit cards, although you won’t be responsible if you report it in a timely manner)
You can allow another person to use your checking account, called a “joint account holder” (usually a spouse or other family member), who can also write checks, get a debit card and use Online Banking)
Do not write a check unless the money is already in your account
Set up overdraft protection from a savings account or line of credit, so if you accidentally overdraw your account the money can transfer over and save you from high fees

Get Started Now!

KeyPoint has three easy ways to join the Starting Point program:

  1. Visit any KeyPoint branch location
  2. Click here to Open an account online or Apply for a loan
  3. Call (888) 255-3637 to apply by phone (Checking Account must be opened online or at a branch)

Be sure to use Promo Code SPP so we know you’re applying for the Starting Point program!


What happens next?

  1. A loan representative will contact you to review the loan decision, loan rates, rate discounts, and the specific documents required
    • Recent paycheck stubs or other proof of income, such as an offer letter from your employer if you’ve been employed less than one month
    • To qualify for this program there is a minimum income requirement
    • Valid driver’s license or passport
    • Social Security ID card
    • Others items may be required, depending on your situation
  2. We will schedule an appointment for you to sign the loan agreement
  3. We will fund your loan (directly to a car dealer, or setting up your line of credit)