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Welcome To The Insighter!

Explore the latest happenings at Kirtland FCU and learn about important topics from around the financial world. Here’s your insight!
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All Posts > Banking

Banking Credit Lifestyle

It’s nearly summer, and the next generation of high school and college seniors are getting ready to take their next step into independence. For those amazing graduates, the next few years will be a whirlwind of new schools, new jobs, and a whole lot of other firsts.

For those just starting out their financial lives, it can be a tough to start building good credit. After all, most loans and credit cards will require a history of on-time payments, showing future lenders that you are responsible. But, how are you supposed to get that without getting credit first!? For those with no credit history, obtaining those loans often requires a cosigner (someone else who is also on the loan that does have that history). A cosigner is also responsible for the on-time payments of the loan. A big responsibility.

Starting life on the right foot, financially, is important. Good credit scores and credit history are essential for those big purchases that need to be financed (think cars and homes!) and your credit can even be a factor when an employer is deciding whether to hire you.

The Basics of Credit

If you’re new to credit, there are a few really important terms you need to know. Your credit score is “a numerical value derived from a modeling system used to predict the likelihood of default.” Experian.com. Two of the most popular scoring frameworks are the FICO® and VantageScore®, and the scores range from 300 to 850. These scores are important to potential lenders when determining whether to issue you credit and how much to charge you for the service (i.e. interest rates). 700 is considered an average score, according to Experian.

The most reliable way to get your credit score into a good range is with good credit history—your record of taking on and paying back debts. Making on-time payments, keeping your credit utilization (the credit you’re using compared to what is available to you) low, and having older credit accounts all help boost your score. Opening a lot of accounts in a small window of time will lower your credit score, so makes sure to space those applications out. An excellent resource for credit score information is www.myfico.com/credit-education.

Keeping an eye on your credit report is also a really good idea, whether you’re starting out or have established credit. Your credit report is aggregated information about your credit accounts and history. You can access your credit report for free once a year at AnnualCreditReport.com. Check it carefully to find issues that may be affecting your credit score. It’s also a really good idea to check your report to verify that the accounts on it actually belong to you. Fraud and identity theft isn’t uncommon, and the earlier you can catch inaccuracies, the easier it is to deal with the damage.

So, how are you supposed to build your score up when you’re just starting out? After all, your accounts, if you have any at all, aren’t likely to be seasoned. You haven’t had the opportunity to make steady payments. A credit card is a way to get started with revolving credit. Credit cards are issued with a credit limit; the maximum amount you can utilize. Keeping your spending low and paying it off each month can really help your credit score increase.

Another fantastic way is to obtain a manageable loan and make steady, on-time payments. Kirtland FCU can help! Kirtland FCU is proud to offer the Jump Start suite of starter loans and programs, just for those with little to no credit history—no cosigner required!

Jump Start Signature Loan

It’s your first loan! With no cosigner required, this small loan is the perfect way to borrow a little ($500–$1,000) and pay it back over 12 months. You will need to meet income and employment requirements.

Jump Start Auto Loan

A car is the first big purchase many of us will make in our financial lives. Qualifying with little to no credit history? Not so easy, and a cosigner is often necessary. With the Jump Start Auto Loan, you can get into that first car with no cosigner. Just meet income and employment requirements, provide a small down payment (at least $1,000) and purchase a car through a participating dealership (check with a representative to find a dealership).

Building credit through manageable amounts of debt with on-time payments is the smart way to build your credit and set yourself up for long-term  financial health!

Get started now!



Banking News

The Kirtland FCU footprint keeps growing in Albuquerque! After all, our members are from all over the metro—and we’re dedicated to being where they live, work and play. Following the successful opening of our Coors Pavilion branch last year, this latest addition to the Kirtland FCU family will bring Kirtland FCU’s unique local flavor in finances to the northeast quadrant of Albuquerque near San Pedro and Paseo in the Holly Plaza!

The Holly Plaza branch will pack a mighty punch into a compact, conveniently located space. Members can take care of all their needs in one visit with one Member Experience Specialist. Open an account, apply for a home equity loan or line- of-credit, withdraw cash, meet with a mortgage loan officer, meet with an investment advisor, and more.

Where is this new branch exactly?

The Holly Plaza branch is located in the Holly Plaza shopping center at 6550 Holly Avenue NE, Suite D-6.

Coming from northbound I-25, exit at Paseo eastbound, turn left at San Pedro and right at Holly. Then look for the Kirtland FCU logo on the direction sign to turn right into the correct shopping center.

When will the branch open?

Construction started in March to bring the Kirtland FCU brand and technology to the new branch. We anticipate opening sometime in early May but check in with our social media accounts for the latest on our Grand Opening events!

What else do I need to know?

The new Holly Plaza location will be coinless! This really saves space in small branches. If you’re cashing a check, you will not be able to receive coin. Instead, you can round your cash back down to the nearest dollar and deposit the remaining coin into your accounts. Alternatively, you can round up to the nearest dollar by withdrawing the cents needed from one of your accounts.

Because Holly Plaza is located in a shopping center, there are no drive-thru services.

So, next time you’re traversing the busy Paseo corridor just east of I-25, keep an eye out for that familiar blue Kirtland FCU logo as our renovations begin. We can’t wait to see you at Holly Plaza!


You need to transfer money from one account to another. How do you proceed?
  • 1950: Put on your hat and overcoat and head to the castle-esque credit union downtown.
  • 1980: Head to the credit union—hat and overcoat now merely a fun fashion option—or make a phone call. (In those days, kids, a phone call meant you were tethered to the wall for the duration!)
  • 2010: Log in with the Internet! Ride the computer wave.
  • 2020: Your financial institution is in your pocket. Let your thumbs do the transferring!
Technology has transformed the way we bank, and while the breakthroughs and changes have been exciting, the newness of it all can cause trepidation. After all, going into a bank or credit union, talking to a representative, walking out with a physical receipt of your activity—there’s an air of safety and comfort in the routine. Sure, it’s not very convenient sometimes, but at least it feels familiar. Can we have convenience AND safety?
The truth is, Mobile Banking is at least as safe—if not safer than—more familiar banking options. The difference really is that safety depends, to some degree, on the user of these technologies.

Myth #1: If I have access to my accounts on my phone and I lose it, I’m vulnerable.

Fact: Using a phone or tablet generally requires a measure of authentication before the device will even operate. Face recognition, fingerprint security and PINs have made today’s phones incredibly secure.

Even if someone were able to gain access to your device, AND manage to unlock it, that person would still need to open your Kirtland FCU mobile app and go through Kirtland FCU authentication to reach your accounts. Phones tend to have built-in cryptographic hardware that is better leveraged to improve security and authentication. You’d need a pretty sophisticated hacker to outright break through the authentications.


Myth #2: Someone can see my transactions and information if I use apps like this.

Fact: As long as you are using your phone’s data network or a secured WiFi system, accessing your accounts is a private affair.

A note of caution: when you’re out and about, it can be tempting to connect to public WiFi. THIS IS UNSAFE. Do not ever conduct sensitive business while connected to a public WiFi. Watching cat videos? Go for it. Need to log into your bank or enter personal data? Make sure you’re on your phone’s data network, not a public connection.

Myth #3: These apps are hard to use

Fact: Not strictly a security issue, we know, but Mobile Banking is incredibly easy to use, offering most of the features you’d find in Online Banking, plus some. Have a check you need to deposit?

You could head off to the bank, stand in line, and deposit your check. OR, you can log into your Mobile Banking app, take a couple photos of the check, enter a few pieces of information about the check, and you’re done! You can split a check at dinner, transfer money between accounts, even apply for loans and credit cards, all behind a secure authentication wall.

Personal Security

The biggest risks for involving Mobile Banking really come down to individual awareness and decision making. Here are a few rules-of-thumb that will help you stay safe when you venture into the world of mobile banking.
  • Check the app before you download - It’s technically possible for a thief to create a lookalike app to get you to gain access to your information. Make sure that any app you install is genuine. Read the reviews, check the developer name and how many downloads there are for that particular app. The best place to get a Mobile Banking app is from the website of your bank, credit union, or other financial institution. They’ll be linked so you can go straight to the app without searching. If you do have to search for the Kirtland FCU Mobile App, this is what you’ll see when you find our app. 
Make sure to note the Developer name, the number of reviews, and the number of downloads/ratings.
  • Keep your app up to date - Check for updates on your app and install them. Not only will you have the most up-to-date experience, you’ll have the latest security fixes and improvements.
  • Set all security and authentications - Set up your mobile device with face recognition or fingerprint identification abilities. Keep any backup passwords or PINs private.
Still have questions? We’re here to help! Give us a call at 1-800-880-5328, and we’ll answer any questions, even walk you through set-up. Find the Kirtland FCU Mobile App in your app store on your Android or Apple device.  


Banking News

Grabbing your weekly groceries, filling up with gas, and weekend shopping—with increasing numbers of retailers accepting digital wallet payments, pulling out a physical card may quickly become a thing of the past.

Digital payments are convenient, valuable, and, best of all, very safe! With some simple setup, you may never want to carry your wallet into a store again.

What’s in a digital wallet?

A digital wallet is simply a payment-enabled service, located on a smart device, in which you can store your debit cards, credit cards, gift cards, and membership cards. You can use these services for online and in-app transactions and to send money to others (Person-To-Person services). Digital wallets also allow you to pay at a retailer by placing the device next to the reader to complete the transaction instead of physically swiping or inserting the card to pay. 

There are three major digital wallet services that you likely have access to via your smart devices: Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay. The three options are similar but do have a few differences in how they work and what you can do with them.

First, there are a couple of buzz terms you’ll need to know to fully understand how the technology works.
  • Near Field Communication (NFC) is a short-range method of communication that allows the mobile device to send payment information to a service terminal. All three wallets use NFC.
  • Magnetic Secure Transmission allows a mobile device to mimic the stripe on a traditional payment card. Instead of placing the device near the reader, you slide the phone along with outside of the reader where the you’d traditionally slide a card. The only digital wallet that supports MST payment is Samsung Pay.
To get started with any of the digital wallets, you’ll need to add your cards to your device. The method varies, but you can select your wallet below for detailed instructions on setup. Once you’ve added a card to your wallet, you can use the wallet to make online payments, send money to a friend, or pay at a retailer that accepts digital transactions.

You’ll know a retailer takes digital payments when you see the NFC symbol.  Also, if you see the logo for your wallet—Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc.—the payment system is also set up to work with that wallet.

Is it safe to pay with digital wallets?

Digital wallets offer unparalleled levels of convenience, in both your online and in-person shopping experiences. But using digital wallet options to pay is also incredibly safe—in fact, it’s safer to pay with a digital wallet than swiping a traditional card.

When we think of card safety, there are three levels of a sort in terms of security.
  • Level 1 – The Swipe - This is the least secure form of your card payment options. When you swipe a card, all the card information is read from the magnetic stripe on your card and transferred to the merchant directly. No encryption takes place.
  • Level 2 – The Chip - The little chip embedded in your debit and credit card represents a big leap forward in terms of security. During the transfer of information to a merchant, that little chip allows the information to be encrypted during transfer. Most cards issued now include this feature, but not all do.
  • Level 3 – Digital Payments - Using your digital wallet to pay is about the safest options you could choose. The first layer of security is your device security. Your device needs a passcode, fingerprint, or face identification to unlock. And after you do select to pay with your wallet, not only is your information encrypted, it’s not actually transferred at all! Instead, a unique identifier is transferred from your device to the merchant. When the transaction reaches your credit union or financial institution, it’s decrypted, and the unique identifier is used to retrieve your actual card information. Should the transaction be compromised in some way, only that unique identifier is revealed, which doesn’t do a thief much good on its own. The thief would need the identifier AND your device—and be able to unlock your device—to make it work.
Digital payments are not only convenient; they’re incredible safe. Many apps connect with your digital wallet. Grubhub, for instance, allows Apple Pay as a payment option. Simply select Apple Pay during checkout, follow the directions to confirm your choice, and you’re done! More and more retailers, online and physical, are accepting digital payments. Look for the NFC symbol, and start paying without ever pulling out your card.

Need help loading your Kirtland FCU Independence VISA debit or credit card to your digital wallet? Give us a call at 1-800-880-5328.


Why should you have to stop at a BANK to manage your money?

The world is on the move. And it’s moving fast. Good thing there’s a tool for that! How would Mobile Banking make your life easier?

Easy peasy! Jump on your Mobile Banking app and use PopMoney to send your portion.

Let’s check! Get a quick look at your available balances through your Mobile Banking app.

Transfers are quick and easy in Mobile Banking. You can even transfer money into your accounts at another bank or credit union, if you need to.
No problem! Mobile Banking lets you apply any time, anywhere! And not just for an auto loan. You can apply for any kind of loan through Mobile Banking—even a mortgage. Try not to stay up TOO late. Sleep tight!

So let’s get them paid! You can do it from the couch with Mobile Banking. You can even set up automatic payments, so next month you can stare right back at those pesky bills.

Life hack: there’s a FREE budgeting tool called Money Management in your Mobile Banking app. Check it out!

Get started with Mobile Banking today! If you know your Online Banking PIN, just download the app on your Apple or Android 
device, open it up, and tap “Sign Up”. No PIN? Just give us a call and we’ll help you get started. It’s safe, secure, and free!

Fees may be associated with various member banking services. See the fee schedule for complete details. Data charges by your mobile device provider may apply and are the responsibility of the device owner. Mobile Banking is compatible with iOS 9.0 and Android 4.3 or later, and is available for download from the App Store (iPhone), App Store (iPad) and Google Play Store (Android). All transfers are subject to daily and monthly transfer limits.


Security Banking

It’s the first of the month—do you know where your account statement is? 

If you’re still receiving your statement from Kirtland FCU the old-fashioned way (snail mail!), you’ll be waiting for a few more days. That’s because the process of printing and mailing statements takes time. But, it’s the 21st century! There’s no need to wait. If you haven’t signed up for e-Statements from Kirtland FCU, here are five reasons why you should consider doing it today.
  1. IT’S GREENER - Paper, paper, paper! It makes the world go ‘round. But all that paper means a whole lot of trees and a whole lot of recycling. Switch to e-Statements, and you’ll receive an e-mail each month reminding you to securely log in to your online banking account to review your statement, no paper required. Less mess, less waste.
  2. IT’S SAFER - There is a bevy of sensitive, personal information on your account statement—your name, your account numbers, and your address. A physical statement sitting in your mailbox is an attractive target for an identity thief. Keep your information safe by keeping it out of your mailbox and out of the hands of a potential thief. 
  3. IT’S FASTER - A traditional statement is mailed to you within the first few days of each month. Once in the mail, that statement has to travel through the post office system to arrive in your mailbox. But an E-statement? Let’s just say the delivery route for e-mail is a WHOLE lot faster. Don’t wait for your statement in the mail!
  4. IT’S CONVENIENT - Have you ever needed to check a transaction that happened a few months ago—or even a year ago? With a paper statement, depending on your level of organization, you’ll have to sort through a pile of paper to find the one you need. With e-Statements, you have access to the last 24 months of statements through your Online Banking account, 24/7. Talk about easy!
  5. IT’S EASY TO SIGN UP - Switching to e-Statements is easy! Just log into Online or Mobile Banking. In Online Banking, select Additional Services and click Online Statements. Through Mobile Banking, tap your navigation menu and select Online Statements. Just follow the prompts to enroll. You’ll begin to receive your e-Statements in your e-mail and have full access to the last two years of your statements.