GCS Credit Union
GCS is a full-service financial institution serving the following counties in Illinois: Sangamon, Logan, Macon, Marion, Jefferson, Perry, Jackson, Williamson, Jersey, Macoupin, Montgomery, Madison, Bond, Clinton, St. Clair, Monroe, Washington and Randolph.

Start Saving Now & Make Next Christmas Easier

You may think Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, but your finances may disagree. Holiday expenses can build up quickly, from presents to decorations to travel, and many people find themselves starting out a new year facing a large amount of debt. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way. By adding money to a credit union savings account throughout the year, you can be ready for holiday spending without having to accrue additional debt. Follow this advice for year-round Christmas savings.

Open a Christmas Club Savings Account

At GCS Credit Union, our Christmas Club savings accounts make holiday planning easy. There is no minimum balance or monthly fees. Simply deposit money into the account throughout the year as you wish and take advantage of the competitive interest rate to help your money grow. You can even set up a direct deposit into the account from each paycheck to help your put aside more money. The account automatically reaches maturity on October 15, when the balance will be transferred into your checking account. There is no penalty for early withdrawal, if you happen to need your money for other expenses or want to start shopping early.

Choose a Savings Target

After the holidays, consider sitting down and evaluating your expenses. Decide if you overspent, hit an ideal amount, or wish you had spent a little more in some areas. This evaluation will help you set a target for your savings account for the next season. Even if it may not be practical for you to save the full amount before the season begins, having a target that will allow you to come out of Christmas without debt can be a good starting point.

Take Advantage of Direct Debit

Set up a direct debit from your checking account into your savings throughout the year. Even transferring a small amount of each check will allow your balance to build up quickly, and when the transfer happens automatically, you won’t be tempted to skip it.

Christmas Club accounts are just one of the many ways GCS Credit Union in O’Fallon can help you take control of your finances. Call us today at (618) 797-7993 to learn more about credit union membership.

Should I Repair or Replace My Old Car?

When you have an old car in need of repairs, you have a decision to make between fixing the car or reaching out to your credit union for a new auto loan. What is the right choice for you? This video will help you decide.

You generally shouldn’t pump more money into a car than what it is worth. Although small repairs are part of car ownership, you may need to consider an auto loan for a new car when the cost of repairs is not a smart investment.

With the competitive rates for auto loans at GCS Credit Union, you’ll be able to get a payment that fits your budget. To learn more, contact our credit union in O’Fallon today at (618) 797-7993.

Should You Consider a Home Equity Loan?

As you pay down your home mortgage loan, you build value in your home called equity. When you need money for a major expense, this equity could help you tap into the funding you need. Could a home equity loan help you pay for a major purchase? Here is what to know.

Home equity loans let you borrow money using the value you have built up in your home. The amount of equity you have is equivalent to the amount of money you put into your house through your home mortgage loan payments. With a home equity loan, you get a lump sum of cash and then repay the amount that you borrowed over time. The interest on the loan is tax deductible, making it attractive to homeowners who need to pay for a one-time major expense.

Let GCS Credit Union help you decide if a home equity loan is the right answer for your needs. Our credit union in O’Fallon offers a range of loan options with competitive interest rates for easy repayment. To learn more, contact us today at (628) 797-7993.

Get the Facts About Down Payments and Mortgages

When you purchase a home, there are two numbers that will loom large: your down payment and your home mortgage loan amount. These two figures are closely linked, but there is no single way of handling these payments that is right for everyone. Because credit unions are member-owned nonprofits, you can count on the loan officers at your union to help you make the right financial decisions for you. If you’re considering purchasing a home, here are the facts you need to know.

Down payments are designed to encourage you to pay your mortgage.

You may wonder why lenders want you to make a down payment at all, when you could simply finance the entire purchase amount and pay more interest on the loan. The idea behind down payments is that people will feel more pressured to pay their mortgage payments if they have a lump sum of money invested in the property. Falling behind on payments means you could lose not only the home but also the initial investment. Lenders believe that putting down money in advance means you’ll prioritize your mortgage loan payment.

Not all down payments have to be 20%.

Although 20% of the purchase price of the home is a typical down payment, it is possible to put down less money than that. Keep in mind that you will need to pay mortgage insurance if you put less than 20% down until you have 20% invested in the home through equity. How much you should put down depends on a number of different factors, including how much you can afford and how much mortgage insurance impacts your monthly payment.

Your down payment affects your mortgage payment.

Your mortgage payment is based on the amount of money you borrow and the term of your loan. The larger your down payment, the less money you will need to borrow, which in turn means the lower your loan payment will be. You will also ultimately pay less interest when you borrow less.

Let GCS Credit Union help you make the right decisions when you need a home mortgage loan in O’Fallon. We offer competitive rates and a full range of financial products. Call us at (618) 797-7993 to learn more.

Tips for Staying Safe Online During the Holidays

Tis the season to spread holiday cheer, spend time with your family, and to receive hundreds of spam and phishing emails. This holiday season we want to remind our members to be extra cautious of what emails they receive and click on. We hope that with a little information you can avoid a Grinch that may want to steal your good cheer.

What is a phishing email? A phishing email is an email sent by spammers to lure you into clicking on something so that they can either get access to your device or get your personal information. They achieve this by disguising (or spoofing) their emails as well-known entities such as the IRS, retailers, or financial institutions. To help protect yourselves we suggest you follow these basic guidelines.

Be cautious about opening any attachments or clicking on any links. These are the most common ways the attacker will gain access to your device. On your computer, you can easily spot a bad link in an email by simply hovering your cursor over the link without clicking on it. This will show you exactly where the link is trying to take you no matter what link may suggest.

Be leery of unexpected emails. Did you receive an email from Walmart asking to update the payment information even though you haven’t recently made a purchase? You may want to take caution before proceeding.

Never use a link from an email to login. If you received an email from a company stating you have a new item available and next to it is a link to login, never click the link to login. Instead, open a browser and go to the website yourself. This will ensure you are not redirected to a fake website and unknowingly provide the attacker with your login information.

Even though an email can look legitimate, take the time to check everything out before clicking on anything. And remember, we at GCS will never send you an email asking for your personal information. If you do receive an email from us and are unsure about it, please give us a call at 618-797-7993 to talk to one of our representatives.

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