GCS Credit Union
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.

How to Choose a Credit Card

A credit card can be a valuable financial tool, but not all cards are created equal. Choosing the right card for you will help you manage your balance, maximize your rewards, and perhaps most importantly, save money. Your credit union representative can help you select the best credit card for you. Here are some other things you should consider.

One of the first things you should look for in a credit card is a low-interest rate. The lower the rate, the less you will pay for your purchases. A card with no annual fee will also help you save money. You should also consider a card with a rewards program, so you earn bonuses on the money you spend.

At GSC Credit Union, we’re pleased to offer a Visa Rewards Credit Card with a low-interest rate and no annual fee to our credit union members. If you’re interested in applying for a card or want to join a credit union in O’Fallon, call us now at (618) 797-7993 for more information.

The Steps of Shopping for a Home Mortgage Loan

Home mortgage loans are often confusing for new homebuyers, but they don’t have to be. Work closely with your credit union to navigate the mortgage process, and you will find the right loan for your needs. When you decide to apply for a home mortgage, follow these steps.

Decide What You Can Afford
Before you go house hunting, know your price range. Being unrealistic about what you can afford can cause problems in the future, including the loss of your home if you default on payments. Take a close look at your income and expenses, remembering to include costs like maintenance and insurance that you will have in addition to your mortgage payment. If you’re not sure what is a realistic mortgage amount for you, talk to your credit union rep for advice.

Consider Mortgage Types
Home mortgages can vary in both term and interest rates. 15- and 30-year mortgages are the most common types. 15-year mortgages usually have lower interest rates, but you will reap tax benefits for longer with a 30-year mortgage. Interest rates can be fixed or adjustable. Adjustable loans can start out with lower rates, but you have to be prepared to face significant payment increases if rates go up in the future. There is no right type of mortgage for everyone. Your credit union representative can help you select a loan based on your needs, income, and financial history.

Gather Your Documents
Your credit union will require a great deal of information from you as you apply for a mortgage, and any delay in providing supporting documentation can interfere with the processing of your loan. Before you apply, gather pay stubs, tax statements, and other documents your credit union needs so you can get the fastest possible decision.

Let GCS Credit Union help you with the process of getting a home mortgage in O’Fallon. Get started using our online banking services or stop by a branch today. You can also call (618) 797-7993.

Understanding Your Mortgage

Home mortgage loans are debt-secured against a piece of property. When your credit union issues you a mortgage to pay for a home, they are providing you with a loan with the understanding that, if you default on payments, they can recover the property to cover their losses. Watch this video to learn more.

Mortgage loans vary in terms of interest rate and duration of the loan. When you buy a house, it is important to get a loan that meets your budgetary needs. A loan with a shorter term will involve higher monthly payments; a longer mortgage may have lower payments, but you may pay more interest over time.

At GCS Credit Union, our member representatives will help you select the best loan for your needs and show you how to use online banking to manage your account. If you are interested in home mortgage loans in O’Fallon, call us at (618) 797-7993.

How to Make Contributions to Your IRA

Contributing to your IRAAn IRA is a great way to save for your retirement, and the more you contribute, the better off you will be. By understanding tax guidelines and making contributing a priority, you can maximize your IRA savings. Talk to one of the member representatives at your credit union if you’re unsure about the basics of your IRA, and try these tips to keep money flowing into your IRA account.

Understand the Contribution Guidelines
Every year, the IRS sets contribution limits to both Roth and traditional IRAs. These limits apply collectively across your IRAs, so if you have more than one, you can still only contribute up to the maximum amount for that tax year. If you understand these guidelines, not only will you ensure you receive the best tax benefits for your contributions, but you can also budget for monthly contributions that allow you to save the ceiling amount.

Set Up Direct Deposits
The easiest way to save money is to not be tempted to spend it in the first place—and the more you contribute to your IRA, the longer your money has to earn interest for your retirement. Consider setting up a regular direct deposit from your checking account to your IRA account. If you set this up for the same day or the day after your paycheck hits your account, the money will go into the IRA before you even see it in your account and factor it into your available spending money.

Look for Extra Cash
Even if you are struggling to make the maximum contributions to your IRA because of your income, you can still find avenues to generate extra money to fund it. Have a yard sale, sell collectables online, cancel your cable, or consider a side job. Even putting a little extra into you IRA can have a significant impact on your retirement.

GCS Credit Union makes retirement planning easy with traditional and Roth IRAs that offer competitive dividends with no set-up fees. Talk to a representative at our credit union in O’Fallon today about IRAs, online banking, and our other financial services by calling (618) 797-7993.

Spotlight on Savings Tips

Everyone knows that they should put money aside for a rainy day, but that is often easier said than done. Even with the best of intentions, money you had planned on putting in your savings account can easily disappear on things like coffees, shopping trips, and nights out. However, with the help of your credit union accounts and some smart strategies, you can tackle your savings problems once and for all.

Saving MoneyIf you have a checking account, set up a direct transfer once a month into your savings account and plan for that transfer as one of your normal monthly expenses. You can also consider having a portion of your check deposited directly into your savings account. If you have an unexpected windfall, use online banking to transfer it to savings. You can also cut spending with simple swaps, like packing a lunch instead of eating out or making your own coffee at home.

GSC Credit Union offers a range of accounts to help you manage your expenses. To join our credit union in O’Fallon or find out more about our services, please call (618) 797-7993.

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