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    Protecting Your Information When You Shop Online

    Last updated 13 hours ago

    If you find yourself purchasing more and more items online, you’re not alone. Online shopping continues to grow in popularity as people embrace the convenience of finding all of the things they want without leaving the comfort of home. However, while online shopping may be easier than facing the crowds at the mall, it does come with one downside—fraud. At GCS Credit Union, we’re committed to doing everything we can to keep our members’ accounts safe at all times, but by taking extra steps to protect your financial information, you can help us help you even more. When you shop online, keep these tips in mind before you enter your debit or credit card number. 

    Look for the Lock

    Never enter your debit or credit card number online unless you’re certain the site is secure. Otherwise, it is too easy for hackers to access your financial information. You can tell if a site is secure by looking for a small lock in the URL bar or by reading the web address. Secure sites start with “https://”. You can also read the small print on the site to find out security information. If you’re at all in doubt, take your business to a different site.

    Be Cautious about Emails

    It’s not unusual to have to exchange messages with customer service representatives about your order, but be careful about what you include in those exchanges. You should never share your credit card or debit card information via email or instant message. These are not secure communication options and they leave your information vulnerable.

    Don’t Shop on an Unsecured Network

    Just as you shouldn’t check your credit union accounts on an unsecured network, you shouldn’t enter your financial information into a website when using unsecured public Wi-Fi. Information you exchange on these networks can easily be hacked, so wait until you’re at home on your protected network.

    For more tips on avoiding fraud and identity theft, talk to a representative at GCS Credit Union in O’Fallon, IL. Our credit union provides a comprehensive range of financial products at great rates to our members. Learn more about our services and credit union membership by calling (618) 219-8600. 

    Understanding How to Save Money Responsibly [INFOGRAPHIC]

    Last updated 1 day 9 hours ago

    No matter how old you are or where you are in your career, chances are you’ve given some thought to how you can save money. Even if retirement seems far away, learning how to save money now can put you in a more secure financial position in the short and long term. Simple steps, such as making a monthly budget, can show you how you spend your money and ways you can save. Put your savings into an account at your credit union and watch your money grow as the months and years go by. Check out this infographic from GCS Credit Union, to find more tips for responsible saving. Please share with your friends and family!

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    Understanding Debt Consolidation

    Last updated 5 days ago

    Trying to juggle several different debt payments is challenging, and it can also be expensive. Debt consolidation allows you to streamline your payment schedule and maybe even save money on interest. This video explains more. 

    Debt consolidation allows you to combine your bills into a single payment so you don’t end up with any forgotten payments or missed due dates. You get a loan for the amount of your debt, pay off your individual bills, and simply pay on that single loan—saving you both interest and confusion.

    You can apply for a debt consolidation loan online or at a GCS Credit Union location in O’Fallon, IL. Do you want to learn more about credit union membership and all of our services? Call (618) 219-8600.

    Age-Appropriate Tips for Talking to Your Kids about Money

    Last updated 7 days ago

    Most experts agree that it’s never too early to show kids how to handle money responsibly. The trick is to show them in age-appropriate ways. At GCS Credit Union, we have a range of account options for kids of all ages to help you teach them these important lessons. Here are some ways to start educating your kids about money as they grow. 

    Toddlers – Kindergarten

    During the toddler and early school years, you can teach your children about financial discipline and some basic counting principles that have to do with money. Show your children the advantages of being patient with something as simple as a snack. Tell them they can have one candy now or two candies if they wait for a specified amount of time. If they wait for the bigger payout, they’ll learn lessons about delayed gratification that will make saving money less painful. You can also teach them the names of coins, and when they are ready, what they are worth.

    Elementary - Middle School

    Help your kids learn to manage their money by explaining to them how you’re managing your own. Discuss the differences between debit and credit cards, let them watch you pay the bills, take them with you to your credit union, and talk to them about purchasing decisions you’re making. If your kids don’t have a savings account, now is the time to open one. You can help your kids save up for things they really want and enjoy the feeling of success they get when they can afford them.

    High School

    High school kids need to start taking the reigns of their finances so they are ready for college. Have conversations about credit, student loans, and wise spending. Open up a checking account and consider getting a credit card that you control for older teens. Teaching teenagers about responsible spending and saving can help them avoid a financial disaster when they are away at school.

    Make GCS Credit Union your partner in teaching your kids healthy financial habits. Bring them with you to our O’Fallon, IL credit union and help them make the most of our credit union youth accounts. For more information, call (618) 219-8600.

     

    GCS Donates to The Granite City APA

    Last updated 8 days ago

    In an ongoing effort to support the local community, GCS employees had the option to wear jeans on Fridays and Saturdays throughout the month in exchange for a donation. For the month of September, GCS employees raised $470 for the Granite City APA and presented a check at their office.

    The Granite City APA is a nonprofit, no-kill animal shelter located on the outskirts of Granite City. Since the GCAPA receives no city, county or federal assistance, they rely strictly on donations.

    To find out more about the Granite City APA or to make a donation, visit gcapa.org. To find out more about GCS, visit myGCScu.com.

    Founded in 1941, GCS Credit Union currently has assets of more than $315 million. GCS serves more than 41,000 members Bond, Clinton, Jersey, Macoupin, Madison, Monroe, Montgomery, Randolph, St. Clair and Washington Counties in Illinois via 7 conveniently located branches, numerous ATM locations, and 24-hour account access through a telephone audio response system and PCU online banking.

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