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    What Does Your Credit Score Mean?

    Last updated 5 months ago

    A credit score essentially measures your ability to responsibly manage debt and make payments on time. There are different algorithms that calculate a score based on various factors (length of credit history, types of credit, amount of credit, etc.), but they all follow the same rule: the higher the number, the better. So where does your credit score fall on the spectrum? Find out with this brief guide from GCS Credit Union.

    Sub-Prime: 620 and Below

    Credit score agencies don’t label a credit score as “good” or “bad,” the final decision is ultimately up to the lender. Generally, scores of 620 and below are considered “sub-prime,” which means that you should expect to pay high interest rates on any loans and credit offers you do qualify for. Consider how higher interest payments may limit your financial flexibility to pay off other debts.

    Average: 620 to 674

    This range is considered below average, but it likely won’t affect your loan opportunities aside from slightly higher interest rates. Lenders may also require additional paperwork for major loans, such as a formal appraisal of your home’s value.

    High: 675 to 719

    A credit score in this range is still very strong, and borrowers should not have a problem qualifying for competitive loan rates. On average, a creditor in this range would pay about one-half percentage above prime rates, but even a half percentage point could cost you thousands of dollars over the term of a 15 to 30-year mortgage.

    Ideal: 720 and Above

    The credit score scale varies between reporting agencies. For instance, a score of 840 according to the FICO Score range (300-850) would be near-perfect, but it may only be above average in the TransRisk Score range (100-900). Generally, a borrower with at least a score of 720 is in an excellent position to not only receive the most favorable rates from lenders, but also to qualify for prime rates on credit cards, home loans, and auto loans.

    GCS Credit Union of O’Fallon, IL has served Madison, St. Clair, Jersey, Macoupin, Montgomery, Bond, Clinton, Washington, Randolph, and Monroe counties for over 70 years, and our philosophy of placing members first remains unchanged. Just see what some of our current members have to say about us, or call (618) 219-8600 to learn more about our financial services.

    A Brief History of GCS Credit Union

    Last updated 5 months ago

    GCS Credit Union was established in O’Fallon, Illinois over 70 years ago to serve the community and provide customized financial services. During that time, we’ve grown from one location to several throughout Madison, St. Clair, Jersey, Macoupin, Montgomery, Bond, Clinton, Washington, Randolph, and Monroe counties, but our community-focused philosophy has never changed.

    GCS Credit Union enough to offer convenient services such as member discounts and online banking, but small enough to offer personalized services and competitive interest rates. Because we are entirely owned by members of Illinois communities and not driven by profit, we can provide customized loans and savings offers designed to serve your best interests.

    Experience the satisfaction of banking with GCS Credit Union and find a location nearest you online. To learn more about our financial services and membership perks, call (618) 219-8600 today.

    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.

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