Troubleshooting

How do I register for TIAA-CREF Web account access?Follow these simple steps:

  1. Visit tiaa-cref.org.
  2. Click on the link “Register for online access.”
  3. Enter your TIAA Contract Number, Social Security Number and Date of Birth.
  4. After clicking “Continue,” you’ll be prompted to create your personal User ID (6 to 9 characters starting with a letter), a password (8 to 12 case-sensitive characters, including one letter and one number), and answers to security questions.

In no time, you’ll be online reviewing your account information or processing transactions.

back to top

Why am I not required to provide my user ID and Password every time I want to access my account? TIAA-CREF uses both a session identifier and a cookie to handle browser access to the secured site. Since the cookie is physically stored in the user’s file system, simply closing the browser will not log the user off the system until the session times out (20 minutes from last browser action). Some organizations use "in memory cookies" which are stored in the browser’s memory and require that all open browsers on the user’s desktop be closed to effectively logout. If they do not close all browser sessions, then the user could re-enter the site without having to log in again. TIAA-CREF does not operate this way. For this reason, a user on that same computer can log out of TIAA-CREF and continue to use all open browser sessions on that machine. The key here is that you click the logout button (located in red on the upper, right-hand side of the Secure Access page) to ensure that you have signed off the system.

back to top

How do I  reset my Web ID, password or security question?

User ID:

  1. While on tiaa-cref.org, go to the “Log In” box.
  2. Click “Forgot User ID.”
  3. Enter your email address to have your User ID sent directly to your email box in minutes.
  4. Return to the “Log In” box with your retrieved User ID.

Password:

  1. Enter your User ID in the “Log In” box on tiaa-cref.org and click.
  2. Click “Forgot Your Password.”
  3. Respond to security question and date-of-birth. Click “Continue.”
  4. Create and confirm your new password. Please note that passwords must contain one letter, one number, and be 8-to-12 alphanumeric characters. They are also case sensitive.

Security Question:

  1. Enter your User ID in the “Log In” box on tiaa-cref.org and click.
  2. Select the option “Forgot Your Answer.”
  3. Enter your password and date-of-birth. Click to continue.
  4. Select and respond to a security question.
  5. Click “Update.”

back to top

Why have I been "locked out" of Secure Access for more than one hour? After three consecutive, invalid login attempts, access to your account will be closed for one hour -- a measure that’s strictly for security purposes, to prevent someone from running a "robot" password program against your account. If you’re still receiving an error message or are "locked-out" when trying to regain access to your accounts after an hour, then try clearing your disk cache or history folder (under "Preferences" or "Internet Options"). If that still doesn’t work, the best course of action may be to have your login reset. TIAA-CREF employees cannot see your personalized user ID/Password. If you forget your login or it seems to be malfunctioning, you must have it reset and then create a new user ID and password using the same steps you followed originally. To have your login reset please call 800 842-2776, weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. (ET). and Saturdays 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (ET).

back to top

When entering my address change I am prompted with a message stating that I have an address pending, what does this mean? If you receive the message that "You have an address change pending!" it is only to alert you that recent data maintenance has been made to your customer profile. Because the change requires manual processing, it may not yet appear on your profile screen.

back to top

Why is your site so slow? Well-built commercial websites, in which class we modestly place the TIAA-CREF website, are almost always capable of providing much faster service than many customers actually experience. For dial-up connections we recommend a minimum of 56K/V.90 modems. Over direct (fractional and full T–1 or T–3) Internet connections, access to public areas of the website should be immediate and screens should load within a few seconds. Secure Access response times should be comparable to those of the TIAA-CREF Automated Telephone System. Because Secure Access includes some graphic elements, customers may wish to disable automatic graphic downloads. The system will still provide text and figures, although you won’t be able to see personalized graphic displays. When connections take more time than they should, the problem usually lies not with the site, but elsewhere. Among the most common culprits:

Outdated equipment. Older hardware and operating systems just aren’t as fast as newer ones, and trying to get an extra year or two from and old PC by adding extra memory, a bigger hard drive, etc., is usually more trouble than it’s worth.

Too many programs running simultaneously. Most newer personal computers can easily run several applications at the same time, but performance can drop off dramatically when they do--particularly if the programs are interactive games or other RAM-intensive ones. Try closing everything but your Internet service connection and browser.

An underpowered ISP. The quality of Internet service providers varies enormously, as do the conditions under which they operate. A 56K dial-up service may be "fast" at off hours while crawling during peak load period. Congested urban areas may actually offer better service than sparsely populated rural ones, because of the variety of competing alternatives. Even ISDN, DSL, and cable access can be less than satisfactory if the number of users is disproportionate to the available bandwidth. Shop around, and don’t hesitate to change providers if poor service is chronic.

An overfull cache. Browsers temporarily store Internet files in a "cache" folder. Pages stored in cache act as a quick "shortcut" to sites you’ve recently visited. But since your browser has to check what’s in cache before actually connecting to a site, when the folder gets fuller, your browser may become significantly slower, or even crash.

We recommend that you assign plenty of memory to cache (if set to 0 or a number less than 256, reset it to 1024) and clear (purge) your cache folder regularly (which has the additional benefit of making sure you’re always seeing the latest version of the page you want). You can delete the files in cache manually (it’s usually under "Preferences" or "Internet Options").

back to top

There’s no place on the login page for my user ID and Password to be entered. Your login page is not fully loading. This generally happens when an older version of a particular web browser is in use. Upgrades are available free of charge from either Netscape or Microsoft’s respective sites.

back to top

I have a difficult time reading the small text on your Secure Access page. The website is built to be font-friendly--that is, to scale automatically to most text sizes available in your browser. The font displayed on your screen can be easily adjusted to meet your own preference.

Internet Explorer

  1. Click "View" form the toolbar at the top of the page.
  2. Select "Text Size" from the display.
  3. Adjust to "Larger" or "Largest."

Netscape 6.0

  1. Click "View" from the menu at the top of the page.
  2. Next, select "Text size" and click on "Larger" or click either 120, 150 or 200% according to your personal preference.

Note: The overall size of your browser window on screen, including font sizes, is also influenced by your monitor resolution. You can see/change your Windows PC’s monitor resolution by selecting "My Computer," then "Control Panel," then Display, then Settings.

back to top

Why can’t I access the one-, three- and five-year tabs for the tabbed graphs under your account profiles. You need to turn on your browsers’ JavaScript capability. JavaScript is necessary on several secure as well as nonsecure pages, particularly to get the full benefit of calculators and other interactive tools, including graphs and charts. To turn on JavaScript:

Netscape 8.x

  1. Select Tools from the Options menu.
  2. Click on Site Controls.
  3. Check the box next to Enable JavaScript in both the "I Trust This Site" and "I’m Not Sure" Master Settings.
  4. Click OK.

Microsoft Internet Explorer

  1. Select Internet Options from the Tools menu.
  2. Click the Security tab.
  3. Set the security level for this zone to Custom (Custom Level for I.E. 6.x).
  4. Scroll to the bottom of the list and enable Active scripting.
  5. Click OK to close the Security Settings window.
  6. Click OK button to close the Internet Options window.

back to top

Why don’t the performance charts reflect current performance data? When you view the performance data for the Retirement Annuities and Mutual Funds during the day, it is always reflecting the unit values, net change and YTD Return for the previous business day. Both the Retirement Annuities and the Mutual Fund accounts are based on forward-pricing, a valuation process in which all incoming orders to buy or sell units/shares are based on the next net unit value/net asset valuation of fund units/shares respectively at the close of trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Also make sure that the information in your browser is not old--that is, previously stored in cache. For Internet Explorer select "Refresh"; for Netscape, select "Reload."

back to top

When trying to upload my remittance data via Microsoft Internet Explorer I receive the message, "Page Cannot Be Displayed"? The "Page cannot be Displayed" problem is linked to a documented problem with Internet Explorer 6.0 and Internet Explorer 6.0 SP1. A user who had not previously experienced this problem could experience it if his/her browser was upgraded to the latest version. The following two steps have always proven to be successful in resolving this problem.

Step One

  1. Start Internet Explorer.
  2. On the Tools menu, click Internet Options, and then click the Advanced tab.
  3. Click to clear the Show friendly HTTP error messages check box, and then click OK.

Step Two

  1. Start Internet Explorer.
  2. On the Tools menu, click Internet Options, and then click the Settings tab.
  3. Click to select "Every visit to the page" radio button.

back to top

Why do I have a N/A listed where my balance should be? The N/A could appear for the current date as well as previous quarters if there is no balance as of that date to report on. It may also appear if there is a pending transfer/rollover of funds into your contract from an external carrier or if a premium/account adjustment is being made internally. Temporarily our system will be disabled from providing your current balance until the account is balanced. For more information on this please contact our telephone counselors at 800 842-2776.

back to top

Why am I getting the message: "Warning! You have requested an insecure document that was originally designated a secure document? The document and any information you send back could be observed by a third party while in transit." How can I avoid this error message in the future? There is a checkbox within your browser which says "Alert me whenever I leave an encrypted page for one that isn’t encrypted." If you uncheck the box, the message no longer will appear. This is a setting in the browser you can also turn it off/on from edit/preferences/privacy & security/SSL/and uncheck “Leaving a page that supports encryption.”

back to top

When accessing my account online I notice that the secure lock is indicating that the site is not secure. This seems to happen only when using Netscape. Netscape and Mozilla browsers will often show a pop-up stating, "that some information may be unprotected" even when the information consists of a few links to our external website (non-Secure Access links). You can simply select the check box in the pop-up box that states, "do not warn me about this again."

Note that the browser might alter the colors of the "lock" icon as the website is navigated. However, the navigation is secured. You can confirm that the page is secured by looking at the web address itself. If it begins with "https:", then the web page is secure.

back to top

© 2014 and prior years, Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association - College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF), New York, NY 10017