GCS Credit Union
618.797.7993
GCS is a full service financial institution serving the following counties in Illinois: Madison, St. Clair, Jersey, Macoupin, Montgomery, Bond, Clinton, Washington, Randolph, and Monroe.

Essential Tips for Protecting Your Online Information

Online banking is a part of life for most credit union customers, but many customers are also concerned about keeping their sensitive financial information secure. Fortunately, online banking can be both convenient and safe. GCS Credit Union has already built extensive security features into our online banking services, and there are many things you can do to keep your information even safer. Practice security smarts when using online banking with this advice.

Get Wise About Network Security

Where you choose to access your account information matters. If you’re on an unsecure network, such as in a coffee shop or other public place, don’t log into your account. These networks are easily hacked, and your financial information can be exposed. Instead, wait until you’re at a home or on a known network that is protected by a security password.

Think Before You Post on Social Media

Of course you would never post information like your account numbers and passwords on your social media accounts, but you don’t have to do that to make your information vulnerable. Posting about where you live, your birthday, people in your household, and new, large purchases can all make you the target of identity thieves and make it easier to steal your information. For instance, knowing your birthdate and your mother’s maiden name could be enough information for someone to reset your passwords on some accounts. Think carefully before you post facts about your life so you don’t inadvertently put your information at risk.

Protect Your Passwords

Your passwords should be difficult for people to guess, so stay away from things like your birthday, your kids’ names, and your pets’ names. Don’t use your address, phone number, or other easily identifiable information. Instead, opt for a long password that incorporates letters, numbers, and special characters, and never share your password, write it down, or store it in a document on your phone.

If you have questions about protecting your financial information online, GCS Credit Union is here to help. Talk to a representative at our credit union in O’Fallon about online banking, membership, and more. Call (618) 797-7993.

A Young Adult's Introduction to Smart Saving

For many young adults, there is a steep learning curve when it comes to money management. Fortunately, financial advice is always available at your credit union, to help you make smart decisions and learn how to do everything from managing your checking account to making your Visa Rewards credit card work for you.

Watch this video for financial advice geared towards young adults to help them start saving. Find out how much of your check to put aside, how to begin saving for a house, and where to keep your savings.

If you want to learn more about savings, online banking, and other credit union services, contact GCS Credit Union for information about memberships. You can reach our credit union in O’Fallon today by calling (618) 797-7993.

Investment Terminology for Beginners

Investing is a great way to grow your wealth and prepare for the future, but many people who are inexperienced find the prospect intimidating. The good news is that investing is for everyone, and your credit union can help you get started. If you are thinking about getting into investing, here are some terms you may encounter as you explore your options.

Exchange

If you decide to enter the investment market, then the exchange will figure prominently in your process. An exchange is a place where investments, such as stocks and bonds, are sold by brokers who act as buyers and sellers. Images of Wall Street traders crowded into a large room with phones, buying and selling at a frantic pace, depict an exchange. However, in today’s investment market, an exchange is more likely to be a website or other virtual location than an actual room.

Dow Jones Industrial Average

When you hear people talking about the stock market going up or down, they are usually talking about the Dow Jones Industrial Average, also sometimes simply referred to as the Dow. The Dow is an average of 30 blue chip stocks, weighted for price. Although the average includes a very small number of the total stocks available on the investment market, it is usually a good indication of the overall health of investments.

Diversity

When investors talk about diversity, they are talking about their investment portfolios. Portfolios are a collection of all of the investments a person has. Portfolio diversity means you have investments across many industries and sectors and in different forms, such as stocks and bonds. Most experts believe that a diverse portfolio protects investors, since if one investment area goes wrong, they don’t have all of their money in that place.

At GCS Credit Union, our in-house retirement and investment expert can help you make smart decisions about every investment you make, from your first entry into the market to managing portfolios that have grown into strong nest eggs. Get assistance with all of your financial decisions, from opening a checking account to managing your online banking access, from our credit union in O’Fallon by calling (618) 797-7993.

Teens and Credit Cards: What Parents Need to Know

The issue of teens and credit cards is one that parents frequently struggle over. Should teens have credit cards for emergencies, or are they always a bad idea? If you help your teen get a Visa Rewards credit card from your credit union, for instance, are you teaching them smart spending habits or showing them how to live beyond their means? Your credit union is a great source of information about major financial decisions, like getting a credit card for your teen. These facts will also help.

Start with a Checking Account

Before you give your teen a credit card, he or she should already have a checking account at your credit union. Further, your teen should manage that account responsibly and demonstrate good spending habits before you consider including credit cards in the equation. It's also important have your teen write the checks or use his or her own checking account to make online payments. This allows your teen to connect the money he or she spends on a credit card to the actual money in his or her checking account, so it seems more real and less like “free money.”

Consider the Benefits

When used correctly, credit cards can offer several advantages for teens. Using a credit card lets teens build a good credit history, so that when he or she wants a car loan or to buy a house, he or she is eligible for the lowest possible interest rates. Teens can also learn the importance of money management and how to make smart decisions about when to use credit to purchase something, when to use cash, and when to avoid spending.

Set Some Ground Rules

Some parents give teens a credit card with a low limit and allow them to spend as they see fit. Other parents give their kids credit cards only for emergencies. However, you decide to let your teen use a credit card, be sure your rules are clear and that there are consequences for breaking them.

Let the experts at GCS Credit Union in O’Fallon help you make the right financial choices, whether it’s online banking or credit cards. Learn more about how we can help you by calling (618) 797-7993 today.

A Look at Our Upgrade to Online Bill Pay

GCS Credit Union is pleased to offer a range of online banking services, and now, our online bill pay is better than ever before. This recently launched tool gives our credit union customers better ability to manage money and meet their financial goals.

Bill Pay is free to access through GCS Credit Union online banking for all credit union members. The service can be used to transfer money, track bill payments, and manage bills—all in one simple, easy-to-use interface. The tool also integrates Payment Guarantee, which ensures that your payments safely and securely reach their recipients and also protects you in the event of processing delays or unauthorized transactions.

Online Bill Pay is just one of the online banking services provided by GCS Credit Union to make money management both convenient and intuitive. You can find out more about online banking in O’Fallon or joining our credit union by calling (618) 797-7993.

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Hours

  • Monday 8:30am — 5:00pm
  • Tuesday 8:30am — 5:00pm
  • Wednesday 10:00am — 5:00pm
  • Thursday 8:30am — 5:00pm
  • Friday 8:30am — 6:00pm
  • Saturday 8:30am — 12:00pm