Steps to creating a nonprofit organization Mar 10, 2014, 8:25 am By Heidi Carmack Pfaffroth

Guest post by Angie Morris, CPA, Hawkins Cloward and Simister

Charitable giving is an American tradition. We contribute to charity for a multitude of reasons. For example, to give back to society or to support a cause we feel strongly about. The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University found 88 percent of households in the U.S. give to charity. While there are numerous charitable organizations serving a variety of beneficial programs, the enterprise you feel strongly about may not be represented. Do not let that deter you, as you can still support your cause by establishing a nonprofit organization. Here are the steps you should take to create a nonprofit organization.   

If you decide you want to create a nonprofit, your first step is to work with an attorney to create a nonprofit corporation.   The attorney will verify that the organization name is available, prepare and file the articles of incorporation with the state, compose bylaws or governing documents and pay the filing fees with the state.  Once you receive your articles, you are eligible to apply for tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service.  Tax-exempt recognition from the IRS allows your organization to be exempt from paying income tax on the net earnings of your organization.  Exempt status will also grant donors a deduction for their contribution to your organization.        

Remember, to be tax exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, an organization must be operated exclusively for exempt purposes and the earnings cannot unfairly benefit an individual. The IRS considers exempt purposes to be providing for charitable, religious, educational, scientific, or literary purposes, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition and preventing cruelty to children or animals.  As you can see, charitable organizations include a broad range of activities that help the public.

It is important to remember that nonprofit organizations are regulated by state and federal governments.  The regulation is in place to protect donors from fraud, and ensure that the nonprofits are serving the public.  The IRS has granted you tax-exempt status and they want to follow the work your organization is performing.  You will need to file an information return with the IRS annually.  If you fail to file a return for three consecutive years, you will lose your tax-exempt status.  It is a lot of work to get exempt status, so remember to file.  Fundraising requires registration with the states.  You should start with the state you are organized in and then any other states where you solicit funds.  Registration typically requires an application and a fee paid to the state.  States observe organizations soliciting funds over the internet; therefore, if you use the internet for fundraising, make sure you check the state registration requirements to avoid penalties. Come back next month for another article about setting up donor accounts.

After you have established your tax-exempt status, there are several things you will want to do to run your organization properly.  The organization should be operated like a business and show measurable results.  You need to have as much money coming in as you do going out.  Budgeting your incoming cash and upcoming expenses will help you stay on target, allowing you to fulfill your mission.  Make sure you keep good records and review them regularly.  There are many reporting requirements for nonprofits.  A good set of records makes the reporting accurate and easier to complete.

To reiterate, the steps you should take to create a nonprofit organization are:

• Establish a nonprofit corporation and file with your state.

• Apply for tax-exempt status with the IRS.

• Know and follow regulations such as fundraising registration, IRS filings, etc.

• Operate your organization like a business, allowing you to further your cause.

If you believe your cause could benefit by creating a nonprofit organization, talk an attorney today!

Angela A. Morris graduated from Brigham Young University. She is a member of the AICPA and the UACPA. She has served as the treasurer of the Utah Association of CPAs and president of the UACPA Southern Chapter. She is currently the vice chair for the Housing Authority of Utah County, the treasurer of the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce Women’s Business Network, and on the executive board for the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce. Angie loves spending time at Lake Powell and is a devoted St. Louis Cardinals fan.

Getting fiscally fit Mar 03, 2014, 8:20 am By Heidi Carmack Pfaffroth

 By Kristen Allen

Every New Year, the treadmills at the gym fill up with people determined to get physically fit. The goal of physical wellness is one we’re all familiar with, because each of us senses that we’ll be in a better position to reach all our goals in life if we maintain our physical health. But, of course, overall wellness extends beyond physical fitness. The individual who experiences general well-being has found an effective balance between physical, emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, social and spiritual wellness.

As a financial institution, Bank of American Fork is in a unique position to influence the wellness of our customers, with specific regard to their financial health. We take that responsibility seriously, because we believe that when your finances are in order, the other elements of general wellness are more easily managed.

But making healthy choices in life can be challenging. Just as we aren’t always mindful of how our poor dietary choices are affecting the health of our bodies, we also tend to be only semi-conscious of the fact that our unhealthy financial diet can negatively affect our overall well-being. But the truth is that financial stress can cause our relationships to suffer, weaken our ability to cope productively with stress and decrease our productivity at work. With so much of our general wellness riding on it, it can be a profitable exercise to examine our personal financial health a bit more closely. 

In today’s economy, however, it’s easy to become overwhelmed as we dig into the reality of our financial situation; it’s not surprising that money is the number-two cause of stress among adults in the U.S. (behind job-related stress), as well as the top predictor, by far, of divorce.

With that in mind, you may be wondering how to achieve fiscal fitness, especially in a climate where 76 percent of Americans admit to living paycheck-to-paycheck, and where the number-one financial concern among working adults in the U.S. is not having enough emergency savings for unexpected expenses. It can be difficult to know where to begin—sort of like setting a goal to run a marathon, after years of living the life of a couch potato.

Just like running 26.2 miles would require a plan of action and consistent training, creating a healthy fiscal plan and dedicating yourself to your financial goals will make all the difference.

Whether your financial concerns are about budgeting, debt reduction, retirement planning, saving for college, buying a home or simply creating a savings plan that makes sense for your life circumstance, fiscal fitness is not out of your reach, and it’s not too late to get started. You can achieve the financial health you need to manage your budget, investments, the monetary effects of significant life events and create a plan for life’s curveballs.

You can attain financial health, and it is our priority at Bank of American Fork to help you do it. Absolute integrity is one of our core values. That’s why every product we develop has your financial needs and health in mind, and is designed deliberately to avoid “gotchas” and traps. Also because what may be “healthy” and financially safe for one person may not necessarily be the best fit for someone else (just as dietary and fitness plans differ from person to person), we have a variety of healthy financial services and processes in place to ensure that we can meet the specific financial-health needs of each individual.

Whatever stands between you and financial wellness, let Bank of American Fork help. We know that whatever effort it might take to get your finances under control will be worth it to you and your family. If you have questions about your finances, or would like to understand how our products can help you create a healthy plan for your money, visit one of our 13 full-service branches or call us at 800-815-BANK. We are committed to providing you with safe financial services that will help you achieve your financial goals, and lead you to peak fiscal fitness.

Donate for dogs: AF police still need $6,000 Feb 26, 2014, 9:00 am By Heidi Carmack Pfaffroth

The American Fork Police Department is raising money for two new police dogs. These highly-trained dogs help detect narcotics, locate suspects and missing persons, protect the community and guard the lives of officers. The police department has been raising funds since last fall to reach the needed amount of $30,000 for new dogs, training, and equipment. Bank of American Fork matched the first $11,000 donated by the community, and the police department now has approximately $23,900. Individual donations will now be crucial in raising the final $6,000. The police department has established an account here at Bank of American Fork where donations can be made. Contributors can also bring cash or checks to the American Fork police department.

Here is an awesome video from KSL news the other night of the dogs’ training, complete with bite suits:

The Daily Herald also covered the story, so read it here:

The American Fork Police Department has used K-9 units for more than 15 years. For the last seven years, police service dogs Wolf and Duco, have worked side-by-side with Officers Russell Bishop and Ryan Archuleta to keep drugs off the streets, and deter and detect crime in neighborhoods.

At 63 (dog) years old, Duco and Wolf are beginning to suffer from arthritis and other age-related problems, and need to retire.  Last fall, the department launched a campaign to raise the $30,000 needed to purchase, train and equip two new service dogs to carry on Duco and Wolf’s legacy.

“Wolf and Duco have been instrumental in protecting and serving the citizens of American Fork and Cedar Hills,” said American Fork Police Chief Lance Call. “Thanks to their efforts, officers have seized tens of thousands of dollars in drugs and paraphernalia, and have apprehended multiple suspects.  The generosity of Bank of American Fork and many others will allow us to continue this very important work.”

“As the state’s leading community bank, strengthening the communities in which we operate is central to our mission,” said Richard Beard, president and CEO of Bank of American Fork. “It is an honor to be able to be part of a cause as worthy and meaningful as the K-9 program. Thanks to the efforts of the police department, local businesses and residents, we are close to our goal. As we enter the final stretch of this campaign, we call on those who haven’t yet had the opportunity to support this important program to pitch in, and close the gap. Together, we can all be part of making our community a safer place.”

Currently, there is a security flaw in the Apple operating system affecting iOS devices and Mac® computers. This may allow cyber spies and hackers to grab emails, financial information and other data from online Apple product users.

The good news is that there are three things you can do to help protect your financial information from this Apple security flaw right now:

1.       Download the update on your iOS device. This is an update from Apple. You may have received an alert on your phone already, or you will most likely find it in “Settings” under “General.”

2.       Use the Bank of American Fork app instead of accessing it through the browser on your mobile device.

3.       Don’t access your online banking on a public Wi-Fi network.

Interested in more details about this news?

Our customer service team received a number of calls concerning a major security flaw in the Apple operating system. The exploit could allow cyber spies and hackers to grab emails, financial information and other data from online Apple product users. Affecting iOS devices and Mac computers, the bug allows a hacker to view unencrypted traffic that was believed to be encrypted between the user and a secure website. When a user is doing online banking or ecommerce purchases, all of the user’s traffic could be unencrypted.

To exploit the Apple bug, a hacker would have to be on your local area or Wi-Fi network.  If you’re an iOS user, avoid using your devices on public networks—at least in the short-term until you can download Apple’s latest update. When you’re using Bank of American Fork online banking, instead of opening a browser on your device, use our mobile banking apps for the iPad® and iPhone®—they are not impacted by this bug.

The operating systems affected by this bug are as follows: iOS (Apple mobile devices) 6.x before 6.1.6 and 7.x before 7.0.6 and OS X® (Apple computers) 10.9.x before 10.9.2. Apple rushed a fix for mobile devices running iOS, so your device may have updated automatically, you have received an alert on your phone or you can update it in “Settings.”

If you have any questions or concerns don’t hesitate to call us at 800-815-BANK.

Apple, Mac, iPhone and iPad are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

IOS is a trademark or registered trademark of Cisco in the U.S. and other countries and is used under license.

New navigation and added features make app user-friendly Feb 24, 2014, 8:45 am By Heidi Carmack Pfaffroth

­Bank of American Fork launched big changes to its mobile banking application for iPhone® last week, making it easier for customers to bank on the go. 

Version 2.0 has new user-friendly navigation and several new features, including:

• New Apple iOS native look and feel

• Sleek new navigation

• Social media links

• eStatement access

Update or download version 2.0 in the App StoreSM today.

Bank of American Fork mobile banking is available through apps on iPad, iPhone and Android™, or smartphone and tablet users can visit on their mobile device. All of the mobile apps allow customers to deposit checks, check account balances, view account history, pay bills, transfer funds and find branch contact information and locations.

To ensure safety, we recommend that customers only download our native mobile apps from the following sources: download our iPhone app or iPad® app from the iTunes Store® or App Store and the Android app from the Android Market™. Customers can also visit the mobile site from their devices at without installing a mobile app.

For questions about mobile banking call 800-815-BANK or live chat with us at

Although mobile banking is provided by Bank of American Fork free of charge, you may be charged access rates depending on your mobile carrier. Web access is needed to use mobile banking. Check with your service provider for details on specific fees and charges.

†  Enrollment in Mobile ExpressDeposit is available in mobile banking and includes meeting eligibility requirements. For consumer accounts there is a $0.50 service fee per deposit on the first 20 deposits processed in the calendar month and a $1.00 service fee per deposit on each deposit over 20. For business accounts there is a $0.50 fee per deposit on the first 60 deposits processed in the calendar month and a $1.00 fee per deposit on each deposit over 60. For full details, please visit the Mobile ExpressDeposit product page.

‡ Online customers must first enroll in PowerPay™ and establish payees in online banking prior to using this function in mobile banking.

iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and iTunes are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. App Store is a service mark and iTunes store is a registered service mark of Apple Inc. Android and Android Market are trademarks of Google Inc. PowerPay is a trademark of Jack Henry & Associates, Inc.

What’s it like to work for Bank of American Fork? Feb 19, 2014, 8:30 am By Heidi Carmack Pfaffroth

By Kristen Allen

Wouldn’t it be fantastic to love where you work and to feel like your employer genuinely cares about you, your family and your community? Well, Bank of American Fork employees do.

Recently, Bank of American Fork employees completed a Utah Business magazine survey, and the resulting score earned Bank of American Fork the honor of being designated one of Utah Business’ “Best Companies to Work For” in 2013. People love working for Bank of American Fork! This means that Bank of American Fork customers are being served well, by people who truly enjoy what they do for a living.

What is it like working for Bank of American Fork?

Among the perks of working for Bank of American Fork are a 401(k) employer match, profit sharing and financial advisers who help with retirement planning and investment options. The bank also takes care of the full cost of a term life insurance policy for employees, and the board of directors regularly approves generous annual bonuses for the full-time and part-time employees.

On top of that, Bank of American Fork associates have access to discounted tickets to local entertainment, sporting and fine-art events. They can attend various company parties (think copious amounts of food) and participate in health-related contests (to eliminate the subsequent muffin tops).

Bank of American Fork associates celebrate Ken Burnett's birthday by wearing bowties - Ken's signature look.

And, Bank of American Fork takes employee appreciation beyond ticket bargains and financial incentives. The bank hosts catered birthday lunches and celebrates Professional’s Day every year with a little something for each employee.

Bank of American Fork doesn’t just care about its employees, but about their families as well.

“I have never missed a parent-teacher conference, school performance or any other activity my children are involved with because of [a] work conflict,” one employee said.”[Bank of American Fork] offers the flexibility to participate in important family and community programs.”

And perhaps some of the most meaningful advantages of working for Bank of American Fork are the consistent opportunities the bank provides to volunteer and donate to charities. You may have heard of Project Teddy Bear, which benefits Utah’s at-risk children. In 2013, the bank sponsored its 14th annual Teddy Bear Project, which gives bank employees a chance to give back, and encourages the community to come together for a heart-warming cause. When asked what it means to work for a company involved in such a civic service, one employee answered, “It feels really rewarding to work for an organization that regularly tries to build and uplift our community.”

Bottom line: Bank of American Fork associates felt the love in 2013. When asked about benefits and compensation, growth opportunities, company culture, management and everything else about working for the bank, employees gave their employer a ringing endorsement. Or put another way: Bank of American Fork employees love their jobs, and love helping you love the bank!

2013: A Year of Giving Feb 18, 2014, 12:11 pm By Heidi Carmack Pfaffroth

Last year was another year of generous giving to dozens of local non-profits, schools, arts programs and community groups. In 2013, Bank of American Fork donated more than $150,000 to almost 150 organizations, touching thousands of lives. Additionally, our annual Project Teddy Bear collected 20,466 stuffed animals for at-risk kids that utilize various family support centers across the state—a record year of donations from the bank family, community groups and individuals.

Here’s our comprehensive list of charitable giving in 2013. Looking forward to another year of giving back!

Alpine City Rodeo

Alpine Community Theater

Alta High School Boys Basketball

American Cancer Society Sandy Relay

American Diabetes Foundation

American Fork Arts Council

American Fork Canyon Half Marathon

American Fork Children’s Choir

American Fork Football Boosters

American Fork High School

American Fork High School Basketball

American Fork High School Drama Department

American Fork High School Girls Basketball

American Fork High School Girls Soccer

American Fork High School Girls Softball

American Fork High School Marching Band

American Fork Junior High PTSA

American Fork Rotary Club

American Fork Steel Days

American Fork Symphony

American Heart Association

American Leadership Academy

American Leadership Boys Basketball

American Legion Post #68

American Lung Association in Utah

American Premier Soccer

American Red Cross

Aristotle Academy Charter School

Boys and Girls Club of Utah County

Cedar Hills City

Center for Women and Children in Crisis

Central Utah Parks and Recreation Association

Community Action Services of Utah County Food Bank

Community Health Connect

Community Presbyterian Church

Desert Hills Thunder Football

Diamond Fork Riding Club

Distinguished Young Women of Alpine

Distinguished Young Women of Highland-American Fork

Distinguished Young Women of Utah-Lehi

Draper Community Foundation Rodeo

Eagle Mountain City

Fullmer Brothers Golden Glove

Habitat for Humanity Utah County

Herriman City

Highland Fling

Huntsman Cancer Foundation

Jordan High School

Karl Maeser Preparatory Academy

Kiwanis Club

Kostopulos Dream Foundation

Lady Caveman Lacrosse

Layton High School Basketball

Layton High School Jazz Band

Legacy Elementary

Lehi Booster Club

Lehi City Family Week

Lehi High Grad Night

Lehi High School Girls Basketball

Lehi High School Sports Marketing

Lehi Library Gala

Lehi Longhorn Rodeo Team

Lehi Round-up Rodeo

Lehi Youth Football

Lone Peak High School Football

Lone Peak High School Jazz Band

Manila Elementary PTA

Miss Northern Utah County

Mountain Ridge Junior High

Mountain Ridge Junior High Drama

Mountainlands Community Housing Trust

Mountain View High School

Mrs. Utah United States

Nebo Education Foundation

Neighborhood Housing Services of Provo

Pleasant Grove High School Football

Pleasant Grove High School Girls Basketball

Pleasant Grove High School Softball

Pleasant Grove High School Wrestling

Pleasant Grove Recreation

Pleasant Grove Strawberry Days

Polynesian Heritage Youth Association

Pony Express Elementary

Riverton High School Band Booster Association

Riverton High School Drill Team

Riverton Rodeo

Riverview Elementary

Rotary Club of Pleasant Grove

Rural Community Assistance Corporation

Rural Housing Development Corporation Urban Self-Help

Salem Hills High School Football

Saratoga Springs City Splash

Saratoga Springs Fire Department

Saratoga Springs Library

Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation

Service Legacy Foundation

Shelley Elementary

Shelley Elementary PTA

Southland Elementary PTO

Spanish Fork Chamber Easter Egg Hunt

Spanish Fork Fire Fighters

Spanish Fork High School

Spanish Fork High School Basketball

Spanish Fork High School Football

Spanish Fork Rotary

Timpanogos Academy PTO

Timpanogos Arts Foundation

Timpanogos Arts Foundation Community Theater

Timpanogos High School Intramural Program

Timpanogos High School Volleyball

Timpanogos Symphony Orchestra

Timpview High School Baseball

Timpview Tennis Team

Tiny Tim Foundation for Kids

Utah Bankers Association Education Committee Fisher House Dinner

Utah County Fair Pig Wrestling

Utah County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Utah Food Bank

Utah Home Builders Association

Utah Horns Baseball

Utah Housing Coalition

Utah Housing Non-Profit Housing Corporation

Utah Micro Enterprise Loan Fund

Utah Ram Sale

Utah State Junior Livestock Show

Utah Valley Skyline Chorus

UVU Scholarship Ball

Viewmont High School

Volunteers of America

Westlake High School Football

Westfield PTA

Westlake High School Girls Softball

Westlake Senior Night Basketball

Westlake Youth Football League

Youth Champions Charity

Charitable giving options Feb 13, 2014, 8:45 am By Heidi Carmack Pfaffroth

Guest post by Angie Morris, CPA, Hawkins Cloward and Simister

Often we desire to share our good fortune by contributing to charities for those in need.  With tax season underway, you may be evaluating the charitable contributions you made last year and figuring out how you want to make contributions this year. While we tend to donate for altruistic reasons, there is also a tax benefit for making charitable donations.  The method through which you gift determines your tax benefit. There are several ways to make a gift to a charitable cause, so which one is right for you?

IRS-approved charity. One of the easiest and most common ways to donate to charity is by giving directly to an IRS-approved charity.  Donating in this manner allows you to take a tax deduction based on the fair market value of the gift.  Through direct giving you choose the charity, amount and timing of the contribution.  A tax deduction for a cash gift would be limited to 50% of your adjusted gross income (AGI) and 30% for securities held more than a year.

Private foundation. If you want to maintain control over investment and grant making decisions, a private foundation may be an effective way for you to donate.  A private foundation is an independent charitable corporation, with tax-exempt recognition by the IRS.  Private foundations are heavily regulated by the states and the federal government.  You will need to follow the compliance requirements including annual distributions and information reporting to the IRS.  Individuals that create private foundations often involve their family members with the management of the foundation.  Foundations can be costly to establish and operate; therefore, a donation to establish the foundation is usually a significant amount.  The tax deduction will be based on the fair market value of the gift.  Private foundations have a 30% AGI limit for cash gifts, and 20% for securities held more than one year.

Charitable annuity trust or charitable remainder trust. A charitable annuity trust and charitable remainder trust are a way to leave funds to a charity while receiving a stream of income over your life or a set period of time.  An agreement is reached with the charity to leave the remainder of the assets to the charity, but you get income during your lifetime.  An annuity trust will give you a fixed amount of income annually, a remainder trust will give you income for a set period of time; once you pass away the charity will keep the remainder of the assets.  There are reporting requirements with these types of trusts.  The tax deduction will be based on the fair market value of the estimated assets remaining that go to the charity.  These types of donations usually involve higher funding amounts.

Donor advised fund. A donor advised fund is a separate account maintained by a public charity that allows you to donate and accumulate funds, and recommend grants.  Once you make the donation, the organization has legal control over the funds, but you have advisory privileges on the investment and distribution of the funds.  Distributions must be made to public charities.  These types of funds are designed as a simple, accessible, and less expensive alternative to a private foundation.  There is usually a minimum amount you must contribute to set up the account. The tax deduction is 50% AGI for cash gifts and 30% AGI for securities held over a year.

There are a variety of ways to transfer assets to a charity.  Comparing the different options before deciding will ensure that you choose the best for you.  Some aspects to consider are the tax benefits, cost and complexity to establish and maintain and input you can have on the investments and charitable giving.  Once you compare and contrast the options you can determine the best tool to suit your charitable giving goals.

Angela A. Morris graduated from Brigham Young University. She is a member of the AICPA and the UACPA. She has served as the treasurer of the Utah Association of CPAs and president of the UACPA Southern Chapter. She is currently the vice chair for the Housing Authority of Utah County, the treasurer of the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce Women’s Business Network, and on the executive board for the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce. Angie loves spending time at Lake Powell and is a devoted St. Louis Cardinals fan.

Picture This: Mobile ExpressDeposit TM Jan 31, 2014, 10:08 am By Heidi Carmack Pfaffroth

By Amy Falke

If there’s still a check sitting in your wallet right now, there are probably a few different reasons you haven’t gotten around to depositing it. Maybe you didn’t make it to the bank before you headed out of state for a week. Perhaps it was just another fast-paced day until you slipped under the covers for some much-needed sleep and you suddenly realized you forgot to deposit that check—again, and your mind began flooding with the next day’s already packed to-do list. Maybe you’ll swing by the bank at lunch.

Mobile ExpressDeposit allows qualified* Bank of American Fork customers to use their mobile device to deposit checks any time— day or night— simply by snapping a picture and sending it through mobile banking, so you can rest easy. Here are the basics of how to use it:

  • Select either Mobile Express Deposit or the Deposit option after you log into mobile banking.
  • Click on Deposit Check
  • Complete the simple enrollment (Takes a day or two for approval—first time only).
  • Take photos of the front and back of your endorsed check.
  • Enter the deposit amount and choose your account for deposit.
  • Submit and get confirmation of your deposit†.

Mobile ExpressDeposit is a secure way to deposit your checks.  Learn more about this product here (and click the FAQ for more great info). If you think this might come in handy for you, use your Bank of American Fork app to sign up now, so next time you’ve got a check sitting in your wallet you can deposit it on your lunch break and still have time to enjoy a tasty sandwich.

* To be eligible for Mobile ExpressDeposit, you must be a Bank of American Fork online banking customer with direct ownership of a Bank of American Fork checking or savings account, your account must have been active for at least 60 days, no overdrafts in the last 6 months, and no more than 1 chargeback in the last six months. For consumer accounts there is a $0.50 fee per deposit on the first 20 deposits processed in the calendar month and a $1.00 fee per deposit on each deposit over 20. For business accounts there is a $0.50 fee per deposit on the first 60 deposits processed in the calendar month and a $1.00 fee per deposit on each deposit over 60.

†Deposit cut-off time is 6:00PM Mountain Time, Monday – Friday (excluding holidays). Deposits submitted after 6:00PM will be processed on the next business day. Deposits are subject to verification and not available for immediate withdrawal. Deposit limits and other restrictions apply.

Traveling and Card Safety Jan 29, 2014, 1:27 pm By Heidi Carmack Pfaffroth

By Amy Falke

Details of this trip have been buzzing around your head for the past few weeks and now, as you start your drive to the airport, the to-do list runs through your head one more time. You begin to mentally check things off your list. Ask neighbor to take care of animals, check. Adjust the thermostat, check. Call the bank, check.

What? Call the bank—why would you call the bank?

Letting the bank know your travel plans helps prevent an unexpected block on your bank card. Because Bank of American Fork values cardholder safety, we try to anticipate normal cardholder activity. If a cardholder does something that is outside their normal activity, a “possible fraud” alert may be triggered and a temporary block may be placed on the card. This block remains on the card until the customer confirms the validity of the transaction with the bank or with the fraud monitoring service provider.  For example, if most transactions for a card have been in Utah County, when the card registers a transaction in Miami, Florida, it can trigger an alert and may block the card.

The prevalence of international card fraud has caused Bank of American Fork to implement practices that protect customers in these areas, as well. Certain countries have been identified as having higher fraudulent card activity and using your card in these countries may create a block on your card. If a customer is planning to travel internationally, he or she can contact the bank and request that their card be temporarily released from the automatic block. Once the customer returns home, they will not need to contact the bank again. The country blocks will automatically be placed back on the card based on the timeframe provided in the travel plans.

Providing the bank with travel notes of planned locations and time-periods prior to your departure allows the bankcard department to make the necessary adjustments that can ensure uninterrupted card service during and after your trip. For additional questions or to place travel notes, speak to a teller or new accounts person at your local branch, send a secure message through your online banking, or call customer service at 800-815-BANK.

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