Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Do you have questions about Thrivent Federal Credit Union products or services? Wondering about online banking, mobile banking, loans, credit lines and more? Click on a topic below and discover an answer.
Q: There aren't any branches where I live, how can I do my banking with Thrivent Federal Credit Union?
A: You can bank with Thrivent Federal Credit Union no matter where you live. Services like online banking and the TFCU Mobile app allow you access to our banking services whenever and wherever it's convenient for you. Plus, you can bank in person using the CO-OP Shared Branch network. Learn more about banking with us.
Q: What about paying bills online? Can I do that with Thrivent Federal Credit Union?
A: Absolutely! With our Online Bill Payment service, you have instant access to your money. You can pay bills, make a loan or credit card payment. You can elect to have payments made when you indicate or pay the bill automatically each month. It's all just a click away. Learn more about online banking.
Q: I'm worried about online security. How is my account information protected when I bank online?
A: Our Online Banking site uses VeriSign security software, an industry leader in website identification and encryption. VeriSign uses 128-bit encryption to scramble personal information, which stays scrambled while traveling over the Internet. VeriSign uses secure server software, the industry standard and among the best software available for secure commerce transactions. You also have the ability to change your password and are encouraged to do so often. Learn more about online banking security.
Q: What if I need cash? How does that work without having a local bank?
A: As long as you have a checking account with us, it's very easy for you to get cash. We provide you with a debit card that you can use to obtain cash at a local ATM – whenever you need it. Clients who maintain a Thrivent Rewards Checking Account are entitled to unlimited free ATM withdrawals (and reimbursed owner fees) from any ATM in the United States and the world (International Transaction Fee applies). If you like, we also can wire or electronically transfer the money you request to a local financial institution of your choice.
Important Notice: Nonproprietary ATM terminal owner fees can only be reimbursed by Thrivent Federal Credit Union when such fees are charged and disclosed separately from the amount of the withdrawal.
Q: Do I have to do my banking during regular business hours?
A: Services of Thrivent Federal Credit Union are built around you and your needs. Our online banking services and automated phone banking are available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Q: How can I transfer funds from Thrivent Federal Credit Union to my local bank?
A: You can transfer funds to any external institution from online banking at any time with the routing and account number handy. Or you can call us and we can make a transfer over the phone.
Q: What is Thrivent Federal Credit Union's routing number?
Q: Are my accounts federally insured? By how much?
A: Your deposits are insured, up to $250,000 per individual depositor, by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF). The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) is the independent agency that administers the NCUSIF. Like the FDIC's Deposit Insurance Fund, the NCUSIF is a federal insurance fund backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government.
NCUA share insurance covers all types of deposits, including deposits in a share draft account, share savings account, or a share certificate. NCUA insurance covers depositors' accounts dollar-for-dollar, including principal and any accrued dividends through the date of the insured credit union's closing, up to the insurance limit. Learn more about NCUSIF insurance coverage.
How do I open an another account if I’m already a TFCU member?
Existing TFCU members can open an account online.
Q: What is Text Banking?
A: Text banking gives you access to your accounts via text (SMS) messages on your phone. It's a fast, easy way to look up account balances or recent account history by sending a text command to a shortcode.
Q: What number should I send the text commands to?
A: Text commands to 79680. Remember that standard text messaging rates apply. Check with your phone provider on your plan details and usage fees.
Q: Can I use both Text Banking and Mobile Banking on my phone?
A: Yes, you can use both options from the same phone. To do so you will need to activate each option on your phone prior to use.
Q: How do you activate text banking on your phone?
A: To activate text banking, log in to Online Banking from a computer and select "Manage Mobile Banking settings". An activation code is required. Activation is a one-time process that helps ensure your security. After you enroll a phone, you will receive an activation text message, you will need to reply to that text message with the activation code that was presented on the enrollment screen. We recommend you print your activation code and installation instructions for easy reference during installation.
Q: Is Text Banking supported on my phone?
A: Text Banking will work on any text message (SMS) capable phone from one of our supported carriers. We support all the popular U.S wireless phone carriers, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon.
Q: Will I receive unsolicited text messages?
A: No. You will only receive messages when you specifically request them with one of the Text Banking commands or if you subscribe to Mobile Alerts.
Q: What are the Text Banking commands?
A: Text banking commands:
|Balance||B||Summary of available balances for all accounts|
|History||H||Summary of recent transactions per account|
|Command||C||List of available Text Banking commands|
|Help||HE||Help content for Text Banking|
|Login||L||Receive a URL for the ThriventCU Mobile Browser website|
|Recover||R||Receive a URL and new activation code for the ThriventCU Mobile Browser web site|
|Stop||S||De-activate all ThriventCU text services|
NOTE: You can check for additional available commands by activating your phone and sending C to 79680.
Q: How much does this service cost?
A: There is currently no charge associated with the service. However, there may be charges associated with text messaging and data usage on your phone. Check with your wireless phone carrier for usage fees and guidelines.
Q: Is it secure?
A: Yes, the mobile banking service utilizes best practices from online banking, such as HTTPS, 128-bit SSL encryption, PIN, or password access and application time-out when your phone is not in use. Only the phones that you personally enroll in the service can access your accounts. In addition, no account data is ever stored on your phone. And in the event your phone is lost or stolen, the service can be immediately disabled by logging in to Online Banking and selecting "Manage Mobile Banking Settings" or calling us.
For more information on protecting your information while using mobile devices, review tips from the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG).
Q: Which wireless carriers are supported?
A: We support all the popular U.S wireless phone carriers, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. If your carrier is not listed when you enroll, select 'Other' and try the Mobile Web option, or check back later, as new carriers will be added over time.
Q: Do I need a text message or data plan?
A: Yes, a text messaging and/or data plan is typically needed, as data usage can become expensive without them. Please check with your wireless carrier for more information.
Q: I'm not enrolled for online banking. Can I still use this?
A: You must first enroll in online banking before using the mobile options.
Q: What is Mobile Banking?
A: Mobile banking gives you access to your accounts from your mobile web browser or a downloadable mobile banking application, depending on your preference and your phone capabilities. Both options allow you to: view account balances, search transaction history and pay bills.
Q: How do I access Mobile Banking on my phone's browser?
A: After successful activation, your phone will receive a text message with your Mobile Banking URL. You can visit the site at any time at m.thriventcu.com mobile site.
Q: How do I sign up for Mobile Banking?
A: There are three ways to sign up for Mobile Banking.
- Go to m.thriventcu.com and log in with your Online Banking username and password.
- Go to the AppStore or PlayStore and download the "Thrivent CU Mobile" app on your mobile device. After installation, open the app and log in using your Online Banking username and password.
- For text banking: log in to Online Banking on your computer and choose Manage Mobile Banking Settings. Enroll your mobile phone and follow the activation instructions.
Q: I activated Mobile Banking on my phone's browser. Why am I being asked to activate again?
A: At the time of activation, a "cookie" is stored on your phone's browser, which allows the Mobile Banking system to remember that you activated. Some phones may require you to enable cookies or periodically erase them, requiring re-activation. If you are experiencing this issue, check your phone settings to ensure that cookies are enabled. If enabled and the issue persists, consider using an alternative mobile web browser with strong cookie support, such as Opera Mini (which can be found by visiting mini.opera.com on your phone's browser).
Q: How do I optimize my mobile web experience?
A: Ensure your phone's browser has cookies enabled.
Mobile deposit service
Q. What is Thrivent Federal Credit Union's Mobile Deposit Service?
A. Mobile Deposit Service allows you to deposit checks directly into your eligible checking or savings account when enrolled in the ThriventCU Mobile Application on supported Android, Apple, and Amazon devices. Your eligible accounts will appear on your screen.
Q. Is the Mobile Deposit Service secure?
A. Yes. Your information, including your login credentials and deposit images, are not stored on the mobile device.
Q. Who is eligible for Mobile Deposit Service?
A. Eligibility is based on several criteria:
- Thrivent Federal Credit Union members must be registered for our Online Banking services with eligible checking, share accounts, and money market accounts.
- The Mobile Deposit Service also requires the acceptance of the Mobile Deposit Services Addendum to Online and Mobile Banking Agreement.
- Members must be approved for service from Thrivent Federal Credit Union.
Q. How do I get Mobile Deposit Service?
A. Mobile Deposit Service is available on Android Smartphones 4.1 and up, iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch (requires iOS 7 or higher). Simply download the "ThriventCU" app for your device and the "Deposit Checks" option is included in the app.
Q. How do I use Mobile Deposit Service?
- Sign into the ThriventCu Mobile app
- In the menu select "Deposit Checks"
- Select the "To" account from the list
- Enter the dollar amount
- Take a picture of the front of the check
- Take a picture of the back of your check (endorsed "Payable to Thrivent FCU" and with your signature)
- Submit your deposit
For best image results:
- Place your check on a dark surface
- Be in a well-lit area
- Position your camera directly over the check (not at an angle)
- Fit all 4 corners in the guides of your mobile device's camera screen
Q. How do I endorse my check for mobile deposit?
A. Endorse the back of your check with your signature and write "Payable to Thrivent FCU".
Q. What are the deposit limits?
A. There is no limit to the number of items you can deposit. Mobile deposit limit amounts per check, per day and per month will be displayed on the screen.
Q. What types of checks can I deposit?
A. You can deposit checks payable in U.S. dollars and drawn at any U.S bank, including personal, business, and government checks. They also must be payable to, and endorsed by, the account holder or joint owners on the deposit account.
Q. What types of checks can I not deposit?
A. Unacceptable check types include:
- Altered Checks. An altered check is any check that contains evidence of a change (correction fluid, crossed out amounts, etc.) to information on the face of the check.
- Stale Dated Checks. Stale dated checks contain instructions such as: "Void after 90 days after issue date" or "must be cashed within 6 months of issue date".
- Future Dated Check. Checks cannot be deposited until the date of the check.
- Incomplete Items. An incomplete item is any item that does not contain signatures or is missing any of the information required.
- Non-legible Checks. Required information, such as name of payee and amount of check, must be legible on the check.
- Fraudulent Checks. Checks you know or suspect are fraudulent or otherwise not authorized by the owner of the account on which the check is written cannot be deposited.
- Imaged Items. Checks that have been previously endorsed by a financial institution and imaged cannot be deposited.
- Checks Previously Submitted for Deposit. You cannot submit a check twice for deposit.
- Money Orders. Money orders are not eligible for deposit.
Q. What is the cut-off time for processing?
A. Cut-off time is 2:00 pm CST for same day credit. Deposits are credited on business days only. Holds may be placed on checks submitted through Mobile Deposit Service subject to the terms and conditions in the Mobile Deposit Services Addendum to Online and Mobile Banking Agreement.
Q. How will I know if my deposit is accepted or rejected?
A. You will receive an email letting you know if your deposit is accepted or rejected. Deposit history for all checks is available under "History" on your app. If your deposit is accepted, you will receive provisional credit. If your deposit is rejected, please feel free to contact us to determine why the deposit was rejected, or try depositing the check at a branch location, through the mail, or through a participating ATM.
Q. What should I do with my paper check after using the Mobile Deposit Service?
A. Securely store your check for 20 days after you receive notification that your deposit has been accepted. After the 20 days, please destroy the original check by marking it "VOID" and cross-cut shredding it.
Q. Is there a fee for using Mobile Deposit Service?
A. There is no fee for using our Mobile Deposit Service.
Q. Where can I see all of the Terms and Conditions pertaining to Mobile Deposit Service?
A. You can review, download and print the most current version of the Mobile Deposit Services Addendum to Online and Mobile Banking Agreement at any time at www.thriventcu.com.
Mobile banking troubleshooting
Q: I enrolled my phone number but did not receive a text message. What should I do?
A: Typically you should receive a text message within a few minutes after enrolling. Sometimes mobile carriers experience delays which slow down text message delivery. While waiting, make sure you phone has wireless signal. In addition, be sure you entered the correct phone number on the enrollment site. If you still do not receive it, contact your wireless carrier to be sure text messaging is enabled on your phone.
Q: I received an activation code but never used it. What do I do now?
A: Activation codes expire after a specific period of time (usually 24 hours). If you need a new one, return to the Manage Mobile Banking Settings area in Online Banking and request a new activation code.
Q: What happens if I get a new phone or change phone numbers?
A: If you get a new phone or change phone numbers, be sure to return to the Manage Mobile Banking Settings area in Online Banking from your PC and update your phone profile in the Mobile Banking Center. We recommend removing your old phone and re-enrolling your new phone.
Q: Can I use Mobile Banking or Text Banking on more than one phone?
A: Yes. Visit the Manage Mobile Banking Settings area in Online Banking and simply enroll and activate another phone number.
Q: I activated Mobile Banking on my phone's browser. Why am I being asked to activate again?
A: At the time of activation on your phone's browser, a cookie is generated which always tells the Mobile Banking system that you activated (thus allowing you to proceed to the sign on screen). However, some mobile phones will periodically erase all cookies, requiring you to reactivate.
Q: What if my device is lost or stolen?
A: If you are concerned about misuse of your phone, contact your mobile service provider immediately to stop all wireless service. Additionally, sign on to online banking and disable or remove your phone.
Q: How do I apply for Financial Aid?
A: You need to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply for Federal Education Loans and you usually have to submit a FAFSA to apply for other types of financial aid as well.
The easiest way to do so is to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid online. You can also get a paper FAFSA application from your high school counselor or college financial aid advisor.
Before you apply for a Private Student Loan, we recommend that you consider all of your options including Federal Education Loans.
Q: What are some differences between federal and private student loans?
A: Federal student loans are available through the U.S. Department of Education. They offer fixed interest rates and several repayment options. They also provide more alternatives for borrowers who may have problems making payments after graduation. But there are limits on the amount you can borrow.
Private student loans, on the other hand, are education loans offered by credit unions, banks and other lenders. They offer fixed or variable interest rates and are credit-based, meaning students (and their co-signers) have to meet credit and other requirements set by each organization that lends. They can be used for amounts not covered by Federal student loans.
Before you apply for a Private Student Loan, we recommend that you consider all of your options including Federal Education Loans.
Q: What other types of financial aid are available?
A: Learn more about grants, scholarships and other financial aid at studentaid.ed.gov. Also ask people you know, like your school's financial aid office or counselor, library, your or your parents' employer, and religious and community organizations.
Q: Who can become a member of Thrivent Federal Credit Union?
A: Anyone within our "field of membership" is eligible to apply for credit union membership. Learn about what credit union membership means.
Q: What are the benefits of credit union membership?
A: At Thrivent Federal Credit Union, we offer our members a new way of banking that combines financial expertise with shared Christian values of faith, family, stewardship and service. As a faith-based credit union, we are committed to helping you start off on the right foot. We can help you learn strong money management habits to help you be wise with money and live generously now and throughout your life.
We make online banking easy while you are at home or school. An example is our fee-free ATM use: our members with a Thrivent Rewards Checking account are reimbursed for all fees they are charged to use any ATM, including fees charged by the ATM owner.
Q: Who is the cuLearn Processing Center?
A: The cuLearn Processing Center is a company we chose to work with to process applications for our Private Student Loan program. When you submit an application, mail in documents, or call with questions, you will be working directly with the cuLearn Processing Center. You can reach the cuLearn Processing Center at 866-540-3191.
Q: Who is UAS?
A: UAS (University Accounting Service LLC) is the company we chose to service our Private Student Loans after they have been approved and the funds are dispersed to the school. You can reach UAS at 800-999-6227.
Q: Who do I call with questions?
A: For general questions on student lending and membership, call 866-226-5225.
For questions about applying or an existing application, call 866-540-3191.
For questions about an existing loan, call 800-999-6227.
Private student loan eligibility, repayment and limits
Q: Am I eligible for a Thrivent Private Student Loan?
A: You are eligible for a Thrivent Private Student Loan if you meet the credit union's membership eligibility and credit requirements and are enrolled at least half-time and working toward a degree in a currently eligible college or university graduate or undergraduate program. Generally, students must be age 18 or older and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, but some states have different age requirements.
You must be a member to be considered for a loan with Thrivent Federal Credit Union. Your co-signer is not required to be a member. If you are not already a member, you'll be asked to apply for membership by calling us toll-free at 866-226-5225. To join Thrivent Federal Credit Union, you must meet the credit union's eligibility requirements, including purchase and maintenance of at least one share in the credit union. The par value of a share in Thrivent Federal Credit Union is $1.00. If at any time your balance falls below the required par value, you will have 180 days to increase the balance or your membership may be terminated.
Q: How is the loan amount determined for a Private Student Loan?
A: Your school determines the amount of money you are able to borrow. The minimum loan amount is $1,000. The loan amount is limited to the cost of education minus other financial aid the student will receive for the loan period (generally a semester or school year).
Q: What is the total amount I can borrow?
A: You are eligible to borrow up to the cost to attend school minus any financial aid you receive. The most you can borrow during your time at school is $80,000.
Q: Do you offer any discounts on interest rates?
A: We offer a 0.25% rate reduction with automated payments.
Discounts for automated payments only apply when full payments (including both principal and interest) are automatically drafted from a credit union or bank account. Discount(s) will remain on the account, even after your loan is sold, unless the automatic deduction of payments is stopped (including times during deferment or forbearance) or there are two automatic deductions returned for insufficient funds within the life of the loan.
Q: Will my loan be sold?
A: Thrivent Federal Credit Union may sell your loans to Thrivent Financial. We expect that UAS1 will continue to service your loans so you will see no changes in where you send your payments. There is no intention to sell your loans to another third party.
1 UAS (University Accounting Service LLC) is the company we chose to service our Private Student Loans after they have been approved and the funds are dispersed to the school. You can reach UAS at 800-999-6227.
Q: What are my loan payment options?
A: We offer four payment plan options. The first option, deferred payment, lets you hold off on making payments while in school. For the next three options, you will need to make payments while you're enrolled in school. You will begin making payments about 45 days after the money is paid out (disbursed) to your school.
- Option 1 – Make no payments while in school.
Make no principal and interest payments while you are enrolled in school for up to five years in a row. This option allows you the convenience of delaying repayment.
You should know that the interest continues to accrue through all periods of deferment. Any unpaid interest will be added to the principal amount you owe when payments of principal and interest are required to be made, so you will pay the most under this option.
Full repayment of principal and interest begins about six months after you graduate or leave school. Payments will also begin if you withdraw from school or drop below half-time status, as determined by your school.
- Option 2 – Make minimum payments while in school.
Pay just the minimum payment while you are enrolled in school for up to five years in a row. In most cases, this option allows you to defer principal while paying some (but not all) of the interest on your loan.
The first payment is due about 45 days after the funds are disbursed. This option helps you establish a good payment practice, while lowering somewhat the amount of overall interest that is accruing on the loan.
However, this will not reduce the principal amount due at repayment, and any unpaid interest will be added to the principal amount at that time, so you will pay more than under options 3 and 4.
You will typically start repaying principal and interest about six months after you graduate. Payments will also begin if you withdraw from school or drop below half-time status, as determined by your school.
- Option 3 – Make interest only payments while in school.
Pay only interest and defer principal while you are enrolled in school for up to five years in a row. This option offers low payments while you're in school to help reduce overall debt.
You will need to make the first payment of interest (for interest accrued during the prior month) about 45 days after the funds are disbursed. You should know that paying interest during deferment will not reduce the principal amount due when payments of principal and interest are required to be made but it will reduce the overall amount of interest you pay over the life of the loan.
You will typically start repaying principal along with interest about six months after you graduate. Payments will also begin if you withdraw from school or drop below half-time status, as determined by your school.
- Option 4 – Begin repaying the loan right away.
Begin making principal and interest payments about 45 days after the money is disbursed to your school. Typically, this option offers the most savings over the life of the loan.
Q: Who is responsible for paying the loan?
A: As the student borrowing money, you are responsible for repaying the loan. If you have a co-signer, both you and your co-signer share responsibility to repay the loan.
If you are having a hard time making regular payments on time, we encourage you to talk to our post-origination servicer, UAS1 to see what options are available to you.
Student loan applications and funding
Q: What documentation can be used to show proof of income during the loan process?
A: The Creditworthy Applicant (or other household member) must submit one or more of the following substantiating such person's current income:
- 1099 or W2
- 2 years of tax returns (if self-employed or retired)
- Evidence of two years of income and any rental income
- Last two (2) pay stubs – no more than thirty (30) days old
Q: What documentation can be used to show proof of residency during the loan process?
A: Each applicant must indicate the number of years at his or her respective current place of residence set forth on the application. If the credit report indicates two (2) or more years total residency at the address(es) stated in the application, no further documentation is required. If this is not confirmed via the credit report, or if the address on the credit report does not match the address listed on the application, the applicable applicant must submit the most recent copy of one or more of the following indicating Borrower's and/or Co-signer's (as applicable) current place of residence:
- Utility, cable or cell phone bill
- Official Program Facility letter specifying permanent address
- Income tax return
- Bank statement
- Insurance company bill
- Government issued ID
Q: What is the application process?
A: Typically, the process includes these steps:
- Student (and co-signer if there is one) completes an online application. At the same time, you and your co-signer will sign loan documents for the loan.
- If you are not already a member of the credit union you will be asked to complete a membership application.
- Credit union reviews the application(s), and may ask you for more information.
- Credit union decides whether to approve your loan application.
- If approved, you'll receive an approval letter from the credit union. You must accept the amount and rate of your loan to move ahead. You will have 30 days to do so.
- School validates amount of money being requested.
- Student receives a final letter with the loan amount and date funds will be sent to the school. If for some reason you need to cancel, you will have at least three business days to do so.
- Funds will be sent to your school. You can check with your school to confirm receipt and your school will send you any refund.
We will keep you updated throughout the process.
Q: How will I receive the funds?
A: The funds will be sent to your school. You can check with your school to confirm receipt and your school will send you any refund. In most cases, your school will instruct us to split your academic year funding so that half is disbursed for your Fall semester and the remaining portion is sent to cover your Spring semester. This saves you money, as interest on your loan does not start accruing until funds are actually disbursed when needed by the school.
Q: Is there a fee to apply for a Thrivent Private Student Loan?
A: No. We do not charge any application or origination fees for our Private Student Loans.
Q: Am I required to be a credit union member?
A: Yes. The student must become a member to be considered for a loan with Thrivent Federal Credit Union. The co-signer is not required to be a member. If you are not already a member, you'll be asked to apply for membership during the loan application process by calling us toll-free at 866-226-5225 or downloading a paper application and mail or fax it to us.
As part of the membership process, we will help you open a membership account which will hold your $1 par value membership share in the credit union. You will have to keep $1.00 in the account in order to maintain your membership in the credit union.
Q: Can I apply if I don't have a Social Security number?
A: You must have a Social Security number to apply for a loan. If you are applying with a co-signer, they also need a Social Security number, or, for a permanent resident, an alien registration number.
Thrivent student tuition line
Q: How does the Thrivent Student Tuition Line work?
A: You will be underwritten for up to a maximum of $80,000 (or the amount you qualify for) and will be allowed disbursement draws up to the amount certified by your school or your credit limit, whichever is less. Each year you will request a draw for the amount you will need for that school year, generally. You will not need to reapply each year assuming there is no significant decrease in the borrower or co-signer's creditworthiness.
Q: How much can I borrow?
A: The minimum is $1,000 per year. The maximum loan amount will be the certified need determined by your school, up to a maximum of $80,000 per student for the remainder of their graduate or undergraduate education. The certified need is typically the Cost of Attendance (COA) less other financial assistance and aid received.
Q: I have a Thrivent Student Tuition Line and need additional funds for next academic year. How do I request a draw on my line?
A: Because our product is structured as a line of credit, you do NOT need to complete an entirely new loan application. Instead, you will simply need to request additional funds from your existing line of credit. Log in and click on the link for your open line of credit. Then from the Borrower Information screen you will enter in the requested draw amount. Follow through the rest of the process to submit the request.
Q: How often can I receive disbursements from my Thrivent Student Tuition Line?
A: Funds are disbursed to your school based on the school's disbursement cycle. You will request the specific draw amount from the line of credit each year and the funds will be sent to your school. In most cases, your school will instruct us to split your academic year funding so that half is disbursed for your Fall semester and the remaining portion is sent to cover your Spring semester. This saves you money, as interest on your loan does not start accruing until funds are actually disbursed when needed by the school.
Q: When is a good time to apply for my Thrivent student loan?
A: You should typically apply for a new loan (or request a draw on your existing Line of Credit) in May-July for each academic year of funding that you require. Your request for funds should cover both the Fall and Spring semesters. Remember to first take advantage of other sources of financing including Federal loan programs recommended by your school's financial aid office.
Borrowing with a co-signer
Q: Will I need a co-signer?
A: Most student borrowers need a co-signer, simply because they don't make enough money to qualify for a loan by themselves. Typically, you need a gross annual income of at least $25,000 before you can sign for a loan by yourself.
Q: Who should I ask to be a co-signer?
A: You can choose any qualified individual to be your co-signer, and it doesn't need to be a relative. The co-signer should be age 18 or older and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. It's best if you choose someone with at least two years of credit history.
To be considered for a loan, the primary borrower will need to be a member of Thrivent Federal Credit Union. Membership is not required for the co-signer. If you are not already a member, you will be asked to complete a simple process when you apply for your loan.
Q: What does it mean to be a co-signer?
A: When you co-sign with a student, you are making a legal commitment to pay back the loan if the student does not pay. You and the student borrower share equal responsibility to make sure the loan is repaid.
If you're the co-signer, and any payments are late, you may also have to pay late fees or collection costs. And, this could have a negative effect on your credit record. As the lender, we are able to collect payments and late fees directly from the co-signer. This means we can take steps to collect from you, the co-signer, before we try to collect from the student.
Q: Who is responsible for paying the loan?
A: The student borrower and their co-signer are equally responsible to make sure the loan is paid back. If you already have a student loan with us and are having trouble making payments, call our loan servicer, UAS, (University Accounting Service LLC) at 800-999-6227 to talk about other options.
Q: Can a co-signer be released from responsibility to pay the loan?
A: There are two ways a co-signer can be released from paying the loan, meaning he or she is no longer responsible to repay it. First, after making 24 consecutive monthly payments on time the student can request to have the co-signer released. Releases are not automatic. The student also has to meet certain credit requirements, which will be the same as or similar to those applicable to students applying for loans by themselves. Second, if the student borrower dies, the co-signer can be released and won't be responsible for repayment.
Q: How does my co-signer apply?
A: Students and their co-signers can apply online. Typically, the student borrower will apply first.
Before you apply, you and your co-signer should have the required documents ready.
Q: Is the co-signer required to be a credit union member?
A: No. Only the borrower must be a member to be considered for a loan with Thrivent Federal Credit Union.
Q: Does my co-signer need a Social Security number?
A: Yes. A co-signer, as well as the student, must have a Social Security number or, for a permanent resident, an alien registration number.
Q: Can I open a Roth and Traditional IRA at the same time?
A: Yes. You may be eligible to open both Traditional and Roth IRA accounts; however, you cannot exceed IRS contribution guidelines for the tax year in which you are making your contributions.
Q: My spouse stays at home with the kids. Can he/she have an IRA?
A: Yes, provided certain conditions are met. The working spouse must have earned the income he or she is contributing to both IRAs. In addition, spouses must file a joint tax return. The working spouse's total contribution to the IRA is limited by certain factors, such as the spouse's taxable compensation, contributions to a Traditional or Roth IRA and his or her age.
Q: Are there joint IRA accounts?
A: No, IRAs are issued to individuals only.
Q: Can a minor have an IRA?
A: Yes, if the child has earned income.
Q: What is the difference between a transfer and a rollover?
A: Transfers move money from one account to another of the same type (for example, from a Traditional IRA to Traditional IRA or Roth to Roth, where the dollars move directly from one institution to another without the member ever having receipt of the funds). Members are allowed unlimited transfers from account to account. The IRS does not deem this a taxable event, so no tax forms will be sent.
A rollover involves moving funds from one type of qualified retirement plan to another type of qualified retirement plan. (The most common example is a 401(k) to a Traditional IRA). A rollover can also happen when funds are sent directly to the member and they have constructive receipt of the funds. They then have 60 days to roll the funds into either a new IRA or back into the IRA that they were originally taken from. Individuals are permitted one rollover per account per calendar year. This, however, is a taxable event, and you will receive tax forms for the withdrawal and for the rollover contribution.
Q: Can I transfer funds from my Traditional/Roth IRA mutual fund or annuity to a Traditional/Roth IRA Certificate/Savings at Thrivent Federal Credit Union?
A: Yes. These are examples of a Traditional/Roth IRA transfer(s) (Mutual Fund or Annuity IRA to Thrivent Federal Credit Union IRA).
Q: What happens at the maturity date of my IRA Certificate?
A: There is a 10-day grace period following the maturity date of your IRA Certificate, during which you may add funds, remove funds, change the term, or close the IRA account. An IRA Certificate will automatically renew after the grace period is over, unless you direct us otherwise.
Q: At what age do Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) begin?
A: RMDs begin in the calendar year in which the Traditional IRA owner turns 70.
Q: Does Thrivent Federal Credit Union calculate my RMD?
A: Yes. We will automatically calculate the RMD if the IRA account was held at Thrivent Federal Credit Union as of 12/31 of the previous year, or we can manually calculate the RMD based on information supplied by you.
Q: When will I receive my IRA tax forms?
A: We send two tax forms to members who had IRA account activity in the previous tax year:
- For 1099/1099-SA forms, these are mailed to members by Jan. 31. You can expect to receive them within 7–10 business days after the mailing date.
- For 5498/5498-SA forms, these are processed after the tax filing deadline of April 15, since members can still contribute for the prior year up to this date. These forms are sent mailed to members by mid-May. You can expect to receive them within 7–10 business days after the mailing date.
This information is not intended and should not be construed as legal, investment or tax advice. Please consult your attorney, tax advisor or other appropriate professional for such advice, including advice regarding the deductibility of contributions and advice on how this information applies to your individual circumstances. Thrivent Federal Credit Union cannot and does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information or the applicability of it to your individual circumstances and does not bear any liability as a result of your reliance on this information.
Heath savings accounts
Q: What are Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)?
A: An HSA is a tax-advantaged medical savings account that allows you to accumulate savings to pay for current and future qualified medical expenses. The account must be used in conjunction with an HSA-qualified high deductible health plan (HDHP), and you cannot be enrolled in Medicare or eligible to be claimed as a dependent on someone else's tax return. You can have no other first-dollar medical coverage (other types of insurance like specific injury insurance or accident, disability, dental care, vision care, or long-term care insurance are permitted). Please confirm with your health insurance company that you have a HSA-qualified HDHP.
Q: What is a high deductible health plan (HDHP)?
A: A high deductible health plan is a health insurance plan with a minimum deductible of $1,300 (self) or $2,600 (family) for 2016 (amounts are the same for 2017). In addition, the annual out-of-pocket costs, including deductibles and co-pays, cannot exceed $6,550 (self) and $13,100 (family) for 2016 (amounts are the same for 2017). The limits may be adjusted annually to allow for cost-of-living adjustments. Confirm with your health insurance provider that you have an HSA qualified HDHP.
Q: What expenses are qualified medical expenses?
A: See Publication 502 Medical and Dental Expenses for additional information. IRS Publications may be downloaded from the IRS website, www.irs.gov, or ordered by calling 800-829-3676.
Q: What are the tax advantages of an HSA?
A: Potential triple tax savings may include:
- Tax deductions when you contribute to your account (check with tax advisor for qualified federal and state tax deductibility).
- Tax-free earnings.
- Tax-free withdrawals for qualified medical expenses.
Q: What are the contribution rules?
A: The amount you or any other person can contribute to your HSA depends on the type of HDHP coverage you have, your age, the date you became an eligible individual, and the date you cease to be an eligible individual. For 2016, if you have self-only HDHP coverage, you can contribute up to $3,350. If you have family HDHP coverage you can contribute up to $6,750. For 2017, if you have self-only HDHP coverage, you can contribute up to $3,400. If you have family HDHP coverage you can contribute up to $6,750. Similar to an IRA, contributions can be made until tax filing deadline, normally April 15, of the following year. The limits may be adjusted annually to allow for cost-of-living adjustments.
Individuals age 55 and older can make additional catch-up contributions. The maximum annual catch-up contribution is $1,000 for individuals or married couples. A married couple can make catch-up contributions into their own HSA as long as both spouses are at least 55 years old and meet eligibility requirements to contribute.
Q: My employer offers an FSA; can I have both an FSA and an HSA?
A: You can have both types of accounts, but only under certain circumstances. General Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) will probably make you ineligible for an HSA. If your employer offers a "limited purpose" (limited to dental, vision or preventive care) or "post-deductible" (pay for medical expenses after the plan deductible is met) FSA, then you can still be eligible for an HSA.
Q: How do distributions work?
A: Distributions from an HSA are tax-free if taken for a qualified medical expense permitted under federal tax law, including:
- COBRA continuation coverage.
- Health plan coverage while receiving federal or state unemployment benefits.
- Qualified long-term care insurance premiums.
- Medicare premiums.
The distribution is also tax-free if taken for the person covered by the high deductible health plan (HDHP), the spouse of the individual and any dependent of the individual. Spouses and dependents do not need to be covered by the HDHP.
If the distribution is not used for a qualified expense, the amount you withdraw will be subject to income tax and may be subject to an additional 20% tax. You do not have to take distributions from your HSA each year. There is no 20% additional tax on distributions made after the date you are disabled, reach age 65, or die.
The account holder is encouraged to keep his or her receipts in the event they may someday be asked to prove to the IRS that the distributions were for medical expenses.
Q: What happens to the HSA in the event of death?
A: If your spouse becomes the owner of the account, your spouse can use it as if it were his or her own HSA. If you are not married, the account will no longer be treated as an HSA upon your death. The account will pass to your beneficiary or become part of your estate (and be subject to any applicable taxes).
The information above is not intended and should not be construed as legal, tax or investment advice. For such advice, including advice on how this information applies to your individual circumstances, please contact your attorney, tax advisor or other appropriate professional.
Find more information in Publication 969 at www.irs.gov.
Q: When will I receive my HSA tax forms?
A: We send two tax forms to members who had HSA account activity in the previous tax year:
- For 1099/1099-SA forms, these are mailed to members by Jan. 31. You can expect to receive them within 7–10 business days after the mailing date.
- For 5498/5498-SA forms, these are processed after the tax filing deadline of April 15, since members can still contribute for the prior year up to this date. These forms are mailed to members by mid-May. You can expect to receive them within 7–10 business days after the mailing date.