Posts Tagged ‘Financial Services’

New chip technology will increase acceptance and security of AAA credit cards for consumers traveling and spending abroad

ORLANDO, Fla., (September 10, 2012) – Americans traveling to international destinations have been challenged by the technology gap between magnetic stripe credit cards issued in the United States and chip-enabled cards widely accepted abroad. AAA, North America’s largest leisure travel organization, announces the rollout of chip technology on its credit cards for current cardholders through our partner Bank of America.

“Chip-enabled cards will expand purchase options, add convenience and transaction security for Americans traveling abroad,” said Siobhan O’Donnell, director, AAA Financial Services Sales and Marketing. “We are pleased to provide this new technology to cardholders which will enhance their international travel experiences.”

Credit cards with chip technology, which is also known as EMV (EuroPayMasterCard Visa), are embedded with a microprocessor chip that encrypts and stores the account information. Many countries outside the United States have already converted from magnetic stripe to EMV chip technology.

AAA’s new chip-enabled credit cards will continue to prompt customers to sign for transactions just as they would today. The cards also include the traditional magnetic stripe, which is used by U.S. merchants.

Current AAA credit cardholders are able to request the chip card option by calling the customer service number on the back of their card. Chip cards will be rolled out for new cardholders later this year. For more information visit

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at


ORLANDO, Fla., August 3, 2011

One in four American drivers could not pay for a car repair of $2,000 if faced with one today, according to the results of a survey released by AAA. The survey also found one in eight would be unable to pay for a repair bill of $1,000.

Christie HydeMore than half of American drivers also said they are holding onto their older vehicle because they do not want the financial burden of a new one. And, one quarter of drivers admitted to neglecting repairs and maintenance on their vehicles in the past 12 months due to the economic climate, which AAA Automotive experts say can greatly increase the likelihood of their car needing a costly, major repair.

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“Economic conditions have taken their toll on many Americans resulting in them neglecting their cars and leaving them at increased risk for very expensive repair bills,” said Marshall L. Doney, AAA Vice President, Automotive and Financial Services. “Many Americans rely on their cars for their livelihood and losing access to them could be financially devastating during an already troubling economic time.

“It’s important for drivers to not only continue to maintain their vehicles, but also have a financial emergency plan in place should they be faced with a sudden unexpected auto repair bill,” continued Doney.

According to the survey, 38 percent of American drivers could pay for a $2,000 repair bill with funds in a savings account, while 20 percent would pay with their credit card. Eleven percent said they would have to borrow money from their friends, family, retirement or home equity in order to pay for a $2,000 repair.

Slightly more Americans reported being able to pay for a $1,000 repair bill with 46 percent saying they could use savings and 22 percent using a credit card. Fourteen percent would look to borrow from their friends, family, retirement or home equity.

AAA Automotive experts explain that a $1,000, $2,000 or higher repair bill can quickly appear – especially on older vehicles that have not been properly maintained. While repair costs can vary greatly by make, model and type of repair, a transmission repair can be $2,000 to $4,000, while an engine repair can exceed $5,000. Major brake repairs may range from $350 to $1,000, and a new set of tires can run from $300 to more than $1,000.

AAA offers several services to help members prepare for and save on costly repair bills including:

  • AAA Approved Auto Repair – AAA inspects and approves nearly 8,000 auto repair shops in the U.S. and Canada. Approved shops meet tough professional standards for customer service, cleanliness, equipment and training. All AAA members receive a free maintenance inspection upon request in conjunction with any other paid service. Additionally, many AAA Approved Auto Repair shops participate in the AAA Show Your Card & Save program, providing discounts on repair and maintenance to AAA members. A listing of nearby approved shops is available at


  • AAA Online Savings – AAA encourages Americans to have an emergency fund set aside for unexpected expenses such as costly auto repair bills. AAA offers an Online Savings Account through Discover Bank that provides easy access to funds in the event of an emergency. Additionally, the AAA Online Savings Account offers special AAA member-only interest rates, more than five times the national average, according to Informa Research Services, with interest compounded daily for maximum earnings. Members can open a AAA Online Savings Account at


  • AAA Member Rewards Visa – For those who pay for auto repairs with their credit card, the AAA Member Rewards Visa® credit card offers members an opportunity to earn vouchers good towards auto repairs at AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities. In addition to 2,500 bonus points, members receive one point for every dollar they spend, with triple points on AAA and travel purchases and double points on gas, grocery and drug store purchases. Members can redeem as little as 5,000 points for a voucher good at any AAA Approved Auto Repair facility, allowing this month’s repair bill to help pay for future ones. Members can apply for the AAA Member Rewards at

Some AAA products may not be available in all areas. Members should contact their local AAA club with questions about availability.

The telephone survey was conducted among a sample of 1,009 adults, 18 years of age and older, living in the continental United States. The survey has an average statistical error of ±3.6 percent at the 95 percent confidence level for all U.S. adults.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 52 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at

ORLANDO, FLORIDA,  March 17, 2010

AAA’s “Building a Sound Savings Strategy” videos on urge consumers to understand and use savings products appropriate to their financial goals

Cynthia BroughAAA – the largest paid-membership organization in North America – is offering consumers advice on constructing a sound savings strategy via a series of “how-to” videos available on the Internet. The videos are intended to address America’s renewed emphasis on saving money as a hedge against future expenses, as a means of paying for “big-ticket” items in an era of tighter and more expensive credit, and for retirement.

Hosted by AAA’s Director of Financial Services, Bill Gerhard, the videos cover three common investment types; money markets, certificates of deposit and individual retirement accounts. Gerhard explains the advantages of each and how they can be appropriate for meeting specific savings objectives. AAA offers members savings products with better-than-average rates at . The videos are intended as introductions to each topic and are not meant to provide specific financial advice to individual consumers.

“AAA members and others are still undergoing profound shifts in their financial life. The era of easy credit has ended and rates of return have dropped to almost zero on many savings products,” Gerhard said. “This makes it more important than ever to put a savings strategy in place that addresses a number of different factors, including safety, accessibility, best available rates, short-term needs and long-term goals.”

The titles and descriptions of the videos from AAA Financial Services are as follows:

How to Save Money

How to Invest in CDs and Money Market Accounts

How to Save For Retirement Using IRAs

“While meeting basic monthly expenses and paying off debt are uppermost in the minds of millions of Americans right now, savings considerations should not be put off since it is only by saving that consumers are able to eliminate or reduce their need to borrow money in the future,” he said.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 51 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at

ORLANDO, FLORIDA, January 1, 2010

Reviewing Six Components of Household Finance Can Help Keep Consumers On the Road to Financial Success, Motor Club Says

Heather HunterAAA – the largest paid-membership organization in North America – is urging consumers to perform a financial tune-up as part of their New Year’s resolutions for 2010. “Pledging to spend less money in the New Year is a time-honored, but frequently ineffective financial resolution in many households,” said Bill Gerhard, director of AAA Financial Services. “Instead, AAA suggests consumers be more methodical this year by developing a financial checklist that includes the key components that make their household run. By looking at each component, they should be able to determine what financial repairs or maintenance may be necessary.”

AAA offers a range of financial products and services to assist consumers including money market accounts, certificates of deposit, traditional and Roth Individual Retirement Accounts, and AAA credit cards.

“While creating a budget is a great first step toward improved money management, these lists often tinker with existing situations and may not enhance overall financial performance,” Gerhard said. “Consumers that fix each of the major financial components in their household – including income, spending, saving, insurance, credit and taxes – are more likely to have a smoother financial ride,” he said.

Consumers Should Think about Fixing Their Finances like a Technician Maintains a Vehicle, AAA says

Knowing what to look for and reviewing these areas on a regular basis are the keys to successfully spotting and preventing car trouble as well as financial problems. AAA suggests consumers inspect their major financial components for the following:

Component 1: Income

Know to the nearest dollar your total annual income as well as your monthly income from all sources, including salaries, interest, support payments and tax refunds.

To make sure you know your income, review last year’s income tax return, your year-end paycheck or the withholding statement your employer files with federal and state tax authorities. Look at bank account statements and other potential income records. Many people overestimate their take-home or spendable income and then spend more than they make. Knowing what you really earn – not just your gross income – is important when planning where and how far you can go, as well as when to stop.

Component 2: Spending

Make a list of all of your monthly and annual expenses including rent, mortgage payment, utilities, loans, insurance and other predictable bills. Start writing down all spending, or log it on a computer. You need to know where your money is going before you can change direction. Ask yourself if there are ways you can make spending less money part of your normal routine, such as by using coupons, paying with a credit card that earns reward points or by using AAA’s Show Your Card & Save® program. Consumers that frequently go out of their way to save money on a gallon of gasoline should adopt the same mindset in other areas of spending.

Component 3: Savings

Saving for retirement, a home, automobile, education or even a dream vacation is an essential part of sound money management. Having an emergency fund of ready cash equivalent to six months of income also is important. Are you spending all the money you make each month, or are you planning to go the distance by setting money aside for emergencies and future goals? If so, do you have a fixed plan and are you following it? It is best to save a pre-set amount each time you are paid and to place the money in an account that is not easily accessed for other purposes, such as in a money market account or a certificate of deposit. When doing so, make sure you are earning maximum available interest on your money and that all deposits are federally insured against loss. Even small differences in the amount of interest your deposits earn can make a big difference over time. There are a variety of sites that let consumers compare rates. AAA offers better-than-average rates on FDIC-insured certificates of deposit and money market accounts to members.

Component 4: Insurance

Having the right insurance and the right amount of insurance is a way to help protect ourselves against financial calamities. Reviewing your policies and coverage at the start of each year makes sense because the value of assets change over time and our financial responsibilities do too. Most of us understand the need for auto and home insurance, but many of us do not have medical coverage, life insurance or liability protection. Although insurance isn’t cheap, not having the coverage you need when you need it can be financially ruinous to your household. If you have not reviewed your coverage in some time or know you are missing important protection you need, take time to speak with an insurance agent.

Component 5: Credit

The terms and availability of credit have changed dramatically in recent months. Things that have not changed are the need to establish and keep a good credit score and to use available credit wisely. If making more than the minimum payments is a problem or you have a high amount of debt from multiple sources, credit payment consolidation or refinancing might make sense. Working with a registered consumer credit counseling service to adjust repayment terms may be another option to explore. Beware of services that promise miracles, however. If credit debt isn’t burdensome, keep it that way by only charging items that will be repaid at the end of each month and by carrying a balance only when an emergency expense is incurred; such as a major vehicle repair. Cards that offer reward points and cash back – such as the AAA WorldPoints Reward or Cash Rewards Credit Cards – are a good idea when interest rates are competitive with cards that don’t offer such rewards.

Component 6: Taxes

Keeping more of the money you earn in the form of tax savings is an excellent way to improve your household balance sheet. The federal government provides several ways for savers to enjoy tax-advantaged savings plans to assist with eventual retirement expenses. These include traditional and Roth Individual Retirement Accounts and various savings plans, such as a 401K account. When looking for tax savings it is always a good idea to consult with a tax professional. If they recommend investing in a traditional or Roth Individual Retirement Account, AAA can help. It’s no secret most Americans are not saving enough for retirement. Don’t let another year pass without planning ahead.

Once you have completed your financial tune-up keep your budget in shape by performing regular maintenance checkups, AAA recommends. Just as a vehicle needs to have its oil changed and its tires rotated, your finances need to be reviewed from time to time to be sure nothing is amiss and you won’t be left stranded. A weekly or monthly review of your budget is essential, and a quarterly look at where you are in reaching your longer-range financial goals is a good idea too.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 51 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at



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