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    Surprising Factors That Can Affect Your Credit Score

    Last updated 3 months ago

    Did you know that the rate you get on an auto loan or home mortgage is primarily determined by your credit score? This three-digit number can also have an impact on housing applications and even employment opportunities. Needless to say, your credit score is very important. But despite what most people think, paying your credit card bills and other recurring debts on time each month isn’t a guarantee of a good credit score. Here’s a look at some surprising factors that can affect your credit score and your ability to get a mortgage or auto loan.

    Closing a Credit Card with a Zero Balance

    Paying off a credit card is a major milestone, and it may be tempting to close that account for good. However, breaking ties with your credit card company can actually hurt your credit score in the long run. Cancelling or closing an account can reduce the length of your credit history and lower your credit utilization rate, two of the most important factors used in determining your credit score.

    Not Using Your Credit Cards

    You should obviously avoid accruing large sums of credit card whenever possible, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use your credit every now and then for minor purchases. After six months of inactivity, your credit card company may stop reporting to the credit bureaus or even cancel your account entirely. To avoid this, use your credit cards to make small purchases, like gas and groceries every month, and then pay off the balance in full when you receive the statement.

    Here at GCS Credit Union, your financial success is our primary concern. We are a full-service financial institution serving O’Fallon, IL and the surrounding counties. You can become a member on our website, or visit any one of our credit union branch locations to become a member and open a checking account in person. If you have any questions about our credit union services, contact us online or call us at (618) 219-8600.

    A Look at GCS Credit Union's Community Service Efforts

    Last updated 3 months ago

    One of the biggest differences between a major bank and a local credit union is the credit union is much more involved with the community. Nowhere is that more true than right here at GCS Credit Union. We are as committed to serving our community as we are to serving our members. Recently, we teamed up with Radio Disney AM1260 to donate 100 backpacks filled with school supplies to Big Brothers Big Sisters of O’Fallon. Watch this video to see what went into these backpacks. 

    If you’re looking for a financial institution that actually cares, stop by today and open up a checking account or savings accounts with GCS Credit Union. We also offer competitive rates on auto loans and personal loans. Visit our website to learn about everything we have to offer, or call us at (618) 219-8600 to inquire about becoming a member at our credit union

    Tips for Creating a Personal Budget

    Last updated 3 months ago

    Creating a monthly budget can be overwhelming, and even a bit intimidating. It’s no wonder, then, that only 40 percent of American families have a working monthly budget. But creating a budget, and sticking to it, is worth the effort. A personal budget can help you build wealth while simultaneously helping you get out of debt and cut your monthly expenses. To help you get on the track towards financial peace, here are some tips for creating a realistic personal budget each month. 

    Determine How Much You Make

    If you are on a salaried pay scale, you can easily determine your monthly or weekly income. For hourly employees, or those who work in a business where income may rise and fall unpredictably, determine your average monthly income by averaging out the last 12 months of recurring income.

    Determine Your Recurring Monthly Expenses

    Once you know how much you make each month, you will need to determine how much you owe each month. In addition to fixed payments, such as rent, phone bills, and credit card payments, you will also need to determine how much you spend (on average) on groceries, gas, and entertainment. Look at receipts or billing statements over the past 12 months to get a baseline average of how much to budget for these expenses each month.

    Made Adjustments to Increase Your Bottom Line

    The difference between how much you bring in each month and how much you spend is known as your bottom line. The goal with any budget is to maximize your bottom line without taking on any additional debt. Small adjustments such as cooking more meals at home and going to the movies once a month instead of once a week can go a long way towards increasing your bottom line.

    Here at GCS Credit Union, your financial success is our primary concern. We offer competitive rates on all of our loans, in addition to excellent services with our checking and savings accounts. If you live in O’Fallon, IL, visit our credit union today to become a member and start saving. Call GCS Credit Union at (618) 219-8600 to learn more.

    How to Protect Your Identity Online

    Last updated 4 months ago

    Online shopping is the easiest and most convenient way to purchase a new album, a new pair of shoes, or even a new car. However, there are also risks of shopping online, namely the risk of having your identity stolen. To protect your identity online, start by installing an anti-virus/anti-malware program on your computer. Never give out your Social Security number, credit card numbers, bank account number, or driver’s license number to anyone through email. Similarly, don’t divulge too much personal information via social media, as it makes you a target for identity theft. Finally, monitor your credit profile and report any suspicious or fraudulent charges immediately.

    GCS Credit Union offers secure computer banking, so you can pay your bills online without worrying about your personal information falling into the wrong hands. To learn more about our credit union services, visit our website or call us at (618) 219-8600. We also offer great rates on auto loans and home mortgages, so be sure to visit our website to check out our current offers. 

    What are the Different Types of Home Mortgages?

    Last updated 4 months ago

    Only a very small percentage of homeowners in America were able to pay cash for their homes; everybody else has a mortgage. There are a number of different types of home mortgages, each of which offers its own unique set of pros and cons. Selecting the right mortgage can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars over the life of your home loan, so take your time and do your research to figure out which type of mortgage is best for you. To help you get started, here is a brief overview of some of the different types of home mortgages.  

    Fixed-Rate Mortgage

    As the name suggests, a fixed-rate mortgage has an interest rate that stays the same over the entire length of the loan, usually in the 15-30 year range. While this can help you plan your payments each month, you could be stuck paying a higher rate if mortgage rates fall.

    Adjustable-Rate Mortgage

    Also known as variable-rate mortgages, adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) usually offer a lower initial interest rate than fixed-rate loans. Interest rates fluctuate over the life of the loan, sometimes dipping the national interest rate, and sometimes exceeding it.

    Reverse Mortgage

    On the opposite end of the spectrum, reverse mortgages allow seniors to covert equity in their homes to cash. As long as you live in the house, you do not need to pay back the loan or any interest on your reverse mortgage.

    If you need help buying the home of your dreams, GCS Credit Union can help. We offer our members competitive rates on home mortgages, auto loans, personal loans, credit cards, and many other financial products and services. Visit our website or call us at (618) 219-8600 to learn more about our credit union serving O’Fallon, IL and the surrounding areas. 

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