USp63_Update 3/13/07 4:02 PM Page 63
Tests for two
COSTCO MEMBERS in Northern California can take advantage of the new Small Business
401(k) Plan being tested there.
Provided by ShareBuilder,
Costco’s online investing service
On the road
NEXT TO YOUR home, your car represents one
of your biggest investments. Costco services are
available for buying, financing or insuring your
vehicle. Here are some tips to help you.
Increase your auto-buying IQ
Arm yourself with these tips when you go to
buy and finance a new vehicle.
Zero percent vs. rebate. Special financing
from car manufacturers is generally offered for
a shorter term, which can make the payment
prohibitively high or mean no rebate. Members
often do better by arranging for their own
financing and taking the rebate.
provider, the program offers sole
proprietors or small businesses
of up to 100 employees a solution for enrolling in a cost-effective retirement-plan program.
With three plans to choose
from, depending on the size of
the company, features include
automatic contributions from
paychecks, quarterly rebalancing
of investments, loans and hardship withdrawals. Employers
will appreciate easy online plan
management and simplified
A good offense. Buyers who walk into a
dealership armed with low prearranged independent financing are ready to negotiate from a position of power. No discussion of financing will
detract from focusing on the bottom line.
• Avoid redundant coverage. You don’t need
roadside assistance on your auto policy if
another source (such as cell-phone service)
provides that service.
Scrutinize the extras. Car dealers make a
lot of profit selling extras such as extended war-ranties and protection packages. Expect to be
offered these final-minute add-ons. If you’ve done
a little research, you’ll know if the price is fair.
• Avoid purchasing high-performance or
• Purchase vehicles with advanced safety
and security features.
Costco is also testing a roadside assistance program limited
to Illinois residents only. Cross
Country Automotive Services
Inc. designed a Roadside Assistance program to meet the
needs of members. Available
24/7 from 20,000 service professionals, services include towing,
tire repair, lockout assistance,
jump-starts and refueling.
• Get your credit scores. These affect premiums.
Do you know yours?
For more information on
these programs, visit costco.com
and click on “Services.”
Costco can help with your car purchase in
two important ways. The Costco Auto Program
can deliver a low prearranged price on the car
you want from more than 2,000 participating
dealers and provides several resources on their
Web site, including a calculator that weighs the
value of rebate versus special rates.
• Adjust coverage for older vehicles that are paid
off. Collision and comprehensive premiums
may exceed the value of the vehicle.
• Ask about discounts for group membership,
being accident free, etc.
Watch out for
• Avoid lapses in coverage. Many carriers charge
higher rates following gaps.
You can also arrange independent financing
through Costco’s Auto Financing program in
advance. Having the Capital One Blank Check® in
hand when buying a car is a major convenience.
• Drive safely. Avoid accidents and speeding
• Take a defensive-driving course. This earns a
discount from some carriers.
For more information on both programs, visit
costco.com, click on “Services,” then on “Auto &
Home.” (See articles about both programs in the
March Online Edition of The Connection.)
• Reduce theft loss by not leaving valuables in
APRIL 1 IS THE usual time for
Visa and MasterCard to increase
the fee that makes up the largest
component of credit-card-processing rates—the interchange fee, which is the charge
for clearing processor transactions from the merchant to the
• Maintain your vehicle to reduce the risk of
Lowering your auto insurance bill
One of your biggest bills each year is probably
your auto insurance. Ameriprise Auto & Home Insurance suggests several ways to lower that expense.
If Ameriprise Auto & Home Insurance isn’t
already your carrier, you might find value in
switching now. For more information, call toll-free 1-888-404-5365, or visit costco.com and
click on “Services.”
• Increase policy deductibles. This can lower premiums as much as 25 percent.
“Some credit-card processors take advantage of that rate
increase to obscure other hidden
increases,” says Jay Smith, Costco
service director. “But Costco
and our provider NOVA pass
along only the required interchange increase.”
• Pay your premium in full to save. Monthly
installment charges add up.
• Purchase auto and home coverage from the
same carrier to receive discounts.
Don’t forget to
use your Reward
on your next
trip to Costco.
To learn more about NOVA,
go to costco.com, click on
“Services,” then on “Small Business,” or call toll-free 1-866-213-
4748 and mention code 83110.