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    Better Than a Bank: The Credit Union Advantage

    Last updated 4 months ago

    There seems to be a lot of debate about the benefits of joining a credit union versus keeping you money in a bank. Unfortunately, it really isn’t much of an argument. Credit unions offer the same financial products and services as traditional banks, but often with fewer or lower fees. If you’re sick of not having a voice in how your bank is operated, read on to learn about some of the benefits of becoming a member at your local credit union. 

    Higher Interest Rates

    Compared to traditional banks, credit unions offer more “bang for your buck.” For starters, credit unions typically pay higher interest rates on all deposit accounts including savings, money market, and checking accounts. This is largely because credit unions are not-for-profit, so surplus earnings are returned to members in the forms of higher dividends, lower loan rates, and free or low-cost services.

    Flexible Loans

    If you have a blemished credit history, you may find it hard to get a loan or open a credit card at a big bank. This is because banks process thousands of applications a month, so they streamline the process by setting strict income and credit score requirements. Credit unions, on the other hand, are more willing to work with you even if you have a troubled financial past.

    Fast and Personal Service

    Big banks have thousands of locations all over the world, making it nearly impossible to find a teller who even recognizes you, let alone remembers your name. Because credit unions have small branches located in your home town, they can offer fast and personal service not found at traditional banks.

    To learn what personal banking feels like, visit GCS Credit Union. Located in O’Fallon, IL, we provide our members with first-class financial products and services, with the personal touch only found at a credit union. For information about becoming a member, visit us or call (618) 219-8600 today.  

    GCS Personal Loan Options

    Last updated 4 months ago

    When you need extra money for a purchase, where should you turn? GCS Credit Union has a range of personal loans designed to help you bridge a financial gap for everything from bill consolidation to a vacation. Although personal loans might have slightly higher interest rates, they also usually don’t have any fees attached. 

    An open-end loan is a line of credit that works much like a credit card. With an open-end loan, the money is available to you whenever you need it without having to re-apply every time you need cash. A closed-end loan is a fixed-period loan with a specified repayment period. Our vacation loans offer flexible repayment terms, making your dream trip within reach. If you want to get your debt under control and reduce interest rates on your balances, a consolidation loan may be right for you.

    Make an appointment at GCS Credit Union in O’Fallon and find out which personal loan is right for you. Don’t forget to also get answers to your questions about our auto financing, debit cards, and more. Call us now at (618) 219-8600. 

    How to Tackle Debt and Reclaim Your Financial Wellbeing

    Last updated 4 months ago

    Debt can stand in your way of doing the things you want to do, like getting auto financing or buying a new house. Don’t let past debt control your financial future. Make a plan to deal with your debt and take charge of your money so you can accomplish your financial goals. Follow this advice to say goodbye to your debt for good.

    Create a Budget

    To pay down your debt, you’ll need to shift money from some of your current expenses over to your payments. Write out a monthly budget you can stick to that includes your debt payments. Keep in mind that your budget doesn’t have to be overly strict, and it doesn’t have to leave you with no money for enjoying your life. By writing out a budget, you may be surprised by how much money you’re actually wasting on things you don’t need. The key is to create a budget that makes your spending more efficient so you can reduce your debt.

    Deal with Creditors

    If you are facing a financial hardship and have bills you know you can’t pay, contact your creditors right away. Creditors are often willing to make payment revisions to help you avoid default. If you put off contacting your creditors or consolidating your debts, your accounts could be turned over to a debt collector, and then you will be unable to negotiate with your original creditor.

    Consider Financial Counseling

    Sometimes, the cause of debt is clear. For instance, if you fell behind on your bills because of job loss or an illness, then you understand the source of your debt issues. However, if you think you need help managing your money to avoid future debt, try a non-profit financial counseling service. They can help you with budgeting and smart financial strategies.

    GCS Credit Union has many tools you can use to manage your budget. Only spend what you have by using a debit card tied to a checking account, and earn great rates on your savings with our CDs. Explore all of our O’Fallon credit union’s services by calling (618) 219-8600. 

    Tips for Making Saving Simple for Young Children

    Last updated 4 months ago

    One of the greatest gifts you can give your children is the knowledge they need to be financially savvy adults. It is never too early to start teaching kids about saving money. The trick is to use age-appropriate techniques to get them excited about saving.

    Watch this video for great tips for getting your kids to save money. Young kids may prefer to save money at home in a piggy bank, but take older kids to the credit union to open up their own savings accounts to give them a sense of responsibility. 

    At GCS Credit Union in O’Fallon, we have several accounts designed to encourage young people to save money. Call our credit union today at (618) 219-8600 and ask about our youth savings accounts

    Deciding If You're Ready to Buy a House

    Last updated 4 months ago

    Buying a home is one of the most exciting—and biggest—decisions you can make. The most significant concern most people have is whether they are financially ready to qualify for and pay a mortgage, but there are other factors at play as well. If you think you’re ready to start house shopping, it is important to get your credit union involved early in the process. They can help you understand how much house you can afford and what you need to do to get a home loan. Should you invest in your first home? Here are some things to consider.

    Do You Have a Down Payment?

    You’ll get the best deal on your mortgage if you can put down a good-sized down payment. Expect to pay about 20% of a house’s asking price to get a competitive loan. There are ways around having a sizeable down payment, including taking out a piggy-back personal loan, but getting a mortgage without a down payment could force you to pay more for your home for longer. Likewise, if you don’t have a down payment, you’ll be slow to build equity in your house. If you were ever forced to sell the home quickly, you could lose money.

    Is Your Income Reliable?

    Investing in a home means taking on a long-term financial obligation. If your job is less than stable or if you plan on making another big financial leap, like starting a family, then make sure you will still be able to meet your mortgage payments before you buy a home.

    Have You Checked Your Credit Score?

    The better your credit score, the better the rates you will get on your mortgage. If your score could use a little work, get current on your payments before thinking about a mortgage. Also be sure to have any incorrect information removed from your report.

    Let GCS Credit Union in O’Fallon help you get ready to buy your first home. In addition to our convenient checking accounts and debit cards, we offer great rates on mortgages. Start exploring the possibilities today by calling our credit union at (618) 219-8600. 

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