Member FDIC





When FREE isn’t really FREE
Beware of free trial offers

We’ve all been there, while browsing online, you see an ad for a product or subscription service with a free trial and think, “WHY NOT?”

Here’s why not: What appears to be a free or low-cost trial can add up to be much more. Most free trials require consumers to enter their card information to either pay for shipping or to cover future costs if the individual forgets to end the trial or subscription.

While it’s easy for the cardholders to convince themselves they’ll remember to cancel the service before any fees hit their cards, it’s not always so simple. Some deceitful businesses hide the terms and conditions of their offers in a small font or use pre-checked sign-up boxes as the default setting.

What does this mean for you? Most often, there’s limitation on the chargeback rights for these purchases. Your financial institution likely won’t be able to claim fraud and will need to pursue chargebacks through non-fraud reasons, such as “merchandise not as described,” which usually offer a low chance of success.

The Federal Trade Commission offers the following tips to help consumers, avoid these unwanted fees:

  • Research the company online. See what other people are saying about the company’s free trials—and its service. Complaints from other customers can tip you off to “catches” that might come with the trial.
  • Find the terms and conditions for the offer. That includes offers online, on TV, in the newspaper, or on the radio. If you can’t find them or don’t understand exactly what you’re agreeing to, don’t sign up.
  • Look for who’s behind the offer. Just because you’re buying something online from one company doesn’t mean the offer or pop-up isn’t from someone else.
  • Watch out for pre-checked boxes. If you sign-up for a free trial online, look for already-checked boxes. That checkmark may give the company the green light to continue the offer past the free trial or sign you up for more products—only this time you have to pay.
  • Mark your calendar. Your free trial probably has a time limit. Once it passes without you telling the company to cancel your “order,” you may be on the hook for more products.
  • Look for information on how you can cancel future shipments or services. If you don’t want them, do you have to pay? Do you have a limited time to respond?
  • Read your debit/credit card statements. You’ll know right away if you’re being charged for something you didn’t’ order.





March 2018:  BAUERFINANCIAL, Coral Gables, Florida, the Nation’s Premier Bank Rating Firm is proud to announce that Home State Bank, Royal, Iowa has once again secured its highest 5-Star rating.  (A five-star rating indicates that this bank excels in areas of capital, adequacy, profitability, asset quality, and much more.)  Earning and maintaining this top 5-Star rating for 117 consecutive quarters, Home State Bank has also procured a “Best of Bauer Bank” designation.  This assignment is reserves for banks that have maintained Bauer’s highest rating consistently for the last 25 years or longer.

“A lot of things have changed since the Great Recession,” reflects Karen L. Dorway, president of BauerFinancial.  “Technology, in particular, has changed the way many people bank, but it will never replace a bank’s knowledge of its customers.  Community banks, like Home State Bank, have the upper hand on that.  Through personal interaction, they can meet their customers’ needs today while anticipating them for tomorrow.”

Home State Bank was established in 1915 and has been growing alongside its customers for 103 years.  Today it operates through a conveniently located office at Main and Third in Royal and can also be found online at

Home State Bank:  “The Bank of Generations.”

Member of the FDIC and an Equal Housing Lender


BAUERFINANCIAL, Inc., Coral Gables, Florida, the nation’s leading independent bank and credit union rating and research firm, has been reporting on and analyzing the performance of U.S. banks and credit unions since 1983.  No institution can pay for or opt out of a BauerFinancial rating.  Star-ratings are available for free at


BAUERFINANCIAL, INC. P.O. Box 143520, Coral Gables, Fl  33114.



E-mail Claiming to Be From the FDIC

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has received numerous reports of a fraudulent e-mail that has the appearance of being sent from the FDIC.

The subject line of the e-mail states: “check your Bank Deposit Insurance Coverage.” The e-mail tells recipients that, "You have received this message because you are a holder of a FDIC-insured bank account. Recently FDIC has officially named the bank you have opened your account with as a failed bank, thus, taking control of its assets.”

The e-mail then asks recipients to “visit the official FDIC website and perform the following steps to check your Deposit Insurance Coverage” (a fraudulent link is provided). It then instructs recipients to “download and open your personal FDIC Insurance File to check your Deposit Insurance Coverage.”

This e-mail and associated Web site are fraudulent. Recipients should consider the intent of this e-mail as an attempt to collect personal or confidential information, some of which may be used to gain unauthorized access to on-line banking services or to conduct identity theft.

The FDIC does not issue unsolicited e-mails to consumers. Financial institutions and consumers should NOT follow the link in the fraudulent e-mail.

If you have any questions regarding this issue, please feel free to contact the bank.



  1. Keep passwords secure and always shred documents that contain any sensitive information.
  2. Do not carry your social security card with you.
  3. Sign the back of your debit and/or credit cards.
  4. Never provide a caller with your personal information such as your date of birth or your social security number. This information is not a requirement for placing an order at an e-commerce web site.
  5. Never give any of your personal information to anyone you don’t know or trust.
  6. Take advantage of home banking services, such as online banking. By using these services, you can avoid sensitive information being left in your mailbox.
  7. Know who you are dealing with before providing and confirming any personal information to mail order, telephone or internet merchants.
  8. Review your bank statements each month and know your billing cycles. If you know you have a bill due and you haven’t seen the bill, call the company to investigate.
  9. Review your credit report annually to see if anything seems unusual, for example, like an account you didn’t open or charges you didn’t make. You are entitled to one free credit report a year.



If this happens to you, here are some steps to help you get your life back on track:

  1. Place a fraud alert on your credit report.
    a. When you place an alert on your credit, this will prevent any other account from being opened.
    b. You can request a report to see if any charges seem suspicious.
  2. Close the accounts you think could be affected.
    a. Contact someone in the fraud or security department of your financial institution.
    b. Follow up in writing with copies of any supporting documents.
    c. If any debits exist on your accounts, or a new account has been opened, ask the financial institution for the correct paperwork to dispute them.
  3. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
    a. When you file with the FTC, you are providing information to help law enforcement officials track down thieves.
  4. File a report with the local police department
    a. Filing a report, along with a complaint to the FTC, can give you certain protections to ensure your identity can be protected and restored.



Credit Report News

Effective March 1st, 2005, every person will be entitled to receive one free credit report per year. This opportunity is being provided to protect your credit from identity theft. There are three ways for you to obtain your report. They are as follows:

1) By Mail:

Annual Credit Report Request Service
PO Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

For your security, and in order to ensure you are using the request form that has been authorized by the Central Source, please contact the bank for a form to be sent to the above address. Only the Central Source, and Equifax (at, Experian (at, and TransUnion (at and its members have been authorized by law and the government (see to provide free credit reports as described on this site. We cannot ensure your personal information will be kept secure and used for proper purposes if you use forms or provide information to persons, addresses, numbers, etc. not authorized by this site or the entities listed above.

2) By Phone:1-877-322-8228

3) By Online Access:


HOME STATE BANK. . . the bank of generations!


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All text and original graphics copyright © 2012 Home State Bank

Home State Bank, 202 3rd Ave, PO Box 79, Royal, IA 51357 | 712-933-5511 | 877-474-5511 | FAX: 712-933-2397
For questions, e-mail

Home State Bank NMLS #769771