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FAQ Details

Are there any limits for sending and receiving money with Zelle?
  • Sending amounts are based on account balances and limits set to protect you from fraudulent activity. At First Merchants Bank, your limit is $600 per transaction and $900 per day.

    There are no limits to the amount of money you can receive with Zelle®. However, remember that the person sending you money will most likely have limits set by their own financial institution on the amount of money they can send you.

Which bank has the best home equity loan?
  • To select a lender to provide the best home equity loan for you, start by comparing offers from several lenders. Your local banking center is a great place to start. Make sure you compare all aspects of the loan options offered, such as terms, rates and any associated expenses like closing costs and application fees. Ask questions about any terms you don’t understand, so you can decide which loan offer best meets your needs.
What does loan-to-value ratio (LTV) mean, and how does it affect my home equity loan or HELOC rates?
  • A loan-to-value (LTV) ratio measures what you owe on your home versus the current appraised property value. Lenders consider your LTV ratio when you apply for a home equity product. If your LTV is 80% or lower, you’re likely to receive the best rate available.
How can you find the best HELOC lenders?
  • To find the best HELOC lenders, research online reviews and compile a list of your area’s top lenders by asking friends, family or your real estate agent for referrals. Narrow your list to two or three HELOC lenders after comparing fees, interest rates and repayment terms. If you’re uncomfortable shopping around for financial institutions, start with your current bank or a local credit union and compare rates. Because every borrower’s financial situation is unique, loan options other banks offer may provide a better fit for you than your current lender. When speaking to HELOC lenders at your preferred banks, share your goals and financial needs so they can assist you in determining the best HELOC option.
How can I best use or invest these payments?
  • Child tax credit monthly payments offer a great opportunity for families to plan for their child’s future and build up savings. These payments can cover the day-to-day costs of a child’s needs, like food and clothing. But if your paycheck already covers necessities, the tax credit could help fund other short- or long-term goals.

    If you meet child tax credit eligibility, we encourage you to think about investing that money toward building your savings or starting a college or emergency fund. The amount you receive for the child tax credit over time can really add up!

How can I make sure I receive the child tax credit monthly payments?
  • If you’re eligible for the child tax credit, the best way to receive the funds is through direct deposit. If you don’t have an account with direct deposit, you can easily open a savings or checking account online or visit a banking center to enroll in direct deposit. Visit the IRS tool here to check your eligibility and manage your payments.

How much is the child tax credit?
  • The breakdown of how much you’ll receive for the child tax credit is contingent on several variables. The chart below shows how much parents who qualify for the $3,000 or $3,600 payments will receive and when they’ll receive payments.

    Month Payments for families with children 5 and younger Payments for families with children ages 6 to 17
    July 2021 $300 $250
    August 2021 $300 $250
    September 2021 $300 $250
    October 2021 $300 $250
    November 2021 $300 $250
    December 2021 $300 $250
    April 2022 $1,800 $1,500
Who's eligible for the child tax credit?
  • Eligibility for the child tax credit is based on a filer’s adjusted gross income, or AGI. Single taxpayers who earn less than $75,000 are eligible for the expanded $3,000 or $3,600 payments, depending on the age of their children. Heads of households who earn below $112,500 also are eligible for the child tax credit, as are married couples who earn less than $150,000.

    Note that single filers who earn under $200,000 and couples who earn under $400,000 will still qualify for a $2,000 credit.

How does the child tax credit work?
  • Historically, the child tax credit has provided families with dependent children with an annual tax break of as much as $2,000, which was distributed when individuals completed their taxes. But under the new bill, the tax credit is increased to $3,000 per child for eligible households with kids ages 6 to 17 and $3,600 per child for eligible parents with kids ages 5 and younger.

    This year, parents eligible for the child tax credit can also receive some of the funds in advance. Instead of waiting until you file your 2021 income taxes, qualifying families will receive half the credit in advance through child tax credit monthly payments.

    Child tax credit monthly payments were sent in July to qualifying parents and will continue to be deposited each month through December. Parents will then receive the remaining half of the credit when they file their 2021 tax returns.

What are the pros and cons of a HELOC?
  • To decide if a home equity line of credit (HELOC) best meets your financial needs and goals, consider how long you will need to use the money, what you plan to spend it on and how long it will take to pay back. HELOC benefits include flexibility and easy access to your funds. It’s an open-ended product that you can secure as a financial safety net or designate for specific expenses. While HELOCs often don’t have closing costs and offer lower interest rates than unsecured credit lines, it is typically a variable-rate product and may not be the right choice if you need to borrow a large sum of money all at once.
    HELOC pros: 
    • Flexible use
    • Easy access to funds
    • Low, interest only payments
    • Fixed-rate interest option
    • Low to no closing costs
    HELOC cons:
    • Variable interest rate
    • Not ideal for all large, one-time expenses
    • Home becomes collateral
    • Additional monthly debt payment
Can you use a HELOC to pay off a mortgage?
Can I get a HELOC on investment property?
  • Borrowers may obtain a HELOC on owner occupied properties only. Examples of these are primary residences or vacation homes that are never rented or occupied by other individuals. Since a home equity line of credit offers flexible borrowing and repayment options, it allows you to withdraw the amount you need, when you need it. You could utilize a HELOC to increase the value of your investment property or to add to your property investment portfolio.
What are the differences between a home equity line of credit (HELOC) and home equity loan, and how do those differ from refinancing?
  • A home equity line of credit (HELOC) provides borrowers with an open-ended loan, or access to low-interest credit with no fixed end date, that homeowners can use as needed. A home equity loan, on the other hand, is an installment loan that pays the borrower the entire loan amount upfront and requires fixed monthly payments. Both are secured by your home’s current value minus the amount of outstanding debt owed on the property. A HELOC best suits those who want access to cash over a period of time, rather than one large lump sum like a home equity loan offers. 
    HELOCs and home equity loans essentially function like a second mortgage, whereas a refinance means paying off your current mortgage with a new mortgage loan, often locked in at a lower interest rate. 
What is a line of credit?
  • A line of credit offers a preset loan amount, or credit limit, that you can access at any time and use as needed, only paying interest on the money you choose to withdraw. Once approved for a line of credit loan, you can access the money through a bank card, checks, online transfers or branch withdrawals. You can repay a line of credit loan through flexible terms over a period of time, or all at once.
What is home equity?
  • Home equity is the difference between your property’s appraised value and the amount you still owe on your mortgage, known as a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio. A low LTV percentage generally means you’ll receive a lower interest rate for a home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC), although each lender calculates rates a little differently. You can work to increase your home’s value in a number of ways, such as paying off your mortgage early or making certain home improvements.
What is a revolving line of credit?
  • A revolving line of credit allows you to repeatedly borrow against and pay off a credit line from a lending institution. You can continuously access the money from a revolving line of credit account until you reach the maximum amount, also known as a credit limit. You make payments on the amount used, including interest, or can choose to pay it off in full. You can continue borrowing against a revolving line of credit until you reach your credit limit. If you reach your credit limit, you can begin borrowing again once your balance is repaid. The three types of revolving credit accounts include personal lines of credit, credit cards and home equity lines of credit.
What is a fixed rate HELOC?
  • A fixed rate HELOC is a home equity line of credit with an interest rate that a lender cannot increase or decrease during the term of the agreement. Fixed rate HELOCs are growing in popularity, but most HELOCs only offer variable rates, which fluctuate with baseline rates set by the Federal Reserve Board. A hybrid HELOC, also called a convertible HELOC, typically lets you convert HELOC debt into a fixed rate loan, often for a fee. That prevents rate fluctuations on what you already owe but not on what you might borrow going forward.
    Note: Many lenders consider “hybrid HELOC” and “convertible HELOC” to be synonymous with fixed rate HELOC, so be sure to clarify how a lender uses the terminology.
What is the difference between a home equity loan and a home equity line of credit?
  • Home equity loans and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) share many similarities. Both allow you to secure a loan based on the appraised value of your home, and both loans may also be referred to as a second mortgage. However, home equity loans and HELOCs also have several distinguishing factors. 

    The following features are unique to a home equity loan:
    • With a home equity loan, you can apply for the precise amount you want to borrow. Your loan will be calculated based on your home’s equity.
    • You’ll receive a fixed interest rate that doesn’t change throughout the life of your loan.
    • After you’re approved for a home equity loan, you’ll receive a single lump-sum distribution without the option to obtain additional funds.
    The following features describe a home equity line of credit:
    • HELOCs offer a revolving source of funds that you can borrow from as often as needed, as long as you don’t exceed the credit limit.
    • You can draw as much or as little money as you need from your HELOC, and you’ll only pay interest on the money you use. 
    • Similar to a credit card, HELOC funds become instantly available for use again as the money borrowed is repaid.
    • HELOCs often include a variable interest rate that may fluctuate over the life of the loan.
Is private banking worth it?
  • The private banking relationship offered to qualifying clients extends a multitude of exclusive benefits. Private banking clients receive dedicated financial guidance and expertise for their overall personal balance sheet, exclusive cash management products, customized financing solutions and specialized mortgage options.

What mortgage services are available to private banking clients?
  • Private banking clients receive specialized portfolio mortgages to finance home purchases. Private bankers work in conjunction with mortgage experts to assist prospective home buyers and evaluate how a real estate purchase fits within their overall wealth management goals. This private banking and mortgage officer team also helps clients gain access to competitive financing options and provides insights to streamline the mortgage application process.