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    Reasons to Consider Refinancing Your Home

    Last updated 5 months ago

    Mortgage payments are the single largest expense in most households. However, the recent economic downturn shows just how much the housing market can change in a few years—and how that can affect monthly payments. Now that home values in Illinois are stabilizing, it may be the perfect opportunity to take advantage of low interest rates. Below are just a few considerations for refinancing with GCS Credit Union

    Lower Your Interest Rate or Loan Term

    Getting a lower monthly payment is one of the biggest incentives for refinancing. Locking into a lower interest rate could lower your monthly payment by hundreds of dollars, but be aware that it may also increase the term by a few years. Conversely, low interest rates also provide a great opportunity to pay off the mortgage sooner without much more expense. Everyone’s financial priorities differ, but a quick look at a mortgage calculator can make refinancing seem like a no-brainer.

    Switch from an Adjustable Rate Mortgage to a Fixed Rate Loan

    After the recent housing market burst, many homeowners with adjustable-rate mortgages are understandably worried about inflation and how it can affect monthly payments. Interest rates are fairly low at the moment, but they won’t stay low forever. A fixed rate mortgage doesn’t necessarily offer a better interest rate upfront, but it is easier to plan for.

    Cash Out on Your Home’s Equity

    Cash-out refinancing has decreased since the economic downturn, but they can still provide some financial flexibility for other debts or investments.  Cashing out can provide you with the funds to consolidate debts, make home improvements, or to invest in new property, to name a few options.

    Whatever your financial needs are, GCS Credit Union of O’Fallon, IL is here to provide expert assistance and competitive loan rates to our members. Since we started in 1941, we’ve grown into one of the most trusted credit unions in Illinois. Call (618) 219-8600 or visit us online to learn more about membership opportunities and benefits in Madison, St. Clair, Jersey, Macoupin, Montgomery, Bond, Clinton, Washington, Randolph, and Monroe counties.

    Why Is It Important to Know Your Credit Score?

    Last updated 5 months ago

    Everyone understands how useful credit is for major purchases and emergencies, but a surprisingly few number of people actually take the time to stay on top of their credit score. In fact, a survey estimates that nearly 1 in 4 Americans have never checked their credit score.

    Generally, a competitive credit score ranges above 650 according to the FICO range (300 to 850), though lenders may also use their own internal algorithms. A poor credit score may affect your eligibility for loans or credit lines, prime interest rates, or even prime insurance rates and employment opportunities.

    GCS Credit Union is here to help you stay on top of your finances with expert advice and reliable financial services. Visit us online to learn more about our membership opportunities in O’Fallon, IL and the surrounding communities, including Madison, St. Clair, Jersey, Macoupin, Montgomery, Bond, Clinton, Washington, Randolph, and Monroe counties. Contact us at (618) 219-8600 with any inquiries about our credit union services. 

    A Look at the Essential Types of Credit Cards

    Last updated 5 months ago

    According to NerdWallet, the average American household has about $15,252 of credit card debt—but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Credit cards can help your credit score when used responsibly, but not all of them are the same. The fine print and perks like rewards points, special APR on certain purchases, and even just having an open account for several years can improve your credit score and help you save on everyday expenses. So how do you find a good balance of credit cards without overwhelming yourself with payments? GCS Credit Union is here to help you find out. 

    Rewards Cards

    Rewards cards from outlets such as Target or Sam’s Club generally don’t reflect as much on your credit report than cards from a bank or credit union, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t provide you with great savings. These cards generally come with higher interest rates and annual fees, so only use them at stores you frequent for your daily needs to maximize credit rewards.

    Bank Credit Cards

    Obtaining a credit card from your bank or credit union is a reliable way to build up a solid credit history with a competitive interest rate, plus it’s easier to pay off a balance with a lender that also manages your accounts. Since credit unions are not for profit, they can generally offer more competitive interest rates and exclusive membership benefits.

    Low-Interest Card

    Even with judicious financial planning, chances are an emergency will come up where you simply don’t have enough flexibility. A low-interest credit card with a low, fixed APR (10% or below) can provide some much-needed breathing room. They aren’t easy to qualify for without a good credit history, but using a portion of your savings or tax return to open a secured credit card can help boost your FICO score.

    From responsible financial planning to competitive credit offers, GCS Credit Union in O’Fallon, IL has been helping families throughout Illinois get the most out of their savings since 1941. To learn more about our membership advantages, including our low-interest mortgages and auto loans, call (618) 319-8600 or visit us online to find a location nearest you.

    What to Do if Your Identity Is Stolen

    Last updated 5 months ago

    16.6 million Americans age 16 or older were victims of identity theft in 2012 according the Bureau of Justice Statistics, and losses totaled about $24.7 billion. Identity theft can take months or even years to resolve, making it difficult to open new accounts or credit lines. Below is a brief look at how to prevent identity theft with GCS Credit Union

    Identifying Identity Theft

    Identity theft often isn’t as obvious as a few major transactions or several new credit cards under your name; thieves will often charge small, innocuous transactions over a long period of time. Keep track of calls from debt collectors or the IRS, but do not give out personal account info or your Social Security number to anyone over the phone.

    Immediate Steps

    If you do notice signs of identity theft, it’s important to act immediately. There are three major credit reporting agencies—Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian—but you only have to contact one of them to place a fraud alert on your file (you will have to provide proof of identity in this case). Submitting an identity theft report requires several steps: submit a complaint to the FTC, print out the Identity Theft Affidavit, file a police report, and attach your FTC Identity Theft Affidavit to a copy of the police report.


    Order your own up-to-date credit reports—you are legally entitled to one after placing an initial fraud alert—and dispute any errors promptly. Resolving identity theft will take a lot of phone calls and paperwork, so it’s important to keep up with deadlines and submit all necessary requests on time. Create a timeline and keep everything neatly organized, especially original documents. Also log the dates and numbers of each phone call.

    GCS Credit Union of O’Fallon, IL takes pride in maintaining long-lasting relationships with our membership through friendly service and expert financial advice. Contact us at (618) 219-8600 to learn more about our financial services and exclusive membership benefits, or visit us online to find a location nearest you in Madison, St. Clair, Jersey, Macoupin, Montgomery, Bond, Clinton, Washington, Randolph, and Monroe counties.

    Spotlight on the GCS Prime Time Club

    Last updated 6 months ago

    GCS Credit Union is a community of financial experts committed to helping our members get the most out of their savings. To that end, we’ve created the GCS Prime Time Club as one of our many exclusive services.

    The GCS Prime Time Club is designed to provide our senior members with valuable discounts, bonus rates, and free services. Eligible members who are at least 60 years of age with an open checking account and a minimum deposit of at least $60,000 will automatically receive our prime .25% bonus rate on share savings accounts. We offer free basic checks, teller checks, and notary services to meet all of your financial needs without any hassles or hidden fees. And when you do find yourself away from home, we also cover all foreign ATM fees so that you’ll always have access to your money wherever you are.

    GCS Credit Union of O’Fallon, IL has been serving the Madison, Montgomery, Monroe, and the surrounding communities since 1941, and we continue to value our members’ best interests above all else. To find out more about the advantages of banking with GCS Credit Union, follow the link or contact us at (618) 219-8600 with any questions.

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