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    Understanding the Dos and Don'ts of Debt Consolidation

    Last updated 8 months ago

    When used correctly, debt consolidation loans can help you get out of debt and get a fresh start on your finances. When mismanaged, debt consolidation could leave you facing higher interest rates and even more debt. If you’re considering debt consolidation, the first step is to sit down with a representative from GCS Credit Union to explore loan options and see if consolidation makes sense for you. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you make a decision about debt consolidation.

    Do Consider Interest Rates
    One of the benefits of a debt consolidation loan is that the interest rate on the loan will almost certainly be lower than the interest rate of the credit cards and other debts you’re trying to pay off. However, consider how long you will be paying on the debt consolidation loan versus how long it will take you to pay off your current debts. If the consolidation loan will take longer to pay off, be sure that you will still come out on top financially, given that you will be paying that lower interest rate for a longer period of time.

    Don’t Add New Debt
    With a debt consolidation loan, you will be able to finally get those credit card balances to zero. The trick is to keep them there. If you go out and use those credit cards again, then you will be left with the payments on your debt consolidation loan plus a new stack of credit card debt. Although closing your accounts will have a detrimental effect on your credit score because it will lower your debt-to-credit ratio, doing so may be the best bet if you think you will be tempted to use your cards.

    Do Get Advice
    If you’re overwhelmed by debt, seek advice on the best way to tackle it from a qualified financial advisor. At GCS Credit Union, we’re here to help you make a plan for the future that gets you out of debt as fast as possible.

    O’Fallon, IL’s GCS Credit Union offers the same services as banks, from checking accounts and debit cards to auto loans, but with a focus on you. Learn how to apply for membership by calling (618) 219-8600.  

    Get Behind the Wheel for Less! [INFOGRAPHIC]

    Last updated 8 months ago

    Buying a new car can be a stressful experience, whether you’re shopping for your first car or you’re a veteran car-buyer. In addition to narrowing down the right make and model for your driving habits, you’ll need to figure out your auto financing to pay for your purchase. Obtaining your auto loan from our credit union in O’Fallon, Illinois, is a smart move that could potentially save you money over the life of your loan. Credit unions offer personalized attention that you won’t find at commercial banks and will work with you to make sure you get the lowest auto loan rates possible. Take a look at this infographic to see the advantages of auto loans from credit unions and to find some handy car-buying tips. Please share with your friends and family!

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    How and When to Apply for a Personal Loan

    Last updated 8 months ago

    A personal loan can help you bridge a financial gap when money is tight. People seek personal loans for all kinds of expenses, both essential and non-essential. Home improvement projects, vacations, and debt consolidation are all reasons people apply for personal loans. Whatever your reason for wanting a loan, it’s important to consider how you will tackle the debt before you borrow.

    To apply for a personal loan, sit down with a lender and discuss your situation. Many lenders have loans tailored to specific needs that may have more attractive rates than a simple personal loan. For instance, a home equity loan may be the best choice for a home improvement project. Before you apply for a loan, be sure to gather all of your necessary financial information, including proof of income. Secured loans tend to have better rates than unsecured loans, but keep in mind that defaulting on a secured loan could put your property at risk.

    If you’re in the market for a personal loan, make an appointment with a loan officer at GCS Credit Union or start your loan application online. Our O’Fallon credit union is here to help with all of your financial needs. Call us now at (618) 219-8600.  

    Expert Tips for Purchasing Your Next Home

    Last updated 8 months ago

    Purchasing a home is an exciting process, but there are many decisions to make along the way. From finding the perfect property to getting the right financing, there is a lot to consider. GCS Credit Union is here with affordable, easy-to-understand mortgages, but what about the rest of the process? Here is how to make sure you end up in your dream home.

    Evaluate The Home and Neighborhood
    When most people go shopping for a house, they have a shortlist of things they absolutely want to have and another list of things they would really like to find but are willing to compromise on. Your list may include things like a big kitchen, proximity to local shops, or a neighborhood full of kids. A home is a big investment, so invest the time in finding a property you really love. Also, be sure to drive by your potential new home at a few different times during the day. That is the best way to find out if the neighbors throw big parties every night or if kids play outside daily until dinnertime before you move in.

    Consider the Cost
    Stretching your budget to get a bigger home is not a good financial play for most people. It is a better idea to find a home you can comfortably afford and upgrade in the future. If you’re not sure exactly what your budget should be, sit down with an expert at your credit union to evaluate your options.

    Finance Your Purchase
    Once you find your dream home, you have to pay for it. Credit unions offer competitive rates on mortgages because, as non-profit institutions, they can re-invest earnings back into loan products.  

    Whether you’re getting ready to buy your first house or finally getting your dream home, GCS Credit Union is here to help. We can explain the mortgage process and help you get a loan that fits your budget. Members of our credit union enjoy great rates on checking accounts, mortgages, auto financing, and much more. Learn more about the benefits of being part of our O’Fallon, IL credit union by calling (618) 219-8600.

    Understanding the Real Impact of Student Loans on Your Credit Score

    Last updated 8 months ago

    Student loan debt has surpassed credit card debt in the U.S., and more people are defaulting than ever before. Student loans impact your credit score differently than other kinds of debt, so it is important to understand the ramifications before you borrow.

    This video explains the impact of student loans on your credit score. Each individual loan you take out over the course of your education appears separately on your report, which can have a negative impact on your score. Student loans can’t be discharged during bankruptcy and are subject to special reporting rules that keep negative information about your loan repayment history on your report for longer than other kinds of debt.

    GCS Credit Union in O’Fallon, IL is here to help you make smart financial decisions about paying for your education. Find out more about our credit union services by calling (618) 219-8600. 

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